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GENERAL DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY OF THE COUNTY.
THE County of Gloucester lies in the south-west of England, part of its boundary-line being marked by the river Severn, here widening into the Bristol Channel. Its outline forms an irregular ellipse, the extreme length of which is nearly 70 miles, and the greatest breadth 40. It is bordered by the counties of Hereford, Worcester, Warwick, Oxford, Wilts, and Somerset. The boundary-line is almost wholly arbitrary, being at very few points indicated by the natural features of the country. The surface of the county is greatly diversified, presenting in succession the scenery of hill, valley, and forest. These several parts of the county indicate different geological formations. The Cotswold Hills belong to the lower division of the oolitic system ; the vale district rests on the lias formation; and the Forest of Dean, as well as the south-west corner of the county, is a coalfield, the former being encircled by an elevated border of carboniferous limestone and old red sandstone. Fossils are very numerous in these formations, and there are various natural and artificial sections which enable the geologist to