Church-End - Cirencester

A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.

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'Church-End - Cirencester', in A Topographical Dictionary of England, (London, 1848) pp. 612-616. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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CHURCH-END, a township, in the parish of Shenley, union of Newport-Pagnell, hundred of Newport, county of Buckingham; containing 227 inhabitants.


CHURCH-END, a hamlet, in the parish of Tidenham, union of Chepstow, hundred of Westbury, W. division of the county of Gloucester; containing 253 inhabitants.

Churchill (All Saints)

CHURCHILL (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Chipping-Norton, hundred of Chadlington, county of Oxford, 3 miles (S. W. by W.) from Chipping-Norton; containing 651 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 16. 0½.; net income, £177; patron and impropriator, J. H. Langston, Esq. The tithes were commuted for land and corn-rents in 1787. The church, having become dilapidated and dangerous, was rebuilt on a more elevated site, commanding some extensive views: the chancel of the old church still remains.

Churchill (St. John the Baptist)

CHURCHILL (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Axbridge, hundred of Winterstoke, E. division of Somerset, 4¾ miles (N. by E.) from Axbridge; containing 970 inhabitants. This is a very ancient place, occurring in old deeds under the names of Curichill, Cheuchill, and Cherchill. Immediately after the Conquest it was held by Roger de Leon, who came over with the Conqueror, and who appears to have assumed the name of Courcill, or Curcelle, from his property: he is said to have been the remote ancestor of John Churchill, the great Duke of Marlborough. The parish comprises 2541 acres, of which 166 are common or waste. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £98; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Bristol. The church is a handsome structure, with an embattled tower, and contains a fine altar-piece representing the Lord's Supper, and several interesting monuments. On a very high point of the Mendip hills, above the village, is an encampment called Dolberry Castle, which forms a parallelogram of 540 yards by 220, inclosed by a ditch on all sides but the south-east, where the steepness of the hill rendered it unnecessary; within it many Roman and Saxon coins and fragments of weapons have been found.

Churchill (St. James)

CHURCHILL (St. James), a parish, in the union of Kidderminster, Lower division of the hundred of Halfshire, Stourbridge and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 3½ miles (N. E. by E.) from Kidderminster; containing 164 inhabitants. It is partly bounded by Staffordshire, and is crossed, from north to south, by the road from Stourbridge to Kidderminster; it contains 955 acres. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £5. 6. 8., and in the gift of the Rev. J. Turner: a portion of the tithes was commuted in 1773 for land, of which there are 95 acres, valued at about £100 per annum; the remainder was recently commuted for a rent-charge of £166, and there is a glebe-house. The church formerly stood on an elevation still called Churchill; the present edifice was built in the valley, in 1470. Richard Penne and Roger Bennet, in 1602, bequeathed property producing about £30 per annum, chiefly for teaching children.

Churchill (St. Michael)

CHURCHILL (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Pershore, Lower division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, Worcester and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, 5½ miles (E. by S.) from Worcester; containing 115 inhabitants. The parish is intersected from west to east by the road from Worcester to Alcester, and bounded on the west by a stream which falls into the Avon. It consists of 660 acres, whereof two-thirds are arable, and the remainder pasture, and is well wooded: much of the land was inclosed about 1776. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £13. 6. 8.; net income, £167; patron, Robert Berkeley, Esq. The church is situated on an eminence on the side of the road. There is a mineral spring.

Church-Kirk, Lancaster.—See Church.

CHURCH-KIRK, Lancaster.—See Church.

