Place:Westerleigh, Gloucestershire, England

Watchers
NameWesterleigh
TypeTown, Civil parish
Coordinates51.51°N 2.43°W
Located inGloucestershire, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inAvon, England     (1974 - 1996)
Gloucestershire, England     (1996 - )
See alsoPucklechurch (hundred), Gloucestershire, Englandhundred in which the parish was located
Chipping Sodbury Rural, Gloucestershire, Englandrural district in which it was situated 1894-1935
Sodbury Rural, Gloucestershire, Englandrural district in which it was situated 1835-1974
South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, Englandunitary authority of which it has been a part since 1996
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Westerleigh is a village and civil parish (which includes the community of Henfield) in South Gloucestershire in England. It contains sources of the River Frome. It is north of the M4, south of Yate and north-east of the city of Bristol. It has a population of approximately 4,800.

The village is first mentioned in a Saxon document of 887AD. At that time it was probably just a clearing in the woods with possibly a wooden church. Westerleigh is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

In medieval times the village would probably have been a green with the houses and church around it, and prosperous. The northern wall and porch of St James church is from the 13th century, as is the carved stone pulpit. The church was rebuilt in the perpendicular style, with the tower (once used as the village lock-up) added at a later date. The 700th anniversary was celebrated in 2004.

By 1600 the village supported a shoemaker, a blacksmith, a sawyer, a flour mill, a malt house and two public houses. In 1617, John Crandall was baptised to James and Eleanor Crandall at St. James the Great church, and became one of the founders of Westerly, Rhode Island, USA.

The discovery of coal in 1660 provided employment for the villagers, with further finds at Coalpit Heath (within the parish) and Parkfield colliery at Pucklechurch providing more employment. The mines closed in the early 20th century, when the coal was exhausted.

By 1876 occupations in the village included farmers, a bootmaker, shopkeepers, innkeepers, butchers, a plasterer, a blacksmith, a wheelwright, a market gardener and a carrier. At the end of the 19th century many of the old houses were demolished. At the beginning of the 20th century, the railway and mining provided most of the work. Now residents find work in nearby Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Bristol, and in the village itself.

Research Tips

  • Bristol Archives is where paper and microfilm copies of all records for Bristol and its environs are stored.

Online sources which may also be helpful:

  • GENUKI gives pointers to other archive sources as well as providing some details on each parish in the county. The emphasis here is on ecclesiastical parishes (useful before 1837). The GENUKI page for the parish will confirm which archive provider has its records.
  • A listing of all the Registration Districts in England and Wales since their introduction in 1837 and tables of the parishes that were part of each district and the time period covered with detailed notes on changes of parish name, mergers, etc. Do respect the copyright on this material.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki for Gloucestershire provides a similar but not identical series of webpages to that provided by GENUKI
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has a group of pages of statistical facts for almost every parish in the county
  • MAPS. Most Wikipedia maps for places in the Bristol area have outline maps indicating the location of the suburb under discussion. Another online map that may be useful is this Ordnance Survey map originally made in 1930 and with revisions to 1946.
  • Unfortunately, A History of the County of Gloucester in the Victoria County History series provided by the website British History Online does not cover all of Bristol--and the area that was originally in Gloucestershire is sadly omitted, save for the information on the churches in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 2


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Westerleigh. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.