Elkstone, Gloucestershire Genealogy

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Guide to Elkstone, Gloucestershire ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Elkstone, Gloucestershire
Elkstone Highest in Cotswold.JPG
Elkstone Highest in Cotswold
Type England Jurisdictions
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Rapsgate
County Gloucestershire, England Genealogy
Poor Law Union Cirencester
Registration District Cirencester
Records begin
Parish registers: 1592
Bishop's Transcripts: 1578
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Stonehouse
Diocese Pre 1836 - Gloucester; Post 1835 - Gloucester and Bristol
Province Canterbury
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Court of the Bishop of Gloucester (Episcopal Consistory)
Location of Archive
Gloucestershire Archives

Parish History[edit | edit source]

ELKSTONE PARISH Dedicated to St. John the Evangelist

A majestic spring view of the Elkstone Parish Church, looking through the Churchyard Gate.


Later in the summer, when the laurel trees put forth an abundance of leaves, this lovely parish view is greatly dimmished.

"The Parish of Elkstone is situated on one of the highest points of the Cotswolds, 10.5 km. south of Cheltenham. It covers 856 ha. (2,116 a.) and its boundaries include on the south-west the Roman road, Ermin Street, on part of the north the old Gloucester-Northleach road, on the north-east the river Churn, and on the south and part of the east two brooks which combine to form the Bagendon brook."1

Located atop a small hill, Elkstone Parish, with its fifteenth century stone tower is the highest in the Cotswolds.

A view of the Parish from inside the back parish fence, shows the tower reaching high into the sky.

"The high ground of the parish lies at over 270 m. On the north-east the land falls steeply to the Churn (river) and from the south it is broken into by a system of coombs, including the long central coomb at the head of which Elkstone village stands. Most of the parish lies on the Great Oolite, while fuller's earth and the Inferior Oolite outcrop on the slopes and Cotswold Sands form the base of the Church valley. The high ground was once almost all farmed as open fields, of which the still substantial remains were inclosed in 1835, and the slopes mostly as sheep-runs. Ward's wood at the north end of the parish, covering 14 a. in 1630, is the only significant piece of woodland, though the inclusion of a wood measuring a half by a quarter league in the description of the manor in 1086 suggests that woodland once claimed more of the slopes.2 1. N. M. Herbert, A History Of The County Of Gloucester, Vol. VII, Brightwells Barrow And Rapsgate Hundreds (Published for The Institute of Historical Research, by Oxford University Press, 1981) p. 210 (Family History Library # BRITISH Q AREA 942, 42vg, V. 7) 2. Ibid. p. 210

Elkstone Parish Entrance

Elkstone Parish Entrance.JPG

A Classic Norman Church Layout.

Aside from the tower, the Parish/Church is constructed in three parts: nave, chancel, and apse.

Elkstone Side Entry.JPG

A Bright light shinning through the small window in the Church door invites entry into the Church, and the small path leads the way to the Church door.

"The church, which is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, dates from about 1160. Two human heads in the Beakhead ornament of the south door may represent the founder (?Richard of Cormeilles) and his wife." Rev. F. W. Potto Hicks, Description of Elkstone Church, (An Elkstone Parish Brochure), (J & R Printers, Cheltenham 584198) 19th Edition August 2000, p.1

Church Interior[edit | edit source]

"The church at Elkstonedates from the later 12th century.

The living was a rectory in 1291 and has remained one. It was united with Syde in 1972, and Winstone was added to the the eastern part of the chancel. The tall west tower, which has a lofty vaulted lower stage, was added in the 15th century. The western chancel arch, which had become broken and misshapen as a result of the instability of its southern pier, was carefully rebuilt in 1849." "The church has an octagonal font of the 15th century. The carved woodwork of the pupit is of the early 17th centry but rests on a medieval stone base, and the reading-desk, dated 1604, was apparently made from the sounding-board of the pulpit. A ring of four bells was cast by Edward Neale of Burford in 1657 and one bell recast by Abraham Rudhall in 1719; a treble bell was added in 1927 when all were rehung. The plate includes a patentcover of 1576 and a chalice of 1634, the latter apparently acquired in 1720. The churchyard monuments include two late-17th century carved chest-tombs. The parish registers survive from 1592." N. M. Herbert, Editor, History Of The County Of Gloucester, Volume VII, Brightwells Barrow And Rapsgate Hundreds, (Published for The Institute of Historical Research by Oxford University Press, 1981) (Family History Library # British Q Area, 942 H2vg V.7)


A soft golden light radiates from the Nave through the chancel arch of the Elkstone Parish. Notice the Norman detail in the arch above the nauve. The beauty of the scene is enhanced by the fresh floral arrangement. The Apse Another Norman arch frames the altar.