Churchover (Holy Trinity)

CHURCHOVER (Holy Trinity), a parish, in the union of Rugby, Rugby division of the hundred of Knightlow, N. division of the county of Warwick, 4¼ miles (N. by E.) from Rugby; containing 339 inhabitants. At a very early period the monastery of Combe had a great portion of the lands here, the gift of Robert de Wavre, confirmed by Henry II. After the Dissolution the property is supposed to have been granted by the name of a manor, to Mary, Duchess of Richmond, and it was afterwards held by the Dixons, of Coten, in the neighbourhood. The parish is bounded on the west by the river Swift, and on the east by the Roman Watling-street; and comprises by computation 1500 acres, in equal portions of arable and pasture. The surface is varied, rising in some parts into hills of considerable elevation, and in others being flat; the soil is clayey, with some gravel. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £15; net income, £270; patron, Henry Grimes, Esq. There are 170 acres of glebe, and a glebehouse. The church is a small edifice, with a spire. The Independents have a place of worship.

Church-Stanton (St. Paul)

CHURCH-STANTON (St. Paul), a parish, in the union of Taunton, hundred of Hemyock, Cullompton and N. divisions of Devon, 11 miles (N. by E.) from Honiton; containing 1085 inhabitants. The village of Churchenford, which is noted for its cider, has cattlefairs on Jan. 25th and March 6th. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £26. 5. 5.; net income, £421; patron, the Rev. R. P. Clarke. The tithes were commuted for land and corn-rents in 1779. The church has been enlarged by the addition of 237 sittings. There is a small endowed school.

Churchstow (St. Mary)

CHURCHSTOW (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Kingsbridge, hundred of Stanborough, Stanborough and Coleridge, and S. divisions of Devon, 2 miles (N. W. by W.) from Kingsbridge; containing 542 inhabitants, including 211 in the union workhouse, situated in the parish. It is bounded on the north-west by the river Avon, and comprises 1650 acres, of which 20 are common or waste. The surface is irregular, rising in some parts into hills of considerable height; and the soil is extremely various, in some places exuberantly rich, and in others sterile and unproductive. The living is a discharged vicarage, with that of Kingsbridge annexed, valued in the king's books at £16. 16. 11., and in the patronage of the Crown, with a net income of £200: the impropriation belongs to the Corporation of Exeter, as trustees for a charity. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £325, and the glebe consists of 14 acres.


CHURCH-TOWN, a hamlet, in the parish of Backwell, union of Bedminster, hundred of Hartcliffe with Bedminster, E. division of the county of Somerset; containing 82 inhabitants.


CHURSTON-FERRERS, a parish, in the union of Totnes, hundred of Haytor, Paignton and S. divisions of Devon, 1½ mile (N. W.) from Brixham; containing, with the hamlet of Galmpton, 772 inhabitants. The parish comprises 2434 acres, of which 197 are common or waste. It is situated on the coast of the English Channel, and is bounded on the north by Torbay, and on the west by the river Dart, which is here navigable. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Brixham: the impropriate tithes have been commuted for £212, and the vicarial for £180. The church contains an ancient wooden screen.

Churt, county of Surrey.—See Chart.

CHURT, county of Surrey.—See Chart.


CHURTON, a township, in the parish of Aldford, union of Great Boughton, Higher division of the hundred of Broxton, S. division of the county of Chester, 4½ miles (S. E. by S.) from Chester; containing 254 inhabitants. It comprises 553 acres, the soil of which is sand and clay. The place is within the limits of the manor of Farndon, and has been long a possession of the Barnston family.


CHURTON, a township, in the parish of Farndon, union of Great Boughton, Higher division of the hundred of Broxton, S. division of the county of Chester, 7 miles (S. by E.) from Chester; containing 132 inhabitants. It belonged to the Barnstons as early as the reign of Richard II., and the Hankeys were seated here for many generations. There are 465 acres of land, of which the soil, like that of the preceding township, is clay and sand. Churton Hall, the former residence of the Barnston family, was built in 1569. The tithes have been commuted for £70, payable to an impropriator, and £1 to the minister of the parish.

Churton, or Chirkton (St. John the Baptist)

CHURTON, or Chirkton (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Devizes, hundred of Swanborough, Devizes and N. divisions of Wilts, 4¼ miles (N. E. by E.) from East Lavington; containing, with Conock tything, 428 inhabitants, of whom 268 are in the township of Churton. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £11. 0. 5., and has a net income of £168; it is in the patronage of the Crown, and the impropriation belongs to the trustees of Heytesbury almshouse.

