Blaisdon: Introduction

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1972.

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'Blaisdon: Introduction', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds, (London, 1972) pp. 6-7. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]


BLAISDON, a small rural parish of c. 900 a. lying 7 miles west of Gloucester, was united with Flaxley parish in 1935; the boundary between the two parishes had roughly followed the Longhope brook. (fn. 1) Previously, in 1883, Blaisdon had taken in a detached part of Flaxley, covering 45 a. with one house and a population of seven, which lay on its western boundary near Northwood, while it lost to Flaxley a detached part of its own north of Gaulet; in 1890 Blaisdon received a small detached piece of Lea Bailey situated at Woodgreen. (fn. 2) The account which follows relates to the parish of Blaisdon as it existed before 1883.

The south-eastern part of the parish lies at c. 100-200 ft., while the north-western is occupied by a large wooded spur of land rising to over 500 ft.; the low ground is formed by the Keuper Marl and the high ground by Upper Silurian formations. (fn. 3) The parish is drained by the Longhope (or Blaisdon) brook (fn. 4) which runs along the south-west boundary through a narrow valley between the high ground of Blaisdon and Flaxley, and by its tributary the Beech brook (fn. 5) to the south-east. About a third of the parish is woodland, most of it lying on the spur of high ground although the parish also includes part of Ley Woods on the east; in 1839 there were an estimated 276 a. of woodland. (fn. 6) Fifty acres of conifers were planted on waste land in the parish in the early 18th century, (fn. 7) and the woods on the hills included some conifers by 1879; (fn. 8) in 1969 they comprised conifers and deciduous trees in about equal parts. There were some small open fields on the low ground until the mid 19th century. (fn. 9) Blaisdon lay within the ancient bounds of the Forest of Dean given in the earliest perambulations, but in 1300 it was one of the vills which it was claimed should be excluded as they had been afforested only since the reign of King John. (fn. 10)

The parish church recorded from the 13th century (fn. 11) stands some way from the main village which developed along the road leading northwards from the crossing of the Longhope brook; the road was called Blaisdon Street in 1679. (fn. 12) In 1699 the village was partly destroyed by a fire which, beginning in a smith's shop, burnt 135 bays of building and caused damage estimated at over £4,000. (fn. 13) The destroyed houses had apparently been replaced by c. 1710 when there were said to be 40 houses in the parish (fn. 14) compared with the 34 mentioned in 1672. (fn. 15) A timber-framed cottage later faced in brick, at the south end of the village, retained the remains of a cruck-truss until it was rebuilt in 1969. The Tanhouse, a former farm-house on the west side of the street, has a 17th-century timber-framed range dated 1669; it was faced in brick c. 1800 and additions were made on the west and north-east in the early and mid 20th century. Two timber-framed cottages of the 17th century survive, and there are a few 18th- or early 19th-century brick and stone houses. Several of the cottages were rebuilt by the MacIver family in the early 20th century: they are in brick or stone with small ornamental gables, sometimes with mock timber-framing; three pairs which stand together on the west side of the street were built in 1908 (fn. 16) replacing brick cottages of c. 1800. (fn. 17) The village also has a few mid-20th-century bungalows. Spout Farm on the east side of the street was recorded in 1754, (fn. 18) and was rebuilt in brick c. 1800. The 'Red Hart', which was open by 1816, (fn. 19) is the only inn that has been found recorded in the parish.

Nottswood Hill, on the northern boundary of the parish, is the main outlying settlement, and is evidently a squatter development which grew up around the common there that was recorded in 1679 (fn. 20) and covered 11 a. in 1839; (fn. 21) at least one house had been built there by 1688. (fn. 22) The cottages, which are scattered over a bracken-covered hillside, include one with a timber frame but most are brick or stone buildings of the late 18th or early 19th century. A few cottages have been demolished since 1839. (fn. 23) The Mount at Nottswood was rebuilt in the later 19th century as an ornamental cottage; it is of patterned brick with stone dressings, mock timber-framed gables, and casement windows, and adjoining there is a small tower with an observation platform. At Stanley, a small roadside settlement north-east of Blaisdon village, there was a house by 1628; (fn. 24) in 1969 it comprised only the 17th-century Stanley House (fn. 25) and an early 20th-century cottage. There was a house at Woodgreen on the western boundary of the parish by 1685, (fn. 26) and in 1969 the settlement consisted of three cottages, one a 17th-century timber-framed building. The Velthouse, an outlying farmstead to the north, was recorded from 1591; (fn. 27) it was rebuilt in brick in the 19th century.

