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Westerleigh is a Village nestling just outside Bristol and at the southern fringes of the Cotswolds. The Village offers two good pubs both offering fine food, garages, a fine traditional English Church and large sports and recreation field. There is also a myriad of small businesses in the village, trading in a variety of products and services. Visitors to the Village can enjoy good local walks in surrounding countryside and a small hill provides views across to the river Severn and across the city of Bristol to the South-East. The aim of the site is to inform everyone of what is going on in the Village now and in the future so Villagers may have an input. During 2006 / 7, a consultation resulted in the Village Plan, the results of which can be seen here. The site will also promote the local area and services within the Village for visitors from both UK and further afield. If you have any ideas for articles, or want information, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Westerleigh has its origins in Saxon times, having been mentioned in a document dating from 887. In 946, the village was given to the Monks of Glastonbury to pray for the soul of King Edmund who was killed at Pucklechurch. At this time it was probably just a clearing in the woods with possibly a wooden church built on the site of the present one, and yet it warranted an entry in the Domesday book of 1086.
In the middle ages the village grew in the Medieval fashion of a green with the houses and church clustered around it and became quite prosperous, as shown by some of the more elaborate gravestones and by several large houses from this period. The northern wall and porch of St James church is from the 13th century, as is the pulpit which is richly carved and one of the few stone pulpits left in England. The remainder of the church was destroyed and rebuilt in the perpendicular style, with the striking tower (once used as the village lock up) added at a later date. The 700th anniversary was celebrated in 2004.
By 1600 the village supported a shoemaker, a blacksmith , a sawyer, a flour mill, a malt house and two public houses, both brewing their own beer. The Kings Arms (now Ye Olde Inn) housed a contingent of Yeomanry who exercised on what is now the sports field. In 1617 / 1618, John Crandall was baptised at St. James the Great, and subsequently became one of the founders of Westerly, Rhode Island USA (A group of his descendants has recently visited our village). The discovery of coal in 1660 made a big difference to village life, and further finds at Coalpit Heath and Parkfield provided employment for many years until eventual closure last century, when the seams were exhausted.
In the late 1700's roads were built to Downend and Yate, and the Great Western and Midland railways were constructed in the 1800's. Westerleigh junction was of some importance as the crossing point of east-west and north-south main lines, and is often included in historical railway books.
By 1876 there were still a varied assortment of occupations in the village, including farmers, a bootmaker, shopkeepers, innkeepers, butchers, a plasterer, a blacksmith, a wheelwright, a market gardener and a carrier, but these trades began to die out and at the end of the century many of the old houses were demolished. At the beginning of the 20th century, the railway and mining provided most of the work, but since then the village has begun to expand with residents finding employment nearby in Yate and Bristol, and in the many small businesses that have become established in recent years.
- The latest news of what's happening. - Links to a page about the Westerleigh both past and present with some pictures of places of interest. - Links to a page about the events both past, present and future i.e. carol services, cricket matches, community quiz nights, Christmas events and the like. - Links to an index of pubs, garages, shops or any services available in the village together with a short description of who, what, typical charges etc. i.e. world-wide advertising! - Links to activities of the local group. - links to web site for local businesses or about the area. - Any questions, thoughts, problems: E-mail us and will see what we can do.
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