St Mary's, the parish church
Arlingham shown within Gloucestershire
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Arlingham is a village and civil parish  in the Stroud District of Gloucestershire, England. The 2001 Census recorded a parish population of 410, increasing to 459 at the 2011 census. The parish contains the hamlets of Milton End and Overton. The next parish to the east is Fretherne with Saul
Arlingham lies at the western end of the horseshoe loop of the River Severn, known as the Horseshoe Bend, looking across the water to Newnham and the Forest of Dean. Access to Arlingham is across Fretherne bridge over the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal or Sandfield Bridge  at Saul Junction. Having the canal on one side and the River Severn  on three sides of the parish and a single lane connecting it to the villages to the East, it has developed a distinct identity. Its rural character is still maintained, having some ten, working farms with dairy and beef herds and arable land. Although close to the river, unlike areas upriver of Gloucester, Arlingham does not have a high flood risk.
The area has many footpaths, including a section of the Severn Way. Its unique location and stunning scenery  make it popular with walkers. An illustrated map detailing four circular walks can be downloaded from the Red Lion Web Site. and from Gloucestershire Fitness Walks  and longer ones from Visit The Cotswolds and Walking the Severn Way.
Arlingham is in a Conservation Area and has a large number of beautiful, historic buildings many of them listed. The Church of St Mary the Virgin dates from the mid-fourteenth century, and is an example of the Decorated Gothic style of architecture. It is made of the local blue lias stone, with the tower in Cotswold stone, and has been little altered. It still has some of the original stained glass windows. These are of the highest quality and are some of the oldest stained glass windows in Gloucestershire.
The centre of the village is built around The Cross, and includes the Red Lion, a large, attractive, award winning, public house, partly dating from the 16th century. On June 5, 2013 the pub was bought by the village. The pub serves locally sourced fresh food and a traditional Sunday lunch, along with a good selection of real ales. The village shop and post office in the High Street is open Monday to Thursday mornings from 9am - 1pm. At the end of Passage Road is an award winning seafood restaurant, The Old Passage, which is on the banks of the River Severn. overlooking Newnham, and is an ideal spot to view the beginnings of the Severn bore. Also in Passage Road you will find St Augustine's Farm, a family run, working farm which is open to the public in the school holidays and for educational visits.
There is a strong community spirit in the village and Church social events are well supported. There is a thriving Village Hall in the High Street, which hosts many events, including a weekly Toddler Club, held on Wednesdays, 9.30am to 11.30am in term-time, a monthly Community Café, held on the first Tuesday of every month from 10am to 12pm, a Gardening Club meets at 7.30 on the second Tuesday of the month, a long established branch of the Women's Institute (WI), on the second Thursday of the month, at 7.30pm and a Games Club, which is held on the third Tuesday of the month from 7.30pm. The Arlingham Parish Council meet at 7.30pm on the first Monday of each month. The Village Hall can also be hired for parties and events. There is a newly refurbished children's adventure playground and a football field for the use of villagers in Church Road, near the Church.
Monday to Friday, Mike's Buses SERVICE 242 leaves the Red Lion at Arlingham at 9.35, travelling through the villages to Stroud and Stonehouse, returning at 12.35. Community Connexions SERVICE 113 leaves the Red Lion at Arlingham at 9.30 on a Monday and Wednesday and travels through the villages to Gloucester Bus Station, returning at 13.00. Jackie's Coaches run school buses to Lakefield Church of England Primary School  and Severn Vale senior school, with connecting services to other senior schools.
The village falls in the 'Severn' electoral ward. This ward starts in the north east at Moreton Valence then follows the M5 motorway south west to Slimbridge. The total ward population at the 2011 census was 4,760.
Situated in the horseshoe loop of the Severn Estuary, Arlingham has much in its favour as a site for settlement, so it quite possible that dwellings have existed on or near the present site for thousand of years, possibly as far back as the Stone Age and evidence has been found in the area of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlers. Romano-British pottery has been found in the area, indicating that Arlingham was probably a wetland settlement of Roman Britain, possibly centred around iron working. The Domesday Book, completed at the end of 1086, records the village as "Erlingeham" which means "Homestead of the Eorlingas (the tribe of Eorla)". It records Erlingeham as being "King's land and part of the Manor of Berkely, containing 1400 acres", making Arlingham an exclave of the Hundred of Berkeley.
In the 12th Century the Abbott of St. Augustine's Abbey Bristol (the Abbey later became Bristol Cathedral after the dissolution of the Monasteries), had Manor and Lands in Arlingham. The Manor House stood on the site of St. Augustine's farmhouse. The earliest record of Arlingham church is in 1146, the founder being Roger of Berkeley, Baron of Dursley (said to be descended from Edward the Confessor. In 1146 Roger of Berkeley, a member of the Berkeley family gave Arlingham church and its possessions to the Priory of St Leonard Stanley. In the 14th Century John Berkeley's daughter Margaret, married Joh atte Yate of Arlingham and Arlingham Court passed into the Yate family. Between 1347 and 1351 was the time of the Black Death across Europe. Near Royal Orchard, on the left as you leave the Silver Street  track to Milton End is a field formerly known as "The Pest Leaze" where, according to tradition, a large number of people were buried at the time of the plague. In 1373 the present church and tower was erected by Nicolas Wishonger of Gloucester, it was a rebuild of a previous structure. The oldest stained glass window (first on the right behind the choir stalls) dates from this time. In 1538 an injunction issued by Henry VIII required Baptists, marriages and deaths to be registered and in 1539 the oldest baptism was registered in the church. 1606 saw The Great Flood of Arlingham. In 1650 the present Wick Court. House was built In 1717 six bells were cast by Abraham Rudhall for the church. In 1801 the Land Enclosure Act passed. Arlingham became tithe free as land was allotted to the vicar in lieu of tithes.
Arlingham is on the course of a Roman road, still in evidence as Silver Street. This led to the old Ford, which crossed the Severn to Newnham. This ford was still passable until around 1840, when the river changed channel, shifted and took away the mud bank that gave access to the fordable, though dangerous, rocky causeway  The first ferry was recorded in 1238 and the British Universal Trade Directory of 1792 noted that Newham provided "a very safe ferry over the Seven". Horses and coaches were carried in the 18th century and animals were carried in an ox or cattle boat and crossed the river to the railway until 1914. The ferry continued in use until after the Second World but gradually use of the ferry decreased and lack of maintenance of landing stages on either side meant traversing mud - one of the duties of the ferryman had become carrying people across the mud!
In 1810 the Severn Tunnel Company secured an Act of Parliament to build a tunnel under the river here. Work was started but problems with flooding meant the project had to be abandoned. There were various schemes for a bridge, most recently in 1950. but environmental and financial constraints meant none of these came to fruition.
During the first decade of the 21st Century, a group of villagers produced three excellent books of village life from bygone years to the present day. The paper back versions have long sold out, but may still be available as ebooks:
- Arlingham, a Snapshot in Time. 2001.
- Antiquities of Arlingham Parish. 2008.
- Where the River Bends. 2009.
- "Parish population 2011.Retrieved 31 March 2015".
- "Severn ward population 2011.Retrieved 30 March 2015".
- A.D.Mills, "Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names" (2nd Edition), p.12, OUP, 1997
- National Gazetteer, 1868
- Victoria History of Gloucestershire: Newnham
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