The Parish of Quedgeley lies on the left-hand bank of the River Severn 3 miles south of the centre of Gloucester. The proximity of the city and the course of the main Gloucester-Bristol road through the middle of the parish have greatly influenced its development. The suggestion, based on the evidence of field-names and the division of the open fields, that Quedgeley parish was an agglomeration of parts of other parishes is supported by the fact that part of the tithes of Quedgeley was owed to the church of Whaddon. Quedgeley church or chapel, and by inference some form of parochial independence, had been established by 1095. Until 1882 Quedgeley was an irregularly shaped parish of c 1,450 a., including several small detached parts. In the south-east small pieces of the parish lying intermingled with pieces of Whaddon, Brookthorpe, Harescombe, and Haresfield represented holdings in shared open fields that were enclosed in 1841 and 1866. On the north Quedgeley included a peninsula reaching into Hempsted and containing Netheridge. The eastern boundary of the parish followed for a mile a brook sometimes known as the Qued’ brook; the western boundary was and is marked by the Severn and by the Dimor (or Fishers) brook. The small irregularities in the boundary were adjusted in 1882 and 1885; in 1885 also the peninsula of Netheridge was transferred to Hempsted. In 1900 Lower Tuffley was added to Quedgeley, but in 1935 the 135 a, of Lower Tuffley were transferred to Gloucester and Quedgeley gained 130 a., including Field Court, from Hardwicke. In 1951 a further 271 a., of Quedgeley, northeast of the Qued’ brook were added to Gloucester, and in 1954 Quedgeley gained 96 a., from Hempsted, giving it an area of 1,419 a. The account that follows, however, related (except where otherwise stated) to the area that the parish comprised up to 1882.
The western part of Quedgeley, known as the hamlet of Woolstrop, was by 1252 in Dudstone and King’s Barton, not Whitstone, hundred. The northern peninsula of Netheridge was represented on maps as also part of Dudstone and King’s Barton hundred, perhaps because it was regarded as part of Woolstrop hamlet, but from 1775 it paid land-tax as part of Whitstone hundred with the rest of Quedgeley.The parish is flat and rises at its highest only to the 100-ft. contour. It is entirely on the Lower Lias, on which there are gravel patches, and the land, which is particularly good pasture, was for long mainly meadow and pasture.
The brook known locally as the Qued’, probably the same as the one called Townsworth Brook in the Middle Ages, which marked part of the eastern boundary, crosses the northern part of the parish, and several other small streams intersect the parish. From 1939 onwards a large proportion of the land, amounting to 551 a. in 1967, was acquired by the Air Ministry for an R.A.F. maintenance unit.
The main road through the parish was called the king’s way in the Middle Ages, and in 1599 the parishioners of Quedgeley were said to have failed to repair it. Near the north boundary of the parish the road crossed the Qued brook by a wooden bridge in 1675, probably the one called Wain Bridge in 1538 and 1683. The road was a turnpike from 1726 to 1877. Several lanes run east and west from the main road. Towards the east, Tuffley Lane at the north end of the parish for a short stretch marked the parish boundary and so may be presumed to be ancient, but it ceased to be a through road c 1958 when Cole Avenue, part of the Gloucester ring road, was built, crossing Tuffley Lane to join the Bristol road at a roundabout; Naas Lane at the south end of the parish is likely to have been there a long time before 1824, when it was marked on a map. Towards the west Sim’s Lane is apparently the same as the Crockens Lane named in the Middle Ages, while Elmore Lane may have been made later; the lane to Longney, later called School Lane, went north of the church in the early 19th century but had been moved south of it by 1841.
