Forest of Dean: Churches

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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A P Baggs. A R J Jurica, 'Forest of Dean: Churches', A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean, (London, 1996), pp. 389-396. British History Online [accessed 13 June 2024].

A P Baggs. A R J Jurica. "Forest of Dean: Churches", in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean, (London, 1996) 389-396. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Jurica, A R J. "Forest of Dean: Churches", A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean, (London, 1996). 389-396. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024,


Before the 19th century the royal demesne land of the Forest of Dean was extraparochial and had no churches. Newland church, the rector of which was entitled under grants of 1283 and 1305 to the tithes of Whitemead and of new closes and assarts within the Forest, (fn. 1) was regarded as the Foresters' parish church (fn. 2) and in the early 16th century one of its chantry priests was required to preach the gospel twice a week at forges and mines within the parish. (fn. 3) By the late 18th century Foresters and inhabitants of detached parts of Newland lying intermingled with the Forest attended several churches near the extraparochial area. (fn. 4) A society formed at Coleford under the auspices of Henry Ryder, the new bishop of Gloucester, in 1815 to sell bibles cheaply in the Forest region was supported by local clergy, both Anglican and nonconformist, (fn. 5) and a similar society was started at Lydbrook in 1830. (fn. 6) The Forest's first consecrated churches or chapels,Christ Church (1816) at Berry Hill, Holy Trinity (1817) near Drybrook, and St. Paul (1822) at Parkend, were built with some assistance from the Crown, acting mostly through the Commissioners of Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues, for missions conducted by neighbouring clergymen, one of whom also provided a Sunday schoolroom at Lydbrook. The cost of the chapels, which had congregations of poor people drawn from surrounding settlements, was largely borne by their clergy, and in 1830 the Commissioners of Woods established a trust fund to keep the three buildings in repair. The chapels remained without parishes and some parts of the Forest continued under the clergy of adjoining parishes (fn. 7) until the mid 1840s when, under an Act of 1842, the Forest was divided into four ecclesiastical districts, one being for a new church at Cinderford, (fn. 8) dedicated to St. John the Evangelist in 1844. More churches and school-chapels were built in the later 19th century, including the churches at Lydbrook and Viney Hill, and missions were opened in lesser hamlets before the First World War, some of them organized by Bream, Clearwell, and Coleford churches, (fn. 9) which in the later 19th century were given charge over parts of the Forest. (fn. 10)

The church of ALL SAINTS, Viney Hill, begun in 1865 and consecrated in 1867, was built as a memorial to Charles Bathurst (d. 1863) of Lydney Park by his wife Mary and his brother and heir, the Revd. W. H. Bathurst. (fn. 11) In the mid 1830s the Viney Hill area was visited by the curate of Blakeney and the vicar of Awre. (fn. 12) Later Henry Poole organized missions from St. Paul's church, Parkend, and in the early 1850s he built school-chapels between Viney Hill and Oldcroft and at Blakeney Woodside with the help of Charles Bathurst and Edward Machen, deputy surveyor of the Forest. (fn. 13) That between Viney Hill and Oldcroft, which became known as St. Swithin, (fn. 14) was replaced for services by All Saints' church, further east. All Saints was in 1866 assigned a parish taken from that of St. Paul's church and including Blakeney Hill and Yorkley Slade. (fn. 15) The benefice, described as a perpetual curacy (later a vicarage), was given a stipend of £150, of which £100 was secured by an endowment from Mary and W. H. Bathurst, (fn. 16) and a new house north of the church. (fn. 17) The patronage was vested in W. H. Bathurst (fn. 18) and descended with the Lydney Park estate (fn. 19) until 1936 when Viscount Bledisloe gave it to University College, Oxford. (fn. 20)

