A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.
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In the 18th century the remote scattered settlements of the extraparochial Forest of Dean, beyond the usual controls of local government, fostered individualism and disdain for authority. (fn. 1) An introspective society evolved with its own pronounced dialect and with customs and attitudes shaped by the Foresters' claims as free miners and commoners. Denied easy access to religious worship and education, Foresters were regarded as uncouth and ignorant, and their propensity to violence and riotous gatherings intimidated the inhabitants of surrounding districts. Despite certain improvements, (fn. 2) the Foresters continued in the early 19th century to display many of those traits which had informed an earlier description of the region's residents as 'a sort of robustic wild people'. (fn. 3) Excitable and pugnacious in character, they remained proud of their independence, suspicious of outsiders, and fierce in the defence of their customs. Their tendency to lawlessness was readily expressed in collective action, such as the bread riots of 1795 and 1801 and the inclosure riots of 1831, and their disregard of authority later manifested itself in a reluctance to pay local taxes. (fn. 4) Poaching and the violent incidents associated with it led the Crown to clear the Forest of deer in the early 1850s. (fn. 5)
Preachers began to evangelize the Foresters in the later 18th century and the first missionaries were nonconformists, some of them local men. (fn. 6) From the early 19th century a handful of Anglican clergy from neighbouring parishes also undertook missionary work. They built churches and schools (fn. 7) and one of them likened his work to that of a missionary in New Zealand. (fn. 8) Missionary work effected some improvement in Foresters' behaviour and moral character and increased Sunday observance, but in the mid 19th century superstitious belief, notably in the efficacy of charms and spells, remained widespread (fn. 9) and as late as 1865, twenty years after the first marriages were celebrated in the Forest's churches, (fn. 10) some couples lived together under fixed-term agreements drawn up like legal contracts. (fn. 11) Despite the achievements of Anglican clergy the Forest became a stronghold of religious nonconformity and chapels were important as meeting places and bastions of the temperance movement. In the later 19th century some congregations, notably the Baptists at Cinderford, numbered several hundreds. (fn. 12)
Beer had replaced cider as the Foresters' favoured beverage by 1841 (fn. 13) when, excluding the Speech House, there were 4 inns and 49 beerhouses in the main part of the extraparochial area. (fn. 14) In the 1850s and 1860s the illegal sale of beer, cider, and perry was widespread and even the smallest hamlets such as Shapridge, Fetter Hill, Palmer's Flat near Coleford, and Moseley Green had or were near one or more beerhouses. (fn. 15) Although some beerhouses were short lived, the number of licensed houses grew in the mid 19th century and East and West Dean contained 31 alehouses, 53 beerhouses, and 47 other licensed premises in 1891. Many adopted names reflecting the region's forestry, its mining and other industries, or its inhabitants' character (fn. 16) and many were meeting places for local societies, clubs, and lodges. (fn. 17) The practice of paying miners at them drew criticism from local temperance organizations in the 1860s. (fn. 18) The number of inns and beerhouses declined throughout the 20th century. (fn. 19)
The Speech House, the principal courthouse for the Forest (fn. 20) in the centre of the woodland beside the Littledean-Coleford road, had become an inn by 1841. (fn. 21) It had long been used for banquets on occasions such as the election of verderers, (fn. 22) and by 1851 and until the First World War the principal mine owners dined there after the biannual gale audit, when mining rents were paid to the Crown. (fn. 23) The Speech House also played an important role in the life of the wider Forest region. Sales of timber and bark, livestock markets and fairs, sporting events, and rallies were held in its grounds or nearby. (fn. 24) Large gatherings, notably a demonstration in 1850 to support the proposed Great Exhibition, took on the character of pleasure fairs (fn. 25) and the local miners' annual gala was held there from 1872 until the late 1930s. (fn. 26) The building, which was enlarged c. 1882, (fn. 27) was the scene of royal visits by Prince Albert in 1861 and Elizabeth II in 1957 (fn. 28) and remained open as a hotel in 1993.
