RANDWICK is a small but populous village eight miles south of Gloucester, and two miles from the market town of Stroud. Its soil is light and stony; much of the land being either under tillage, or else woodland. It is bounded on the west by woods belonging severally to Lord Sherborne and Rev: T. E. M. Barrow-to whom the Manor of Randwick belongs.
Although not mentioned in Domesday Book -which was compiled in the reign of William the Conqueror, and contained an account of all the (known) lands in the Kingdom-yet the presence of a tumulus in Randwick Wood points to the fact that the place was inhabited long before this time. Tumuli, as everybody knows, were burying places of the ancient Britons; so that most likely the place formed a home for them. As there is a Roman camp, less than a mile away, at Haresfield Beacon (or, as it is familiarly called, "Bacon Tump,") and as traces of Roman habitation have been found at Whiteshill, a neighbouring village, no doubt Randwick was not unknown to them, although I believe no traces of Roman habitation have been found here. Traces of an ancient Saxon settlement remain, and in many parts of the parish small balls of stone have been found, indicative of some battle having been fought in the neighbourhood.
A petrifaction, termed by geologists calcareous tufa, abounds, of which stone the porch of the Church is made. Randwick was anciently included in the parish of Thornbury, and is first mentioned as a separate parish in the reign of Edward I. (1272 to 1307). In 1440 it was held by William ap Adam; and in 1557 Thomas Whiston and Anne, his wife, levied a fine of the Manor to Thomas Mills. It was in the Mitchell family at the commencement of the eighteenth century, from whence it descended to the Hoggs, and is now held by a descendant-Rev. T. E. M. Barrow; whose mother, Martha Sophia, was the heiress of the Hoggs.
"The origin of the name Randwick, or more anciently, Randwicke, and Rendwicke, is supposed to be Saxon-from the Saxon rendan, to 'divide,' and nc 'a street' ; which is descriptive of the situation of the place-divided from Standish, to which it formerly belonged. Or it may be (as in the case of Painswick-from wicke, a dwelling- the dwelling of Pain); so Randwicke, the dwelling of Rand. Local tradition, however, gives the following as the origin of the name," (From Rudge)
In the days of old, there lived a poor widow in Randwick, who had two sons. She was industrious, honest, and pious, and loved to attend her parish church. One Sunday morning she prepared her dinner before she went to church. She made some apple dumplings, and prepared and dressed a sheep's head. She filled her large pot with water from the spring, suspended it over the fire, and put in the sheep's head. She put some thorns and a faggot on the fire, and said to her son Tom "Now, Tom I am going to church; as soon as the pot begins to boil, put in the dumplings; and, Dick, if your brother should want more fire, you go and fetch some thorns from the wood pile." So saying she put on her head gear and departed. Tom kept taking off the lid to see if it boiled. "Does it boil?" enquired Dick. "Oh! ah!" replied Tom, "go and get some thorns to keep it boiling." Dick went, and soon returned with an armful of dry thorns, which he flung under the old, huge, black pot. " Now then," said Tom, the pot begins to boil; bring the dumplings, and put them in. And one after another those balls of apples, suet, and flour were dropped into the pot. The dry thorns began to crackle and bang, and pop and blaze, and soon surrounded the pot with a brilliant flame. The pot began to boil with violence and the lid to heave, as if it were about to jump tip the chimney. " Take off the pot lid," cried Dick. Tom removed the lid, and both Tom and Dick looked into the pot. The water was bubbling, and steaming, and leaping, and jumping, and boiling; the apple dumplings were moving up and down, and were going round and round with the ebullition and gyration of the seething broth. At this critical moment the tongue of the sheeps head began to protrude, and the sheep's head to take part in the gyratory motions, from the violence of the boiling water. The apple dumplings ran round and round the pot, apparently pursued by the sheep's head. "Look, Dick! look, Dick!" cried Tom, "the sheep's head is runnin' round and round with 'is mouth open, and is atryin' to swallow all the apple dumplins." Tom, in a passion, struck the sheep's head