All Saints' church, built of local red sandstone with grey sandstone dressings, was designed by Ewan Christian (fn. 21) in a late 13th-century style with an apsidal chancel flanked by quadrant chapels and a nave with north transept and south aisle and porch. The north chapel was used as a vestry and the south chapel was converted in the early 20th century as a choir vestry. Of the fittings the organ, in the transept, was bought between 1900 and 1904 to replace another instrument. (fn. 22) The two bells hanging in a bellcot over the chancel were cast in 1867 by Mears & Stainbank. (fn. 23) The plate includes an almsdish donated in 1901 by Charles Bathurst (later Viscount Bledisloe) (fn. 24) and a chalice and paten given in memory of C. R. Williams, vicar 1922-50. (fn. 25) The mission to Blakeney Woodside continued under All Saints' church until its abandonment before 1950. (fn. 26) In 1875 A. D. Pringle, vicar of Blakeney, began holding Sunday services in a former Baptist meeting house at Blakeney Hill. (fn. 27) The building was presumably that used as a mission hall until at least 1901. (fn. 28)

CHRIST CHURCH, Berry Hill, was consecrated in 1816 (fn. 29) but dates from 1812 when P. M. Procter, vicar of Newland, built a school-chapel for his mission to the Forest. The site was acquired from Thomas Morgan, a coal miner in whose cottage, to the north, Procter had started preaching in 1804, (fn. 30) and grants and subscriptions towards the school-chapel came from, among others, the duke of Beaufort, the bishop, and the National Society. (fn. 31) The building was opened in 1813 and after a year or so was used solely as a free chapel (fn. 32) by people from the settlements around Berry Hill and sometimes from as far afield as Lydbrook, Worrall Hill, Hillersland, and the Lane End district. (fn. 33) To endow the chapel Procter obtained a grant of 5 a. in the Forest from the Commissioners of the Treasury in 1813 and, having raised funds by a public appeal, purchased 26 a. in Coleford in 1815 and Morgan's cottage. The endowment, which he vested with the chapel and its patronage in trustees, (fn. 34) was augmented by Queen Anne's Bounty in 1817 with a grant of £2,000 (fn. 35) and included c. 92 a. of glebe in Coleford in 1840. (fn. 36) It provided an income of £140 in 1832 (fn. 37) and £118 10s. 6d. in 1842. (fn. 38) Procter, who paid part of his debt arising from the chapel's foundation with £500 in grants obtained in 1818 with the help of Nicholas Vansittart, Chancellor of the Exchequer, (fn. 39) was minister until his death in 1822. His successors, sometimes described as perpetual curates, included from 1824 T. R. Garnsey (d. 1847), who held weekday meetings in the Lane End district, Joyford, and elsewhere. (fn. 40)

In 1844 Christ Church was assigned a district or parish extending to Mirystock, Cannop, and Broadwell Lane End. (fn. 41) It lost Broadwell in 1890 to the ecclesiastical parish of Coleford. (fn. 42) Under the Act of 1842 the patronage of Christ Church was transferred to the Crown and the chapel became a perpetual curacy with an income increased to £150 by an endowment from the Commissioners of Woods. (fn. 43) The benefice, later styled a vicarage, (fn. 44) was united with English Bicknor in 1972. The patronage of the new benefice was shared by the Crown and the Society for the Maintenance of the Faith, the latter having the right to fill the second of every four vacancies. (fn. 45) Christ Church vicarage house in what had been Thomas Morgan's cottage, enlarged c. 1840 (fn. 46) with later additions, was retained for the benefice in 1972. (fn. 47) By 1989 it was used for retreats and conferences, (fn. 48) the incumbent living in a new bungalow south of the church.

The original church, on the road between Coleford and English Bicknor, was the schoolchapel of 1812, a simple building with a west bellcot. (fn. 49) The chapel became a north aisle in 1815 when a new nave was added to double its size and a west gallery was erected. A west tower, designed by the Revd. Henry Poole, was added a few years after 1819 (fn. 50) and a chancel with octagonal apse and north organ chamber, designed by the firm of Waller, Son, and Wood for the vicar, Christopher Barnes, in 1884 and 1885. (fn. 51) The church was restored in 1913, when a south-west vestry was added, the gallery removed, the nave repewed, and a chancel screen erected; the screen was removed before 1966. (fn. 52) The church has one bell (fn. 53) and its font is similar to that provided for the church which Henry Poole built at Parkend in the early 1820s. (fn. 54)

