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Volume 1

By W.J. Robinson - 1914.

Sample text :-


THE parish of Barrow Gurney, situated in a pleasant part of the county of Somerset, about five miles from Bristol, lies between two main highways, one of which leads to Bridgwater and the other to Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon. From the higher parts of the village beautiful and extensive views may be obtained. The prospect on the south side is of a very engaging description, forming an assemblage of hill, dale, woodland, and water, bounded by the bold Dundry Range. In the vale below, the village, which consists for the most part of one long straggling street, rests in picturesque quietude. On the northern side an expansive and beautiful valley stretches for miles, rising in gentle uplands and terminating in the sombre outline of the wooded heights beyond Wraxall, which extend with little interruption as far as Portbury. At the south-eastern extremity of the parish may be seen the famous reservoirs of the Bristol Water Works Company. These miniature lakes, of which there are three, with their glittering surfaces, lying in the hollow and encompassed by picturesque surroundings, form a pleasant variety to the scene. The first reservoir was constructed in 1868, and the third and largest in 1897, and when full are capable of containing 850 millions of gallons of water.

The first authentic account relating to Barrow Gurney appears to be derived from Domesday, in which it is described as Berve, and included in the property of the Bishop of Coutances, who held a life interest in numerous other estates in the neighbourhood. " Nigel holds of the Bishop (of Coutances) Berve. Edric held it in the time of King Edward and gelded for 10 hides." Upon the death of the Bishop the manor reverted to the Crown and was granted by Rufus to Robert Fitz-Harding, the progenitor of the Lords of Berkeley. Robert Fitz-Harding died in 1170. He left five sons and two daughters. Robert, the fourth son, was Lord of Beverstone, Kingsweston, English-combe, and Barrow. He married first Hawisia, daughter of Robert de Gournay, by whom he had a daughter, Eva. His second wife was Alice, daughter of Robert de Gaunt, by whom he had a son, who took his mother's name of Gaunt. He founded the Hospital of St. Mark's and the Gaunts' Chapel, now the Lord Mayor's Chapel, Bristol. Upon his death the manor of Barrow reverted to his half-sister, Eva, who became a great heiress and married Thomas de Harp-tree, Lord of Farrington and Harptree. Thomas de Harptree left a son, Robert, who took the name of Gournay. He died in 1269, leaving two sons, Anslemn and John. Anslemn married Sibilla, daughter of Hugh de Vironne, by whom he had three sons, the latter of whom was the father of Sir Thomas de Gournay, who took part in the murder of Edward II. in Berkeley Castle and was beheaded in 1333. Elizabeth de Gournay conveyed the manor of Barrow Gurney in marriage to Sir John Ap Adam, Lord of Beverstone....'

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