Westerleigh is a village in
South Gloucestershire, Englandnear the edge of the Cotswold hills. The village is first mentioned in a Saxon document of 887AD. At that time it was probably just a clearing in the woods with possibly a wooden church. Westerleigh is mentioned in the Domesday Bookof 1086.
medievaltimes the village would probably have been a green with the houses and church around it, and prosperous. The northern wall and porch of St James church is from the 13th century, as is the carved stone pulpit. The church was rebuilt in the perpendicularstyle, with the 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. In 1617, John Crandall was baptised to James and Eleanor Crandall at St. James the Great church, and became one of the founders of Westerly,
Rhode Island, USA.
The discovery of coal in 1660 provided employment for the villagers, with further finds at
Coalpit Heathand Parkfield providing more employment. The mines closed in the last century, when the coal was exhausted.
In the late 1700s roads were built to
Downend. The Great Western and Midland railways were constructed in the 1800s. Westerleigh junction was a crossing point of east-west and north-south main lines. In particular it is considered to be the present end of the line from milepost zero at Derby.
By 1876 occupations in the village included farmers, a bootmaker, shopkeepers, innkeepers, butchers, a plasterer, a blacksmith, a
wheelwright, a market gardener and a carrier. At the end of the 1800s many of the old houses were demolished. At the beginning of the 20th century, the railway and mining provided most of the work. Now residents find work in nearby Yate, Chipping Sodburyand Bristol, and in the village itself.
The village has two public houses, the New Inn and Ye Olde Inn. Wot Not second-hand shop and Kemps Nursery are the only shops in the village.
* [http://www.westerleigh.f9.co.uk/ Westerleigh village website]
* [http://www.westerleighgroup.plc.uk/ Westerleigh Group website]
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