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Guide to Lechlade, Gloucestershire ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.
Lechlade St Lawrence Parish Church
|Poor Law Union||Faringdon PLU|
|Parish registers: 1686|
|Bishop's Transcripts: 1612|
|Diocese||Pre 1836 - Gloucester; Post 1835 - Gloucester and Bristol|
|Probate Court||Court of the Bishop of Gloucester (Episcopal Consistory)|
|Location of Archive|
|Gloucestershire Record Office|
LECHLADE (St. Lawrence), a market-town and parish, in the union of Farringdon, hundred of Brightwells-Barrow, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 28 miles (S. E.) from Gloucester, and 75(W. by N.) from London. There is a place of worship for Baptists.
The Church of St. Lawrence, Also Known as The Church of St. Mary
"The Parish Church - Though it is known that a church previously occupied the site, the present church of St. Lawrence was built towards the end of the 15th century. Started in 1470, using local stone from a quarry at Taynton near Burford, and completed in 1476, the whole building is in one style of architecture, early Perpendicular. Prior to 1502 it was known as the church of St. Mary, but Catherine of Aragon ordered that it be renamed St. Lawrence, after a Spanish saint born in Aragon. Local wool merchants would probably have furnished money for the building."
"The church has the usual Perpendicular plan, with nave, aisles and chancel, and the exterior is very generously decorated with gargoyles and other grotesque sculptures. The fabric of the interior was plain with little decorative work. This served to show off the rich and beautiful woodwork of the screens in the chancel, choir and chapels. All this has now disappeared through various refurnishings of the interior over the years. An exception is the door leading from the chancel to the vestry.
Among the details in the carvings on this four hundred year old door is a pomegranate, the badge of Catherine of Aragon. In 1882 the vicar and parishioners engaged in the task of clearing and reseating the whole interior. Box pews were replaced by the present open type ones, and the fabric of the church, the pillars and arches, were stripped of the remains of the 15th century shrines, canopies and carvings, and were revealed in their simple beauty."
"The tower holds a peal of six bells, their dates ranging from 1595 to 1911. In the spire is still the Angelus bell or "Ting Tang," which rang a nightly curfew until 1850, and which is still used at some services."
"Many old headstones exist in the churchyard, the oldest decipherable date reading 1687, though it is obvious that burials took pace before that date."1 1<http://www.lechladeonthames.co.uk/about_church.html> (See previous URL for additional information on the history of the church of St. Lawrence.)Church of St. Lawrence Panoramic View from the Thames River
Gliding along the Thames River, one is struck with a quiet reverence when the Church of St. Lawrence comes into view. A sweeping glance from the banks of the river across the verdant lawn, up the small hill to the church and then to the perpendicular spire reaching up as though to pierce the sky, one if filled with a feeling of pervading peace that blesses the land and those who are traveling upon the river.
England is filled with beautiful villages and historical parishes. When traveling through Lechlade, the short main street is dominated by The Crown Inn. A directional street sign mounted in front of the Inn identifies motor travel route numbers to Cirenceste, Swindon, and other locations and suggests a quick departure out of Lechlade to drive to other more densley populated locations.
However, if one stops for lunch at The Crown Inn at Lechlade Village, they may see this unique carved reading rack with several bins that allows newspapers and magazines to be shared by diners in the Crown Inn.
They may also be privileged to learn that Lechlade has a cultural secret that is not readily discernable to the many tourists who quickly pass through the quiet little village.
Visitors who stop in Lechlade are rewarded with an interesting display of an early, weathered, Half Penny Bridge sign that forms a canopy over an alcove with a collector's statue of Elvis Presley, an American entertainment icon. A clue to understanding the people of Lechlade may be discovered by thoughtfully considering the relationship between the local weathered vintage sign, an aquarium with fish, and the American collector-item entertainment statue placed below it in the following picture.
In Lechlade, the Half Penny Bridge sign is an entertainment icon for the people of Lechlade. The vintage sign symbolizes the great love the people have for the River Thames and evokes deep emotions similar to the great love and devotion that American people have expressed and symbolized by the statue of Elvis Presley.
The local restaurant pub and boat rental, near the Half Penny Bridge, is the gathering place for friends and the family entertainment center for the people of Lechlade. People from the local communities who are not dinning at the restaurant's outdoor tables, boating on the water, are seated on the walled-river banks watching the rowboats and houseboats glide up and down the river, or the local swan residents or they are walking their dogs or walking with friends or families along the trails on the river banks.
'The cultural secret of Lechlade is that the people who live here and in the surrounding areas are "river people." 'They have a great love and family and cultural association with the Thames River. The Thames is "their river" and has been for many generations. Watching people "playing" in row boats or racing up and down the river in speed boats or resting and relaxing in comfortable river boats is one of the rejuvenating delights of the Lechlade ultural relationship with the Thames River. Observing the people siting on the river walls inhaling the moist air some appear to be lost in quiet thoughts while others are actively involved in enthusiastic conversations and spectator observance of river traffic, not minding occasional river spashes that seem to add to their merriment. Family dogs are active participants in the recreational river rejuvenating experiences. Some are walking with their masters and along the river-bank trails or sitting or laying at their feet. Visiting with the people of Lechlade at their river recreation site is an delightful experience, witnessing a recreational rejuvenating "life force" flowing in, through and around the people, seeing the happy, joyful looks on their faces as they enjoy their "re-creation" day in their river that flows through their farms on the way to London and the ocean.
