The Village

The earliest known origins of the village of Bishop's Cleeve date back to the 8th Century, although Iron Age and Roman remains have also been found locally. The name derives from the 9th Century when a monastery and surrounding land at the foot of what is now named Cleeve Hill was given to the Bishop of Worcester, and the village became the Bishop’s Cliffe.

The Domesday Book in 1086 recorded that: "There are 30 hides, 3 ploughs an demesne, 16 villagers and 19 smallholders with 16 ploughs. There are 8 slaves and 1 horse. A priest has 1 hide and 2 ploughs. A radknight with 1 hide and 2 ploughs. There is a very small wood."

A handful of buildings in the village date from the 12th and 13th Centuries, many others having been lost in a fire in 1445. The centrepiece, the Church of St Michael & All Angels, was built in the 12th Century on the site of a previous Saxon church and retains many Norman features. The Rectory (now Cleeve Hall) dates from about 1250, while the Tithe Barn opposite was built during the 15th Century and is now a Village Hall. 

After the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th Century the land became the property of the King, and was eventually sold off to local manor lords, among them Richard De La Bere, Lord of the Manor of Southam, whose tomb lies in St Michael’s Church.

Schooling came to the village in the early 19th Century when the parish priest ran lessons in a small room above the church’s south porch. The later Victorian school on School Road served until 1981, for some years alongside the present Bishop's Cleeve Primary Academy. The former building is still in use as St Michael’s Hall.

At the turn of the 20th Century the population of Bishop's Cleeve was only around 400, yet this had soared to over 10,500 by the 2011 Census, due mainly to expansion in the 1950’s and 1980’s as major employers moved into the area, in particular Smiths Industries (now GE Aviation) and more recently Eagle Star Insurance (now Zurich Financial Services).

There are 31 listed buildings in the village, details of which can be downloaded here, while more specific information is available on the British Listed Buildings website. A large section of the village also lies within a conservation area, which is outlined on this map

Today the village of Bishop’s Cleeve is described as an urban area, with a population of around 11,000, and more major developments are taking place. This boundary map shows the current Parish area, which lies within Tewkesbury Borough. There are three Parish Wards: demographically, 82% of the population live within Cleeve St Michael’s and Cleeve West Wards, and 18% in the Cleeve Grange Ward. Of the 19% of the population over 65 years old, 49% live in St. Michael’s Ward. 59% of the total population is within the age range of 18-65 years, and 45% of this age range live in Cleeve West. The 0-18 age range account for 22% of the total population. (You can search the full range of Census data for wards and parishes on the Office of National Statistics website.)

There are many interesting historical photographs illustrating the development of the village on the website developed by Mike & Sheila Ralls at, while the St Michael's Church website has several fascinating panoramic views by Colin Saxelby of Bishop's Cleeve today from the lofty viewpoint of the church tower. 

Parish Boundary Map 
Ward Map 
Conservation Area 
Listed Buildings