Quedgeley is likely to have originated as a roadside settlement. The church and the site of Woolstrop manor are close together ¼ mile west of the Bristol road, but there is no evidence of a nucleated village there. Although a few houses that were pulled down in School Lane near the church are said to have been old, the main settlement has been strung out along the Bristol road, including most of the older surviving houses, which date from the 16th century or earlier. A triangular green of 35 a., called Great Green, stretched north from the church on both sides of the main road until enclosure in 1841, and a smaller green along the road in the north of the parish was called Howbones or Holborn Green. In 1675 the settlement was described as ‘Quedgeley Green, a discontinued village’. Later, a piece of former green was used for a recreation ground and a parish pound. Away from the main road the older houses include Quedgeley Manor Farm, ½ mile SE of the church and former green, and Netheridge.
The older houses in Quedgeley, widely spaced in ones and twos along the road, are timber-framed, and some retain thatched roofs. The Little Thatch (see right), earlier called Queen Anne’s Farm and Read’s Farm, is a small timber-framed and thatched house built on an L-shaped plan, of two stories and gabled. It was enlarged in the 19th century, and in 1967 was used as a restaurant. A tradition that Anne Boleyn stayed there has not been verified. Packer’s Cottage is another timber-framed house that retains its thatch. It is apparently of the 16th century and is a long rectangular building, with later additions, of one story with an attic.
In 1327 12 people were recorded at Quedgeley and 2 at Woolstrop. Numbers appear to have increased between the mid 16th century and the mid 17th: there were 69 communicants in 1551, and 123 in 1603; 28 households were recorded were recorded in 1563, 44 adult men in 1608, and 40 families in 1650. The estimated population in the 18th century remained constant at c 170, but by 1801 it was 203. The population increased steadily to 297 in 1831, rose again to 401 in 1851 after a slight fall, and then again grew steadily to the end of the century. After 1891 the available figures are for an area other than that of the ancient parish. The first boundary changes did not significantly affect the population, but from 1901 to 1931 the figures include the inhabitants of Lower Tuffley and during that period numbers rose from 639 to 912. There was a further rapid increase between 1951 and 1961, when there were 1,121 inhabitants in the civil parish.
The growth of Quedgeley in terms of building is represented by an increase from 27 houses in 1801 to 80 in 1861. Most of the new houses were along the main road, built of brick in pairs or detached, and many of them later became roadside guesthouses. In the late 19th century and early 20th small brick houses were built along Sims Lane, Elmore Lane and Naas Lane. After the establishment of the R.A.F. maintenance unit in 1939 houses were built for its staff east of the main road and north of Naas Lane. A group of old peoples bungalows was built c 1962 near the church. An estate mainly of pairs of houses was built off Sims Lane in the sixties, when a large amount of land in the parish was designated for further building. In 1967 there were two caravan sites near the Bristol Road roundabout, one of which was associated with Quedgeley Court, a large brick house built c 1880 and converted into flats.
In the same area, along the Bristol road, much of the land was developed in the nineteen fifties and sixties as commercial and industrial sites. The parish is crossed by the Gloucester and Barkeley Canal, begun in 1794 and opened to traffic in 1827. Sims Lane and Elmore Lane cross the canal by swing bridges. The main railway line south from Gloucester, crossing the east side of the parish, was opened in 1844. From the 1920s Quedgeley has been served by a regular bus service between Bristol and Gloucester. Main water, electricity, and gas were available in Quedgeley by 1935, but in 1967 there was no main sewerage.
In 1884 Quedgeley had a beer house and an inn called the Boat Inn, both on the Bristol road. By 1889 the Boat Inn was called the ‘Plough’, which was the only inn in 1889 and in 1967.
A village hall was opened in the 1930s on the Bristol road near School Lane, on land given by Miles Curtis-Hayward. It was destroyed by fire in 1959 and a new hall was opened on the same site in 1962. A Red Cross centre, opened in the former school building in 1945, had closed by 1967.
In 1264 the constable of Gloucester, acting as sheriff, summoned John Giffard of Brimsfield, whom he hoped to capture, to a meeting of the hundred court at Quedgeley; John went there but with armed supporters who killed some of those present and drove away the constable. In 1535 Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn passed through Quedgeley after visiting Gloucester and were met on Quedgeley Green by representatives of the city.