Friendly societies, some of which originated as lodges of free miners, (fn. 29) abounded in the Forest in the mid 19th century and several co-operative societies were formed in the later 19th century. The deputy surveyor, some clergy and neighbouring landowners, and a few industrialists sponsored religious, educational, and recreational projects. (fn. 30) After the First World War the Miners' Welfare Fund assisted the building of village halls and institutes, often as memorials to the war dead, and the provision of playing fields, often created with voluntary labour on the sites of abandoned colliery tips. (fn. 31) In the later 20th century several new halls, social clubs, and recreation grounds were provided, and from the 1970s the county and district councils collaborated to build sports and arts facilities at Cinderford and Five Acres for school and public use. (fn. 32) Although the Forest had become a less isolated society by the mid 19th century, (fn. 33) it retained its distinct character until after the Second World War, (fn. 34) when mining and other traditional industries virtually disappeared and wider social changes affected the area. As in other coalfields in the 19th century, workingclass culture flowered with the formation of brass bands, choral societies, and football clubs, (fn. 35) some of which survived in 1993. In the mid 19th century club anniversaries and school treats were often marked by parades and religious services. (fn. 36) Until the mid 1850s those events were usually attended by musicians from neighbouring places such as Blakeney, Littledean, Mitcheldean, and Ross-on-Wye (Herefs.). (fn. 37) Marching bands later proliferated within the Forest (fn. 38) and local band contests became important events. (fn. 39) In 1864 a commentator noted that, like miners elsewhere, Foresters had excellent voices and enjoyed music. (fn. 40) The later burgeoning of chapel choirs and of local choral competitions led to the formation of choral societies and male voice choirs. (fn. 41) One annual competition, the Forest of Dean eisteddfod started in 1897, was usually held at Double View school in Cinderford. (fn. 42)
In the late 18th century Foresters regularly entertained themselves with open-air revels and sport. (fn. 43) In the mid 19th century several places were remembered as venues for country dancing. (fn. 44) Horse races were held in the region before 1734 when animals used for carrying coal and ore competed for a trophy at Crump meadow near the centre of the Forest. (fn. 45) In the mid 1870s horse races were held at the Speech House and on a meadow at Courtfield, across the river Wye from Lydbrook, (fn. 46) and in the early 20th century pony racing continued in a long ride running north from Cinderford to Merring Meend. (fn. 47) Cricket, and possibly rounders, were popular in the late 18th century (fn. 48) but early cricket clubs, one of which played in a field by the Speech House from 1858, had few Foresters among their members. (fn. 49) An archery club established before 1857 and patronized by members of fashionable society outside the Forest held summer meetings at the Speech House until 1867. (fn. 50) Football had become the Foresters' favourite sport by the 1850s (fn. 51) and nearly every village and large hamlet had a football club at the end of the century. (fn. 52) The Forest's sporting tradition owed much to the successes of its leading rugby union clubs before the First World War (fn. 53) and many players went on to join the Gloucester club. (fn. 54) Some ponds created for industrial purposes were used for recreation. One in the Oakwood valley near Bream had a boathouse in 1859 (fn. 55) and was used as a swimming pool later. (fn. 56) In 1993 several ponds, notably those at Cannop and Soudley, provided sport for anglers. (fn. 57) A local caving club was formed in 1964 to explore abandoned mines in the Forest area. (fn. 58) Sheep dog trials were held in several places in the later 20th century. (fn. 59)
In the early 19th century Dean's miners, many of whom were paid under the truck system, were often destitute (fn. 60) and when there was large-scale unemployment, as at the time of the 1831 inclosure riots, radical ideas were discussed widely. (fn. 61) In 1839 Foresters lent the Chartist rebels at Newport (Mon.) little support (fn. 62) but in the summer of 1842, after 300 colliers had demonstrated at Mitcheldean for the distribution of relief, a Chartist orator addressed large crowds at Cinderford Tump and Bilson. (fn. 63) Dean's miners first formed a trade union in 1871. (fn. 64) In the later 19th century the Liberal party had widespread support in the Forest. On polling day in 1874 antipathy to the Conservative party culminated at Cinderford in a riot during which the party's headquarters were ransacked and several houses were damaged. (fn. 65) Following that election a Liberal association was formed at Cinderford. (fn. 66) From 1885 the miners' vote was of crucial importance in the new Forest of Dean parliamentary division, which also embraced many outlying parishes, and it influenced the selection of Thomas Blake of Ross-on-Wye, a radical Liberal, as candidate, and his election as member, for the seat. Blake's successor as M.P., a man not as sympathetic to the Labour movement, stepped down in 1892 in favour of Sir Charles Dilke, Bt., the former Liberal cabinet minister. (fn. 67) Dilke, whom the Dean miners had long regarded as their champion, (fn. 68) served as the Forest's M.P. until his death in 1911. His successor Henry Webb, a colliery owner raised to a baronetcy in 1916, did not enjoy wholehearted backing from local Labour organizations and in 1918 their candidate took the seat from him. (fn. 69)