Notice the flat gravestone, in the center aisle, aligned with the first parish pews, after the choir pews.

"The church has an octagonal font of the 15th century. The carved woodwork of the pulpit is of the early 17th century but rests on a medieval stone base, and the reading-desk, dated 1604, was apparently made from the sounding-board of the pulpit. A ring of four bells was cast by Edward Neale of Burford in 1657 and one bell recast by Abraham Ruidhall in 1719; a trebel bell was added in 1927 when all were rehung." 1. N. M. Herbert, A History Of The County Of Gloucester, Vol. VII, Brightwells Barrow And Rapsgate Hundreds (Published for The Institute of Historical Research, by Oxford University Press, 1981) p. 210 (Family History Library # BRITISH Q AREA 942, 42vg, V. 7)p. 218


There is a small room that, in very early days, was possibly where the Elkstone Parish Priest lived. In later years the area was called a "dove-cot." Access to this room was by very steep circular stairs, shown in the next pictures.

Elkstone Parish Priest Room.JPG

"The columbarium (dove-cot) over the chancel, reached by the newel stairway near the pulpit, is a very rare feature." Rev. F. W. Potto Hicks, Description of Elkstone Church, (An Elkstone Parish Brochure), (J & R Printers, Cheltenham 584198) 19th Edition August 2000, p. 5.

Elkstone Parish Stairs.JPG

Looking down the steep spiral staircase, it is amazing to see the precision workmanship in the construction of these stairs. Note there is no hand rail to aid in climbing or descending the steps.

Elkstone Priest Room Stairs.JPG

The open door to the left of the pulpit invites entry to the steep circular stairs, leading to the ancient priest room or Dovecot.

Elkstone Parish Priest Room Door.JPG

With the massive fitted door closed, hiding the steep circular staircase, Elkstone Parish more closely resembles other Norman parishes, as most parishes do not have this small upper chamber.

West Exterior View[edit | edit source]

Elkstone Parish Road View.JPG

Partially obscured by the tall fir tree, Elkstone Parish rises above the razor-sharp rocks mounted on top of the parish wall, revealing the tall stone tower and the tops of some of the headstones, to motorists driving past the Parish.

Elkstone Sculpture Tower Door.JPG

The figure mounted at the base of the window, over the exterior tower door is hardly visible from the road. One must be inside the Parish rock fence to see the detailed embellishment that decorates the Parish.


The Elkstone Parish Churchyard is populated by many graceful stone crosses marking the graves of people who worshiped in the Parish.

Elkstone Dirt Road to Parish.JPG Traveling to the Elkstone Parish in 2007, driving a rental car, we followed our guide down this dirt road, which was barely wide enough to accommodate a small car. This road led to the rear entrance of the Elkstone Parish. (It's wonderful to have a local resident as a guide when visiting rural parishes!)

Elkstone Access Road.JPG

This picture shows our guide car on the "paved road section" of an access road to Elkstone, This road passes in front of the Elkstone Parish and the Elkstone Manor-house. Keep in mind, this is a single-lane road, with two-way traffic. The road has been laid between rock-wall property division markers, covered with vines, hedges, and over-arching trees.