The church of HOLY JESUS, Lydbrook, was begun in 1850 and consecrated in 1851. (fn. 55) It was built in Upper Lydbrook in the grounds of a Sunday schoolroom (fn. 56) which Henry Berkin, minister of Holy Trinity church, Harrow Hill, had erected in 1821. Services were held in the room from 1822, the mission to Lydbrook being conducted by Berkin's curate. (fn. 57) Some Lydbrook people attended church at Welsh Bicknor (Herefs., formerly Mon.), on the opposite side of the river Wye. (fn. 58) Impetus for building Lydbrook church came from John Burdon, rector of English Bicknor, (fn. 59) and £2,000 for the project was given by Edward Machen and his relatives. The remaining cost was met by grants and voluntary contributions, including £250 from local tinplate manufacturers Allaway & Partridge. (fn. 60) The church served an area centred on Lydbrook and created a consolidated chapelry in 1852 out of parts of the parishes of Holy Trinity, English Bicknor, Newland, and Ruardean. The living was styled a perpetual curacy (fn. 61) (later a vicarage) (fn. 62) and its initial endowments included a stipend of £90 from the Commissioners of Woods and, by the grant of John Burdon, £30 from the English Bicknor tithe rent charge. (fn. 63) The Crown and the patrons of English Bicknor had alternate rights of presentation. The bishop, to whom the right for English Bicknor was transferred in 1884, (fn. 64) became sole patron after 1939. (fn. 65) The endowments were augmented in 1854 when Queen Anne's Bounty gave £200 to meet gifts totalling £800. (fn. 66) Soon afterwards a parsonage was built some way south-east of the church on land given by the Commissioners of Woods. (fn. 67) The house was sold after the Second World War and the incumbent was provided with a new house at Mirystock, to the south-east. (fn. 68) The Sunday schoolroom, which housed a day school from 1849 to 1909 and served as a church hall after that, (fn. 69) was pulled down in 1975 and a new vicarage house was built on its site. (fn. 70)

The church, built of local gritstone with Bath stone dressings, was designed by Henry Woodyer in a 14th-century style, having a chan cel with north sacristy, a clerestoried and aisled nave with south porch, and a west tower with saddle-back roof. (fn. 71) In 1912 an organ chamber was built between the sacristy and the north aisle and a choir vestry was added at the north-west corner of the church. A few windows have been filled with memorial glass, that in the east window of the chancel being provided in 1908 by Richard Thomas, formerly owner of the Lydbrook tinplate works. (fn. 72) The church has a bell cast in 1850 by John Warner and Sons of London (fn. 73) and a set of plate made in the same year by John Keith. (fn. 74)

Holy Trinity Church And School, Harrow Hill, Built in 1817.

HOLY TRINITY at Harrow Hill, near Drybrook, known locally as the Forest church, (fn. 75) was opened in 1817 and consecrated later the same year. It was built as a free chapel by its first minister, Henry Berkin, (fn. 76) then curate of Weston under Penyard (Herefs.), who began holding services in the Forest in 1812 while at Mitcheldean. (fn. 77) In 1816 the Commissioners of the Treasury acting for the Crown granted 5 a. for the church to trustees. The land lay in two pieces, the smaller on Quarry hill where Berkin built the church and a schoolroom and the larger to the south-east where he built a parsonage. (fn. 78) The costs were met partly by grants, including £500 from the Treasury, and by a public subscription to which the duke of Beaufort, constable of St. Briavels, contributed. (fn. 79) In 1817 Queen Anne's Bounty endowed the church with £2,200, which produced an income of £88, and in 1825 the endowment was augmented with grants totalling £500. The income from the endowments fell in 1829 from £108 to £91 13s. (fn. 80) and in 1832 Berkin's income was £97 16s. (fn. 81) Berkin, under whom the church was attended by people from as far away as Lea Bailey, Pope's Hill, Blaize Bailey, Cinderford, and Lydbrook, (fn. 82) was sometimes styled a perpetual curate. (fn. 83) From 1821, when he also had the cure of Hope Mansell (Herefs.) adjoining the Forest, he was assisted by a curate, (fn. 84) whose stipend was paid by a benefactor. Berkin entrusted the curate with a mission to Lydbrook, for which he built a Sunday schoolroom. (fn. 85) Isaac Bridgman, the first curate, also preached at Littledean Hill, Cinderford, and Gunn's Mills but his affinities with nonconformist preachers led to his estrangement from Berkin (fn. 86) and in 1822 to the revoking of his licence and to an interdict against his officiating in any church in the diocese. (fn. 87)

