Gloucestershire , a S. W. county of England, bordering on Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Somersetshire, Monmouthshire, and Herefordshire; area, 1,258 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 534,320. It is traversed from N. E. to S. W. by the Cots-wold hills, which separate the basin of the Severn from that of the Thames. The district between these hills and the Severn comprises the vales of Evesham (principally in Worcestershire), Gloucester, and Berkeley, of surpassing beauty and richness. Beyond the Severn the greater part of the county is under forest, more than 20,000 acres of which still belong to the crown; it is called the forest of Dean, and was once the principal source of supply of timber for the English navy. The chief rivers are the Severn, Wye, Lower Avon, Frome, Thames, Colne, and Windrush. This county, having extensive and exceedingly rich natural pastures, has long been famous for its butter and cheese. The celebrated double and single Gloucester cheese is principally produced in the Berkeley vale. Large numbers of sheep are reared on the Cotswold hills and in the forest region, the latter being also noted for its orchards and the excellence of its cider and perry.
Coal exists in great abundance; lead, sulphuret of iron, oxide of zinc, limestone, coral, quartz crystals, celebrated as Bristol diamonds, and gypsum, are also found. The manufactures are woollens, cottons, silks, hosiery, hats, tick, hardware, glass, paper, and carpets. Capitals, Gloucester and Bristol; other chief towns, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Stroud, and Tewkesbury.