Place:Westerleigh, Gloucestershire, England

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:

  • Three maps on the A Vision of Britain through Time website illustrate the changes in political boundaries over the period 1830-1945. All have expanding scales and on the second and third this facility is sufficient that individual parishes can be inspected (except in the immediate Bristol area--for Bristol, see English Jurisdictions).
  • Gloucestershire Hundreds as drawn in 1832. This map was prepared before The Great Reform Act of that year. Note the polling places and representation of the various parts of the county.
  • Gloucestershire in 1900, an Ordnance Survey map showing rural districts, the boundaries of the larger towns, the smaller civil parishes of the time, and some hamlets and villages in each parish
  • Gloucestershire in 1943, an Ordnance Survey map showing the rural districts after the changes to their structure in the 1930s
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has a group of pages of statistical facts for almost every parish in the county
  • GENUKI gives pointers to other archive sources as well as providing some details on each parish. The emphasis here is on ecclesiastical parishes (useful before 1837)
  • 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. The compiler has gone to a lot of work to provide this material. Respect his copyright.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki for Gloucestershire provides a similar but not identical series of webpages to that provided by GENUKI
  • English Jurisdictions, a supplementary website to FamilySearch outlining local parish boundaries in the middle on the 19th century. The information provided is especially useful for establishing the locations of ecclesiastical parishes in large towns and cathedral cities, as well as changes in their dedications (names). Very useful for Bristol.
  • The Church Crawler has a website of photos and histories of English Churches with emphasis on Bristol.
  • Unfortunately, the Victoria County History series provided by the website British History Online only provides information on Gloucestershire Churches in this part of the county. More general information on the Bristol and South Gloucestershire area is sadly omitted.
  • Ancestry UK has recently added Gloucestershire Burials, 1813-1988; Confirmations, 1834-1913; Baptisms, 1813-1913; Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813; and Marriages and Banns, 1754-1938. (entry dated 1 Aug 2015)
  • Ancestry has also now updated Bristol, England, Select Church of England Parish Registers, 1720-1933 (entry dated 14 Mar 2016)

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.