In the mid 19th century several publications called the Forester, the first of which appeared at the time of the 1831 riots, were produced for the mining communities of west Gloucestershire. The miners' union introduced the weekly Forest of Dean Examiner, part of a syndicated Labour press, published between 1873 and 1877. (fn. 70) Of newspapers published at Cinderford (fn. 71) the most successful was the Liberal Dean Forest Mercury started in 1881 by the printer John Cooksey with help from Samuel Charley, a Blakeney shopkeeper and newspaper reporter. (fn. 72) The Mercury, a weekly publication, abandoned its political affiliation after the First World War (fn. 73) and under the title of the Forester was amalgamated with weekly newspapers for Coleford and Lydney in 1991. (fn. 74)
Vernacular literature of the Forest region included in the 1830s the poetry of Catherine Drew of Littledean Woodside, which reflected on the impact of industrial and social change in the Forest, (fn. 75) and the more naïve writings of Richard Morse of Yorkley. (fn. 76) Among later writers the poet F. W. Harvey (1888-1957) spent his last years at Pillowell and Yorkley. (fn. 77) Recollections of Brierley in the 1920s appeared in A Child in the Forest, the reminiscences of Winifred Foley, (fn. 78) and the writer and dramatist Dennis Potter (1935-94), a native of Berry Hill, often drew on his Forest background for his plays. (fn. 79) In 1983 a museum illustrating the Forest's industrial heritage opened at Soudley. (fn. 80)
At Cinderford in 1841 there were two inns and at least ten beerhouses within that part of the extraparochial Forest extending to Upper Bilson, St. White's, and Ruspidge. (fn. 81) The White Hart inn, on the Littledean-Coleford road above Cinderford bridge, was recorded from 1834 (fn. 82) and was among the town's first meeting places. (fn. 83) The other inn, near the Cinderford ironworks, was built after 1834 (fn. 84) and was known as the Victoria hotel in 1851. (fn. 85) It had closed by 1901. (fn. 86) Of the beerhouses, one at the ironworks was known in 1832 as the Forge Hammer (fn. 87) and one on Bilson green later as the Barley Corn. (fn. 88) Outside the Forest there were two inns, the Royal Forester and the Royal Oak, on Littledean hill in 1838. (fn. 89) In the later 19th century Cinderford's principal inns were in High Street. The Royal Union, at the top of the street, was built in 1854, (fn. 90) and by the late 1860s several more inns, notably the Swan, the Lion (formerly the Dolphin), and the Fleece, had opened nearby and the Globe and the Seven Stars had opened lower down the street. (fn. 91) The Royal Union, closed by 1955, and the Fleece were demolished during remodelling of the town centre c. 1960. (fn. 92) In Ruspidge the New Inn and the Rising Sun, two of four inns at the bottom of Ruspidge Road in 1872, (fn. 93) remained open in 1993.
In the 1850s and 1860s many friendly societies, including several Odd Fellows' lodges, were based on inns in Cinderford and Ruspidge. (fn. 94) Of those meeting at the White Hart one, formed in the mid 1830s, had nearly 300 members and another was the Prince of Wales lodge of free miners. (fn. 95) In 1838 the Royal Forester and the Royal Oak each accommodated a friendly society (fn. 96) and in 1855 the former was used by a women's society. (fn. 97) Some societies, including at least two formed by miners at large pits, met at chapels, and several, notably the East Dean Economic Benefit Society formed at the Baptist chapel in 1854 by Timothy Mountjoy, promoted temperance. (fn. 98) In 1877 the opening of a temperance hotel and hall in the town was disturbed by the playing of a band employed by a local publican. (fn. 99) The town had several coffee houses in the late 1880s. (fn. 100) A co-operative society started by miners at Cinderford bridge in 1874 (fn. 101) came to dominate the town's retail trade. (fn. 102) The society's penny bank for children had 700 subscribers in 1897 and its anniversary celebration was a major event in the town's calendar until after the First World War. (fn. 103) The society, which also opened shops elsewhere in the Forest and in neighbouring towns and villages, took over several other societies and had c. 9,000 members in 1965. (fn. 104) It was later incorporated in the Gloucester & Severnside co-operative society, (fn. 105) which had several shops in the town in 1993.
