Victoria County History Volume 15


Excellent progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go!

The project started in 2012, with fundraising and planning. Now, four years on we have completed the first drafts of three sections for Cheltenham.

Beth Hartland has submitted the section for the medieval years up to 1540 and Alex Craven has completed two sections for 1540 to 1740, ‘Early Modern Cheltenham’ and 1740 to 1852, ‘Cheltenham Transformed.


Research has already begun on the next section, ‘Cheltenham Improved’, 1852 to 1945; also between now and the end of 2017, planning will take place for the coverage of Charlton Kings, Leckhampton, Swindon and Up Hatherley. Prestbury was covered in VCH Volume 8, but will need updating for the section abutting Cheltenham, north of Wyman’s brook.

In 2017-18 the final section, 1945 to the present day will be researched and written and in the final year to 2019-20 there will be editorial review, gap-filling, preparation of map and illustrations, indexing and finally printing!


Raising money is a priority. While some of the ground work can be done by volunteers, the need for professional editors is essential and they need a salary. There are several ways in which you can contribute to the Gloucestershire County History Trust which is the funding section for Gloucestershire Victoria County History. A small, regular, monthly contribution is the best way to support the work of the professionals.

Follow this link for more information:

Image © 2016 Sally Self


Volunteers are playing a great part in the creation of VCH Cheltenham Volume 15. The Cheltenham VCH volunteers started in 2013 and since then we have achieved an impressive list of contributions – not only to the research but also to the part-writing of some sections.

  • About 230 large boxes of previously uncatalogued Cheltenham solicitors’ archives have now been made available on the Gloucestershire Archives digital catalogue- this supports VCH editors and the Archives’ staff – between 10 and 12 volunteers working regularly at the GA, Alvin Street.
  • Cheltenham’s early newspapers, up to 1850, have been examined, and extensive notes made, of information that can be used by the editors – nine volunteers working at the Cheltenham Library and at home.
  • Comprehensive notes made on information in the Cheltenham Directories and Annuaires – one volunteer
  • Extensive list of non-conformist meeting place – one volunteer
  • Tudor and Stuart Exchequer and Star Chamber records transcribed – two volunteers
  • The Hearth Tax transcribed – one volunteer
  • The Latin Group – three volunteers - have transcribed several important early documents into English, notably –


Until recently Cheltenham’s earliest manorial record, held by the Duchy of Cornwall – 750 years old – was too fragile to be examined. But now, thanks to highly-skilled conservation, the support of the Duchy of Cornwall archives and a contribution from the Arts Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, they are now cleaned, stabilised, repaired and transcribed by the Latin Group.

Before conservation began.
Photo by courtesy of the conservator, Mariluz Beltran de Guevara

For more information on this early court roll, see Cheltenham Local History Society, Journal 33, available from Sally Self 01242 243714 Or via


Working as a volunteer for the VCH project is a very worthwhile experience on several levels. Mentally stimulating and socially rewarding, we have access to top level tuition and monthly workshops. These workshops at Alvin Street, Gloucester, are led by the VCH editors and, visiting speakers, with input from the Archive staff. These workshops have been running for three years, and have covered among other topics, title deeds, palaeography, non-conformist meeting houses, the workings of the central courts, topography, politics, probate documents and up-dates on the Gloucestershire VCH projects in other parishes – Cheltenham, Cirencester, Chipping Sodbury and Yate, and the Upleadon parishes. We also have had field trips to Cirencester, Cheltenham and Chipping Sodbury.

And the coffee and cakes are pretty good as well!


If you would like to join us or would like more information on VCH Cheltenham, please contact one of the following:

Sally Self - volunteer co-ordinator: 01242 243714,
Jan Broadway - VCH Gloucestershire Co-Ordinator: 01452 616387,
James Hodsdon - Gloucestershire County History Trust: 01242 233045,