Painswick is one of the most charming places
in Gloucestershire, high in the Cotswolds. This photograph shows
a lychgate, one of the entrances to the churchyard, that is
made from ancient timbers from the belfry. It provided shelter
for coffin pall bearers in the past, whilst they were waiting
for the vicar - lych means corpse. The gate is unusual
because it is attached to cottages and even has an upstairs
On the right can be seen one of the churchyard's famous yew
trees. These supposedly number 99! The churchyard contains some
wonderful Georgian tombstones, though the inscriptions are now
unreadable on some of them.
The town of Painswick was the birthplace of Andy's 2x great
grandfather, David Ireland.
The photograph below shows part of the churchyard of St. Mary's Church
with its yew trees and an unusually shaped gravestone. It is a pyramid
and commemorates a stone mason.
The extract about the parish, below, is taken from
a trades directory published in 1844.
Is a market town and parish in the hundred of Bisley, 100 miles
W. by N. from London, 6 S.S.E. from Gloucester (the nearest railway
station), and 4 from Stroud ; situated on the south acclivity of Spoonbed-hill,
having a branch of the Stroud running by its side, with several other
small and clear streams in its neighbourhood ; upon these are a few
mills for the manufacture of woollen cloths-which branch, at one time,
was far more extensive here than at present. Many of the inhabitants
find employment in the quarries hereabout, which produce stone of
a very superior sort, that is sent to all parts of the kingdom; it
is of two qualities, severally denominated 'free-stone' and 'weather-stone.'
The government of the town is vested in constables and tithingmen,
chosen at the court leet of the lord of the manor, Thomas Croome,
|The parish church of St. Mary is a large gothic
structure, with a lofty spire, containing a peal of sweet-toned
bells; there is a handsome altar-piece, and some singular grotesque
heads of animals (or demons) form the spouts about the edifice.
The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of S. Gardner, Esq.,
and others; the present Incumbent is the Rev. Robert Strong.
There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyan Methodists-
and two schools for gratuitous instruction. On the summit of
Spoonbed-hill is an ancient fortification, doubly entrenched,
which receives the names of Kimsbury Castle, King's-barrow,
and Castle Godwin: its situation is exceedingly fine, as commanding
extensive views, embracing the river Severn, the Malvern hills,
and the distant Welch [sic!] mountains, with a rich vale
at its foot. The weekly market is on Tuesday and there is a
'great market' for sheep on the first Tuesday after All Saints'-day
(old style) ; fairs, Tuesday in Whitsun week and September 19th.
Painswick parish, which includes the tithings of EDGE, SHIPSCOMBE,
SPOON-BED and STROUD-END, contained collectively, by the returns
for 1831, 4,099 inhabitants, and at the late census (1841,)
3,719. This diminution is ascribed to the reduced state of the
Painswick's Parish Church
This last sentence underlines what had happened to the woollen trade
in this part of England.
Elsewhere on this website:
References and notes on the text:
 "Pigot & Co.'s Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Berks, Bucks
... Gloucestershire" (June, 1844), I. Slater, Fleet Street,
London [Part 1: Berks to Glos], p12
 "Kelly's Directory
of Gloucestershire" (1897), pub. Kelly & Co.,