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

Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Cirencester Parish.JPG
Cirencester Parish
Type Ancient Parish
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Cirencester Borough
County Gloucestershire
Poor Law Union Cirencester PLU
Registration District Cirencester
Records begin
Parish registers: 1560
Bishop's Transcripts: 1578
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Cirencester
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

CIRENCESTER (St. John the Evangelist), a parish, and the head of a union, comprising the borough of Cirencester, which is a hundred of itself, and several tythings in the hundred of Crowthorne and Minety, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 17 miles (S. E.) from Gloucester, and 89 (W. by N.) from London. Two other churches, one dedicated to St. Cecilia, and the other to St. Lawrence, have long been in ruins. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians.[1]

Cirencester Parish, Dedicated to John the Baptist

"Cirencester Parish Church is the largest parish church in Gloucestershire, funded by the thriving wool trade of the 13th century.[2]

Cirencester Parish presents an awe-inspiring image with elaborately carved stonework encasing its multiple windows and a decorative lace sky-line border. This ancient Cotswold parish still dominates the busy market street, but has almost been engulfed by modern businesses, near the once famous wool and corn market areas.

A closer view of the stonework on this parish shows the chiseled precision of the stone masons who labored to create the unique lace pattern along the roof-line of the parish.

Cirencester Tower.JPG

"The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester, and in the patronage of the Bishop of Gloucester. The church, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, is a magnificent structure in the decorated style of English architecture, erected in the fifteenth century, with a lofty embattled tower crowned with pinnacles; its interior and exterior are richly adorned in the most elaborate style, and it contains several chapels of exquisite beauty and many sepulchral monuments." Samuel Lewis, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.) Vols. I-II, p. 459

Lady Chapel

The Coronation of the Virgin

Cirencester Mary with Jesus.JPG
"A seal of the fourteenth century represents the Coronation of the Virgin, in a canopied niche on a carved corbel." Birch, Catalogue of Seals in British Museum,

"The Lady Chapel dates from 1240, when the cult of the Virgin Mary was especially popular and such chapels were added to churches around the country."

"The Lady Chapel is dominated by the Bridges Monument[3]

The Bridges Monument

Cirencester Humphry Memerial.JPG

Cirencester Humphrey Part 2.JPG

The man with the ruffled collar (above) positioned at the head of Humphrey Bridges is also a part of the Bridges Monument.

"In 1620, Mrs. Elizabeth Bridges founded an almshouse, with a small endowment, which has been subsequently augmented; and there are various minor bequests for the benefit of the poor, and for apprenticing children." Samuel Lewis, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.) Vols. I-II, p. 459

The Effigy Tomb of John Master

Cirencester Reclining Lady.JPG
"Across the way is the luxurious, reclining effigy tomb of John Master, a late-17th century gentleman" Cirencester Parish Church, "What to See,"(Sacred Destinations)10 June 2007, <>

Memorial Plaques

The Samuel Johnson Memorial Plaque


A marble wall-plaque honors the Rev. Samuel Johnson, who served as Minister of the Cirencester Parish "with exemplary zeal and punctuality" for 24 years.


The Nichols Memorial Plaque commemorates Thomas, the son of Thomas and Jane Nicholls and his wife, Jane, the daughter of William Turner.

Chapel of St. John the Baptist

"Originally 13th century and now used to house the organ and serve as a vestry." Revd. Leonard Doolan,Vicar, Cirencester Parish Church of St. John Baptist, "Welcome," Cirencester Parish Brochure.

caption bottom
The Cirencester organis nestled within its own little alcove. The pipe organ has three keyboards to fill the parish with beautiful organ music.

Cirencester Organ Pipes.JPG
Cirencester organ is crowned with black sound pipes, on top of an exquisite carved base.
Cirencester Organ.JPG

Cirencester Organ not only provides a sound pleasing to the ears but the colorful organ pipes, painted with vivid colors and intricate gold designs, present an image pleasing to the eyes.

Cirencester Markets

The Wool Market

"For many centuries the county of Gloucester has held a prominent place in the agriculture of the kingdom, originally by reason of the native breed of sheep which takes its name from the Cotswold Hills. the wool of this variety was once highly valued for the production of the fine fabrics that were formerly in great demand, not only in this country, but on the continent of Europe, and numerous large flocks were maintained in the country, which was for a long period the center of the English wool trade." William Page, F.S.A., Editor The Victoria History Of The County of Gloucester,"Agriculture," Vol. II ((Published for The University of London Institute of Historical Research, Reprinted by Dawsons of Pall Mall, Folkestone & London) p. 239

"No county of its acres is more distinguished for the excellence of its flocks and herds than is the county of Gloucester." "Reference has already been made to the breed of Cotswold sheep that was renowned in the middle ages, and stood its ground until the last quarter of the nineteenth century." Ibid., "Live Stock," p. 255.

