A History of the County of Gloucester

January 1988
59 black and white, 27 line illustrations
518 pages
30.5x20.8 cm
Victoria County History
ISBN: 9780197227718
Format: Hardback
Victoria County History

A History of the County of Gloucester

Volume IV: The City of Gloucester

Edited by N. M. Herbert

The volume describes thirteen hundred years in the life of the city of Gloucester from the late 7th century A.D. to the mid 1980s. William the Conqueror's order for the Domesday survey at his Christmas council at Gloucester in 1085, the spectacu-lar architectural achievements of the monks and their masons at St. Peter's abbey in the 14th century, and the city's resistance to the siege which turned the course of the Civil War in 1643 are events of national significance familiar to students of English history. Less well known is the complex story of development in which those events are landmarks. The volume describes how the Saxon borough, formed in the shell of Roman colonia at a crossing of the river Severn, became in the early Middle Ages a royal administrative centre, military base, and seat of religious foundations; it exam-ines the variety of economic functions which sustained the city throughout the medieval and early modern periods, with at different times ironworking, clothmaking, the trade on the river, pinmaking, market trade, and banking coming to the fore; and it traces the efforts of the townspeople to gain control of their own affairs and recounts how the system of government which they secured from the Crown in 1483 hardened into oligarchy in the 16th century, fuelled politi-cal dissension in the 17th, and proved surprisingly effective as a force for city improvement in the 18th. It tells how in the 19th century railways and the trade brought by the Gloucester and Berkeley ship canal gave a new direction to the Georgian cathedral city, bringing new industries and rapid growth, and how an array of public bodies grappled with the consequent need for better public services, new churches, and schools. The story of Gloucester is continued into the later 20th century when changing patterns of employment and major redevelopment removed many familiar landmarks, leaving the ornate Perpendicular cathedral and the extensive Victorian docks as the most substantial reminders of a rich and varied history. The account of Gloucester's history is divided into three parts. The first is a sequence of five chapters, divided chrono-logically. The second deals with particular features and institutions of the city, topic by topic. The third describes topographically the outlying hamlets and parishes that have been taken into the modern city.

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