Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for CHELTENHAM

CHELTENHAM, a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred in Gloucester. The town stands on the river Chelt, at the terminus of a short branch railway, 7¼ miles ENE of Gloucester. The railway communicates westward directly with the Gloucester and Birmingham, and indirectly with the Great Western; and further railway communication is in progress of formation both eastward into direct junction with the Oxford, Worcester, and Wolverhampton line, and south-eastward, past Holwell and Highworth, into direct junction with the Great Western. The site of the town is a fertile valley, amphitheatred at the distance of two miles, by the Cotswold hills; the climate is comparatively mild and equable; and the environs show charming features of wood and mansion on the plain, and include brilliant scenery and noble prospects among the Cotswolds. The town is supposed to be of Saxon origin; but it remained a small straggling hamlet at the close of the 17th century; and it owed its present consequence to the discovery of medicinal springs in 1716, and to an invalid sojourn at it of George III. in 1788. It is now one of the finest and most fashionable towns in the kingdom, a great resort of visitors in quest of health or pleasure, and a chosen permanent residence of many wealthy annuitants. It consists principally of spacious streets, squares, crescents, and terraces in a style of neatness or elegance; it includes likewise a large number of sumptuous detached villas; and it presents everywhere the pleasing ornament of trees, in lines along the streets, in groups on the larger spaces, and in scatterings among the villas. The chief street is upwards of 1½ mile long, and forms the seat of nearly all the shopping and stir; while the other quarters spread away in fashionable airiness, ease, and retirement.

The mineral springs are numerous; and they present considerable differences in their constituent elements. All are strongly saline; some are also chalybeate; and most contain iodine, in the proportion of about a grain in a gallon. The saline ingredients in one of the strongest are 74. 5 grains of muriate of soda, 2. 25 of muriate of lime, 2. of muriate of magnesia, and 11. 75 of sulphate of soda; but these ingredients differ so much in neighbouring springs, that at one of the spas, or places where the waters are obtained, there is a row of taps all differing from one another in saline strength. The chief spas are the Old Wells, the Montpelier, the Pittville, and the Cambray. The Old Wells are approached through a fine avenue, and have a pump-room, 66 feet by 23, rebuilt in 1803. The Montpelier was opened in 1809; is situated among charming gardens; and has an elegant and commodious pump-room with a lofty dome. The Pittville was opened in 1830; is situated in grounds of surpassing beauty; and has a splendid Grccian edifice, 90 feet by 43, with a wide colonnade and a lofty dome. The Cambray was discovered in 1833; is situated at the corner of Imperial square; and has an octagonal building in the Tudor style. The season for drinking the waters extends from May till October; and is rifest and best in August and September. Seven hotels, mainly for the accommodation of visitors, are on a great scale; and one of them, the Queen's, erected in 1836, cost £50, 000. Lodging-houses also are numerous and good. Pleasure-gardens, reading room s, libraries, musical promenades, concerts, balls, floral exhibitions, pyrotechny, cricket-matches, and other recreations are plentiful. Races are run on one of the finest courses in the kingdom; hunting is enjoyed in the winter months; a theatre, a museum, a zoological garden, and a philosophical institution offer a variety of attractions; and a beautiful surrounding country presents a rich diversity of walks and drives.