The colliery owners Edward Protheroe (d. 1856) and Aaron Goold (d. 1862) influenced the development of Cinderford, (fn. 106) and the ironmaster Edwin Crawshay took an interest in the town while he lived at Abbotswood, in Ruspidge, in the 1860s and 1870s. (fn. 107) In the later 19th century the Crawley-Boeveys of Flaxley Abbey, whose estate included the town's Flaxley Meend district, assisted the building of a school and church there. (fn. 108) From 1869 the main public meeting place was the new town hall in High Street. Built by a company (fn. 109) and acquired before 1894 by the Cinderford co- operative society, (fn. 110) it was demolished c. 1960. (fn. 111) An iron hall built in Commercial Street in 1897 for public meetings and entertainments (fn. 112) became known as the Empire theatre. It closed after a fire in 1919. (fn. 113) A cinema was built in Belle Vue Road c. 1909. Rebuilt in 1919 after a fire and known from 1923 as the Palace theatre, it closed in 1966 and the building was adapted for a club. (fn. 114) The Miners' Welfare hall in Wesley Road opened in 1930 and had basement rooms for an institute. (fn. 115) It was the town's main public meeting place in the later 20th century. Mechanics' institutes started in the Cinderford area by Aaron Goold and others in the mid 19th century failed to attract members. (fn. 116) The Forest of Dean Recreative and Medical Aid Association formed before 1889 by F. L. Lucas of Newnham, a barrister, M. W. Colchester-Wemyss, a local landowner, and others established institutes for Cinderford and Ruspidge and provided books for their libraries. While the Cinderford institute, in High Street, was short lived the Ruspidge institute, housed in the former schoolroom next to St. John's church, had some success. In 1919 its use of the room was threatened by a dispute with St. John's parish (fn. 117) and later it moved to Ruspidge Road, (fn. 118) where a memorial hall was built in 1923. (fn. 119) In 1907 Cinderford's Baptists opened an interdenominational institute at St. Annals in Belle Vue Road, (fn. 120) which was used as offices by the rural district council from 1929. A branch of the county library opened there in 1933 (fn. 121) moved to new premises next to the house in 1961. (fn. 122) The Y.M.C.A. was active in the town for several years before 1917 when it bought a chapel in lower High Street. (fn. 123) Among social clubs in the town in 1993 was one in Commercial Street started just after the First World War for former soldiers and sailors. (fn. 124) In the later 19th century pleasure fairs accompanied livestock fairs in Cinderford. (fn. 125)
A recreation ground formed on land granted for public use in or before 1887 (fn. 126) was presumably that on Bilson green acquired as a site for the town's railway station, opened in 1900. (fn. 127) A recreation ground recorded nearby in 1911 (fn. 128) belonged to the miners' welfare association in 1925. (fn. 129) In the late 1880s land at Littledean Hill next to the Royal Oak was also used for recreation and by 1894 there was a recreation gound in Dockham Road. (fn. 130) A park or pleasure ground laid out by East Dean parish council in the Church Road area in 1902 was abandoned during the First World War. (fn. 131) In the mid 20th century playing fields were opened elsewhere in Cinderford and Ruspidge (fn. 132) and a field next to St. John's vicarage in St. White's Road, which was used for sports, (fn. 133) came under the management of Cinderford parish council. (fn. 134) In 1991 a sports centre opened next to the Heywood school in Causeway Road. Intended for school and public use, it had been built in stages, the first being a swimming pool in the 1970s, and it included a theatre in a converted gymnasium. (fn. 135)
A cricket club formed by members of St. John's church in 1880 played on waste ground before moving to Abbotswood in Ruspidge, where a cricket ground had been laid out by 1856 on Henry Crawshay's land. In 1899 the club built a pavilion there. (fn. 136) In 1910 Cinderford also had the Red Rose cricket club. (fn. 137) The Abbotswood ground was ploughed up in 1940, and after the Second World War St. John's club played in several places before moving in 1970 to a new ground at Whimsey. (fn. 138) Although not the first rugby football club in the town, Cinderford Football club, formed in 1886 and playing on the Dockham Road recreation ground from 1894, was one of the most successful in the county before the First World War. During that period the town had at least five other rugby clubs, including one called the White Rose. An annual competition between local colliery teams, established in 1926 by A. J. Morgan of Abbotswood to raise funds for Cinderford Football club, was short lived. The revival of rugby in Cinderford after the Second World War rested on the White Rose club. It played on a ground at Cinderford bridge and in 1955 it was reformed as Cinderford R.F.C. In 1963 the club moved to the Dockham Road ground, where a new clubhouse was opened in 1972. (fn. 139) The town's most successful association football club, Cinderford A.F.C. formed by 1935, (fn. 140) purchased its ground in Causeway Road before 1956. (fn. 141) A golf club had links at St. White's in 1926. (fn. 142) It disbanded after 1956. (fn. 143)