In 1844 Holy Trinity was assigned a district or parish comprising the northern part of the Forest and extending from Pope's Hill in the east to Lydbrook in the west. The parish was created under the 1842 Act, (fn. 88) by which the patronage of Holy Trinity, vested in 1816 in its trustees, (fn. 89) was transferred to the Crown and the church became a perpetual curacy with an income of £150 secured by a further endowment from the Commissioners of Woods. (fn. 90) The living was later styled a vicarage. (fn. 91) Berkin, who conducted cottage lectures as part of his mission to the Forest, remained at Holy Trinity until his death in 1847. (fn. 92) His successor H. G. Nicholls, author of a history of the Forest, (fn. 93) also organized missions to outlying parts of the parish, where services were held on Sunday evenings in a factory, called the Mill, from 1849 and in schoolchapels opened at Ruardean Woodside, Hawthorns, and Littledean Hill in the early 1850s. (fn. 94) Under William Barker, minister 1866-97, services were held for a time at Ruardean Woodside and at the new Drybrook school. (fn. 95) Berkin's successors lived in his parsonage until the 1970s when it was sold. (fn. 96) A new vicarage house was built north of the church. Holy Trinity parish was reduced in size in 1852 and 1880 when parts were transferred to new parishes at Lydbrook and Cinderford respectively (fn. 97) and between 1909 and 1912 when outlying areas in the north and east passed to ancient parishes adjoining the Forest. (fn. 98)

The church, of roughly coursed stone with ashlar dressings, was built under Henry Berkin's personal supervision (fn. 99) to a plan comprising a small chancel with north vestry, a broad nave with north and south porches, and a west tower. (fn. 100) It had galleries running along three sides of the nave (fn. 101) until 1853 when those on the north and south sides were taken down and other fittings were rearranged. In 1902 the church was reseated, a new pulpit installed, and the organ moved from the west gallery. (fn. 102) The font presumably provided by Berkin was kept in the church in 1992 when another font, given in 1904, was in use. The east window contains a stained-glass memorial to James Lawton, vicar 1897-1922. The church has two bells, one for the sanctus, cast by John Rudhall in 1817 and a set of eight tubular bells installed as part of a memorial to the dead of the First World War. (fn. 103)

The church of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, Cinderford, was begun in 1843 and consecrated in 1844. (fn. 104) The site on Cinderford Tump, the hill north-east of Cinderford bridge, was given by the Crown, which in 1855 also provided a few acres of land to the north-east for the minister's glebe and parsonage. (fn. 105) The cost of the church was borne principally by Charles Bathurst together with the Crown, the philanthropist the Revd. S. W. Warneford, and the solicitor Thomas Graham, formerly clerk to the Dean Forest commissioners. (fn. 106) During its construction T. G. Smythies, who was to become the first minister, held services in Edward Protheroe's new school to the south. (fn. 107) Under the 1842 Act the church was a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Crown and its fabric was maintained by the Commissioners of Woods from a trust fund. (fn. 108) In 1845 the church was given a district or parish comprising the eastern part of the Forest from Blaize Bailey in the east to Cannop in the west and including Ruspidge and Soudley in the south. (fn. 109) The benefice, which under the Act had an income of £150 secured by an endowment from the Commissioners of Woods, (fn. 110) was later styled a vicarage. (fn. 111) Its parsonage, built to designs by Francis Niblett in 1855, (fn. 112) was sold in the later 20th century and a house provided elsewhere. Missions were sent from the church to the northern part of Cinderford, which became a separate parish in 1880, (fn. 113) and to Soudley, where a permanent church was built. (fn. 114)

