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TOLSEY

A building which stood on the south-west corner of the Cross was presumably in use for town business by 1455 when it was owned and occupied by the stewards. (fn. 38)

It was mentioned by the name Tolsey in 1507 in a context which suggests that it was the place where property deeds were filed. (fn. 39) It was rebuilt in the mid 1560s (fn. 40) and again in 1603.

By the latter date it had become the venue for the meetings of the common council; (fn. 41) in 1509 and until at least 1594 the council held its meetings in a room at the east gate. (fn. 42)
In 1622 a new room was made in the Tolsey as an office for the town clerk who had previously worked from an adjoining building. (fn. 43)

 In 1648 there was a major rebuilding of the Tolsey when All Saints’ church, which adjoined its north side, was incorporated within it.

The upper floor of the new building was used for the council chamber and the ground floor for the sheriffs’ court. (fn. 44) The former, in which sash windows were inserted in 1724, was jettied out over a colonnade and surmounted by a wooden balustrade. (fn. 45)

The Tolsey was rebuilt in 1751 as a two-storeyed classical building of brick with stone dressings, having a parapet surmounted by urns and, over the main front to Westgate Street, a pediment with a carving of the city arms and insignia. (fn. 46)

 By the later 19th century the building had become unsuitable for the increasingly complex city administration; by 1889 the town clerk and other city officers were housed in part of the nearby corn exchange, (fn. 47) and traffic noise from the streets was disturbing the councillors’ meetings. (fn. 48) In 1892 the Tolsey was replaced by the new Guildhall.

Sold by the corporation the following year, it was demolished and new premises for the Wilts and Dorset Banking Co. built on the site. (fn. 49) From 1843 until its sale part of the Tolsey had been used as the city post office. (fn. 50)

From: ‘Gloucester: Public buildings’, A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 4: The City of Gloucester (1988), pp. 248-51. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=42305. Date accessed: 07 July 2007.

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