Prominent among Cinderford's brass bands in the mid 1850s was one called the Robin Hood band. (fn. 144) Temperance advocates started a fife and drum band at Ruspidge in 1864 and employees of the Forest Vale ironworks formed a band before 1869. (fn. 145) The Excelsior brass band, founded before 1897, (fn. 146) met at the Methodist chapel in Church Road and lapsed in the mid 20th century. The Town brass band originated in 1896 as a military recruiting band and in the 1980s had its headquarters at the Globe inn. (fn. 147) Cinderford had a new choral society in 1898 and a male voice choir in 1912, and Ruspidge a choral society in 1892. (fn. 148)
The earliest inns in Lydbrook, including one recorded in 1686, (fn. 149) were at Lower Lydbrook. There the New Inn, opened by 1806, (fn. 150) was known as the Old New Inn in 1845 (fn. 151) and had been renamed the Courtfield Arms by 1897. (fn. 152) Higher up the village the Bell and the Anchor had opened by 1792 and 1807 respectively. (fn. 153) In the mid 19th century there were numerous inns and beerhouses in the village; names included the Royal Forester, the Sawyers' Arms, the Puddlers' Arms, and the Yew Tree. (fn. 154) Lower Lydbrook had the Recruiting Sergeant in 1846 (fn. 155) and the Forge Hammer in 1870 (fn. 156) and Upper Lydbrook, where there were three beerhouses in 1841, (fn. 157) the Jovial Colliers in 1854 (fn. 158) and the Crown and Sceptre in 1859. (fn. 159) In 1885 the owners of tinplate works in the village, headed by temperance advocate R. B. Thomas, planned to open a coffee house. (fn. 160) Four inns, the Courtfield Arms, the Anchor, the Forge Hammer, and the Jovial Colliers, were open in 1993. A friendly society met at the Bell in 1808 (fn. 161) and there were many societies, including branches of the Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of Foresters, based on Lydbrook's inns in the mid 19th century. (fn. 162) One of the largest, the Royal William Benefit Society formed in 1834, had 170 members in 1853. (fn. 163) A friendly society for women was started in 1853. (fn. 164) A co-operative society formed at Upper Lydbrook in 1880 (fn. 165) was wound up during the 1926 miners' strike and the Cinderford society bought its store in 1933. (fn. 166) Another co-operative society traded at Lower Lydbrook in the late 19th century. (fn. 167)
In the later 19th century and the early 20th the Vaughans of Courtfield played an important role in the life of Lydbrook. Their meadow across the river Wye from the village was used for sports and such events as an annual horticultural show founded in the mid 1890s. (fn. 168) In 1868 a public reading room was opened in a former chapel at Lower Lydbrook under the patronage of local landowners and industrialists, (fn. 169) and from 1873 the village's principal meeting place was a new wooden market hall provided next to the Anchor inn by the ironmaster William Russell. (fn. 170) The hall, used as a cinema just after the First World War, (fn. 171) was demolished before 1974. (fn. 172) At Upper Lydbrook, where an institute was formed, probably by the Forest of Dean Recreative and Medical Aid Association, in 1892, (fn. 173) a memorial hall opened in 1926 became a centre of social and educational activities. (fn. 174) It was also used as a cinema until the 1960s and an adjoining building, housing a library in 1959, (fn. 175) was replaced by a health centre, opened in 1976. (fn. 176) A British Legion club had new premises in the village in 1980. (fn. 177) The Trafalgar brass band, the most notable colliery band in the Forest, was formed before 1866 and was one of several bands in the village in the early 20th century. It later became the Lydbrook silver band. (fn. 178) Lydbrook had at least one rugby club in 1892 (fn. 179) and one of two rugby clubs there in the early 20th century played on the meadow at Courtfield. Rugby ceased to be the village's main sport in the late 1920s when an association football club, formed in 1919 by local Baptists, took over the Courtfield ground. That club, which became one of the more successful clubs in the region, later played on a recreation ground at Upper Lydbrook. (fn. 180) The ground, near the memorial hall, was created in 1934 and 1935 by removing a massive colliery tip from the site. (fn. 181)