Churton-Heath, or Bruera

CHURTON-HEATH, or Bruera, a chapelry, in the parish of St. Oswald, Chester, union of Great Boughton, Lower division of the hundred of Broxton, S. division of the county of Chester, 5¼ miles (S. E. by S.) from Chester; containing 3 inhabitants; and comprising 130 acres, of a clayey soil. The chapelry was the original seat of a rectory, to which St. Oswald, a vicarage, was subordinate. The living is now annexed to that of St. Oswald; the incumbent whereof receives a rent-charge of £17, for which the tithes of the chapelry have been commuted. The chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient structure, with a Norman arch between the nave and chancel, and a rich Norman door at the south end; several carved stones are conspicuous in the walls.


CHURWELL, a township, in the ecclesiastical district of Morley, parish of Batley, wapentake of Morley, W. riding of York, 3 miles (S. W. by S.) from Leeds; containing 1198 inhabitants. This township, which is situated on the road from Leeds to Huddersfield, comprises by computation 540 acres of land, and abounds in excellent coal. It is chiefly inhabited by persons employed in collieries, in a woollen-cloth mill, and a tan-yard. There is a place of worship for Independents, also a school.

Chute (St. Nicholas)

CHUTE (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Andover, hundred of Kinwardstone, Everley and Pewsey, and S. divisions of Wilts, 3¾ miles (N. E.) from Ludgershall; containing 525 inhabitants. It comprises 3000 acres: the surface is hilly, and the scenery pleasingly varied; the soil is chiefly light and stony. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Bishop of Salisbury, valued in the king's books at £11; net income, £244. The late Mr. George Soley, of Kimpton Lodge, near Andover, bequeathed £200 to be vested in the funds, and the proceeds divided among the poor. Jeremy Corderoy, a divine of some celebrity in the 17th century, was born here.


CHUTE-FOREST, an extra-parochial district, in the union of Andover, hundred of Kinwardstone, Everley and Pewsey, and S. divisions of Wilts, 4¾ miles (N. E. by N.) from Ludgershall; containing 135 inhabitants. It comprises 1800 acres; the surface is boldly undulated, and the soil light. The tithes for the east and west walks of the forest of Chute and Wakeswood, of which the Dean and Chapter of Sarum are appropriators, have been commuted for £460.


CIPPENHAM, a liberty, in the parish and hundred of Burnham, union of Eton, county of Buckingham, 2¼ miles (N. W. by N.) from Eton; containing 241 inhabitants. This place is said to have been a residence of the Saxon kings; it is more certain that here was a palace for the monarchs of the Norman line.

Circourt, Berks.—See Goosey.

CIRCOURT, Berks.—See Goosey.

Cirencester (St. John the Evangelist)

CIRENCESTER (St. John the Evangelist), a parish, and the head of a union, comprising the borough of Cirencester, which is a hundred of itself, and several tythings in the hundred of Crowthorne and Minety, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 17 miles (S. E.) from Gloucester, and 89 (W. by N.) from London; containing 6014 inhabitants. Prior to the arrival of the Romans, this was a British city, called Caer Cori, the "town on the river Corin," which the Romans converted into a military station denominated Corinum. This station, from its position near the intersection of the Fosse-way with the Ermin and Ikeneld streets, was one of considerable extent and importance; and vestiges of the vallum and rampart are yet visible on the south-eastern side of the town, where Roman inscriptions, tessellated pavements, coins, urns, vases, the remains of a hypocaust, and various fragments of masonry, have been found. The Saxons added the name Ceaster, of which and its Roman appellation the present is a corruption. The town was the metropolis of the Dobuni, from whom, in 577, it was taken by Ceawlin, King of Wessex. In 656 it was annexed to the kingdom of Mercia; and in 879, the Danes under Guthrum, after their memorable defeat by Alfred in the battle of Ethandune, retired hither, where they remained for a year, during the progress of the negotiations which led to their conversion to Christianity, and their settlement in the island. Canute the Great held a general council here in 1020, when, according to the Saxon Chronicle, "Alderman Ethelward was outlawed, and Edwy, King of the Churls." In the war between Stephen and Matilda, Cirencester Castle, of which the earliest notice then occurs, being garrisoned by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, on the part of the empress, was taken and burnt by the king's troops, in 1142; having been rebuilt, it was garrisoned by the disaffected barons against Henry III., but was taken by the king, who issued his warrant for its immediate demolition. The wall and gates that defended the town continued entire for some time longer.


