Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Genealogy

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Guide to Cheltenham, Gloucestershire ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Type Ancient Parish
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Cheltenham
County Gloucestershire
Poor Law Union Cheltenham
Registration District Cheltenham
Records begin
Parish registers: 1558; Separate registers exist for Cheltenham Holy Trinity beginning 1821
Bishop's Transcripts: 1604
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Winchcombe
Diocese Pre 1836 - Gloucester; Post 1835 - Gloucester and Bristol
Province Canterbury
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Court of the Bishop of Gloucester (Episcopal Consistory)
Location of Archive
Gloucestershire Record Office

Parish History[edit | edit source]

CHELTENHAM (St. Mary), a borough, market town, and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Cheltenham, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 9 miles (E. N. E.) from Gloucester, and 95 (W. N. W.) from London. The church of the Holy Trinity, in Portland-street, a handsome structure in the later English style, was erected by subscription, but finished by Lord Sherborne, and was consecrated in 1823.St. Paul's church, an edifice of the Grecian-Ionic order, with a portico and tower, was completed in 1831. This, also, is a chapel of ease to the parent church. St. James' church, Suffolksquare, St. John's, Berkeley-street, and Christ-Church, Lansdowne, were erected under what is called the Forty Years' act, 5 George IV. Another church, St. Peter's, on the Tewkesbury road, was commenced in 1847. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, the Connexion of the Countess of Huntingdon, Independents, Wesleyan and other Methodists, and Roman Catholics.[1]

St. Mary's Church, Cheltenham

Denomination: Church of England Churchmanship: Evangelical Dedication: St. Mary Administration: Parish: Cheltenham Diocese: Gloucester Province: Canterbury Website:

"St. Mary's Church "is the only surviving medieval building in Cheltenham. It has been in continuous use for 850 years, though between 1859 and 1877 it was closed intermittently for repairs." "It is believed to have replaced a Saxon church erected on this site in the 8th century. In the Domesday Book the church and its land were recorded as belonging to William I's chancellor, Reinbald, who the bequested it to Cirencester Abbey. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII it became crown property and remained so until the mid-nineteenth century."

"St. Mary's was condemned as unsafe and closed in July 1859. During the closure the congretation worshipped first in the Town Hall (the predecessor Cheltenham's current Town Hall) and then in a temporary church built of timber encased with corrugated iron in Clarence Street."

"In 1863 The Rev. Edward Walker proposed the enlargement or replacement of St. Mary's. Thirty-four plans were submitted, but because of opposition, the proposal was abandoned and instead betwen 1875 and 1877 the church was restored and equipped with gas lighting.[2]

Description of the Parish[edit | edit source]

"The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient cruciform structure in the early, decorated, and later styles of English architecture, with a square tower rising from the intersection and surmounted by a lofty octagonal spire; on the east side of the north transept is a grand circular window, fifteen feet in diameter, divided into thirty-three compartments, and filled with tracery of the decorated and later styles intermixed; the east window of the chancel and others are also fine compositions; an antique altar-piece, presented by the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester, has been lately erected; there is also a piscina planted with double rows of lime-trees; and there is an ancient stone cross of one single shaft, with an ascent of several steps.."[3]

"A notable feature of the church is the spire and bell tower which contains a peal of twelve bells. The upper part of the tower dates from 1200 and the broach spire was added early in the fourteenth century. The tracery of most of the windows is varied and dates from around 1250 to 1350." "The stained glass of the windows is late Victorian and regarded as of particularly high quality."[4]

Cheltenham, A Market Town[edit | edit source]

"Cheltenham, a market town and parish in the hundred of Cheltenham, county of Gloucester, 8 miles (E.N.E.) from Gloucester, and 95[miles] (W.N.W.) from London..." "This place takes its name from the small river Chilt, which rises at Dowdswell, in the vicinity, and runs through the town in its course to the Severn."

"Cheltenham derives its importance from the mineral springs, the oldest of which was noticed in 1716; since that time various others have been discovered, possessing different proportions of chalybeate, aperient salts, chiefly sulphate of soda, sulphate of magnesia, and oxyde of iron held in solution by carbonic acid; the last was discovered in 1803, by Dr. Thomas Jameson, according to whose analysis it contains a greater proportion of sulphureous gas than the others, and, in many instances, bears a strong affinity to the Harrogate water: they are efficacious in the cure of jaundice and other diseases of the liver, in dyspepia, and in complaints arising from the debilitating influence of hot climates. In 1721, the old well, or spa, to the south of the twon, was enclosed, and in 1738 Captain Henry Skilicorn erected over it a brick pavilion, supported on four arches, built a pump-room, and laid out walks for the accommodation of visitors. In 1780, the number of lodging-houses amounted only to thirty; but since the visit of George III., in 1788, Cheltenham has been rapidly rising into note as a fashionable place of resort, and is at present eminent for the elegance of its buildings, the extent and variety of its accommodations, and the rank and number of its visitors, of whom, in the course of the season, there are generally not less than fifteen thousand." Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (London: Published by S. Lewis and Co., 87 Aldersgate Street, M.DCCC.XXI.) Vol. 1, page 417

"The town is pleasantly situated on an extensive plan, sheltered on the north and east by the Cotswold plain, sheltered on the north and east by the Cotswold hills, and consists of numerous fine streets, the principal of which is more than a mile and a half in length, containing many handsome ranges of building, interspersed occasionally with houses of mor ancient date and less pretending character: to the south are a crescent and colonnade, and the upper and the lower promenade, lately built; and on each side are dwellings, displaying much beauty and variety of architectural decoration." Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (London: Published by S. Lewis and Co., 87 Aldersgate Street, M.DCCC.XXI.) Vol. 1, page 417-418

The Cheltenham Parish is surrounded by Cheltenham College and Cheltenham Junior School.