Leading figures in the early life of Parkend included the Revd. Henry Poole (d. 1857), who built St. Paul's church, and Edward Machen, who as deputy surveyor of the Forest until 1854 lived at Whitemead Park. (fn. 182) In 1841 the village had the Fountain inn (fn. 183) and a beerhouse at its ironworks. (fn. 184) Among Parkend's other inns the British Lion opened as a beerhouse in 1849 (fn. 185) and closed in the 1920s. (fn. 186) The Fountain and the Woodman, the latter known in the late 1870s as the New Inn, (fn. 187) were open in 1993. Several friendly societies met at the Fountain in the mid 1850s (fn. 188) and a branch of the Ancient Order of Foresters dined at another inn in 1863. (fn. 189) A co-operative society had a store in the village in 1870 (fn. 190) but did not long survive. By 1901 a reading room and institute had opened with the help of Philip Baylis, the deputy surveyor, in a pavilion brought from the Speech House (fn. 191) and in 1909, under Baylis's successor V. F. Leese, the institute moved together with a forestry school to a building which had been part of the Parkend ironworks. The school used the whole of that building from 1914 (fn. 192) and the institute's funds were assigned to a new memorial hall in the village in 1920. (fn. 193) A working men's club had its own premises in 1960. (fn. 194) Parkend had a brass band in 1863. (fn. 195) A silver band was formed in 1893 from the pipe and fife band of New Fancy colliery. (fn. 196) There was a cricket club in the village in 1892 (fn. 197) and an association football club in 1923. (fn. 198) A field in the centre of Parkend was used as a sports ground by the late 1950s. (fn. 199)
Among the settlements east of Lydbrook, the changing character of Forest society in the later 20th century was clearly illustrated at the Pludds, where the village beerhouse, shops, choral society, cricket club, and the chapel at nearby Knights Hill had closed or been disbanded by the late 1980s. (fn. 200) The wooden village hall, built in 1975, (fn. 201) was in use in 1993. At Ruardean Woodside there was a beerhouse on the Forest boundary in 1841 (fn. 202) and another nearby in 1862; (fn. 203) the Roebuck, the survivor of the two, closed in the early 1990s. A memorial hall was built there in 1922. (fn. 204) In 1841 Ruardean Hill and Nailbridge each had two beerhouses (fn. 205) and by 1853 there was a beerhouse called the China Court on Morse Road. (fn. 206) In the early 20th century Ruardean Hill had cricket and rugby and association football clubs, some based on public houses in the adjoining part of Ruardean parish, and in 1927 a recreation ground was opened on the hill. (fn. 207) The Baptist chapel, an early centre of social life on the hill, had a fife and drum band in the late 1890s and was the home of a choral society formed in 1914. That society incorporated an older choir formed by members of the Cinderford male voice choir. (fn. 208)
Drybrook's principal inn, the Hearts of Oak, was built as a beerhouse in 1838 (fn. 209) and was known for a long time as the New Inn. A friendly society for miners was meeting there in 1849. (fn. 210) Later inns in the village centre, including the Royal Oak recorded in 1852, (fn. 211) had been closed by 1993. Drybrook also had a coffee house in 1889. (fn. 212) From the mid 19th century members of the Brain family of industrialists lived in or near Drybrook and attended its Congregational chapel. (fn. 213) A women's choir attached to the chapel continued to meet after the Second World War (fn. 214) and a male voice choir had its own hall in the village by 1990. A memorial hall and institute, built shortly after the First World War, (fn. 215) housed a library in 1947 (fn. 216) and was used for social functions in 1993. In 1921 Drybrook also had a cinema and a recreation ground. (fn. 217) Of the village's early rugby clubs (fn. 218) one, formed in 1892 and later called Drybrook R.F.C., acquired a ground by the Mitcheldean road in the mid 20th century and fielded nine teams in the early 1990s. (fn. 219) The Drybrook band, re-formed in 1924, became a silver band in 1926 (fn. 220) and built its own hall in 1984. (fn. 221)
On the east side of the Forest there was a beerhouse called the Odd Fellows' Arms at Stenders, above Mitcheldean, in 1841. (fn. 222) At Plump Hill the Miners' Arms, in 1857 the meeting place of a friendly society with 130 members, was the principal beerhouse. (fn. 223) Known later as the Point inn, (fn. 224) it closed after 1960. (fn. 225) Of the two beerhouses at Pope's Hill in 1841 (fn. 226) that known later as the Greyhound (fn. 227) was open in 1993. Pope's Hill had its own association football club in 1924. (fn. 228)
