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This is the story of how Thornbury evolved from ancient origins into the beautiful country town of today. A blend of stunning historical photographs, rare archive material and spectacular modern film creates an unforgettable portrait.
The earliest evidence of occupation in the area dates back to the Neolithic age. Flooding in the lower Severn Vale has always been a huge problem to overcome, and the first sea wall was built in the Roman era. Despite great obstacles, farming in the area thrived, and by the time of Domesday, Thornbury was a large and wealthy manor.
Nothing radiates the prosperity of bygone times more than the awesome Thornbury Castle. Built by Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in early Tudor times, this glorious palace was also a secure fortress, and a symbol of the owner’s strength. However, Buckingham came to be regarded as a threat by Henry VIII, and the duke was executed for treason in 1521. The unfinished castle fell into disrepair, yet it was restored over the centuries and today it enjoys worldwide acclaim as a luxury hotel.
At one time, a covered timber bridge connected the castle to neighbouring St. Mary’s Church, giving the lord and his household direct private entry.
St. Mary’s originated in the 12th century, with the magnificent tower emerging some 400 years later, and a tour of the interior reflects much of the town’s history.
The principal streets – High Street, Castle Street, St. Mary Street and John Street – are predominantly lined with 17th and 18th century buildings. Our Heritage Trail features many places of interest, including historic Pubs, the sites of the old Railway Station and Picture House, Churches and Chapels, Mundy Playing Fields and the Old Market Hall. Enjoyable and informative to anyone interested in Thornbury, past or present.