In 1322, Edward II. spent the festival of Christmas here, and soon afterwards convened an assembly of his nobles, to devise means for crushing the conspiracy of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and other barons, against his favourite, Hugh le Despencer; the whole of the royal army was subsequently assembled here. Early in the reign of Henry IV., the Dukes of Albemarle, Surrey, and Exeter, and the Earls of Gloucester and Salisbury, with other persons of distinction, entered into a conspiracy to assassinate the king, and restore the deposed monarch, Richard II. Henry, being informed of this, led an army against them, when some of the principal conspirators, with the forces under them, retired to Cirencester, where they encamped: here they were surprised by the townsmen, and the Duke of Surrey and the Earl of Salisbury were taken and immediately beheaded, on which the troops dispersed. The explosion of hostilities against Charles I. is stated to have occurred in this town, upon a personal attack on Lord Chandos, who had been appointed to execute the commission of array on behalf of the king; and it was soon afterwards garrisoned by the parliament. It was assaulted by Prince Rupert, and captured, after a sharp conflict of two hours, on the 2nd of February, 1642-3; but was recovered for the parliament by the Earl of Essex, on the 16th of September in the following year: it again fell into the hands of the royalists, but was ultimately surrendered to the parliament. On the landing of the Prince of Orange, in 1688, the inhabitants, influenced by the Duke of Beaufort, declared for James II.; and Lord Lovelace, on his march through the town with a party to join the prince, was attacked by Captain Lorange, of the county militia, made prisoner, and sent to Gloucester gaol. In this encounter flowed the first blood that was shed in the Revolution.

The town is pleasantly situated, and consists of four principal, and several smaller, streets. It was anciently of much greater extent, the walls having inclosed an area two miles in circuit. The houses, which are chiefly of stone, are well built, and many of the more respectable are detached; the place is lighted, the foot-paths are paved with small stones, and the inhabitants well supplied with water. There is a society called the Cirencester and Gloucestershire Agricultural Association; and a commodious Hall for temperance and other meetings not involving theological or political controversy, has been erected by Mr. Christopher Bowly, at a cost of £1500. Races were once held annually near the town. But little trade is carried on, the cloth manufacture, formerly extensive, having declined: some knives of a peculiar and superior quality are made for the use of curriers; and there are a small carpet-manufactory, and three breweries. The Thames and Severn canal passes in the vicinity, and has a branch to the town: the Cheltenham and Great Western Union railway, also, has a branch to Cirencester, opened in May, 1841. The market is on Monday, for corn and provisions, and on Friday for provisions only; the latter was once considerable for wool, but since the decline of the woollen manufacture, it has been much neglected. Fairs are held on Easter-Tuesday and Nov. 8th, and statutefairs on the Monday before and the Monday after Oct. 11th. By charter granted by Henry IV., Cirencester was constituted a separate hundred, co-extensive with the borough, the privileges of which still exist, and two high constables are annually chosen, though the town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold petty-sessions here. It sent representatives to a great council in the 11th of Edward III., but did not acquire the permanent privilege of returning two burgesses until the year 1571, by grant from Elizabeth. The right of election was formerly vested in the resident householders not receiving alms (except "inhabitants of the abbey, the Embury, and Sperringate-lane"), about 500 in number; but the limits of the borough, which comprised only 84 acres, were for elective purposes increased by the act of the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., cap. 64, so as to embrace the whole of the parish, comprehending by estimation 5100 acres, and the franchise was extended to the £10 householders. The steward and bailiff of the manor are returning officers. There is a court leet annually, at which the steward for the manor appoints two high, and fourteen petty, constables, two of the latter being for each of the seven wards into which the borough is divided. The powers of the county debt-court, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Cirencester.