In the Soudley area there were two beerhouses on Bradley hill in 1841 (fn. 229) and a friendly society met in 1857 in the one called the White Horse. (fn. 230) In 1993 there was a public house on the hill and Soudley village had the White Horse inn. A memorial hall built in the village c. 1924 (fn. 231) was later demolished. A new hall built in the mid 1970s on a different site next to a recreation ground (fn. 232) was used for village activities and by Soudley A.F.C. in 1993. The recreation ground was laid out on land given to the people of Soudley and Blakeney Hill c. 1904 (fn. 233) and an open-air service on it in 1906 was attended by a band from Two Bridges. (fn. 234) Two Bridges also had an association football club in the mid 1930s. (fn. 235)
The villages and hamlets on the southern edge of the Forest, from Blakeney Hill in the east to Whitecroft in the west, benefited from the benevolence of Charles Bathurst (d. 1863) and his successors as owners of the Lydney Park estate to the south. (fn. 236) In 1841 the Yorkley area contained seven beerhouses on Crown land, one each at Old Furnace bottom, Viney Hill, Yorkley, and Pillowell, and three at Whitecroft. (fn. 237) In Old Furnace bottom there were three inns near the new Blakeney-Parkend road in 1851; they included the Tump House (fn. 238) which remained open until 1969. (fn. 239) At Viney Hill the Albion inn, where a burial club met and a Blakeney friendly society held its anniversary in 1855, (fn. 240) closed after 1957 (fn. 241) and the New Inn, recorded from 1876, (fn. 242) was open in 1993. The Nag's Head, the oldest inn in Yorkley, had opened by 1788. (fn. 243) Later inns there, including the Stag opened by 1870, (fn. 244) have closed, apart from the Bailey (formerly the Royal Oak) inn. (fn. 245) At Pillowell a beerhouse known in 1901 as the Royal Foresters' Arms closed after 1958 (fn. 246) but at Phipps Bottom the Swan, so called in 1891, (fn. 247) was open in 1993. In 1993 Whitecroft had the Miners' Arms, one of the beerhouses there in 1841. (fn. 248) Among friendly societies meeting at the Nag's Head was a branch of the Odd Fellows established in 1834 and, in 1853, a women's benefit society. (fn. 249) The Yorkley and Pillowell co-operative society, formed by 1892, (fn. 250) traded at Pillowell. (fn. 251) In 1955 it merged with the Gloucester society. (fn. 252) Yorkley had a working men's institute in 1892. (fn. 253) A new institute was built on Bailey hill c. 1910 and a recreation ground was laid out next to it in the early 1920s as the district's war memorial. (fn. 254) The area's earliest recreation ground was between Yorkley and Oldcroft on waste land given for public use c. 1893 and was used by a cricket club in 1914. (fn. 255) Further east towards Viney Hill a football ground laid out opposite All Saints' school before 1957 (fn. 256) included the new building of a sports and social club in 1993. At Pillowell the earliest recreation ground was on land at the edge of Kidnalls wood, to the south, donated by Lord Bledisloe c. 1919. (fn. 257) Among brass bands in the area was one at Yorkley in 1853 (fn. 258) and one founded at Pillowell in 1889. Yorkley Onward band started in 1903 as an offshoot of the Pillowell band and its hall, built in 1913, has been used for village activities. (fn. 259) In 1897 there was a mutual improvement and choral society in Pillowell. (fn. 260) In 1993 Whitecroft had a memorial hall dating from 1924. (fn. 261) A later building next to it has been used as an institute and by local societies and clubs. (fn. 262) The village had a successful rugby club before the First World War (fn. 263) and a male voice choir in the mid 20th century. (fn. 264) At Brockhollands a small hall was built by the miners' welfare committee in the early 1930s. (fn. 265)
In the Bream area the Rising Sun, on the edge of the Forest north of the old part of Bream village, was the meeting place of a friendly society in 1787. (fn. 266) Later licensed houses in the area included a beerhouse at Bream's Eaves in 1841, (fn. 267) the Two Swans in High Street southwest of the Rising Sun in 1869, and the King's Head at Bream Woodside, the Miners' Rest at Bream's Meend, and the Miners' Arms on the Coleford road at Bream Tufts in the late 1870s. (fn. 268) They had all closed by 1993, when Bream retained the Rising Sun, renamed the Village Inn, and the Cross Keys, which had moved from the old village centre to a building on the Parkend road c. 1960. (fn. 269) A co-operative society trading at Bream in 1897 was absorbed by the Cinderford society before 1935. (fn. 270) J. F. Gosling, vicar of Bream 1869-82, (fn. 271) started a coffee and reading room at the village school. (fn. 272) Sun green, to the south-west, was given to the people of Bream for their recreation c. 1887 and a village institute started in the early 20th century moved in 1908 to a new temporary building next to the ground. (fn. 273) That building was replaced after 1970 by a new social club on the same site. (fn. 274) From 1927 the village's main meeting place was a new Miners' Welfare hall in High Street. Later the hall was a cinema and in the 1960s it was rebuilt as the headquarters of the Bream rugby club. That club traced its origins to 1878. (fn. 275) Several other halls and huts in the area have been used for meetings and entertainments. One was a cinema until it was dismantled during the First World War. (fn. 276) A branch of the county library service occupied an iron building on the Whitecroft road in 1959 (fn. 277) and moved to a building vacated by the village school in the mid 1970s. (fn. 278) Among local societies was a male voice choir started in the late 1940s. (fn. 279)
