The History and Antiquities of Tewkesbury, 1790
Remarkable and Interesting Incidents Relative to Tewkesbury
Workhouse Punishment Book, 16 Aug 1856, Emma Gurney: Making water in the pail & scrubbing the dining hall tables with the same – confined in strong room 8 hours on bread and water.
1484. A remarkably high flood, in consequence of the waters overflowing the banks of the Severn. Many men, women and children, with great numbers of cattle and sheep were drowned.
1792. On April 19, there was such a great fall of rain, that the water rose in the Severn to the height of sixteen feet within twenty-four hours.
1795. On July 1, provisions being dear, a mob of women assembled at the quay, and seized a quantity of flour, in order to prevent its being sent off by water. Five of the most active of them were tried at the Gloucester assizes, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment each.
1821. On July 19th, the day of the coronation of George the fourth, every poor person in the parish was presented with a pound of good beef and a pint of ale, excepting children under fourteen years old, who were allowed half the quantity.
1844. On July 4th: Several hours of refreshing rain, after an almost unexampled drought - for not a single considerable shower fell during the entire months of April, May and June.
1844. On 24-25th July: 2nd race meeting on the Ham - weather delightfully fine. ..."inconsequence of great heat,,,several of the races were run almost in a canter." A Lacemaker from Nottingham named Gardener drowned bathing as did tailor Woodward. "The 'swell mob' attended in strong force" leading to thefts and two people being arrested for robbery.
1853. On 5th July: Haymaking has met with a severe check in the neighbourhood by the uninterrupted rains of the past fortnight. A very extensive tract of fine meadow land on the banks of the Avon has been inundated, and the lowlands of Ashchurch, Walton Cardiff, Tredington and along the course of the rivers Swilgate and Carron have also been covered. The Severn rose to nearly bank full on Tuesday morning and the fishermen gave in as their verdict that, unless it kept fine, the splendid crop of grass in the Ham would be spoiled by a flood over it. The Ham is divided into plots from 6 to 20 acres each, and it was amusing to see the Town farmers, or vulgarly speaking the apron-string farmers, speculating and consoling with each other as to the probabilities of a flood, the weather cock and weather glass being constantly consulted. Fortunately, on Tuesday evening, the Severn sunk a few inches which raised the spirits of the depressed haymakers, who were again set to work. But while the Severn showed signs of a fall, the Avon waters were coming down most rapidly, bringing with it's streams tons of grass which had just been cut, and carried off the land by the flood. The fishermen, some with boats, and others with barges, were to be seen stopping the grass as it was flowing with the stream, and depositing load by load upon some safe bank. It is to be feared great will be the loss of the tenants of the Avon meadows, the grass which had been cut entirely washed away, and that left uncut being rendered good for nothing but packing.
1853. On 11th July: Not for many years past has the season been so fraught with losses and disasters. The immense quantity of rain speedily overflowed the Avon, and the luxuriant valley of that river between Evesham and this Town, was for several days submerged to such a degree that the whole fields were denuded of their crops, which came whelming down, large ricks of hay being floated away entire, and in one or two instances bearing upon their tops the implements which had been used in their construction. At Bredon and Twyning considerable damage was done, while nearer here, at Mytton, Messrs. Pike and Firkins have sustained losses to the amount of several hundred pounds. In the Town itself considerable alarm was felt on Saturday, when it was discovered that the Stanchard Wall ( the weir between the Severn and the Avon) had been partly washed away, and great fears were entertained that the whole of it must go, in which case the dwelling of Mr W. Bathurst, close by, would most probably have followed; This catastrophe was fortunately avoided by the prompt and energetic endeavours of a number of men who dammed the water with boards and clay and shored up the wall with timber until the flood had subsided.
1856. On 19th June: A tremendous thunderstorm with vivid lightning and torrential rain. Lightning damage at the Railway Station, a tree at the Mythe was struck and other damage done.
