Alderley, Gloucestershire

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Cottages in Alderley - - 314667.jpg
Cottages in Alderley
Grid reference: ST768908
Location: 51°36’58"N, 2°20’6"W
Population: 351  (2001)
Post town: Wotton-under-Edge
Postcode: GL12
Dialling code: 01453
Local Government
Council: Stroud

Alderley is a village in Gloucestershire, about fourteen miles south-west of Stroud and two miles south of Wotton-under-Edge. It is situated on the Cotswold Way near to the hamlets of Hillesley and Tresham and sits at the foot of Winner Hill between two brooks, the Ozleworth and Kilcott.[1]

The name has also had the spelling Alderleigh.


The village has an entry in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is referred to as Alrelie[2] meaning "Woodland clearing where alders grow" (from OE alor + lēah).[3] It is recorded as being located in the hundred of Grimboldestou with a total population of 16 households, with 7 villagers, 5 smallholders, 4 serfs, whilst also having 2 lord's plough teams, 7 men's plough teams, 12 acres of meadows and 1 mill. In 1066 the Lord of the Estate was the English thegn Wigot of Wallingford, but in 1086 it was the wealthy Norman landowner Miles Crispin.[4]

In a later 1309 document the village is referred to as Alreleye, and in a 1345 document as Alrely.[5]

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the village contained a number of woollen mills,[1] and in Samuel Rudder's A New History of Gloucestershire published in 1779 he states that Alderley had been home to the clothing industry for hundreds of years.[6]

In Samuel Lewis’s 1831 A Topographical Dictionary of England, Alderley is described thus:

ALDERLEY, a parish in the upper division of GRUMBALD'S ASH, county of GLOUCESTER, 2 miles (S.S.E.) from Wotton under Edge, containing 235 inhabitants. The living is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester, rated in the king's books at £ 11. 4. 7., and in the patronage of Mr. and Mrs. Hale. The village is situated on a hill between two streams, which unite and fall into the LOWER AVON. Cornua ammonis and other fossils are found here. Sir Matthew Hale, Lord Chief Justice in the reign of Charles II., born here 1 November 1609, lies interred in the church.
St Kenelm's Church

Parish church

The parish church is St Kenelm's. The tower dates back to around 1450, but the church underwent a thorough restoration in the Georgian period, during which it was rebuilt in the Gothic style, in 1802.

Marianne North, the biologist and botanical artist, is buried in the churchyard.

About the village

Alderley House
  • Alderley House stands immediately to the south-west of St Kenelm's Church. It is a 19th-century neo-Elizabethan manor house, designed by Lewis Vulliamy for Robert Blagden Hale and built in 1859-1863. The house stands on the site of an earlier Jacobean country house built by the famous jurist Sir Matthew Hale in 1656-1662. For the 70 years following the outbreak of the Second World War, the property served as the site for Rose Hill School, an independent day and boarding preparatory school, until its merger in 2009 with Querns Westonbirt School, after which the vacant house was sold for use once again as a private residence.
  • Alderley Grange was rebuilt, probably by a Bristol architect, about 1760; it occupies the site of an earlier house where Sir Matthew Hale was born. It was the home of James Lees-Milne, the architectural writer and memoirist, and his wife Alvilde Chaplin, who created a much-admired garden.

Outside links

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about Alderley, Gloucestershire)