In the hamlets north-west of Bream a beerhouse, known locally as the Dog and Muffler, had opened in the mill house at Oakwood by 1856. (fn. 280) It closed after 1960. (fn. 281) A beerhouse on Clements End green in 1878 (fn. 282) was known as the Montague inn in 1993. On Clearwell Meend a beerhouse in the Sling area was called the Miners' Arms in 1841. (fn. 283) Another building nearby had adopted that name by the late 1870s (fn. 284) and remained an inn in 1993. A memorial hall built at Sling c. 1921 was superseded by a new Miners' Welfare institute in 1931. (fn. 285) It was a social club in 1993. Further north on Clearwell Meend a bandstand erected in the early 20th century near the Coleford road (fn. 286) was replaced c. 1980 by a stand on a different site. (fn. 287) At Milkwall a beerhouse opened by the late 1870s (fn. 288) was known as the Tufthorn inn in 1993. A wooden village hall was built after the First World War and a recreation ground was laid out in the mid 1930s. (fn. 289) An association football club had its own ground by the later 1950s. A social club built at Milkwall by 1959 was later enlarged. (fn. 290)
There were four beerhouses on extraparochial land in the Lane End district in 1841, one at Coalway and three at Broadwell. (fn. 291) Of Coalway's three public houses in the late 1870s (fn. 292) the Crown remained open in 1993 together with a later inn called the Britannia. A recreation ground was laid out at Coalway in the later 1930s and a village hall was built on it in 1988. (fn. 293) At Broadwell the Bird in Hand, one of the beerhouses there in 1841, (fn. 294) remained open in 1993, but other inns, including the Rising Sun recorded in the late 1870s, (fn. 295) had closed. In 1886 a fife and drum band was based on Broadwell. (fn. 296) Broadwell's memorial hall, built in 1921, (fn. 297) housed a library in 1955. (fn. 298) A social club next to the hall was enlarged after 1959. (fn. 299) Broadwell also had a football ground by 1959. (fn. 300) At Mile End the Royal Forester inn had opened by the mid 1870s. (fn. 301)
Of the beerhouses and inns opened in the Berry Hill area in the mid 19th century the King's Head at Berry Hill, the Rising Sun at Five Acres, and the Dog and Muffler (in 1838 the New Inn and later the Britannia) at Joyford (fn. 302) remained open in 1993. Short Standing, where there was a beerhouse in 1841 (fn. 303) and two public houses in the later 19th century, (fn. 304) was without a public house from c. 1990. An inn between Berry Hill and Five Acres, in the late 1870s the Globe beerhouse, (fn. 305) reopened in 1993 after a few years' closure. In 1919 there was a recreation ground at Five Acres and in the early 1920s a Y.M.C.A. hut was erected next to it as an institute and war memorial for the Berry Hill area. (fn. 306) A recreation ground created nearby in 1926 became the home of Berry Hill Rugby Football club. The club, one of the most successful in the Forest, had its origins in the early 1890s and its senior team was the county's champion side several times in the 1980s. (fn. 307) In 1987 a leisure centre opened on the school campus at Five Acres, then occupied by Lakers school and the Royal Forest of Dean College. The centre, which took over 10 years to build, included a swimming pool and, together with the college theatre, was for public as well as school use. (fn. 308) A social club was built in Berry Hill before 1960. (fn. 309) In the early 1880s there were two brass bands in the area, one made up of members of a temperance organization and the other of employees of Speedwell colliery. (fn. 310) A silver band based on Salem chapel in the 1930s (fn. 311) practised in an iron hut behind the chapel in 1993. Worrall Hill had a recreation ground in the mid 1950s. (fn. 312)
In the hamlets towards the centre of the Forest a beerhouse recorded at Brierley in 1841 became known as the Quarryman's Arms (fn. 313) and was the meeting place of a friendly society in 1853; (fn. 314) the hamlet had the Swan inn in 1993. Brierley also had an institute in 1921 (fn. 315) and an association football club in 1936, (fn. 316) and a recreation ground had been laid out there by the late 1950s. (fn. 317) In the small hamlet of Moseley Green a public house called the Rising Sun in 1879 (fn. 318) remained open in 1993.