Five Valleys history by David King Names and origins NAMES and their origins have fascinated me all my life.

‘Why’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ are words that we use in our everyday lives without being fully aware that we do so often. Here in the hills and vales of Stroud and district we have a fascination even beyond our comprehension.

On a personal note having been born in Chalford the origin of the village name and that of neighbouring France Lynch were childhood queries.

Particularly France Lynch. The name of France came with the immigration of the French Huguenots who fled from persecution in their own country.

They brought with them to the Chalford area their clothing industry in 17th Century. The word Lynch is a Saxon name for ledge and France Lynch is situated on the high tableland.

It was once discovered that the name of Chalford had once been spelled as Chalkford. The name described the situation of the village near a ford. This was where the lower and original part of the village was situated.

It is widely believed that the name of the Golden Valley came from the beauty of the valley that stretched from Chalford up through Ashmeads to Sapperton. The name was attributed to Queen Victoria who in her initial days as sovereign travelled through the valley on the railway.

The name of Nailsworth was derived from a weight of wood and pasture. Nagel was the name for wool and leag for pasture and the name of the town was originally known as ‘Nageleag’, the latter part of the name was subsequently changed to "Wert". The town is said to have dated from AD740. Athelsald who was the King of Mercia gave woodland and the three estates from Woodchester and its surrounding area as far as ‘Neglesleag’ to the Bishop of Worcester.

The name of the town of Stroud is said to have come from the Saxon name of Stroyd. The word meant an area with its scattered dwellings. Stroud through the period of time has been spelled in several ways – Strode, Strod and Strowed.

The often neglected River Frome which runs a course of around 14 miles and ends in the Severn was originally known as the River Froom which sprang from the words of Ffrom and Rapid. The river gave its name to Froomhall; Froombridge; Frampton which meant the town on the Froom and Framilode which meant the exit of the Froom or Frome in its present form.

Thrupp, is a village which rises from the base of the valley up a steep hillside. In times past there were two names to the village, Near Thrupp and Far Thrupp. That fact came only due to their distance from Stroud.

Today, we refer to the mock fort that overlooks Stroud as Rodborough Fort, yet it was originally known as Fort Saint George. The elevated building provides some of the district’s most panoramic views.

We nowadays refer to the Cotswolds as a correct spelling but in times past the whole area was referred to as the Cotteswolds. The word was formed from the British – Coed, and the Saxon – Weald, both words were depicting the word wood.

It is difficult today to imagine that Stroud was a member of the Parish of Bisley. That was until the year of 1360 when Stroud became a separate parish.

The original road from Stroud to Cirencester ran up the high street and the hill to Bisley, then across Oakridge common to Water Lane down to Tunley, through the river Frome at Henwood to Park Corner, the north side of Oakley wood and Lord Bathurst’s Park to Cirencester.

Local residents are well aware of the maypole at Paganhill but not so aware that originally it was once called Pakenhill. The annual festival was always held on a Whit Monday where they danced around the maypole. Tragedy struck here on May 20, 1804 when a rope broke holding the pole. It fell down and killed two children. For several years following there was no erection of a maypole.

Was the mansion house at Lypiatt the original site of Guy Fawkes and his conspirators? A room at the house was once said to have been where the plot was hatched. John Throckmorten who lived here was thought to have been a conspirator. It was never proven but at the time rumours were rife.

We take modern day transport for granted but originally to travel from Stroud to London in the 1700s you had to go by stagecoach. It would travel to the capital and back twice a week. It began its journey early in the morning and reached London in the evening of the next day. A two day journey. It travelled via Oxford and would stay at Holborn, London. In the summer it would be a quicker service and became known as the Flying Coach.

Walbridge to the south of Stroud derived its name from its bridge which was built over the River Frome, it was made of stone, hence – a wall bridge. This was once an area disconnected with Stroud and was situated in three parishes – Stroud, Painswick and Rodborough.

Saint Lawrence Church in Stroud is not the original parish church. The old parish church held its last service there 143 years ago on July 8, 1866. A new foundation stone was laid on November 6, 1866. It did not open for worship until August 4, 1868. The builders were local men by the name of Wall and Hook.

The borough of Stroud could at one time elect two members to Parliament. The borough was constituted in 1832. It was regarded as one with a large population and also wealthy. The first election took place on December 10 and 11, 1832 when William Hyett of Painswick and David Ricardo of Gatcombe were elected.