St. John's church, built of sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings, was designed by Edward Blore (fn. 115) in an early 13th-century style with an apsidal sanctuary with north vestry and an aisled nave with short transepts, south porch, and small south-west tower and spire. (fn. 116) Galleries in the transepts and at the west end were taken down during restoration work in 1874 when the internal walls of the nave were lined with brick and the west gallery was rebuilt. In 1905 a new organ was put in the north transept and in 1912 a chancel was formed by raising the floor at the eastern end and erecting a low stone screen between it and the rest of the church. A wooden screen was added to the partition in 1913 and a wooden reredos was erected in 1923. (fn. 117) A bell cast by Thomas Mears in 1844 was replaced in 1927 by a chime of eight bells given by A. J. Morgan of Abbotswood, Ruspidge. (fn. 118)

The church of ST. PAUL, Parkend, was consecrated in 1822. (fn. 119) It was built by Henry Poole, minister of Bream and Coleford chapels, who in 1819 appealed publicly for funds for a church and school at Parkend. The Crown gave 5 a. for the project and contributed towards the cost of the church, which was paid for primarily by voluntary contributions. Edward Machen of Whitemead Park and Edward Protheroe were among the principal benefactors. The patronage was vested in the bishop, (fn. 120) and in 1822 Queen Anne's Bounty endowed the church with £2,200. The benefice, augmented in 1826 and 1827 by two grants of £300 from Queen Anne's Bounty and gifts totalling £400, (fn. 121) was worth c. £74 in 1832. (fn. 122) Poole, who as the first minister was sometimes called a perpetual curate, (fn. 123) in 1828 took up residence in the parsonage built north the church and in a similar style. (fn. 124)

The church, which contained free benches for most of its congregation and pews for Forest officials and colliery masters and agents, (fn. 125) served Yorkley, Pillowell, Whitecroft, and Ellwood (fn. 126) and was assigned a district or parish covering the southern part of the Forest in 1844. The parish, extending from Blakeney Hill in the east to Clearwell Meend in the west and reaching Cannop and the Speech House in the north, was created under the 1842 Act, (fn. 127) by which the church became a perpetual curacy with an income of £150 secured by a further endowment from the Commissioners of Woods. (fn. 128) The benefice was later called a vicarage (fn. 129) and in 1920, because of its poverty, it was assigned part of the endowment of Bream vicarage. (fn. 130) Poole, who remained incumbent until his death in 1857, started missions to Yorkley (fn. 131) and to the settlements around Viney Hill and Blakeney Hill. (fn. 132) The parish has been much altered. Parts in the west were lost to the churches at Bream and Clearwell in 1854 and 1856 respectively, the eastern part, including Viney Hill and Blakeney Hill, became a separate parish in 1866, and the north-western part at Coalway Lane End was transferred to Coleford church in 1890. (fn. 133) In 1909 St. Paul's parish gained two detached parts of Newland at Yorkley, to the south. (fn. 134)

St. Paul's church, built of ashlar, was designed by Henry Poole in a Gothick style. The plan is octagonal and cruciform, the arms formed by the sanctuary, north and south transepts, and the west end of the church. There is also an east vestry, north and south porches, and a west tower. (fn. 135) The transepts and west end contained galleries and in the late 1890s, when much of the church was repewed, a screen under the west gallery was removed and the space below the south gallery adapted as a choir vestry. That vestry and platforms introduced at the same time to raise the altar were removed as part of alterations begun in 1957. (fn. 136) Among the original fittings retained in 1992 were the wooden gallery fronts, reredos, and pulpit and the font. The organ, in the west gallery, incorporates part of an instrument built for Salisbury cathedral in the early 18th century and brought to Parkend from Ross-on-Wye (Herefs.) church by 1858. (fn. 137) Edward Machen gave a bell, cast in 1831 by Thomas Mears, and a clock. A set of eight tubular bells was installed apparently as a memorial to the dead of the First World War. (fn. 138)

