Gloucestershire

The county of Gloucestershire is where our head office is and one of our display sites.

This beautiful area consists of three main landscape area to visit, the Cotswolds, the Royal Forest of Dean and the Severn Vale. The Cotswolds take up a large portion of the east and south of the county, The Forest of Dean taking up the west, with the Severn and its valley running between these features.

The county has interesting cultural ties, with Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie recounting growing up in Gloucester and movie and TV series have been filmed here, including James Bond in Die Another Day, Hot Fuzz (Simon Pegg grew up in Gloucestershire), Harry Potter and the TV programme Butterflies.

Some of the famous people to have come from or live in Gloucestershire are: J K Rowling (author), Dennis Potter (dramatist), Simon Pegg (actor), Richard O’Brian (Rocky Horror Picture Show), Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards (sportsman), W G Grace (cricketer), Gustav Holst (composer), Fred West (notorious serial killer), Brian Jones (Rolling Stones).

The Gloucestershire County Council website can be found here.

Interesting Facts

Population: 900,800 People (2016)

County Town: Gloucester

  • Cheltenham owes its status a spa town to a flock of pigeons. People kept noticing a large flock of pigeons pecking away in a field on the town’s edge. In 1715, on further exploration, it was discovered the pigeons were congregating at the site of a mineral spring, which is what was attracting them. In honour of the pigeons and to show the town’s gratitude to them, pigeons are featured on the town’s crest.
  • The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is an intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the government and armed forces of the United Kingdom. Based in “The Doughnut” in the suburbs of Cheltenham, GCHQ is the responsibility of the country’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, but it is not a part of the Foreign Office and its director ranks as a Permanent Secretary.
  • The very last battle of the English Civil War was campaigned at Stow-on-the-Wold. In March 1646, the Royalists knew the battle was a lost cause but 3000 men stood to fight to try and make their way to Oxford and Charles I to buy the monarch some time. Sir Jacob Astley and his troops were hopelessly outnumbered and the commander was forced into making a last stand in the market place, where he finally surrendered.
  • Most of the prestigious buildings in the Gloucestershire area were built when there was great wealth from the main industry – wool from sheep.
  • Gloucester Cathedral was used in the “Harry Potter” films. The cloisters played the part of the Cloisters at Hogwarts School.Born in Gloucester in 1750, local composer and former King’s School student John Stafford Smith wrote the music for ‘The Anacreontic Song’ which became America’s National Anthem, known as ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’. A memorial for John now resides in Gloucester Cathedral.
  • Cirencester’s oval Roman amphitheatre was known as the Bull Ring 2,000 years ago, and used for brutal gladiator battles.
  • International clothing brand Superdry was established on a Cheltenham market stall by Ian Hibbs and Julian Dunkerton in 1985.
  • Gloucester began as a Roman town. It lies at the first point where the river Severn can be easily crossed so it was a natural place to build a town. About 49 AD the Romans built a fort to guard the river crossing at Kingsholm. In 64 AD they built a new fort on the site of Gloucester town centre.
  • About 75 AD the Roman army moved on but the site of the fort was turned into a town for retired soldiers. The new town was called Glevum. Roman Gloucester was laid out in a grid pattern. In the center of the town was a forum. This was a marketplace lined with shops and public buildings.

Towns of Gloucestershire (links lead to the Wikipedia page):