1857. On 27th June: During the past week the public have been seen panting at the excessive heat.
1857. On 30th August: One of the most terrific thunderstorms witnessed for many years did considerable damage, destroying human life, cattle and trees. There were two severe storms during the day with rain falling in torrents and flash after flash of vivid lightning. At Chaceley, two labourers named Hill And Webb took shelter under a tree, when lightning struck Hill was Killed and Webb was paralysed and badly scorched. At Tirley, two cows were killed by lightning. At Kemerton, a cow was similarly killed in a field on Aston Hill Farm. At Pamington, a fine, old tree was completely struck to the ground.
1885. On 1st August 1885: Hot weather leads to a fear of spread of Cholera from Spain.
1895. On 10th August: Regatta most successful ever in three and a half decades; 8256 people paid to see the regatta, athletics, water polo, show jumping, walking the greasy pole, parachute descent - and illegal gaming (dice)!
1898. On 20th August: Heavy thunderstorm affects field opposite Mr Healing's mansion on Barton Road.
1083: Queen Matilda established a market in Tewkesbury.
1868 On 1st August: Thomas Strong and two colleagues were summoned by Farmer R. Allen of the Leigh, for refusing to reap wheat after 6 o'clock in the evening.
1869 April: John Pardoe was charged with absconding with the clothes of the Tewkesbury Union. He had absented himself from the Workhouse without permission twice before. He was committed to Gloucester Gaol for 7 days.
1869: William Cranfield, a tramping blacksmith, was charged with begging at Coombe Hill and sentenced to 7 days hard labour at Gloucester.
Last Saturday night, about ten o'clock, the postboy, carrying the mail from this city, was stopped in Hack-lane, near Long Compton, in his way to Shipston-on-Stour, Worcestershire, by two footpads with crepe over their faces, who took from him the Irish mail, together with the inland bags. The night being dark and foggy, the boy can give no other description of the robbers, than they appeared to be little men. It seemed that when he was first attacked the llad apprehended them to be drunken fellows, and attempted to push them forward, 'till they produced pistols, and with dreadful imprecations threatened to blow his brains if he either resisted or moved one step further.
On 24th July, 1571, being fair day, such a quantity of bats came floating down the river Avon at this town, that they covered the surface of the water for above a land’s length, in heaps above a foot thick, which so dammed up the mills for three days, that they could not go, ‘till the bats were dug out with shovels.
1260. It is recorded, that a Jew having fallen into a privy or common sewer at Tewkesbury, on a Saturday, refused any one to help him out on that day, lest he should profane his Sabbath; and, that Richard de Clare II. The lord of the manor, hearing of it, gave orders that none should assist him on the Sunday, resolving to make him observe the Christian sabbath with the same solemnity he had one his own. But before Monday morning the ceremonious Israelite expired in filth and stench. See Purcbas’s Pilgrimage.
In the year 1470, a commission was granted to the bishop of Down and Conner, to consecrate Tewkesbury church, because it had been then lately polluted with blood. [This should very probably be 1471 following the battle of Tewkesbury]
Robert, earl of Gloucester, natural son of king Henry I. built a lofty wooden spire on the top of Tewkesbury church, which, on Easter-day, 1559, fell down in the time of divine service.
1554. Queen Mary, by her letters patent under the great seal of England, dated the third of April, gave to thirteen poor, aged, and impotent men of this town, commonly called the Beadsmen, or Almsmen, and to continue for ever, as follow: To each of them in money, ten-pence per weekly to each of them yearly to by a gown, six shillings and eight-pence; and five marks yearly for the rent of a house for their habitation.
On the 24th of July, 1571, being a fair-day, such a quantity of bats came floating down the river Avon at this town, that they covered the surface of the water for above a land’s length, in heaps more than a foot thick, which so dammed up the mills for three days, that they could not go, ‘till the bats were dug out with shovels. Vide Wantner’s Papers in the Bodleian Library.
1574. This year the town sent an ox, of unusual size, to Kenelworth-castle, to be presented to the earl of Leicester, being high-steward, who had then procured the town to be incorporated; which ox was seventeen hands high, and in length from head to tail twenty-six hands three inches, and cost 14l. for which the whole town was levied and gathered. And the year before, the said earl was presented at Tewkesbury with a cup, silver and gilt, which cost 16l. for which the town was also levied.
The same year (1574) a beadle was appointed by the council, for suppressing those vagabonds that frequented the town, to devour the alms of the poor and impotent.