The town-hall, the masonic-hall, and the market house are good buildings. The parish church, nearly in the centre of the town, is early decorated English and cruciform, with square tower and lofty octagonal spire; has an ancient pulpit and reading-desk, and a beautiful circular north window; and contains a curious monument of 1643. Trinity church, near the Pittville spa, is a commodious Gothic structure, erected as a chapel of ease, principally at the expense of Lord Sherborne. St. John's church, in Berkeley-street, is a neat building, erected in 1828. St. Paul's church, in St. Paul-street, is a spacious structure, built by voluntary subscription. St. James' church, in Suffolk-square, is a neat Gothic edifice. Christ church, in Lansdowne, is a beautiful transepted structure, 130 feet by 107. St Peter's church, in Tewkesbury-place, is an edifice in the Norman style by Dankes, with a round tower 90 feet high. St. Luke's church is an erection of 1855, in the geometric decorated style. St. Mark's church was built in 1861; is in the decorated English style; and consists of nave, chancel, and south aisles, with vestry. All Saints church was built in 1868; is cruciform, in the first pointed style, and of French character; and was finished without the erection of a spire. There are two Congregational chapels, two Baptist, one English Presbyterian or Free Church of Scotland, one of Quakers, one Calvinistic Methodist, three Wesleyan, two called the Bethel and the Ebenezer, one of Plymouth Brethren, one Unitarian, one Roman Catholic, and a Jews' synagogue. The grammar school was founded in 1574; and has an endowed income of £30, and two scholarships at Pembroke college, Oxford. The Chelt. proprietory college, for the education of noblemen and gentlemen, was built in 1843; is a splendid edifice in the Tudor style, with a frontage of 240 feet, and a central tower 80 feet high; and has a hall 90 feet by 45, and a gymnasium. The Church of England training-college was founded in 1849; is an edifice in the early English style, raised at a cost of about £12, 000; and has accommodation for 100 persons. The schools within the borough, in 1851, were 23 public day schools, with 3, 405 scholars; 59 private day schools, with 1, 306 s.; and 22 Sunday schools, with 3, 138 s. There are a general hospital, a female orphan asylum, alms-houses, and a workhouse. Total endowed charities, £382.

The town has a head post office, ‡ a telegraph station, and three banking offices; is a seat of petty sessions and a polling place; and publishes seven weekly newspapers. Markets are held on Thursdays and Saturdays; and. fairs on the second Thursday of April, Holy Thursday, 5 Aug., the second Thursday of Sept., and the third Thursday of Dec. Nearly all the trade is dependent on visitors and wealthy residents. The town was made a borough by the act of 1832, and sends one member to parliament; and its borough boundaries are conterminate with the parish. Real property in 1860, £207, 716. Direct taxes in 1857, £30, 598. Electors in 1868, 2, 793. Pop. in 1841, 31, 411; in 1861, 39, 639. Houses, 7, 012. The borough or parish includes the tythings of Alstone and Arle, and the hamlets of Naunton, Westhall, and Sandford; and is divided, for local purposes, into five wards. The manor belonged to Edward the Confessor and William the Conqueror; passed to the Earls of Salisbury, Feschamp abbey, Sion nunnery, Prince Charles, and the Duttons; was bought from Lord Sutton, by James Agg Gardner, Esq., for nearly £40, 000; and belongs now to R. S. Lingwood, Esq. The parochial church is a rectory, and five of the other churches are vicarages, in the diocese of G. and Bristol. Value of the rectory, £500;* of Trinity Church, £450; of St. John and St. James, each £250; of St. Paul, £300; of Christ Church, £400; of St. Peter, £150; of St. Luke, £500; of St. Mark, £181. Patrons of the rectory, and of Christ Church, Simeon's Trustees; of T., St. John, St. P., and St. L., the Rector; of St. James, St. Peter, and St. Mark, Trustees; of All Saints, the Bishop.

The sub-district is conterminate with the parish. The district includes also the sub-district of Charlton-Kings, containing the parishes of Charlton-Kings, Leckhampton, Swindon, Prestbury, Cubberley, Cowley, Whitcomb-Magna, Badgeworth, Great Shurdington, Up-Hatherley, Staverton, and part of Elmstone-Hardwicke. Acres, 24, 876. Poor-rates in 1862, £21, 276. Pop. in 1841, 40, 246; in 1861, 49, 792. Houses, 9, 095. Marriages, in 1860, 424; births, 1, 379, -of which 94 were illegitimate; deaths, 851, of which 239 were at ages under 5 years, and 21 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 3, 955; births, 12, 042; deaths, 8, 925. The places of worship in 1851, additional to those within the borough, were 12 of the Church of England, with 3, 665 sittings; 5 of Independents, with 60 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 240 s.; and 1 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 174 s. The schools, additional to those within the borough, were 11 public day schools, with 789 scholars; 20 private day schools, with 307 s.; and 16 Sunday schools, with 1, 029 s.-The hundred contains only Cheltenham parish and parts of four other parishes. Acres, 8, 961. Pop., 45, 886. Houses, 8, 263.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Cheltenham AP/CP       Cheltenham Hundred       Cheltenham SubD       Cheltenham RegD/PLU       Gloucestershire AncC
Place: Cheltenham

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