Stonehouse History Group

Welcome to the web site for Stonehouse History Group

- promoting  interest in the History of Stonehouse & the locality.

Click on Photo for more info. Click on Photo for more info. Click on Photo for more info. History of Wycliffe College

Stonehouse - A Time Line - One Thousand Years

In the Domesday Book of 1086, the name of the village was recorded as Stanhus, which can be translated from Anglo-Saxon as Stonehouse.  It is likely that the home of the local lord of the manor had been built of stone and that it was on the site of today’s Stonehouse Court Hotel which dates from the Elizabethan period.

William De Ow, a cousin of William the Conqueror, owned the manor, whose land included two mills and a vineyard.    


Population of Stonehouse is about 150

Gloucestershire is over 1000 years old. The official 1000th anniversary of the County was celebrated in 2007-08. Distinguished historians believe 1007 to be the year in which the territory of Mercia was divided into shires and the county of Gloucestershire came into existence.was during the reign of the English King Aethelred “the Unready”. The first written reference to the name of Gloucestershire (referred to as     “Gleawecestrescire”) appeared around 1016.

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Nutshell Bridge was built 1778 and restored in 1988. This photograph shows the engraved stone – set into the parapet of the Bridge - commemorating the Bridge’s construction in 1778 and its restoration in 1988.

The second photograph shows an event in 2000 when the Cotswold Canals Trust’s boat sailed under Nutshell Bridge at the time of the re-opening of Stonehouse Bridge.

Stonehouse Court was part of lands granted first to Sir Maurice Berkeley and then in 1348 to John Maltravers ““by tenure de Marchacia by a rose per annum”. This mention of a rose may have led to it becoming a symbol of the town.

The Stroudwater Navigation Canal was built between 1775 and 1779.

Its purpose was to link the woollen mills of the Stroud area to the river Severn and to transport goods up and down.

The Great Western Railway was designed and built by the great

Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The first train passed through Stonehouse from Swindon to Gloucester on April 14th 1845.

The coming of the railways heralded a time of growth for Stonehouse with many large new houses being built near the station.

While Samson Harris was Priest of St Cyr’s, 1727-63, the parish was visited several times by his friend George Whitefield, the Methodist leader.  In 1737 Whitefield preached at the church regularly and claimed to have increased the congregation. Whitefield again visited in 1739 and preached in the rain to a crowd, which he

estimated at 3,000.

Wycliffe College was founded in 1882.

On the 6th April 1881, Haywardsfield Hall was purchased by George William Sibly for £2,990, to become Wycliffe College.

Sibly remarked that he chose Stonehouse because it was served by three railway stations.

Stonehouse Congregational Church in the High Street was built in 1827. The Jubilee entrance arch commemorated the Golden Jubilee of the building.  

The church closed in December 1964 and the building was gutted by fire in April 1967.

Population of Stonehouse 1711

Bridgend House was built in 1691 for William Clutterbuck, a member of the Huguenot clothier family. They had a great influence upon cloth-making which had been an important industry in Stonehouse since the 15th century.

Population of Stonehouse about 500

Stonehouse Brick and Tile Company was founded by Edward Jenner Davies in 1891.

Many local buildings are made from Stonehouse Brick including Stonehouse Post Office and houses in Queens Road, Verney Road and Upper Queens Road.

The bricks were also used worldwide: for example the English Tower in Buenos Aires, built in 1916, contains a commemorative plaque from Stonehouse History Group recording the use of  55,000 Stonehouse bricks.

Population of Stonehouse 4352

Standish House was built as a shooting lodge for Lord Sherborne.

It was the home of social reformer, Beatrice Webb for more than 20 years.

It became a VAD Red Cross hospital during the First World War, then a Sanatorium in 1922.


The building of the Stonehouse to Nailsworth Railway was first started in 1864, the first sod was cut in Nailsworth with great ceremony on Monday February 22nd 1864 in a field not far from the Nailsworth community centre..

There is a poster in Stroud museum announcing the opening ceremony. Mr E Horseman MP was the official performing the turning of the first sod with a silver shovel.

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St Cyr’s Church is next to the manor. In a deed of 1225 “Sir Geoffrey” is noted as Vicar de Stanhus. (Sir meaning “reverend”)

There was probably a Norman church on the site. The present church tower  was built during the fourteenth century and retained when the church was rebuilt in 1854/5.

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In 1559 William Sandford and William Fowler bought Stonehouse Court for £1092 16s 2d and in 1568 William Fowler succeeded wholly to the rights and tenements of the Manor.

It was William Fowler's son, Daniel, who rebuilt the house in 1601.

The present building at Stonehouse Court dates from this time.

By the 18th century, the growth of the woollen industry was increasingly dependent on supplies of coal which were brought via the River Severn and then by cart or packhorse — on roads often impassable in winter. Several attempts were made to make the River Frome navigable.

The Kemmett Canal was a scheme proposed in the late 1750s by John Kemmett and three other Tewkesbury men. This involved straightening and deepening the river for the easy passage of boats and using cranes & weirs - instead of locks - to effect changes in level. Loads would be held in containers to be lifted from a boat at one level to a boat at the other level.

Construction began in 1759 but was abandoned, in 1763, near Bond’s Mill.

The old course of the river can still be seen today.


1901 to Present  day

The first meeting of the Stonehouse Parish Council took place on January 4th 1895. The first eleven elected councillors were:- G. W. Sibly, E. Jenner Davies, T. C. Huntley, J. Westacott, T. W. Mastin, R. Townson, J. Bradley, C. Cave, G, Tilley, E. Pollard and H. Warrington.

There were two headmasters, a company director, two builders, two farmers, two clothworkers, one railway signalman and one hotel manager. Dr. G. W. Sibly founder and headmaster of Wycliffe College was elected chairman, and for the next 24 years one or the other of two headmasters on the council (the second being Mr. John Westacott of the National School) occupied the chair.

Stonehouse Brick and Tile Company Limited 202 foot high chimney was built, (the tallest in the county), and was a landmark for sixty five years until it was demolished in 1965.

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One of the oldest buildings still surviving in Stonehouse was built.

No 1 High Street also known as Trotman’s Farm, Queen Anne’s Cottage or The Thatched Cottage.


The National School was built in 1832 and enlarged in 1873.

The old building is now the Park Children’s Centre.

Park Infant and Park Junior Schools are housed in new buildings nearby.

Population of Stonehouse 2469

In 1898 the council took charge of the greens. They took the Globe Inn to court following conflict over ownership of the green - and won.

The Globe Inn was required to pay 6d per year to erect their signpost on the green. No fairs, stalls etc to be erected

without the permission of the Council.

In 1894 Cainscross was removed from the Parish and the population halved until 1930s. (approx. 2300)

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