Stroud was originally part of the parish of Bisley and did not become a town in its own right until the beginning of the 13th century when the first church was assigned parochial rights. Being only a so-called 'Chapel of Ease' this did not come with any income so Stroud was still regarded as an offshoot of Bisley church, By the mid 15th century there were less than a dozen houses in the ‘town’. Definitive histories of the town are scarce because it was historically a mix of small manorial areas, particularly the Lypiatts and Paganhill. The valleys in which Stroud lies were considered to be inhospitable and travellers tended to stick to the main thoroughfares which traversed the hills above.
It was not until the early 18th century that its location close to rivers and a source of raw materials which saw it rapidly grow to become an important town due to the woolen industry.