Our villages – early origins
Once known as Broomes Ash, this hamlet on the Roman road between Hereford and Mitcheldean grew up close to the former Romano-British town of Ariconium. Recent development has been linear with pockets of new housing slowly unfurling down the two main roads.
Traditionally an area of heathland, split across the counties of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, Gorsley first appears in records as Gorstleye (Gorse field) in 1291. For centuries the area was known as “Heathen’s Heath” and the settlement pattern reflects the disputed land ownership at the county boundary which originally lead to people building their own dwellings in secret on the myriad of lanes.
Eventually, the construction of a new Newent to Ross turnpike road through Gorsley around 1810 and the building of Goff’s School in 1821, the Baptist Chapel in 1852 and Christ Church in 1892 all helped bring an isolated community together and the village grew significantly taking advantage of the distinctive local limestone (Gorsley Stone).
During the medieval period a prominent royal manor had existed in Linton owned by the King but administered on his behalf by loyal kinsmen. Linton subsequently appeared in the Domesday Book as Lintune. The Talbot family, who later became the Earls of Shrewsbury, were made Barons of Linton in the C12th. They built a new manor house at Eccleswall and revamped St Mary’s Church. The latter is now largely C13th but the hilltop site was originally pagan. The ancient yew tree growing in the churchyard is thought by the Conservation Foundation to be the oldest tree in England and at least 1,500 years old. The M50 opened In 1962 and, with its construction, mains water and electricity reached the village for the first time. Previously, water had been collected daily from the main wells at Edward Palin’s memorial, Shutton and Talbot’s Well.