1574, it was ordered and appointed, 23rd of April, for the placings and settings of the market newly granted for all manner of live cattle, wold and yarn, That the market for great cattle, -oxen, kine, &c. should be holden in the High-street or Oldbury-streer, from the end of the town downwards to the Key-lane; the market for cheese to be kept in the Church street, between the lane by Nicholas Clevelie’s house and the Church-stile; and that the market for wool and yarn should be kept in the foller over the market-house; and all other markets to be kept as they had been used before that time.
1577. the beadle before appointed for suppressing vagabonds, was discharged by the bailiff, to save the expenses thereby incurred.
In the church-warden’s book of accounts, for Tewkesbury, A.D.1578, is the entry – “Pay’d for “the player’s geers, six sheepskins for Christ’s Garments.” And in an inventory recorded in the same book, 1858, are these words, “And order eight heads “of hair for the apostles, and ten beards, and a face or visor for the devil.” – This shews that mysteries, as plays were then called, were probably acted in the churches.
In 1578, about Michaelmas, began the supposed sickness of Pestilence, in the town, and in six weeks died the number of thirty persons; but by the diligent care of the bailiffs in shutting up the suspected houses, a general infection was prevented.
In 1579 the sickness appeared again, supposed to be the pestilence, which, by the good government of the bailiffs in shutting up the houses, it began and ended in the Swan Inn. – Five persons only dying thereof.
On the 4th of July, 1580, the county assizes were held here, the plague, it is supposed, being then at Gloucester. And the bailiffs, in their account with the chamberlain, charged 11s. for wine, and 13s 4d. for tent, with which they had treated the court and their friends – An example of the frugality of those times! But, as Mr.Rudder has very justly observed, what would two of his Majesty’s justices thin of such a treat now-a-days?
In 1582 the belfry tower was converted into a house of correction, for half the shire, by justices.
1584. the quay was enlarged and the new repaired with posts, &c. at the expense of the bailiffs and the benevolence of other persons.
In 1586, there was a dearth in this country that bordered upon famine, and the justices of the peace joined with the bailiffs of the town to abridge the liberty of buying grain, and malting was entirely prohibited.
On the 19th day of July, 1587, being Friday, happened a very great and sudden inundation of the rivers Severn and Avon, insomuch that in two days time the meadows were all overflowed. The inhabitants of Tewkesbury and others going with carriages to fetch the hay out of the neighbouring meadows, were obliged to relinquish their design, and leave the carts loaded behind them. And in the meadows just above the town, the cocks of hay were swimming in such abundance down towards the long bridge, that the townsmen were constrained, with pike-forks and long poles, to stand on the bridge of wood to break the cocks, lest the bridge should be carried away by the force of them. Much grass was found unmowed the Bartholomew tide following, the greater part of which, with much hay, was used for thatch.
1587, In the reign of queen Elizabeth, on the threatened Spanish invasion, Tewkesbury raised forty-six men for the queens service.
After Michaelmas 1591, a house was suspected to be infected with the plague, at which time it was great in London.
In November 1592 the plague began in Barton-street, with only one or two houses being infected, until April following, when it raged very furiously, continuing all the summer, winter, and spring following, until the middle of May, when, contrary to expectation, it entirely ceased. No less than five hundred and sixty persons died of it within the year; and houses infected there were one hundred and fifty or more; during which time, from before Whitsuntide until All-Saints, no market or fair was kept in the town. Many of the inhabitants forsook the place in consequence of the sickness.
In 1595, grain was so high before the harvest that proclamations were published to restrain the prices to the rates they were at two months before.
In 1596, the town was divided into five wards, over which presided two high constables:-1. Bridge-ward. 2. Church-ward. 3. Barton-ward. These three had each a petty constable. 4. St. Mary’s ward, which the high constables themselves took charge of. There are now only four constables for the borough.
1596. Poor strangers so greatly frequented this town, that a beadle was again ordered to walk the streets.
In 1597, wheat sold for 12s 6. Per bushel, barley 8s. malt 8s. which were excessive prices, considering the scarcity of money. During these times, the citizens of Gloucester stretch a chain across the Sever, that no vessel with provisions might pass beyond them, but the town of Tewkesbury petitioned the lords of the privy council, they caused the chain to be taken down.