The church of ST. STEPHEN, Cinderford, begun in 1888 and consecrated in 1890, (fn. 139) was built for a new ecclesiastical parish called Woodside at the northern end of Cinderford. Several missions had been sent to the area, including one by William Barker, minister of Holy Trinity, Harrow Hill, from 1866. (fn. 140) Woodside parish, formed in 1880 out of parts of the parishes of Flaxley, Newland, St. John, and Holy Trinity with the extraparochial place known as Hinder's Lane and Dockham, (fn. 141) had its origins in a scheme launched in 1870 by Thomas Wetherell, vicar of Flaxley, for a school-chapel in Flaxley Meend. (fn. 142) St. John's church, Cinderford, held services in a room at Flaxley Meend and in Dockham chapel, a new building on Littledean hill, from 1872 (fn. 143) and also in Cinderford town hall in 1873. (fn. 144) In that year Woodside was made a conventional district with its own curate (fn. 145) and from 1875 a new school at the corner of Abbey Street and Forest Road, next to the Flaxley Meend mission room, served as a temporary church. (fn. 146) In 1992 the building was St. Stephen's church hall. The establishment of Woodside parish was funded privately and in 1880 the scheme's promoters, chief among whom was Sir Thomas CrawleyBoevey, Bt., of Flaxley Abbey, endowed the benefice, styled a perpetual curacy, with £2,500 stock and assigned the patronage to the Church Patronage Society. (fn. 147) Part of the endowment may have derived from a gift by James Parsons (d. 1847), incumbent of Newnham and Littledean. (fn. 148) The benefice, later called a vicarage, (fn. 149) was united in 1984 with Littledean, which had the same patrons, (fn. 150) and the vicarage house built next to St. Stephen's church c. 1912 (fn. 151) was retained by the united benefice in 1992. Within the parish missions were sent to Upper Bilson and Littledean Hill. In the latter place Dockham chapel, which the Primitive Methodists had acquired in 1879, was used by the Anglicans again in 1901 (fn. 152) and was closed after 1936. (fn. 153)

St. Stephen's church, designed by E. H. L. Barker in an early 14th-century style, has a chancel with north vestry and organ chamber and a clerestoried and aisled nave. It was paid for mainly by voluntary contributions, including a gift of £700 from a Mrs. Rogers of Weston under Penyard (Herefs.), and was built of grey sandstone with Bath stone dressings. The nave, which has a west gallery, was completed in 1890, the chancel was built in 1892 and 1893, the cost being met by Sir Thomas Crawley-Boevey's wife Frances for a memorial to her parents, and the vestry and organ chamber were added in 1896. (fn. 154) Elizabeth Crawley-Boevey, widow of Sir Martin, gave a set of communion plate in 1890. (fn. 155) The single bell had been taken down and stored in the building by 1981. (fn. 156)

In the 19th and 20th centuries several mission churches or chapels were established by some churches within or near the Forest. At Ellwood, where the assistant curate of Coleford held cottage lectures c. 1830, (fn. 157) a chapel opened for a mission from Clearwell by 1876. (fn. 158) It stood west of Marsh Lane and was closed not long afterwards. (fn. 159) Christ Church, Berry Hill, also organized early missions to the west side of the Forest, the Revd. T. R. Garnsey (d. 1847) holding weekday services in the Lane End district (fn. 160) and Sunday services being conducted in the National school built at Broadwell Lane End in 1863. (fn. 161) Between 1883 and 1888 a mission from Coleford held services in a former Baptist chapel at Mitcheldean Lane End (fn. 162) and in 1890 the Lane End district, parts of which had been included in the ecclesiastical parishes of St. Paul, Parkend, and of Clearwell, was transferred to the ecclesiastical parish of Coleford (fn. 163) and services resumed in Broadwell school. An iron mission church, dedicated to the Good Shepherd and paid for by voluntary contributions, was erected next to the school in 1891. (fn. 164) It was replaced by a permanent church designed by William Leah and built to the north-west in 1938. (fn. 165) The iron building was retained as a church hall. (fn. 166) Coleford church also organized a mission to Milkwall from 1895. A wooden hall erected for it in 1909 (fn. 167) was brought from Moseley Green by Thomas Morgan (fn. 168) and was replaced in 1935 by a small brick church designed by William Leah and dedicated to St. Luke. The new church, much of the cost of which was met by a gift of £500, had fittings taken from St. Luke's church in Gloucester. (fn. 169) The single bell was cast in 1840 by Thomas Mears. (fn. 170)

