Cheltenham takes its name from the river Chelt, and is celebrated for its medicinal waters. It has been for the last sixty years one of the most elegant and fashionable watering places in England.
A cathedral city, capital of the county, and parliamentary borough (2 members), on the Severn, and the Bristol and Birmingham Railway, 114 miles from London, in a flat spot, which was under water in the floods of 1853. At Kingsholme, to the north, on the site of a Roman station, called Glevum, the later Saxon kings had a seat, which, Canute attempting to take, was defeated, in the battle of Alney Island, close by. Laxington and other pleasant hills overlook the vale of Gloucester, a rich loamy tract of 60,000 acres, where considerable corn, fruit, ‘beans, turnips, and hay are raised, though much of the butter and double Gloucester cheese, for which the. county is noted, comes from the Wiltshire meadows. The corn market is held every third Monday, from July to November.
This town is situated on an eminence, in that division of Gloucester called the vale, near the banks of the Severn, and when viewed from that river it presents a very imposing appearance. The city possesses many elegant public buildings, and a magnificent cathedral, which is particularly celebrated for its architectural beauty. The Cathedral is a cross, 426 feet long; the oldest parts are the Norman crypt and nave, built in 1089. The later English choir is the work of Abbot Wigmore (about 1330), and a “whispering” passage, 75 feet long, near the fine east window, which is 79 feet long by 35 broad, or one of the largest in. England. The west front was built in 1437; the tower, which is 225 feet high, was begun a little later, but not finished till 1518; the Lady Chapel, 92 feet long, is the most modern part. There is a very old tomb of Edward II. (who was murdered at Berkeley Castle), also monuments of Robert Curthose, the Conquerers brother, and Dr Jenner, the discoverer of vaccination. Some of the Lacy family are buried in the Chapter House. The. beautiful cloisters were built between 1351 and 1392. Of the 12 churches, those of St Catherine and St. Mary de Lode are Norman in part, and St. Nicholas is early English. At St. John’s is a tablet to the Rev. T. Steele, who with Raikes established the “four original Sunday Schools in this parish and St. Catherine’s, in 1780.” From this small beginning sprung that gratuitous system of Christian instruction which has covered the face of England and Wales with schools. Gloucester boasts another evangelist in Whitfield, who was born at the Bell Inn, while Bishop Hooper, whom it enlisted in the noble army of martyrs, was burnt in St. Mary’s Square Close to the rail and the ship canal basin is the County Gaol (on the castle site), where the separate system was first tried, 1790. Shipping come up to this basin by a cut from the Severn, near Berkeley; there is a good import trade. In this part also are the Spa Gardens and pump room, over a mineral spring of some value. The Shire Hall was built by Smirke; the Infirmary covers a space of 7½ acres. In Commercial Street is a Museum, the gift of the Guises of Elmore Court. Pins are made here.
In the environs are the gate of Lanthoney Abbey, Highnam Court, seat of T. G. Parry, Esq., in the rennaissance style; Churchdown, a solitary hill, having the Cots Wolds to the right, from 800 to 1,100 feet high; Cheltenham and its mineral waters; Hempstead, Hardwicke, Painswick, and other seats; Newent old priory; Flaxley Abbey, seat of Sir M. Boevey, Bart.; the Forest of Dean, an interesting hilly wooded tract, stretching to the Wye, and producing iron, coal, stone, &c.; Ross, and its spire, built by Kyrle, the “man of Ross,” overlooking the Wye, the beautiful scenery of which may be visited from here, as well as the Malvern hills, with the Hydropathic establishments of Drs. Wilson and Gully. Goodrich Court, seat of the Meyricks, near Ross, which has a remarkable collection of armour, &c., and is near a fine old Norman castle of the Pentroches.
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Hereford, stands at a military Ford on the Wye, which King Harold protected by a castle, the site of which, at Castle Green, is now occupied by the Nelson Column.
Ross is situated on a rocky elevation on the east bank of the Wye. In the church are several monuments of the Rudhall family, one of whom opposed Cromwell in his siege of Hereford.