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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Although numbered Five, this is the eighth volume to be published of the Victoria History of Gloucestershire and the seventh since the revival of the Gloucestershire History in 1958. The arrangements by which the Gloucestershire County Council and the University of London collaborate to produce the Gloucestershire History are indicated in the editorial note to Gloucestershire, Volume Six. In 1995, however, the Council gave notice that Government limits on local-authority finances would not permit it to continue the partnership in its existing form. When this volume went to press, the Council was negotiating a partnership with Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education to continue the work of the History. Once again it is the General Editor's pleasure to record the University's gratitude for the Council's continuing generosity during the compilation of this volume.
In 1991 the County Council transferred the supervision of the compilation of the Victoria History of Gloucestershire from its Recreation and Leisure Committee to its Education Committee.
The authors and editors of the volume have drawn widely on the help, information, and advice of many people and bodies, too numerous all to be mentioned here but named in the footnotes to the articles with which they helped. All are most cordially thanked. Particular thanks are owed for help and advice to Dr. C. E. Hart, a distinguished historian of the Forest of Dean and its senior verderer, whose papers, deposited in the Gloucestershire Record Office and including many photocopies and transcripts of Public Record Office sources for the history of the Forest, have also much aided the research for this volume, and to Mr. I. J. Standing, curator of Dean Heritage Museum. Among others who have given help with particular aspects of the work, that of Mr. J. E. Everard, deputy surveyor of the Forest of Dean district of Forest Enterprise, Mrs. C. Chamberlain, Mrs. A. Bayliss, Professor J. R. L. Allen, Mr. G. L. Clissold, Mr. B. C. Frith, Mr. O. B. Hepworth, Mr. Ian Pope, and Mr. A. M. R. Watts is warmly acknowledged. Warm thanks are also offered to Professor C. R. Elrington, who after his retirement as General Editor of the Victoria History in 1994 continued to help with the editing of the volume.
For access to records in their possession grateful acknowledgement is made to his Grace the duke of Beaufort for items in the Badminton Muniments, and to Mr. R. J. Berkeley for items in the Berkeley Castle Muniments, and to the National Library of Wales, Hereford Record Office, and Suffolk Record Office. The Clifton diocesan archivist gave permission for access to documents deposited in Bristol Record Office. The staff of Gloucestershire Record Office, under the County and Diocesan Archivist, Mr. D. J. H. Smith, continued their indispensable aid and encouragement, and the staff of the Gloucester Library their help with access to the Gloucestershire Collection. The library of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, of which the senior Local Studies librarian at Gloucester Library, Mr. G. Baker, is honorary librarian, has once again been another valuable resource.
The structure, aims, and progress of the Victoria History as a whole are described in the General Introduction (1970) and its Supplement (1990).