The Annals of Kingswood consist of four volumes of day-to- day events, 1725-95, concerning the people who lived in an area outside Bristol in the so-called “lawless” places to the east of the City, “without Lawford’s Gate”. (It is a pity that the eminently useful word “without” which then meant ”beyond” or “outside of” has become obsolete. )
Kingswood takes its name from the Chase or the King’s Wood, a Royal hunting ground, which extended from Barton Regis well beyond what is now St George. By 1725, at the start of this set of Annals, the wooded area had all but disappeared and you would have been hard-pressed to find a single surviving deer.
Kingswood did not then exist as a separate town. Bitton was the administrative centre of the area, with chapelries at Hanham and Oldland but the Annals include much that we now refer to as South Gloucestershire, Siston, Mangotsfield, Wick & Abson, and beyond, occasionally as far as Yate, Frampton Cotterell and Westerleigh. The principal industries were coalmining and hatmaking and of course, agriculture.