On the east side of the Forest a mission to Soudley was begun from St. John's church, Cinderford, in 1869. (fn. 171) The mission, which conducted services in an iron schoolroom in L pper Soudley from 1875, (fn. 172) was abandoned temporarily in 1905. (fn. 173) In 1909 and 1910 a stone church was built west of the room. Dedicated to St. Michael, it was designed by W. Whitehouse of Cinderford in an early 13th-century style and has a sanctuary, a nave, and a west porch. (fn. 174) By 1885 services were held in a room at Upper Bilson within Woodside parish. (fn. 175) The mission, which was later served from St. Stephen's church, Cinderford, occupied an iron building in what became Upper Bilson Road (fn. 176) and was run by a Mr. Underhill in the early 20th century. (fn. 177) It continued in 1992 (fn. 178) and its church had a bell cast probably in 1887. (fn. 179)

At Yorkley the Revd. Henry Poole of Parkend conducted cottage services in the late 1820s. (fn. 180) In 1867 the perpetual curate of Bream was licensed to hold services in a schoolroom at Yorkley Wood. (fn. 181) The mission continued in the 1870s (fn. 182) and the schoolroom, formerly a workshop, was remodelled as a church in 1884. (fn. 183) St. Paul's church, Parkend, ran the mission from 1909 (fn. 184) and Caroline Gosling (d. 1917) gave £500 stock for a charity to keep the mission chuch in repair. (fn. 185) In 1968 the mission church, which was known as St. Luke's, was closed (fn. 186) and the fittings, including a bell cast in 1882, were moved to a house on Captain's green, lower down in Yorkley, the ground floor of which was adapted for the mission. (fn. 187) The abandoned church was later converted as a house and the mission was ended in 1991. (fn. 188)