Cirencester Wool Market

Cirencester Wool Sign.JPG

The hanging Wool Market sign identifies the ancient location of the famous Cotswold wool market were fortunes were made and lost in buying and selling fleece.

Cirencester Wool Market.JPG
Beneath the Wool Market Sign, a blue wrought iron gate swings wide to expose the shop-lined cobblestone street leading to "The Ram," or market center were the wool trading took place.

"For live stock there are markets at Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Berkeley Road, Cirencester, Andoversford, Fairford, Lechlade, Nailsworth, Tetbury, Chipping Norton, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Winchcombe. These have largely taken the place of the fairs that were formerly the only centres for the disposal of stock, but Barton Fair at Gloucester in September, Stow Fair in May, and at Cirencester the fairs for fat and store sheep in May and September, and the ram fair in August attract large numbers of animals for disposal, and are attended by buyers from all parts of England." William Page, F.S.A., Editor The Victoria History Of The County of Gloucester,"Live Stock," Vol. II ((Published for The University of London Institute of Historical Research, Reprinted by Dawsons of Pall Mall, Folkestone & London) p. 259

Cirencester Wool Ram Statue

Cirencester Wool Ram.JPG
The Cirencester Wool Ram stands with his head held high upon his circular platform in the center of the wool market place, now surrounded by many small shops selling today's fashions, toys and other items.

The Corn Market

Cirencester Corn Hall.JPG

Cirencester Corn Hall is located across the street from Cirencester Parish, where corn was sold.

"The markets making returns of sales of corn to the Board of Trade are Gloucester, Cirencester, Cheltenham, and Tewkesbury." The Victoria History Of The County of Gloucester,"Live Stock," Vol. II ((Published for The University of London Institute of Historical Research, Reprinted by Dawsons of Pall Mall, Folkestone & London) p. 259

Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester

"No review of Gloucestershire Agriculture would be complete without a reference to the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester, which was established in 1845, and was the first institution where opportunity was given to learn the science and practice of agriculture. It originated in an address to the Cirencester and Fairford Farmers' Clubs in 1842 on 'the advantages of a specific education for agricultural pursuits,' by the late Mr. Robert Jeffreys Brown, of Cirencester, who devoted an immense amount of time and energy to explaining his objects to landowners and agriculturists throughout the kingdom and interesting them in the subject. By Mr. Brown's efforts a large sum of money was raised by subscription, a charter obtained, and the erection of the college and farm building commenced on a farm offered by Earl Bathurst. Owing to the cost of the college and buildings having been greatly under-estimated there was some unforeseen delay, but the necessary funds were raised and the college was opened for the reception of students in 1845." The Victoria History Of The County of Gloucester,"Live Stock," Vol. II ((Published for The University of London Institute of Historical Research, Reprinted by Dawsons of Pall Mall, Folkestone & London) p. 259-260.


Civil Registration

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

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

AC = Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials (Ancestry) - (£)[4][5][6][7]
BOYD = Boyd's Marriage Index (findmypast) (£)[8]


Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
AC 1560-1812 1560-1812 1560-1753 1560-1753 1560-1812 1560-1812
BOYD 1561-1812
FREG 1651-1837 1735-1839

Census records

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. The first film number is 288789.

Probate records

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

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


  1. Samuel A. Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 612-616. Date accessed: 22 July 2013.
  3. Cirencester Parish Church, "What to See,"(Sacred Destinations)10 June 2007, [1]
  4. 'Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813,' Ancestry, accessed 14 February 2015.
  5. 'Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, 1813-1913,' Ancestry, accessed 14 February 2015.
  6. 'Gloucestershire, England, Marriages, 1754-1938,' Ancestry, accessed 14 February 2015.
  7. 'Gloucestershire, England, Burials, 1813-1988,' Ancestry, accessed 14 February 2015.
  8. 'Boyd's Marriage Index - Parish details by county,', accessed 1 December 2012.


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  • This page was last modified on 27 February 2015, at 17:47.
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