We are fortunate to have collected a number of historical accounts of Thornbury and the neighbouring area that describe life there at specific periods in time.  We would be grateful to anyone who could send us other similar documents.

‘A New History of Gloucestershire’ printed by Samuel Rudder 1779

Samuel was a Gloucestershire topographer, printer and antiquarian who was born in Uley and baptised there in 1726.  He ran a printing and bookselling business in Cirencester in the 1750’s and wrote and published several important works on the history of Gloucestershire.  ‘A New History of Gloucestershire’ includes historical accounts of various towns in Gloucestershire.  It was compiled from printed questionnaires, which Rudder said made him very troublesome to his friends.  He also used the research of other people including Sir Robert Atkyns who wrote ‘The Ancient and Present State of Glostershire’ in 1712.  Samuel’s work was well received by critics and Horace Walpole described it as ‘the most sensible history of a county that we have yet’.  It had taken 12 years to complete.

For the purposes of this website, we have extracted that section of Rudder’s document which relates to Thornbury and the surrounding villages and then divided the transcription into separate pages covering different aspects of the historical account.  Please click on the links below to see the detailed transcriptions.

  • Thornbury – general description of Thornbury, the borough and the Church
  • Thornbury Castle – a description of the Castle buildings
  • Of the Manor and Other Estates – a summary of how the Lordship of the Manor descended through the eleventh to the seventeenth centuries
  • Tithings and Hamlets – a description of the tithings of Oldbury, Kington, Morton and Falfield, all in the Parish of Thornbury which were consolidated into one manor called ‘The Manor of Thornbury’


Thornbury’s Saxon History – we are grateful to Tina Kelly, a fellow member of the Thornbury Museum Research Group, for allowing us to  include her research into Thornbury’s Saxon History.  Click here to read this document


FH BurchellFrederick Henry (Harry) Burchell’s talk on  A Tour of Thornbury.  Harry was born in Thornbury in 1873 and lived and worked all his life in the town.  In 1948 he presented a talk to the Society of Thornbury Folk sharing his memories of the Town and its characters.  Click here to read a transcription of that talk



The Littleton Whale.  Although not strictly a historical account, we have collected contemporary reports and comments from  variety of sources to show the reaction to the whale that was washed up in Littleton in 1885 and caused so much excitement that a special train service was put on so the thousands of people could go and see it.  The whale was photographed by Alexander Sutherland of Gloucester Road in Thornbury.   Read about the whale


The Industrial Exhibition of 1885.  Although not strictly a his