Welcome to the web site for Stonehouse History Group in Gloucestershire UK.
- promoting interest in the History of Stonehouse & the locality….
Stonehouse - A Time Line - One Thousand Years
Stonehouse was first mentioned in William the Conqueror's Domesday Book written in 1086. There a manor house built in stone - quite different from the many wattle and daub buildings that were normally found. And so the area was named Stanhus in the book.
The name evoluted from Stanhus to Stonehouse : William De Ow, a cousin of William the Conqueror, owned the manor, whose grounds included two mills and a vineyard.
Gloucestershire is over 1000 years old.
The official 1000th anniversary of the County was celebrated in 2007-08. Distinguished historians believe 1007 to be the year in which the territory of Mercia was divided into shires and the county of Gloucestershire came into existence.
This was during the reign of the English King Aethelred “the Unready” an unhappy time when the country was subject to regular raiding by Vikings. The first written reference to the name of Gloucestershire (referred to as “Gleawecestrescire”) appeared around 1016.
Nutshell Bridge was built 1778 and restored in 1988. This photograph shows the engraved stone – set into the parapet of the Bridge - commemorating the Bridge’s construction in 1778 and its restoration in 1988.
The second photograph shows a unique event in 2000 when the Cotswold Canals Trust’s trip boat sailed under Nutshell Bridge at the time of the re-opening of Stonehouse Bridge.
On the death of Edward II in 1327 Stonehouse Court was granted to John, Lord Maltravers, by Edward III. This was, so legend has it the same Maltravers who played a full part in the foul murder of Edward II at Berkeley Castle.
The Stroudwater Canel was built between 1775 and 1779. Its purpose was to link the woollen mills of the Stroud area to the river Severn.
It was a broad canal designed to take Severn Trow of up to 68ft in length and a beam of 15 ft. These craft could carry cargos of up to 100 tons.
The Thames & Severn Canal was built between 1783 and 1789 and was a much greater engineering feat as it climbed to Sapperton Tunnel which pierced the Cotswold Scarp. The tunnel was the longest built at the time of construction but was also of one of the largest in cross section.
The Great Western Railway was designed and built by the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel and came through Stonehouse in 1845.
The first train passed through Stonehouse from Swindon to Gloucester on April 14th 1845. On board were dignitaries of the Great Western Railway as well as the line's engineer I. K. Brunel.
While Samson Harris was the parish Priest of St Cyrs, 1727-63, the parish was visited several times by his friend George Whitefield, the Methodist leader. Whitefield was born at the Bell Inn Gloucester.
In 1737 Stonehouse church was served for about two months by Whitefield during the vicar's enforced absence; he preached every night and claimed to have increased the congregation during his stay. Whitefield again visited Stonehouse in 1739 and preached in the rain to a crowd, which he estimated at c. 3,000, in the churchyard, and at another visit in 1743 he helped to administer communion in the church.
Wycliffe College was first set up in 1882. On the 6th April 1881, Haywardsfield Hall was purchased by Mr George William Sibley for £2,990, to become Wycliffe College, he was 30 years old.
Stonehouse Congregational Church in the High Street was built in 1827. The Jubilee entrance arch commemorated the Golden Jubilee of the building, and was not as many people thought, anything to do with Queen Victoria.
The church closed in December 1964 and the building was gutted by fire in April 1967.
Bridgend House was built in 1691, it was built for William Clutterbuck a member of the numerous clothier's family. Descended from Flemish weavers who came from Netherlands and had a great influence upon cloth-making in the Stonehouse area.
Stonehouse Brick and Tile company was founded in 1891, the bricks were mainly used in the building of first class residences, railway stations, churches, schools and public buildings.
Many buildings worldwide were made from Stonehouse Brick including Stonehouse Post Office and the Police Station, houses in Queens Road, Verney Road and Upper Queens Road.
John Dutton (Lord Sherborne) needed somewhere to live while he was rebuilding Sherborne House. A small cottage originally built in 1818 at Standish was demolished and replaced with a house built initially for use as a temporary residence and thereafter as a Shooting Lodge.
Standish House was originally designed as a square stucco box of two stories with a simple interior and a pediment doric porch, it was finished in 1830. Lord Sherborne used Standish House regularly as a hunting Lodge until the 1850’s.
The building of the Stonehouse to Nailsworth Railway was first started in 1864, the first sod was cut in Nailsworth with great ceremony on Monday February 22nd 1864 in a field not far from the Nailsworth community centre..
There is a poster in Stroud museum announcing the opening ceremony, Mr E Horseman MP was the official performing the turning of the first sod with a silver shovel.
The earliest recorded vicar of Stonehouse Church - St Cyrs is Sir Geoffrey here in 1225, 'sir' being the equivalent of Reverend, not a title.
We do not know what his church looked like, but some say that there was a Norman style church. The church tower, as it stands today, was built during the fourteenth century so the church must have had a rebuilding then.
In 1559 William Stanford and a William Fowler bought Stonehouse Court for £1092 16s 2d and in 1568 William Fowler succeeded wholly to the rights and tenements of the Manor. It was William Fowler's son, Steven, who rebuilt the house in 1601.
The present building at Stonehouse Court dates from this time.
Due to the need to transport goods away from the ever expanding local Mills as fast as possible, construction of a navigable waterway through the Stonehouse valley using the River Frome was first attempted in the early 1720’s, but the schemes failed. The Kemmett Canel was the best conceived by Thomas Bridge of Tewkesbury, financed and driven by John Kemmett in 1755.
Bridge’s idea was to use cranes instead of locks to transfer crated cargoes over the river level changes. This was the very first idea of containerization for transporting goods.
This proposal involved straightening and deepening the river for the easy passage of boats, the old course of the river can be easily seen from the air even today. Construction began in 1759 but was abandoned, unfinished, around 1763, somewhere between Bonds and Stonehouse Mills. Its failure was almost certainly due to spiraling costs, the constantly changing river conditions and the unreliability of the primitive cranes used.
1901 to Present day
The very First meeting of the Stonehouse Parish Council took place on January 4th 1895. The first eleven elected councillors were:- G. W. Sibly, E. Jenner Davies, T. C. Huntley, J. Westacott, T. W. Mastin, R. Townson, J. Bradley, C. Cave, G, Tilley, E. Pollard and H. Warrington.
There were two headmasters, a company director, two builders, two farmers, two clothworkers, one railway signalman and one hotel manager. Dr. G. W. Sibly founder and headmaster of Wycliffe College was elected chairman, and that for the next 24 years one or the other of two headmasters on the council (the second being Mr. John Westacott of the national School) always occupied the chair.
Stonehouse Brick and Tile Company Limited 202 foot high chimney was built, and was a land mark for sixty five years until it was demolished in 1965.