Dursley is a market town and civil parish in southern Gloucestershire,
England, situated almost equidistantly between the cities of Bristol
and Gloucester. It is under the northeast flank of
and about 3 3⁄4 miles (6.0 km) southeast of the River
Severn. The town is adjacent to Cam which, though a village, is a
slightly larger community in its own right.
3 Character and amenities
7 External links
An electoral ward in the same name exists. The population and area of
this ward are identical to that of the parish.
Dursley Market House
Dursley gained borough status in 1471 and lost it in 1886. From then
until 1974 it was the administrative centre of
Dursley Rural District
(RDC). In 1974 the RDC became part of
The Parish Church of St. James the Great dates from the 13th century.
The modern building is largely of 14th and 15th century construction
and carries the Tudor coat of arms on the outside of the building
below the guttering, indicating that some of its construction was
funded by the Tudor royals. The original church spire collapsed in
January 1699 during a bell-ringing session, causing casualties. The
current bell tower, in an imposing
Gothic survival style was built by
Thomas Sumsion of
Colerne in the years 1708–09.
The pillared market house, complete with statue of Queen Anne and bell
turret, dates from 1738, when the town's markets attracted farmers and
traders from miles around. It is now maintained by the
Trust who also look after Jacob's House and the Heritage Centre.
In 1856 a short branch line railway opened, called the "Dursley
Donkey" by locals, linking
Dursley and Cam to the Bristol–Gloucester
main line at
Coaley Junction. The branch line was closed in 1968 and
Coaley Junction station was also closed at about this time. However,
in 1994 a new station called Cam and
Dursley was opened on the main
line, 330 yards north of the site of
In the 19th and 20th centuries,
Dursley was a large-scale
manufacturing town, and engines built here by the Lister engine
company were used around the world. That company's successor, Lister
Petter, was based in the town until 2014, though much of the original
92-acre (37 ha) factory site was acquired in 2000 by the South
West Regional Development Agency and then in 2011 by
Council. It is now being developed as a large housing development with
some industrial units. The Towers, a large gothic-style house,
formerly part of the
Lister Petter estate, still overlooks the town
and has been converted into flats and a residential care home.
Church of St James the Great
Other large factories based in the town included Mawdsley's, an
electrical equipment manufacturer; Bymack's, an upholsterers; and the
Bailey Newspaper Group, a newspaper printer, all of which have reduced
or closed operations in recent years.
Ancient historical sites in the vicinity give evidence of earlier
Uley Bury, in nearby Uley, is an
Iron Age hill fort dating
from around 300BC, and the area also has neolithic long barrows (one
of which, called "Hetty Pegler's Tump" can be entered). Notable Roman
remains exist at Frocester, West Hill near Uley,
Character and amenities
The town sits on the edge of the
Cotswolds escarpment where it drops
off towards the
Severn Vale and the River Severn. It is adjacent with
Cam which, though a village, is a community of double the size. The
two communities (combined population about 12,000) share many
Dursley's main watercourse is the River Ewelme which becomes the River
Cam when it enters Cam. The town is surrounded by beautiful woodland
and countryside and the
Cotswold Way long distance trail passes
Dursley town centre.
In March 2010
Sainsbury's opened a newly built 20,000 sq ft
supermarket within walking distance of the town centre. Other
recent arrivals include Lidl (November 2009, in premises on Kingshill
Road previously occupied by the Regal Cinema and then Kwik Save)
and Iceland (July 2010, replacing Somerfield in the town centre).
The Co-op has operated a smaller store in Rosebery Road since 2002.
Although some people dismiss
Dursley as the "supermarket and charity
shop" district of Gloucestershire, the town centre also hosts a wide
range of other shops including a traditional ironmonger's, a
haberdashery, an old fashioned sweet shop, a florist, a butcher, a
baker and a greengrocer. A quality camera shop is proving a great
success in the town, and a vintage clothing shop opened in June 2014.
There are a number of cafes.
A range of markets are held at the Market Place in the centre of the
town; a farmers' market is held there on the second Saturday of every
month and a craft market on the fourth Saturday of each month. There
is an active Transition group in Cam and
Dursley (part of the global
Transition town network) which looks after Dursley's Secret Garden,
among other projects. Continuing urban sprawl now joins
the nearby village of Cam.
Dursley has a number of licensed premises and the Old Spot pub is
Gloucestershire 'Pub of the Year'. The pub was also
named as 2007 CAMRA National Pub of the year.
Around 1496, the famous Christian writer and martyr, William Tyndale
was born near here, probably at Slimbridge.
The nearest railway station is at Cam and
Dursley on the
Gloucester Railway, with trains run by First Great Western.
Mikael Pedersen invented the
Pedersen bicycle in
Dursley in the 19th
Dursley once had a castle, built by Roger de Berkeley in 1153.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling, born in nearby Yate, named the Dursley
family in the Potter books after the town.
It is claimed that
William Shakespeare may have spent part or all of
the eight years between 1582 and 1590, a period of his life of which
little is known, in Dursley, possibly working as a school teacher. In
Richard II act II scene 3 there is reference to "the wolds of
Gloucestershire", and when Bolingbrook asks how far it is to Berkeley
as "these wild hills and rough uneven ways draw out for miles", the
reply given is "there stands the castle beyond that tuft of trees".
Many people understand this as a conversation taking place on
Stinchcombe Hill overlooking the
Vale of Berkeley and its castle.
Evelyn Waugh lived in nearby
Stinchcombe between 1937 and
Peter Currell Brown wrote the cult classic 1965 surrealist
Smallcreep's Day while working in Dursley.
^ a b
Dursley Location Information Archived 25 October 2005 at the
^ citing from Branch lines of
Gloucestershire Archived 31 March 2008
at the Wayback Machine. ISBN 0-86299-959-6
^ "Littlecombe, Dursley". South West RDA. 2005. Archived from the
original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
^ "New Lease of Life for Historic
Lister Petter Home". South West RDA.
20 February 2006. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved
16 April 2017.
^ New Sainsburys Supermarket
^ New Lidl Store
^ New Iceland store
Gloucestershire Pub Voted Best Pub in Britain! 15/02/08 – CAMRA
Dursley Pedersen Bicycle Homepage – The ultimate site of Dursley
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dursley.
Dursley Chamber of Trade Website
Dursley Gazette Website
Dursley Town Council
Dursley Town Trust
A history of Dursley's railways
Vale Vision Community Development covering Dursley, Cam and the
Community Plan for Cam and
Dursley area for 2012 onward
Stroud Voices (
Dursley filter) - oral history site
Following the Cotswold Way
11 km (6.8 mi) to
14 km (8.7 mi) to
Ceremonial county of Gloucestershire
Boroughs or districts
Forest of Dean
See also: List of civil parishes in Gloucestershire
Population of major settlements
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings