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Tetbury Town Defences

In the civil parish of Tetbury.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST890929
Latitude 51.63527° Longitude -2.15974°

Tetbury Town Defences has been described as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.


Early Medieval settlement first documented in 681, and Medieval town. In the early C13 Tetbury was established as a borough and by 1306 it was recognised as a market for wool. There were earthen defences of post conquest date. (PastScape)
Tetbury is first mentioned in a charter of AD 681 making a grant of land "next to the monasterium of Tetbury" (see ST 89 SE 10). A priest was present in the settlement by 1086. In the early 13th Century a borough was established by William de Breuse who had been granted the manor in about 1197. By 1306 it was a recognised market for wool. The large rectangular open pace called "The Chipping" was the market place until the 16th century (See ST 89 SE 213) when it was moved to its present position at the junction of long and Church Streets. The earliest recorded street is Gumstool Hill, which was called Cirencester Street in the early 13th Century: other streets are not mentioned until the 14th century but a rental of 1296 indicates that there were already about 100 burgage plots and that several streets were built up by then. Long Street was the most important street by the late Medieval period (Leech 1981).

The evidence that there were post-Conquest defences at Tetbury is not given in Barley although Tetbury is cited as a C12 seigneurial initiative of the construction of an earthen defence. Bond lists Tetbury as a new post-Conquest medieval defence of earthen banks of unknown form known from circumstantial or secondary evidence only with archaeological excavation; no source is cited. The VCH does not mention any such defences; there do not seem to be any 'defensive' street names. There does not seem to be any actual evidence of de novo post-Conquest urban defences at Tetbury. The town name first securely recorded in 903 as Tettanbyrig is suggestive of a defensive enclosure of some form here well before the Conquest and an Iron Age hill fort is suggested as a possible origin of the slight earthworks that have also been assumed to be earthworks of the supposed Tetbury Castle. It is possible that Tetbury had, at least in parts, its civic boundary marked by old earthworks but it seems most unlikely these were defensive in the medieval period.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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