"The most significant thoroughfare in Elkstone was that crossing the parish from Cockleford in the north to Beechpike, formerly called Combend Beeches, on Ermin Street in the south. It was mentioned as Cheltenham way in 1680 and served as the main Cheltenham--Cirencester road until 1825 when the new Churn valley road was built, in part to avoid the obstacle posed to travellers by Cockleford hill on the old road. The original course through the centre of the parish was presumably along the road, later partly closed, on which Elkstone village grew up; from High Cross, at the junction with the Gloucester--Northleach road at the top of Cockleford hill, that road ran due south into the north part of the village and continued east of the church and manor-house to take a curving course through the head of the coomb and meet the present road c. 1 km. due south of the church. The higher and easier course running from High Cross west of the church is presumably later and may have been built only in the mid 18th century." A History Of The County Of Gloucester, Vol. VII, Brightwells Barrow And Rapsgate Hundreds (Published for The Institute of Historical Research, by Oxford University Press, 1981) p. 210 (Family History Library # BRITISH Q AREA 942, 42vg, V. 7) 2. Ibid. p. 210

Elkstone Manor[edit | edit source]

Elkstone Manor.JPG

Elkstone Manor gate post proudly announces the identity of the large Manor house with its crisp landscaped yard.

Elkstone Manor House.JPG

The Elkstone Manor House, a multi-use mansion, was the center of village government and village farming activities for many generations.

Thames River[edit | edit source]

A short distance from the Elkstone Parish, still within view of the Elkstone Parish tower,

Thames River Begins.JPG

an ancient road was built with a rock bridge that crossed a natural spring then continued along the top of a rock wall. Curved semi-circular openings were built in the base of the bridge to allow water from the springs to seep out and form a small stream, which is further enhanced by additional water seeping out along the rock wall.

Thames River Springs.JPG
Thames River Stairs.JPG

It is easy to visualize lovely women carrying water containers down the graceful stone stairs that provide access from the road to the banks of the small stream, stooping to fill the water bottles with crystal clear spring water, then ascending the stairs to the road above.

With such a humble beginning, it is hard to imagine that after approximately 80 - 100 miles, this small stream grows to become the mighty Thames River slithering like a large side-winding snake through many small boroughs that had been built upon its banks, first dividing communities then uniting them with bridges, this area now constitutes the sprawling population center called "London."

Many bridges have been built over the Thames River. Some of the Bridges in the London area: Hammersmith Bridge; Putney Bridge; Wadsworth Bridge; The City of London or London Bridge; Westminister Bridge; The Tower of London Bridge.

Thames Raise Tower.JPG

The Tower Bridge has a center section that raises to allow high-masted sailing ships and even large battle ships, like the floating museum moored near the river bank, to travel on the Thames River


The tower Bridge is visible to the right of the battleship, in the background. It is almost beyond imagination to believe that the tiny stream, pictured above, could accommodate a huge battleship, moored on a river side and still allow tour boats, heavy laden with hundreds of passengers and additional heavy river traffic to travel up and down the river, past the battleship, with room to spare between the battle ship and the opposite bank.

Big Ben.JPG A close-up view of Big Ben, a London icon.

In the picture below, there is a distant view of The House of Parliament and Big Ben. 300px.right

Resources[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Elkstone, Gloucestershire Genealogy parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:

AC = Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials (Ancestry) - (£)[1][2][3][4]
BOYD = Boyd's Marriage Index (findmypast) - (£)[5]
FHSO = FHSOnline - (£)[6]
FREG = FreeReg.org.uk
JOIN = Joiner's Marriage Index - (£)[7]
PALL = Pallot's Marriage Index (Ancestry) - (£)[8]


Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
AC 1578-1812 1578-1812 1578-1753 1578-1753 1578-1812 1578-1812
AC 1813-1913 1813-1913 1754-1938 1754-1938 1813-1988 1813-1988

FHSO 1802-1836
FREG 1592-1812
JOIN 1593-1812

Non-Conformist Churches[edit | edit source]

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Gloucestershire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.


ELKSTONE,a parish in the hundred of Rapsgate, county of Gloucester, 7 1/2 miles (N.N.W.) from Cirencester, containing 296 inhabitants. The living is a rectory in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester, rated in the king's books at (pound) 12.9.2., and in the patronage of the Hon. B. Craven. The church, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, is an ancient, though small edifice, affording a fine specimen of Norman architecture in the ornamented south porch, the east window, and the interior of the chancel; it has at the west end a square embattled tower in the later English style, erected in the reign of Richard II. The old Ermin-street traces the western boundary of the parish. A kind of stone is obtained here, which is easily cut when raised from the quarry, but becomes exceedingly hard by exposure to the air." Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1831 Vol II., p. 122 (Family History Library # 942, E5L, 1831)