with his large wooden spoon, but it did not deter it from its voracity; on the contrary the repeated blows appeared to accelerate its speed, and gyratory motion. Both Tom and Dick began to cry, "Oh dear! whatever shall we do, the sheep's head will eat up all our dumplins." Matters appeared to grow worse, for the dumplings apparently disappeared within the capacious mouth of the sheep's head. Tom could stand it no longer, so he said: "Run, Dick, to the church, and tell mother to make haste home, or the sheep's head will eat all our dumplins." Dick rushed out of the door, and ran down the road, as fast as his nimble feet could carry him. - Tom followed, and, standing in the middle of the road, endeavoured to increase his brother's speed by vociferating, "Run, Dick ! run Dick! and tell mother to make haste home, or the sheep's head will eat all our dumplips." The people heard Tom shouting, and thought he was mad. Dick rushed into the church, and to the humiliation and mortification of the mother, and to the utter consternation of the minister, the clerk, and the congregation, bawled, out of breath: "Be quick, mother! Run home, mother! or the sheep's head will eat all our dumplins." Now, it happened that there were a great many strangers in the village (most likely it was "Wap Sunday "), when Tom stood halloing "Run, Dick," and from this simple incident the place was nicknamed "Run Dick." During the course of centuries this has become Runnick or Randwick.*
*From an unknown M.S.
The village is divided into different sections named respectively:-
Ocker Hill, which is, I imagine, a corruption of "Ockard Hill," or awkward hill, as this exactly describes the road which leads to this part. Farthingale (query, was this where the farthingale or hooped petticoat first appeared?) Dunder Camp, which formerly consisted of a long row of houses, which were pulled down by the late Lady of the Manor. Cox Gate near the Wesleyan Chapel. The Lawn, at the back of the National School; The Kesant, The Lagger, The Stocks, The Grip, aud the Wellays, or Well-lease. A long length of road leading up from Cams-cross, passing the Church, and on to Gloucester, is known as "The Street," the lower portion, near Townsend, being "The Change."
"The Stocks" would suggest that here that implement of torture formerly stood, and the parents of villagers now living remembered their being used.
The summit of the hill, on the slope of which the village stands-called "Randwick Ash" commands a beautiful and extensive view of the River Severn, Wales, and the surrounding counties; and the ash tree, which gives its name to the spot, forms a landmark for miles The road to the right of "The Ash" is called the " Robber's Road," a little way up is "the Castles," though there are now no signs of any dwelling of that nature. Tradition gives this as the site of an ancient battle, and says the place is haunted, doubtless by the decapitated soldiers. There are quarries here, which years ago supplied limekilns situate in the quarries, the stone being of a limy nature. The exit from the Robber's Road" is known as " The Gap," and here also are quarries, and in former days limekilns.
The only houses of any note are "The Manor House" which is, comparatively speaking, modern, and known as " The Rylands;" the Rectory, built in 1844; "Pool Cottage," so called from its contiguity to the "mayor's pool" (or as it was formerly called' "Churchyard House") Longcourt," with the old farmhouse to its right; and the "Charity School House." "Longcourt" was built by one of the lords of the manor, and inhabited by him. it is noted for ita picturesque views, and also for its ornamental piece of water (which has been compared, I believe, to one of the Swiss lakes in miniature), and which covers the site where Whitfield once preached to the surrounding villagers. The school house is very old, and here the only school of the village was formerly held: the Charity School. Before the Divided Parishes Act came into operation the rateable value of Randwick was £2,900, now it is only £895 10s. A great part of Cainscross, including what was then the "Golden Cross Inn," but now the Co-operative Society's buildings, Merry Pebble Terrace, Ebley Chapel, the land on which Cainscross Schools now stand, and even the " Oil Mills : " this, as well as the hamlet of Oxlynch, was all included in Randwick Parish, and, curiously enough, Stroud Parish claims many houses in the heart of the village.