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The History of Westerleigh Village

887AD  Westerleigh 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.

1086    Westerleigh is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

1304    The church of St James The Great Church was consecrated in 1304. In medieval times the village would probably have been a green with the houses and church around it. The northern wall and porch of St James church is from the 14th century, as is the carved stone pulpit. The church was rebuilt in the perpendicular style, with the tower (once used as the village lock up) added at a later date.

1600    By 1600 the village supported a shoemaker, a blacksmith, a sawyer, a flour mill, a malt house and two public houses.

1617    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.

1660    The discovery of coal in 1660 provided employment for the villagers, with further finds at Coalpit Heath and Parkfield providing more employment. The mines closed in the 1930s, when the coal was exhausted.

1700    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.

1876    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.

20th century    At the beginning of the 20th century, the railway and mining provided most of the work. Now residents find work in nearby Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Bristol, and in the village itself. Source: