Stroud is a market town and civil parish in the county of Gloucestershire, England. It is now the main town in Stroud District. The parish had a population of 12,690 in the UK census of 2001. Prior to 1974 it was an urban district.
Stroud acts as a centre for surrounding villages and small market towns including Dudbridge within its own parish, Bisley with Oakridge, Chalford, Dursley, Minchinhampton (with Amberley), Nailsworth, Painswick (with Sheepscombe and Slad), Stonehouse, Thrupp and Woodchester.
Stroud is known for its involvement in the Industrial Revolution. It was a cloth town; woollen mills were powered by the small rivers which surge through the five valleys, and supplied by Cotswold sheep which grazed on the hills above. Particularly noteworthy was the production of military uniforms in the colour Stroudwater Scarlet. The area was made home by a sizable Huguenot community in the 17th century, fleeing persecution in Catholic France, followed by a significant Jewish presence in the 19th century, linked to the tailoring and cloth industries.
Stroud was an industrial and trading location in the nineteenth century, and so needed transport links. It first had a canal network in the form of the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames & Severn Canal, both of which survived until the early 20th century. Stroud railway station (on the Gloucester–Swindon, the Golden Valley Line) was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Though there is much evidence of early historic settlement and transport, Stroud parish was originally part of Bisley, and only began to emerge as a distinct unit by the 13th century, taking its name from the marshy ground at the confluence of the Slad Brook and the River Frome called "La Strode" and was first recorded in 1221. The church was built by 1279, and it was assigned parochial rights by the rectors of Bisley in 1304, often cited as the date of Stroud's foundation.
From 1837 to 1841, Stroud's MP was Lord John Russell of the Whig party who was later to become Prime Minister. Russell was an important politician, responsible for passing acts of parliament such as the Public Health Act of 1848, but he is mainly remembered as one of the chief architects of the Reform Act 1867. This act, also known as the Second Reform Act, gave the vote to every urban male householder, not just those of considerable means. This resulted in the electorate being increased by 1.5 million voters. Lord Russell is remembered in the town by two street names, John Street and Russell Street, as well as in the name of the Lord John public house.
Cashes Green is a substantial residential area on the outskirts of Stroud, in Gloucestershire, England. The original small village, situated on the southern slope of Randwick Hill, underwent massive expansion in the second half of the 20th century with the addition of both council and private housing estates. It is now contiguous with the neighbouring settlements of Ebley, Cainscross and Paganhill and hence with the conurbation of Stroud itself.