ELKSTONE, pa. and vil., Mid. Glouces. 7 1/2 N.N.W. of Cirencester, near the road to Gloucester; ac. 2,116; soil clay and light, overlying rock. The church of St. John the Evangelist is chiefly Norm. and Perp.: the chancel, which is only 12 ft. high, has good Norm. groining and elaborately-ornamented arches, and above it is a chamber, to which a staircase ascends; the east window is, both externally and with a beautiful specimen of rich Norm. work; on the outside carved heads adorn the cornice of the nave;; there is a good Norm. south door and Perp. font and pulpit." Cassell's Gazetteer of Great Britain And Ireland being Complete Topographical Dictionary of the United Kingdom, (Cassell And Company, Limited, London, Paris & Melbourne 1895) p. 349, (Family History Library # British Ref area, 942 ESca V. 2)

ELKSTONE, a parish in Cirencester district, Gloucester; near Ermine-street, 7 1/2 miles NNW of Cirencester r. station. Post-town Brimpsfield, under Stroud. Acres, 2,085. Real property, (pound) 2,261. Pop., 320. Houses, 70. The property is divided among a few. Stone is quarried. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. Value, (pound) 360. Patron, the Hon. R. K. Craven. The church is very ancient, but good; is partly early English; and has a fine Norman door." John Marious Wilson, The Imperial Gazetteer of England And Wales (A. Fullarton & Col, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Dublin, and New York) Vol. II, p. 645 (Family History Library # British Ref Area E5, 942 E5i V.2)

ELKSTONE, is a parish and village of the Cotswold district, about 1 mile from the high road between Cheltenham and Cirencester, 4 1/2 miles from Charlton Kings station on the Great Western railway, about 6 east from Chedworth station on the Cirencester and Cheltenham section of the Midland and South Western Junction railway, 8 north-west from Cirencester and 7 south from Cheltenham, in the Eastern division of the county, hundred of Rapsgate, union, petty sessional division and country court district of Cirencester, Cheltenhman rural deanery and Gloucester archdeaconry and diocese. The river Churn forms the north-east boundary of this parish. The Church of St. John the Evangelist is an edifice of stone in the Norman and Perpendicular style, consisting of double chancel, nave, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 4 bells: the chancel is very curious and exhibits Norman groining of a fine character, and has enriched arches and a staircase leading to a chamber over it: the nave walls and the south door are also Norman, and there are traces of a Norman doorway now locked on the north side: the exterior cornice of the nave is relieved with carved heads: the east window is, on both sides, a remarkable fine example of highly wrought Norman work; the tower is a handsome structure of Perpendicular date, and there is a font of the same period, and the steps and base of a stone pulpit: there are 130 sittings. the register dates from the year 1592. The living is a rectory, net yearly value (pound) 230, including 77 3/4 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of the Rev. Reginald Hampson Myddleton Bouth M.A. and held since 199 by the Rev. Thomas Silvester Tonkinson B.A. of London University. The Rev. Reginald Hampson Myddleton Bouth M.A. of Battledown Court, Cheltenham, who is the lord of the manor, and C. F. Greathead esq. are the chief landowners. The soil is clay and light soil; subsoil, rock. The chief crops are wheat, oats, barley and turnips. The area is 2,116 acres; rateable value, (pound) 1,198; the population is 1911 was 219." Kelly's Directory Of The County of Gloucester, 1914 (Kelly's Directories Ltd., 182, 183 & 184, High Holborn, London, W. C.) p. 163-164 (Family History Library # 942.41 E4Ke)

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 'Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813,' Ancestry, accessed 16 June 2016.
  2. 'Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, 1813-1913,' Ancestry, accessed 22 June 2016.
  3. 'Gloucestershire, England, Marriages, 1754-1938,' Ancestry, accessed 20 June 2016.
  4. 'Gloucestershire, England, Burials, 1813-1988,' Ancestry, accessed 24 June 2016.
  5. Percival Boyd, A List of Parishes in Boyd's Marriage Index (London: Society of Genealogists, 1987). Digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library.
  6. 'Coverage for the Gloucestershire Marriages database,' FHS Online, accessed 5 May 2014.
  7. 'Gloucestershire Coverage,' Joiner's Marriage Index, accessed 29 January 2014.
  8. Pallot's Marriage and Birth Indexes, Guide to Parishes. Digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library.