Pestilence commonly succeeds famine, accordingly the plague made its appearance the following year (1598), and carried off about forty persons.
1602. this year the bridge over the Swilgate was built.
September 13, 1602, Lord Zouch, the lord president of Wales, came through this town, and lay here all night, and was presented, by Mr.Bailiff, with wine and sugar.
In 1602, the monks’ stalls, which were formerly situated in the body of the church, were removed into the chancel; as appears by an old book belonging to the church-warden.
1603. the plague broke out again, when twenty-three persons died of it, all of whom were buried in coffins of board; which is commonly observed in regard to those who die of that cruel malady.
In 1604, there was so great a drought, that the Avon was dry from Whitsuntide to the Bartholomew tide following.
In 1607 a large entire blue stone was found under ground in the church, thirteen feet eight inches long, three feet and a half broad, and seven inches thick; which for some time was placed in the middle of the chancel, and used as the communion table.
December 20, 1607, began a great frost, with extreme cold, continuing until the 18th of February following, in which time, the rivers being frozen, a scarcity of wood and coal caused great distress to many of the poor inhabitants, and proved very inconvenient to the trading part of the community.
In 1610 there was a flood that spoiled great quantities of hay.
In 1612, there was an order of the council, that all market horses (which heretofore stood in the market-place, to the great inconvenience of the inhabitants) to be put into stables, and other houses of the town; and that the owners of them should pay one penny for the standings of every three horses, if with-out meat but if meat was given them, halfpenny at least should be paid for every horse, and nothing for their standings.
1620. the crop of corn was so great this year barley sold for 16d. per bushel, and the best wheat for 3s.
In the summer of 1624, being the first year of the reigh of king Charles I. this town was again visited by a pestilence, but by the care of the bailiffs in removing infected families into the Oldbury-field, where houses were built for the reception, this calamity soon ceased, and not more than twenty persons died.
Monday, March 28, 1625, Mr. Edward Alye, eldest son and executor of his father Edward Alye, esq. deceased, who was buried this day, caused the poor to assemble in the church, in the afternoon, when Robert Maile of Fortington, and John James of this town, distributed 7l. 17s. after the proportion of two-pence a-piece, whereby it appears that the number of poor exceeded nine hundred, and yet the country poor were excluded.
In 1632 the four bells in the tower were cast into six; the charge whereof was near one hundred pounds.
In January 1634, fell the greatest snow that was ever remembered in the memory of man; and it was attended with such extreme cold, violent, and tempestuous weather, that many people going from this market were smothered and frozen to death. And in the August following, great quantities of the same snow and ice were to be seen in Brockhampton quarries, notwithstanding it was it was an extreme hot summer.
1635. This year the Holme bridge (at the Church street’s end) was built.
In the year 1637, the river Avon was first made navigable by Mr.William Sandys of Fladbury.
1638. On the 5th of April fell, after a great drought, a snow that was more than a foot deep.
And on the 2d of July 1638, the assizes were held here again, before sir Humphry Davenport, chief baron of the Exchequer, and Sir Williams Jones, kt. when the court made the follow order :- Glouc.ss.Where was there is a certeyne Bridge called the Long-Bridge, lying att the North-end of the Towne of Tewkesbury, and leading towards the Cittie of Worcester, conteyning above seven hundred yards in length, which is growne into great decay, and so hath beene for many years last past, be reason whereof divers of his majesties subjects travelling that was have beene unfortunately drowned: And for that it doth not appeare who in the memory of Man have repayed the said Bridge, nor who by Law ought to doe itt: Therefore to the end soe necessary a worke should bee effected, It is ordered by assent, that the County of Gloucester shall forthwith some of money, towards the repayre of the sayde bridge, which being once effected, the Corporation of Tewkesbury doth offer to keepe and maynteyne the same. Provided that the contribution of the whole County with the Parish of Tewkesbury bee noe prejudice to the County, nor drawne into example for the future. Per Curiam
In 1639, the stone bridge next the Mythe, and the arch over the Avon were built. These constitute part of the long bridge.
