Both the River Ewelme and the B4066 flow through the village of Uley, situated in a sheltered valley of the Cotswold escarpment, about three miles from the small market town of Dursley in Gloucestershire.
The village is a vibrant and thriving community with a popular primary school, churches and our village hall, a community store and Post Office, a busy pub and a celebrated arts centre with its own café. It even has its own brewery. There are many clubs and societies which contribute to Uley being an enjoyable, sociable and happy place to live and to visit – and many of these groups use the village hall in which to meet, socialise, rehearse and perform.
The village of Uley has a rich history, as evidenced by its many Neolithic and Roman remains and the legacy of a once-thriving woollen industry.
There are signs of occupation in Neolithic times in the standing stones and chambered long barrow or burial chamber known as Hetty Pegler’s Tump. Uley Bury was the site of an Iron Age fort and in the first century AD became an important strategic Roman encampment. A fine head of Mercury dating from the second century, carved in classical style but in local stone, was excavated at West Hill, Uley, in 1979. It is now in the British Museum. When the Romans left in the fifth century the area became a Saxon camp.
Uley experienced a period of prosperity in the 17th and 18th centuries with its wool processing and cloth manufacturing industry, particularly in producing the broadcloth known as Uley Blue for military uniforms in the Napoleonic wars.
Industrialisation however did not revolutionise the mills in Uley and Owlpen and the area was depressed until improved amenities following the First World War. By then much of the population had emigrated overseas or moved away and remaining residents lived in poverty.
In more recent times the area has prospered with better transport links and broader employment opportunities and Uley has become a highly desirable location with its wide choice of nearby towns and cities.
A History of Uley, Gloucestershire by Alan Bebbington is available from Uley Society and Uley Community Stores.