A road linking Stanley with Northwood in Westbury was recorded in 1652 (fn. 28) but survived only as a track in 1969. The Gloucester and Hereford railway line through the parish was opened in 1853 (fn. 29) and there was a halt for Blaisdon village on the Westbury road; the line was closed in 1964. (fn. 30) A water-supply was laid on to some of the houses in Blaisdon village by Peter Stubs, the lord of the manor, c. 1900. (fn. 31)

There were c. 100 communicants in the parish in 1551, (fn. 32) and an estimated 35 households in 1563. (fn. 33) Forty families were recorded in 1650, (fn. 34) and about 180 inhabitants c. 1710. (fn. 35) The population apparently declined during the earlier 18th century: there were said to be 137 inhabitants c. 1775, (fn. 36) but there had been an increase to 152 by 1801. The population rose steadily to 299 in 1851 but then declined to 203 in 1881. Although there was a slight recovery in the early part of the 20th century, at the time of the union with Flaxley in 1935 the population of Blaisdon was 186; (fn. 37) the population of the former parish remained about the same in 1969. (fn. 38)


  • 1. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award; Census, 1931 (pt. ii).
  • 2. Census, 1891; O.S. Area Bk. Westbury on Severn (1880); O.S. Map 1/2,500, Glos. XXXII. 1 (1880 edn.).
  • 3. Geol. Surv. Map (solid edn.), sheet 43.
  • 4. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award; O.S. Map 1/2,500, Glos. XXXII. 1 (1880 edn.).
  • 5. G.D.R. Blaisdon terrier, 1572.
  • 6. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award.
  • 7. Rudge, Hist. of Glos. ii, p. 64.
  • 8. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Glos. XXXII. 1 (1880 edn.).
  • 9. See pp. 8-9.
  • 10. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxvi. 166-207.
  • 11. See p. 9.
  • 12. G.D.R. Blaisdon terrier.
  • 13. Board in church tower; cf. Glos. N. & Q. ii. 26; iii. 6, 333.
  • 14. Atkyns, Glos. 289.
  • 15. E 179/247/14 rot. 41.
  • 16. Dates and inits. on bldgs.
  • 17. Photo. penes Mr. C. Etherington, of Blaisdon.
  • 18. Overseers' accts. 1728-78, penes the rector.
  • 19. Glouc. Jnl. 22 Jan. 1816.
  • 20. G.D.R. Blaisdon terrier.
  • 21. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award.
  • 22. Par. reg. 1635-94.
  • 23. Cf. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award.
  • 24. Glos. Ch. Plate, 24; cf. Glos. R.O., D 333/M 1.
  • 25. See p. 8.
  • 26. Par. reg. 1635-94.
  • 27. C 3/375/29.
  • 28. Glos. Colln. deeds 48. 1; cf. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award.
  • 29. MacDermot, Hist. G.W.R. i. 454.
  • 30. Ex inf. Brit. Rlys. Bd. Hist. Recs. Dept.
  • 31. Ex inf. Mr. V. A. Woodman, of Blaisdon.
  • 32. E.H.R. xix. 121.
  • 33. Bodl. MS. Rawl. C. 790, f. 28v.
  • 34. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxiii. 97.
  • 35. Atkyns, Glos. 289.
  • 36. Rudder, Glos. 299.
  • 37. Census, 1801-1931.
  • 38. Ex inf. the Rector of Blaisdon with Flaxley, the Revd. D. J. Bick.