Winchcombe St. Peter, a market-town in Gloucestershire. Tobacco was first cultivated in this parish, after its introduction into England, in 1583, and it proved, a considerable source of profit to the inhabitants, till the trade was placed under restrictions. The cultivation was first prohibited during the Commonwealth, and various acts were passed in the reign of Charles II. for the same purpose. Among the king’s pamphlets in the British Museum is a tract entitled “Harry Hangman’s Honour, or Glostershire Hangman’s Request to the Smokers and Tobacconists of London,” dated June 11th, 1655. The author writes: “The very planting of tobacco hath proved the decay of my trade, for since it hath been planted in Glostershire, especially at Winchcomb, my trade hath proved nothing worth.” He adds: “Then ‘twas a merry world with me, for indeed before tobacco was there planted, there being no kind of trade to employ men, and very small tillage, necessity compelled poor men to stand my friends by stealing of sheep and other cattel, breaking of hedges, robbing of orchards, and what not.”
This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.