1640. The summer of this year was the wettest ever known. There were eight floods between the Midsummer and Michaelmas. So often was the Ham under water, that the hay was all lost or spoiled, the meadows were not half mowed, and the grass rotted upon the ground.
The earl of Essex with his army came to town, the 10th of September, 1643, and lay here five days; from hence they marched towards Newbery, a great battle was fought there.
In the year 1647, this borough was assessed ten pounds ten shillings per month, towards the maintenance of the forces within the kingdom, and for carrying on the war with Ireland.
1648. this summer was so remarkable for cold and wet, that harvest began not until Bartholomewtide, and what sold at 10s, rye at 8s. and malt at 6s. the bushel, and in all probability would have been the price, had not great quantities been imported from abroad.
On the 2nd of July, 1655, Henry Saule bought at this market, thirteen bushels of good wheat at 17d. per bushel, and the same day paid 22d. for barley. This is a circumstance so very remarkable, that an instance of the kind was never heard of before, nor probably will never occur again.
On the 18th of February, 1661, the great west window of the church was blown down by a violent wind.
1662. On the 14th of August, lord Herbert, the lord lieutenant of the county, by virtue of an act of parliament for regulating corporations, came to this town and set aside ten of the common council, and chose others in the stead.
On the 23rd of December, 1673, here was so great a flood, that water came into the chancel of the church. An inundation so extensive, could not be remembered by the oldest inhabitant of the place.
1675. About half past seven o-clock in the evening of the 4th of January, a very dreadful shock of an earthquake was felt here and in the parts adjacent.
February 10, 1685, king James II, was proclaimed in this town.
1686. It appears that the great west window of the church, which was blown down in 1661, was not rebuilt until this year.
In the year 1696, the six bells in the church were cast into eight; the expenses of which were defrayed by voluntary contribution. They were founed by that celebrated workman, Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester.
1699. This year the earl of Essex passed through the town, and was made free of the corporation. The duke of Stomberg likewise passed through, and was also made free of the corporation.
The same year, 1699, seven companies were compleated, and provided their flags to attend upon Messrs.the Bailiffs.
In June, 1721, here was a great flood, so high that the inhabitants were necessitated to use boats in the town. Most of the grass was spoiled, but proved a very good corn harvest.
Same year, 1721, his royal highness the prince of Wales, gave a gold cup, of 50 guineas value, which was run for over Tewkesbury Ham, the 2nd September, and won by a horse belonging to John Bridges, esq.
1722. There was a great flood which did considerable damage. His royal highness the prince of Wales gave another gold cup of the same value with the former, which was run for over the said Ham, and won by a horse the property of the right honourable lord Tracy.
1723. This year is memorable for a dray season there being little or no rain from March to the middle of November, which caused coals to be sold at the exorbitant price of 16s. per ton.
And, in the same year, 1723, a list was taken of all the men, women, and children inhabiting within this town, when it appeared that the number amounted to 2866, vis. males 1234, females 1632.
In 1724, the tenant or occupier of the locks and tonnage within this parish, was chargeable by the poor levies after the rate of others of the inhabitants.
In the same year, 1724, the long roof of the church and other parts of it, were rebuilt and repaired by a brief granted by the right honourable lord chancellor Parker.
On the 30th of April, 1725, a Sturgeon, six feet five inches and a quarter long, and twenty-seven inches round, was caught in the Severn, between the upper and lower lodes.
1725. About Midsummer, good wheat sold for 3s. 4d. per bushel, but the wetness of the summer, and a great blight of the corn, caused it afterwards to be sold for 7s. 8d. the bushel. Five floods were on Severn, six on Avon, and ten on Swilgate, in the same year.
In the year 1726, an act of parliament was obtained for repairing the roads about Tewkesbury. In the same year, by private contribution, and the seats therein repaired.
The year 1727 was remarkable for the number of floods on the rivers Severn and Avon there being not less than twenty, which did considerable damage.
1728. This summer proved so wet as to cause several very large floods, whereby much grass was spoiled. The fever was very prevalent among the inhabitants, supposed to be occasioned by the unfavourable season. Wheat sold for 9s 6d. the bushel, and had it not been for the vast quantities imported from abroad, it was generally believed there would not have been corn sufficient to have subsisted the country.