The living is a vicarage not in charge, in the patronage of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol: the impropriate tithes have been commuted for £99, and the vicarial for £240. The church is a magnificent structure in the decorated English style, erected in the fifteenth century, with a lofty embattled tower, crowned by pinnacles; its interior and exterior are richly adorned, and it contains several chapels of exquisite beauty, and many monuments. A fund, producing £267 per annum, was bequeathed for keeping it in repair. Two other churches, one dedicated to St. Cecilia, and the other to St. Lawrence, have long been in ruins. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. The Royal Agricultural College of Cirencester was incorporated by charter in March, 1845, and suitable buildings have since been erected at Port Farm, on Earl Bathurst's estate, and near the junction of the Stroud and Tetbury roads. The edifice is in the Tudor style, having two bold fronts, the principal or southern front being 190 feet long, and its centre occupied by a fine tower 80 feet in height, with a turreted newel of 100 feet, used as an observatory for meteorological and other scientific purposes. The buildings are three stories high, and include a large dininghall, class-rooms, a laboratory, and a museum, with ranges of sleeping apartments for the pupils. The college is under the management of a head master and of professors; and besides instruction in agriculture, conveyed by lectures, individual study, and practical working, the pupils are taught botany, natural history, physics, mathematics, drawing, mechanics, dynamics, surveying, building, hydrostatics, and hydraulics, particularly as they refer to agriculture. There are professors, also, for the various branches of general education. The Free Grammar school was founded by Bishop Ruthal, and the original endowment was augmented by Queen Mary with £20 per annum, payable out of the exchequer; the master is appointed by the Lord Chancellor. The Blue-coat school, established in 1714, was afterwards endowed by Thomas Powell, Esq., with £15 per annum, part of an annuity issuing from the exchequer for 99 years, and a moiety of the revenue of Maskelyne's estate: the Lord Chancellor, in 1737, added £20 per annum, out of property left for charitable purposes by Mrs. Rebecca Powell; and in 1744 Mrs. Powell's executor assigned the interest of £562 as a provisional supply after the expiration of the annuity. The Yellow-coat school was founded and endowed in 1722, by Mrs. Powell; the income is about £320.

St. John's hospital, for three men and three women, was founded by Henry I., and endowed with land and reserved rents amounting to between £30 and £40 per annum. St. Lawrence's hospital, for a master and two poor women, was founded in the time of Edward III., by Edith, proprietress of the manor of Wiggold; it has a small endowment, and is under the control of Earl Bathurst. St. Thomas's was erected by Sir William Nottingham, attorney-general to Henry IV., and endowed with £6. 18. 8. per annum. The union of Cirencester comprises 39 parishes or places, of which 33 are in the county of Gloucester, and 6 in that of Wilts; and contains a population of 20,726. There are a few antiquities. Henry I., in 1117, built an abbey for Black canons in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which he and his successors richly endowed; it was a mitred abbey, and in the 26th of Henry VIII. its revenue was estimated at £1051. 7. 1.: the remains consist of two gateways and a large barn. In a field called the Querns, to the west of the town, near the Roman wall, are the remains of an amphitheatre. Grismond's Tower, a circular hill about a quarter of a mile westward, converted into an ice-house by Earl Bathurst, was discovered, on examination, to be a Roman tumulus, containing several large urns full of ashes and burnt bones. Richard of Cirencester, author of a History and Itinerary of Britain in the time of the Romans; Thomas Ruthal, Bishop of Durham, and counsellor to Henry VII.; and, lately, Caleb Hillier Parry, M.D., eminent in his profession, and father of Capt. Sir Edward Parry, R.N., the celebrated navigator, were natives of the place.