In the early 19th century priests from the Monmouth mission visited parts of the Forest of Dean (fn. 5) and a few people in the Lydbrook area
were members of a Roman Catholic congregation at Courtfield, across the Wye in Welsh
Bicknor (Mon., later Herefs.). (fn. 6) Later Catholics
from the Forest also heard mass at Gloucester,
Chepstow (Mon.), Monmouth, Ross-on-Wye
(Herefs.), or Hereford, and most priests active
in the Forest had parishes to the west. J. B.
Chard, priest at Gloucester from 1894, was an
occasional visitor. In 1915 a chapel dedicated to
SS. Mary and Claudia was opened at Lydbrook.
Used for occasional masses, said by a priest from
Courtfield, in the early 1930s, it had closed by
1938. (fn. 7) Lydbrook Catholics continued to attend
the Courtfield chapel after the Second World
War. (fn. 8)
From 1930, when a Roman Catholic mission
covering the Forest was established at Coleford,
mass was said in a hotel in Cinderford. The
mission to Cinderford was served by priests
from Ross-on-Wye in 1935 (fn. 9) and by priests from
Blaisdon Hall in 1938. (fn. 10) Later in 1938 Cinderford became a separate mission and a room of a house was converted as an oratory, and in 1939
a church was built in Flaxley Street. Designed
by the Liverpool firm of Badger and Hutton, it
was dedicated to Our Lady of Victories (fn. 11) and
was given a parish including Lydney and
Mitcheldean. In 1992 it had an average congregation of 90, drawn from Cinderford,
Newnham, Ruardean, and other places in the
north of the parish. (fn. 12) The presbytery west of the
church was built after 1959. (fn. 13)
In 1939 the Sisters of Hope, who belonged to
the Sisters of the Holy Family, purchased Abbotswood in Ruspidge for a convent and a
nursing home. The nuns apparently gave up
their nursing work in 1956 and the convent had
closed by 1959. (fn. 14) In 1960 the Franciscan Sisters
of the Immaculate Conception established a
convent and a school in a house in Cinderford
next to the church of Our Lady of Victories.
Their educational work in Cinderford continued
in 1992. (fn. 15)
Misc. vii (Cath. Rec. Soc. ix), 153 and n. This chapter
is based principally on Glos. R.O., D 5467/6/1.
Misc. iv (Cath. Rec. Soc. iv), 416.
||Cf. Cath. Dir. (1931 and later edns.).
||W.I. hist. of Lydbrook (c. 1959, TS. in Glos. Colln.),
Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1935), 116.
Cath. Dir. (1938), 176; for Blaisdon Hall, V.C.H. Glos. x. 8.
Glouc. Jnl. 6 May, 24 June, 8 July 1939.
||Inf. from par. priest.
||O.S. Map 1/2,500, SO 6513 (1960, 1974 edns.).
||Cf. Cath. Dir. (1959), 158.
||Cf. ibid. (1960), 165; (1962), 169; below, Educ.,