In 1729, sixty bushels of wheat were sold for 21l. and, in the same year, six bushels sold for 21s. Barley was also sold for 4s. the bushel, but before the season of malt-making was over, the same article for 22d. The summer of this year was remarkable for the number of persons that died of sore throats and fevers: those who were thus affected, were carried off in the space of twenty hours.
In 1731, the right honourable Anne, countess of Coventry, who resided at Strensham, gave a fine worked communion-table cloth and two cushions to the church, which are in present use.
On the 9th of April, 1734, the right honourable lord Gage, and Robert Tracy, esq. were elected to represent this borough in parliament. And in the same year lord Gage made a present of a fire engine to the corporation.
In 1735, a child of four years old (named John Newman) fell into the water wheel of the mill, at this town, while it was working; was carried under the wheel between the ladles, and very miraculously escaped injury. What is the more remarkable, it was only a space of two inches between the bottom of the wheel and the sheeting. Vide Feoffee Book.
1736. This year the foot pavement, on the church side of the way, from one end of the town to the other, being 900 yards in length, was promoted by the ladies, carried on by subscription, and begun and finished by the care and under the direction of W. Bromley, esq.
In 1737, the organ was erected in the church.
1739. On the 25th of December, a very severe frost began, and continued till the 19th of February following during which time, the Severn was so hard frozen, that loaded waggons and horses passed over at the upper and lower lodes. A sheep was roasted on the ice above the quay bridge. What was roasted on the ice above the quay bridge. What advanced price from 5s. to 9s. 6d.; beans from 2s. to 5s. 7d. the bushel; and hay from 15s. to 3l. per ton.
1741. A remarkably fine autumn. This year the right honourable lord Gage, and John Martin, esq. were elected members for this borough.
In the year 1743, wheat sold for 2s. 6d. barley 20d. and beans 22d. the bushel. On the 18th of August, in the same year (about three o’clock in the afternoon), a violent storm of hail, which did great damage to the windows of the church and the houses in the town; to the former the damage was estimated at 50l. and to the later 400l. Some of the hailstones are said to have measured five inches round.
On the 2d of April, 1745, a large bound up Avon, going too near the fall of water (called Stanchard) was taken down by the rapidity of the stream, but received very little damage, and was not sunk.
The same year, 1745, lord Gage and William Dowdeswell, esq. were elected members for this borough, without opposition.
And in the same year, 1745, four arches of the long bridge (next old Avon) were built with brick, in the room of the three wood ones which were there before.
1750. This year the church walk was paved by subscription. The iron gates at the entrance into the church were given by lord Gage. Those next the street, the wall, and the pallisadoes, were given by William Dowdeswell, esq.
1751. An act passed for the better regulating the navigation of the river Avon, and for ascertaining the rates of water-carriage upon the said river.
1754. A regulation was made in the weight of butter, by altering it from dishes to pounds.
The same year, 1754, John Martin, and Nicolson Calvert, esqrs. Were chosen representatives in parliament for this borough.
1755 Mr Martin subscribed 2000l. towards reparing the roads leading from this town, and Mr.Calvert 1500l. for the same laudable purpose.
When the new militia law was carried into execution in this country, in the years 1758, 1759, and 1760, one man out of every twenty-nine upon the lists, was taken, by ballot, throughout the county. Fourteen men were raised in Tewkesbury, which shews the comparative state of population, as far as the lists may be relied on.
On the 26th of March, 1761, and again on the 18th of March, 1768, sir William Codrington, bart. And Nicolson Calvert, esq. were elected to serve this borough in parliament.