Two bridges span the Thames River in the Lechlade area: The stone Half Penny Bridge, so named because that was the toll that was charged for people to cross the bridge.
"This bridge, which now carries the busy road to Swindon and the South, is called Halfpenny Bridge, this being the amount of the toll levied. From the records, it appears that foot tolls were levied until 1839, and tolls on cattle until 1885 or later. The tollhouse still stands on the bridge and forms aprt of the eastern parapet. The far side of the bridge gives access to a path, which runs, along the southern bank of the river."
(Insert Photo: Lechlade Half Penny View.jpg) Emerging from under the Half Penny Bridge, there is a lovely framed view of the river and people on the opposite bank finding enjoyment on the river banks.
"A visit should be paid to Inglesham Church, to be found about a mile from Halfpenny Bridge along the Swindon Road. This church is one of the oldest untouched and unspoilt churches in the area, dating from the 11th century, and containing interesting Carolean box pews. There are also traces of wall paints dating from the 13th to the 18th century. The Church was saved from further decay by the efforts of William Morris."2 2<http://www.lechladeonthames.co.uk/about_around.html> "Places of interest around Lechlade."
The wood footbridge, located further down the river, provides access to the more rural areas and foot paths along the Thames River banks.
(Insert Photo:Lechlade Foot Bridge.jpg)
A herd of bovine greeters keep careful eyes on boats traveling by their pasture-land home in this more rural area near Lechlade.
"From Half penny Bridge the path downstream follows the bank of the river through open fields until St. John's Lock is reached. This is the first of the many locks between here and London. To cope with the great volume of river traffic the lock has to be kept in tip-top condition. To ensure this, drainage and the installing of new lock gates took place in 1966, while in 1983 both ends of the lock were built and, again, new gates and seatings were installed. In addition a new waste pumping station was erected. Most recently a visitors' centre has been opened at the lock containing local information."11 1<http://www.lechladeonthames.co.uk/about_thames.html> "The River Thames"
"A short distance beyond St. John's Bridge, along the road to Faringdon, is the village of Buscot, wholly owned by the National Trust. Here is the second lock of the Thames, moving downstream, and also a weir to control the flow of water to the lower reaches. Further along the road to Faringdon is Buscot Park, containing a mansion in the Adam style, built around about 1780, which is the home of Lord Faringdon. A feature of the grounds, which should not be missed, is the famous water garden, designed by Harold Peto at the beginning of the century, where water is made to flow down and through a great variety of falls and rills until it finally reaches the lake.2
The Heart of Lechlade Community is The Thames River
To understand the people of Lechlade who form the community of Lechlade, one must discover the "romance of the Thames River." The Lechlade Community Center and gathering place is at The Riverside. These people love the Thames River. All Lechlade recreational activities are involved with or revolve around the Thames River.
(Insert Photo: Lechlade Town Center.jpg)
People congregate at this riverside pub and restaurant. The restaurant tables both inside and outside the restaurant are filled with chatting families, with their family dogs lying quietly by their feet or under the tables. People fill all the available chairs and many lounge comfortably on the grass.
(Insert Photo: Lechlade Residents.jpg)
Recreation, community association, enjoyment of nature and wildlife are all combined into the Lechlade community activities that are centered around the Thames River.
Lechlade has a swan population that is loved, enjoyed, and fed tidbits by the Lechlade families.
(Insert Photo: Lechlade Swan Population.jpg|left) (Insert Photo: Lechlade Swan wings.jpg|center) (Insert Photo: Lechlade Swan talk.jpg|right)
If you look closely, on the left side of the photo, you can see the swans being fed by people on the far bank of the river.
The Thames River Highway
Many locals sit with their feet dangling off the rock wall by the restaurant, enjoying the ambience of the river and quietly observing the boats traveling up and down the Thames River Highway.
(Insert Photo: Lechlade Thames People.jpg)
(Insert Photo: Lechlade Thames River Highway.jpg)
England's Equivalent of the American RV is a Houseboat (Insert Photo: Lechlade Loves Thames.jpg)
The name painted on this houseboat, expresses the community love of boating. "My Sanity, Lechlade." (Insert Photo: Lechlade Houseboat.jpg) (Insert Photo: Lechlade Floating Home.jpg)
Houseboats are parked along the Lechlade River bank, stem to stern (not unlike bumper to bumper cars.) Boats of all shapes and sizes--speed boats, houseboats, row boats--whatever floats.
(Insert Photo: Lechlade RV Parking.jpg)
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.
Lechlade, Gloucestershire parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:
|FHSO = FHSOnline - (£)|
|Lechlade, Gloucestershire Online Parish 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 288765.
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.
- ↑ Samuel A. Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 42-46. Date accessed: 19 February 2013.
- ↑ 'Coverage for the Gloucestershire Marriages database,' FHS Online, accessed 5 May 2014.
- This page was last modified on 30 November 2014, at 06:26.
- This page has been accessed 2,030 times.
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