The Parish of Pucklechurch lies in the Hundred of Pucklechurch, about seven miles east of the city of Bristol. It comprises about 2258 acres. The hundred once formed part of the ancient Forest of Kings - wood, and is traceable back to AD 950 when King Edred granted by charter, 25 Hides of Land at Pucelancyrcan to the Abbey of Glastonbury. The Manor of Pucklechurch then passed to Abbey of Bath in the 13th century.
The earliest documented record of Pucklechurch, originally 'Pvlcrecerce', dates to 1086. It lists the following inhabitants, inventory holdings, and taxes paid.
St. Mary's of Glastonbury holds Pucklechurch:
Taken from translation of 'Domesday Survey
King Edmund's Murder
The most significant historical event to occur in Pucklechurch occurred on St. Augustine Day, on May 26, 946, one century before the Norman Conquest. As it happened, a great feast was being held at King Edmund's palace or royal lodge located on the fringes of the Kingswood Forest. An uninvited guest to this feast happened to be Leoff, a banished robber. Leoff left the feast but returned to pick a fight with one of the king's men. A scuffle occurred and King Edmund (Grandson of Alfred the Great) coming to the aid of his man was fatally stabbed by Leoff. There are conflicting reports of the fate of Leoff, some saying he was killed by the king's men, others that he escaped in the ensuing melee.
King Edmund was buried at Glastonbury, and a few years later, King Edred granted the monks living in the region, the Pucklechurch Manor to be used to say masses for the soul of Edmund. This was made official in AD 950, when King Edred granted by Charter, 25 hides of Land at Pucelandcyrcan (i.e., Pucklechurch) to the Abbey of Glastonbury. The Manor of Puckle-church subsequently passed to Abbey of Bath in the 13th century.
The Star Inn
The Star Inn is the oldest inn in Pucklechurch and was built on the site overlooking the great battlefield where the royal palace of King Edmund once stood. Some of the stones used in the construction of the inn came from the King's palace built in the 16th century. Today as in the past, the inn remains a favorite meeting place for drink, good food, and celebration among friends.
Bristol Evening World, March 1, 1933
St. Thomas à Becket Church
The most notable structure in Pucklechurch is the St. Thomas à Becket Church built over 600 years ago in commemoration of St. Thomas of Canterbury who was murdered in his cathedral in 1170. The church construction began fifty years following his murder and was dedicated to St. Thomas upon its completion.
The gates to the church are guarded by twin oaks and there exists an old square sundial over the church porch. Most notable within the church is the 13th century chancel arch, spreading almost the whole width of the nave and ornated with beautiful foliage on the capitals. The nave arcade is 14th century; the floors are paved with old tombstones, and the roof has fine old timbers. The monuments within the church include among others an effigy of a lady, c. 1325, and more recently Thomas Ridley 1714, and Edward Hathaway 1798. There is also a tablet to John Denny the English poet, who died 300 years ago and who wrote among other things six beautiful stanzas descriptive of the fisherman's country life later included in Izaak Walton's Complete Angler.
Agriculture and coal mining were once the principal industries in Puckle-church though smaller industries including a hat factory and a black marble quarry also once existed. Today farming is not practiced nearly as much as before and much of the land, which was formerly pastureland, was purchased by the government prior to Second World War and used by the RAF station to repair barrage balloons. There still remains some evidence of the area's once prosperous agricultural past in several of the farms and in the country houses formerly owned by the Dennis family, once lords of the manor from the mid-16th to early 18th century.
The Parkfield Colliery
Coal mines in western England once provided the major source of employment for many families in the 19th & early 20th centuries and was the major cause for the large migration to Gloucestershire county at that time. The principal colliery in Pucklechurch was the Parkfield Colliery whose construction was ordered in 1851 by Handel Cossham on a site west of a large number of abandoned 18th century workings. The Parkfield shafts were sunk to a depth of 277 yards to the bottom landing but only the upper series of coal veins were worked - the Hard vein (2'), the Top vein (2 ' 4”), and the Hollybush and Great veins (2', 6 " & 3 ') respectively. When Handel Cossham Parkfield Colliery, 1895 died in 1890, his trustees were directed to build and endow a hospital near Kingswood Hill for the treatment and relief of sick and injured persons of both sexes. Work at the colliery obviously involved some risk for many of the miners.
The Parkfield Colliery was almost exhausted by 1936 with only odd pockets of coal left to work. Water seeping into the mines had to be pumped out and with the increased cost of pumping, coal mining became unprofitable. Accordingly on August 15, 1936, the East Bristol Collieries LTD closed the pit. Today the only evidence that remains is one tall chimney which can be seen when driving on the M4 highway. Fifty cottages known as 'The Rank' and formerly owned by colliery miners remain today at Parkfield, about a mile from the center of Pucklechurch village. In the hey-day of the colliery, these cottages served as a family community, lending support and help to all its inhabitants, male & female.