The year 1770 produced the greatest flood ever remembered at Tewkesbury, occasioned by a prodigious fall of snow, which was succeeded by a heavy rain, that continued for three days and three nights, without intermission. On Saturday, the 17th of November, the water came up the Gander-lane and St. Mary’s lane, and met, in a place called the Bull-ring in Church-street. And on Sunday, the 18th, it rose so high that large boats, with twelve or fourteen people at a time, were passing and repassing from the New Inn (now the Hop-Pole) to the Mason’s Arms; and other boats were employed in supplying with necessaries, those who were confined to their upper rooms. Seven or eight boats were often seen, at one time, in the street. In St. Mary’s-lane the lower stories were entirely under water, and many of the inhabitants were taken out of their chamber windows, together with their beds and other furniture. The flood was also in the church, so that divine service could not be performed; and the graves in the church were shocking to behold, for scares a stone was to be seen, that was not removed from its proper situation. Several parts of this venerable building were materially injured, particularly the large pillar next the seats of the corporation, and the arch over the same. Two houses, near the mills, were washed down, but providentially, no lives were lost.
October 11, 1771, the tide flowed in Avon five inches perpendicular. An instance of the kind was probably never before seen.
In November 1772, was a great flood. The rivers rose to a very considerable height. This was a general flood.
The month of May, 1773, also, produced a very great inundation, so high, that, except the extraordinary flood of 1770, no overflow was ever remembered equal to this. On Thursday the 20th of May, the rivers Severn and Avon, with the brook Swilgate, came pouring down so rapidly, that before night the meadows were entirely under water. And, on Friday, the 21st, the water came up to the top of the Gander-lane, which greatly alarmed the inhabitants of that part of the town, lest it should come into their houses, as in the late high flood; but happily, on Saturday, it returned to its proper channel.
At the general election, on Saturday, October 8, 1774, sir William Cordington, and Joseph Martin, esq. were elected representatives in parliament, without opposition.
1775. Before harvest wheat sold at 8s. 6d. and 9s. per bushel; but, before Christmas, the same sort was sold for 5s. the bushel, owing in a great measure, to the vast quantities imported from foreign parts.
On September, in the same year, 1775, an earthquake was very sensibly felt in this town, a little after ten o’clock at night.
On the 6th of January 1776, was a prodigious fall of snow, which continued, with little intermission, ‘till the 9th of the same month, when a very severe frost began, that lasted ‘till the 1st of February, on which day a sudden thaw ensued, that occasioned a considerable inundation until the 13th of March following. The snow was amazingly deep, and in many places, being driven by the wind, houses were almost covered, and carriages buried in the road; particularly three waggons, attempting to go from hence to Cheltenham, lay for many days covered with snow. During this severe season Joseph Martin, esq (one of the representatives) sent 100l. to be distributed among the poor of this parish.
March 30, in the same year, 1776, Joseph Martin, esq. departed this life. And, on Monday, the 8th of April following, his brother, James Martin, esq. was elected representative of this borough, without opposition.
In 1777, a subscription was set on foot by the inhabitants of this town, towards the reparation of the Stanway road, which subscription amounted to 317l. and 6d. In addition to this sum, John Martin, esq. of Ham Court, subscribed 100l. and James Martin, esq. 500l.
At the general election, on Monday, September 11, 1780, sir William Codrington, and James Martin, esq. were re-elected representatives for this borough, without opposition.
The winter of 1784 was very severe. It began snowing on Christmas day, 1783, and continued snowing and freezing, with little intermission, ‘till the beginning of April. Notwithstanding which, there were great crops of hay and corn the next harvest, and the greatest fruit season known for many years; yet provisions of all kinds, except vegetables, bore very great prices.
On the 6th of April, the same year, 1784, sir William Codrington, and James Martin, esq. were again elected to serve this borough in parliament.
In 1787, the town, at a heavy expense, was paved and lighted.
1788. On Wednesday morning, the 16th of July, our gracious sovereign, George III, the queen, the princesses Royal, Augusta, and Elizabeth, attended by lady viscountess Weymouth, lord Courtown, and the honourable colonel Digby, honoured this ancient borough with a visit. The king, and his attendants, on horseback; the queen, princesses, and lady Weymouth, in coaches. They were received with the most joyful acclamations; and every possible demonstration of loyalty was shewn on the occasion. The condescending behaviour of their majesties, when passing through the town, at once commanded respect, and captivated the hearts, of the admiring spectators. The first place their majesties alighted to view was the Mythe Tute, that delightful little eminence situated on the Mythe hill (see Mythe Hamlet, p 70). Upon their return through the town, they alighted to view that sacred and venerable pile of gothic architecture, - the abbey