Winchcomb in 1838
Winchcomb, a market-town 14 miles north-east of Gloucester, is beautifully situated at the base of several hills, having the little river Isbourne, an affluent of the Upper Avon, flowing through it. This place is of great antiquity, and was once of considerable importance ; being anciently the site of a castle and of a mitred abbey sufficiently large for the accommodation of 300 Benedictine monks. Every trace of these buildings has been long destroyed. The town at present principally consists of two streets intersecting each other ; the houses are mostly low and are built of stone. The church is a fine Gothic building, with an embattled tower at the west end, opening by an arch into the nave ; part of it was built in the reign of Henry VI, by the abbot William Winchcomb. The workhouse is an old irregular building. There is an endowed grammar-school, three charity schools, and an almshouse. It is said that Winchcomb was the first place where tobacco was grown in this country, and, before the cultivation to any extent was prohibited in England, it was noted for its plantations. The number of inhabitants in 1831 was 2,514, and the number of houses 539.