History of Rodborough Fort





Rodborough Fort commands a prominent position on Rodborough Common overlooking Stroud. Although it is located amongst iron-age earthworks the Fort itself is not as old as many people think.

Strictly it is an inhabited folly and has been known as Fort George and Rodborough Castle in addition to its more correct name of Rodborough Fort. The original fort was built around 1764 by George Hawker (d. c. 1786). It passed through a number of prominent Stroud business men before being acquired by Alexander Holcombe in 1868 who rebuilt the original building on a grander scale.

Cheltenham Chronicle – Saturday 16 March 1901

RODBOROUGH FORT, NEAR STROUD.

Rodborough Fort, which stands at the western end of the towering eminence known as Rodborough Hill, is a conspicuous object for many miles from almost any point in the surrounding neighbourhood. The view from the Fort presents a magnificent panorama such as is probably unrivalled England. Nestling at its foot is the busy town of Stroud, whose mills have clothed the great army now serving King and country in South Africa, whilst the hill whose summit it crowns is one of the chief spurs of the Cotswold range, which here breaks the Severn Valley into smaller valleys, which branch off to Woodchester and Nailsworth, to Brimscombe and Chalford, to Slad, and to Painswick. On the left lie the Selsley Hills, on the right Whiteshill and Wickeredge Hill, and in front the Stonehonse valley extends on to the Severn, nine miles distant; beyond that the smoke arising from Dean Forest is plainly to seen; and beyond all the Welsh mountains and the lofty Sugar Loaf mountain, near Abergavenny, may distinctly seen on the western horizon in the light of a clear summer day. or when clothed with snow and ice in winter.

The original Fort was erected by Captain George Hawker, in 1761, upon a piece of common land granted to him the Lord of the Manor on a lease for lives.” Here he resided for several years. His death in 1781 it came by devise to his son Joseph Hawker, who sold it the same year to Mr. .lames Dallaway, who died there; and it was purchased by Mr. Joseph Grasebrook in 1791. The Fort has the architectural appearance which its name imparts, and its flag has floated and its three cannons have been fired on occasions of public and local rejoicing for many years past. It was rebuilt in 1871 bv Mr. Alexander Halcomb. of Gloucester anil London, and was jokingly suggested that it should be called Sackville,” by reason of his founding a sack hiring company. Mr. Halcomb did not long remain the owner, the Fort being purchased by the late Mr. Bell, tor the last sixteen years the fort has been in the hands otfcaretakers, and when Mr. Bell died about a year ago it passed to his son, whose first act almost coming of age was to put the Fort on the market for sale. It is probable, therefore, that it will be disposed of by public auction during the present month.

5 Responses

  1. Bob Young
    Bob Young at · · Reply

    A great collection of Rodborough and district postcards. Thanks for showing us all.
    It is a shame you no longer live in the Stroud area as I am sure you would enjoy our postcard club.
    We also have an online page and a postcard group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1683390465230024/

  2. Sue Powell
    Sue Powell at · · Reply

    What a great collection – very interesting. Came across reference to your website in ‘The Commoner’ leaflet and glad that I decided to investigate. My family has lived in Stroud for generations and most of the houses lived in have looked towards ‘The Fort’. Although life was very different even 50 years ago I can’t help but think that everything looked so much nicer with a bit of space!

  3. Tim
    Tim at · · Reply

    What a wonderful collection – thank you for sharing these with us!

  4. Penny Schneider (Jones)
    Penny Schneider (Jones) at · · Reply

    My great grandfather, George Bridges Philpin owned The Fort in the early 1900’s.
    He resided in Coventry and owned the Coventry Brace Company-supplying the forces in WW1 and men’s braces in general which were popular at the time..before belts!
    My father B.R.P. Jones went there for summer holidays with the whole family and I had pictures of picnics on the grounds and some of the well appointed rooms inside.
    Unfortunately for the family G.B. Philpin died in 1933 and the instructions in his will required The Fort to be sold…for a fraction of it’s worth due to The Depression.
    I visited from Canada in 1963 and we drove the steep incline up to The Fort where we picniced.
    I believe at that time its owners were using the grounds for a caravan park..with a great view of the surrounding countryside!

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