Cheltenham College[edit | edit source]

"The first of all the major public schools of the Victorian period, it was opened in July 1841. An Anglican foundation, it is known for its classical, military and sporting traditions."

"The Cheltenham Proprietary College, as it was originally known, was founded in 1841 by two Cheltenham residents - G. S. Harcourt and J. S. Iredell, with the purpose of educating the sons of gentlemen." "It originally opened in three houses along Bays Hill Terrace in the centre of the town. Within two years it had moved to its present site, with Boyne House as the first College Boarding House and soon became known simply as Cheltenham College. Taking both boarding and day boys, it was originally divided into Classical and Military sides until the mid-twentieth century. It is now an independent fee paying school, governed by Cheltenham College Council. A few girls were admitted in 1969 and then in 1981 when the first girls' house opened, the Sixth Form became fully co-educational. In 1998, girls were admitted to all other years, making the College fully co-educational."1 1<> "History and Archives."

"The 1893 book Great Public Schools by E. S. Skirving, S. R. James, Henry Churchyill, and Maxwell Lyte, which had a chapter on each of what they regarded to be England's ten greatest public schools included Cheltenham College."3 3Cheltenham College, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia <>

Cheltenham College age 13 to 18.JPG

The permanent Cheltenham College sign announces private co-educational boarding and day school student opportunities.

"The Cheltehham College Motto is: Latin: Labor Omnia Vincit ("Work Conquers All")

"The Senior School (18-18) "One of the country's leading co-educational independent schools without outstanding facilities and grounds, Cheltenham College is renowened for its richness and sheer breadth of education."5 5<> Cheltenham College/Home.

 The Junior School (3-13)

Cheltenham College Junior - S.JPG

School starts at an early age 3 at the Junior School.

"Set within 15 acres of beautiful woodland with its own lake, sports fields and numerous playgrounds, Cheltenham College Junior School has everything to offer girls and boys from 3 through to 13."4 4<> Cheltenham College/Home.

Cheltenham Junior College Entrance.JPG

 The shrub-lined driveway leads to the venerable solid brick builds that have provided housing and education for students since the 1800's.

 The Senior School (13-18)

Resources[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Genealogy parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:

AC = Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials (Ancestry) - (£)[5][6][7][8]
BOYD = Boyd's Marriage Index (findmypast) (£)[9]
JOIN = The Joiner Marriage Index - (£)[10]
PALL = Pallot's Marriage Index (Ancestry) - (£)[11]
CHELTENHAM PARISH (1558) Online Records


Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
AC 1558-1812 1558-1812 1558-1753 1558-1753 1558-1812 1558-1812
AC 1813-1913 1813-1913 1754-1938 1754-1938 1813-1939 1813-1939
BOYD 1539-1813
FREG 1558-1812



Latter Day Saints[edit | edit source]

"Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints entered Gloucestershire in 1840 and gained converts in villages near Gloucester. Some of them emigrated by way of the city to America in 1841. The same year a Chartist, the first Latter-day Saint missionary to Gloucester, preached in a room of Worcester Street and took part in a public debate. The Latter Day Saints, who from 1851 worshipped in a room in a passage off Westgate Street formerly occupied by the mechanics' institution, encountered hostility in Gloucester. In 1855 a lecture on polygamy was broken up and the magistrates dismissed the case against the culprits on the ground that the assembly had not been a religious service. In 1856 Latter-day Saints registered a building in Worcester Street and although services had ceased there by 1866 local people attended a small conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the city in 1876. In 1912 a group of Latter-day Saints (Reorganized) registered a mission hall in Stroud Road. In 1942 the same group registered a hall behind Wellington Street and by 1965 it had built a church in Newton Avenue at Coney Hill. In 1963 Latter-day Saints registered a house on the main road in Barnwood. In 1970 they moved to a new church next to the house, which they demolished for a car park." [12]

The Cheltenham Ward 2007[edit | edit source]
Cheltenham Church side

Thirlestain Road, Cheltenham

The Cheltenham Ward is located on Thirlestain Road/A40. Cheltenham College Road becomes Thirlestain Road. The Cheltenham Ward is very close to Cheltenham College.


Cheltenham Church front.JPG

Non-Conformist Churches[edit | edit source]

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Gloucestershire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England(1848), pp. 562-569. Date accessed: 22 July 2013.
  3. Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England,(London: Published by S. Lewis and Co., 87, Aldersgate Street. M.DCCC.XXXI.) VolI, p. 418
  5. 'Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813,' Ancestry, accessed 17 June 2016.
  6. 'Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, 1813-1913,' Ancestry, accessed 24 June 2016.
  7. 'Gloucestershire, England, Marriages, 1754-1938,' Ancestry, accessed 21 July 2016.
  8. 'Gloucestershire, England, Burials, 1813-1988,' Ancestry, accessed 5 July 2016.
  9. 'Boyd's Marriage Index - Parish details by county,', accessed 1 December 2012.
  10. Gloucestershire Coverage, The Joiner Marriage Index, accessed 18 April 2014.
  11. Pallot's Marriage and Birth Indexes, Guide to Parishes. Digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library.
  12. C. R. Elrington, The Victoria History Of The Counties of England (The University of London Institute of Historical Research) Family History Library, British "Q", 942, H2vg, v. 4.