  • 1. Cal. Close, 1279-88, 219; Cal. Pat. 1301-7, 319.
  • 2. P. M. Procter, Origin of Established Ch. and Nat. Day Sch. in Forest of Dean (1819), 2.
  • 3. Hockaday Abs. ccxcv, 1548.
  • 4. Glos. R.O., P 30/IN 1/1; P 209/IN 1/2; 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 32.
  • 5. Glos. R.O., D 2722/28; Handbook of Brit. Chronology (1961), 228.
  • 6. Glos. R.O., D 2297.
  • 7. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 18; 8th Rep. Com. Woods, H.C. 179, p. 10 (1831).
  • 8. Dean Forest Eccl. Districts Act, 5 & 6 Vic. c. 65.
  • 9. Above, Coleford, churches; Newland, churches.
  • 10. Lond. Gaz. 16 June 1854, p. 1863; 18 Apr. 1856, pp. 1464-5; 8 July 1890, pp. 3775-7.
  • 11. Glouc. Jnl. 25 Nov. 1865; 27 Apr. 1867.
  • 12. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 32.
  • 13. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 170; Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 88, 159; cf. Hockaday Abs. clxxvi, St. Paul; for sites of school-chapels, P.R.O., F 16/63 (nos. 3542, 3773); F 16/70.
  • 14. Glouc. Jnl. 27 Apr. 1867; 26 Dec. 1874; in ibid. 30 July 1853, it was called the Sweden chapel of ease.
  • 15. Lond. Gaz. 18 Sept. 1866, pp. 5081-2; cf. Glos. R.O., P 348/CW 3/1.
  • 16. G.D.R. vol. 385, p. 81; Lond. Gaz. 18 Sept. 1866, pp. 5081-2; 5 Apr. 1867, pp. 2126-7.
  • 17. Glos. R.O., P 348/MI 3.
  • 18. Lond. Gaz. 18 Sept. 1866, pp. 5081-2.
  • 19. G.D.R., D 5/1/46; Burke, Peerage (1963), 257-8; above, Lydney, manors.
  • 20. Glos. R.O., P 348/MI 3.
  • 21. Glouc. Jnl. 27 Apr. 1867; in ibid. 25 Nov. 1865, the architect was said to be Mr. Colston.
  • 22. Glos. R.O., D 3921/II/5.
  • 23. Glos. Ch. Bells, 632.
  • 24. Glos. Ch. Plate, 86-7; Burke, Peerage (1963), 258.
  • 25. Glos. Colln. R 102.1.
  • 26. Glos. R.O., D 3921/II/5.
  • 27. Glouc. Jnl. 29 May 1875; Morris's Dir. Glos. (1876), 436.
  • 28. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Glos. XXXIX. 11 (1878 edn.); Glos. R.O., DA 24/100/3, pp. 277-8.
  • 29. Glouc. Jnl. 22 July 1816.
  • 30. Procter, Origin of Ch. in Dean, 2-22; cf. G.D.R. vol. 334B, p. 189.
  • 31. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 98.
  • 32. Procter, Origin of Ch. in Dean, 21-2, 26-7, 30; cf. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 19.
  • 33. G.D.R. vol. 383, no. cxxxix; Glos. R.O., P 82/IN 1/1.
  • 34. G.D.R. vol. 334B, pp. 155-91; Procter, Origin of Ch. in Dean, 25-6, 31.
  • 35. Hodgson, Queen Anne's Bounty (1845), p. cclxxxiv.
  • 36. G.D.R., T 1/128.
  • 37. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 6.
  • 38. Dean Forest Eccl. Districts Act, 5 & 6 Vic. c. 65.
  • 39. Procter, Origin of Ch. in Dean, 32-4; Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 166-7; Hodgson, Queen Anne's Bounty, pp. cxcv, cclxxxiv; for Vansittart, D.N.B.
  • 40. Hockaday Abs. clxxvi; Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 148-51, 171.
  • 41. G.D.R. vol. 361, ff. 101v.-103v.; cf. ibid. V 6/138; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 533.
  • 42. Lond. Gaz. 8 July 1890, pp. 3775-7.
  • 43. Dean Forest Eccl. Districts Act, 5 & 6 Vic. c. 65; G.D.R. vol. 384, f. 76.
  • 44. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 533.
  • 45. Glos. R.O., P 227/IN 3/5.
  • 46. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 166; cf. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 19; P.R.O., HO 129/577/1/5/18.
  • 47. Glos. R.O., P 227/IN 3/5.
  • 48. Dioc. of Glouc. Dir. (1989), 115.
  • 49. Gent. Mag. lxxxiv (1), plate facing p. 545, reproduced above, Plate 37.
  • 50. Procter, Origin of Ch. in Dean, 26-7, 35 n.; Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 165-6; Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 157.
  • 51. Glos. R.O., D 1381/XJ.
  • 52. Glouc. Jnl. 15 Feb. 1913; cf. Glos. R.O., P 278/VE 3/3.
  • 53. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 533; Glos. Ch. Bells, 211-12.
  • 54. Below, this chapter (St. Paul).
  • 55. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 174.
  • 56. G.D.R. vol. 361, ff. 252v.-253v.
  • 57. Glos. R.O., D 2297; Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 140; Glos. Colln. L 9 4; cf. P.R.O., F 17/17; HO 129/577/1/5/19.
  • 58. P.R.O., HO 129/577/2/1/1.
  • 59. G.D.R., F 3/2, pp. 55-6, 58-9.
  • 60. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 172-3.
  • 61. Lond. Gaz. 20 Apr. 1852, pp. 1118-19.
  • 62. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 592.
  • 63. G.D.R., F 3/2, pp. 55-6; Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 174.
  • 64. Lond. Gaz. 20 Apr. 1852, pp. 1118-19; 11 July 1884, pp. 3161-2.
  • 65. Cf. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1939), 253; Dioc of Glouc. Dir. (1989), 57.
  • 66. Hodgson, Queen Anne's Bounty (suppl. 1864), pp. xxxi, lxv.
  • 67. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 137; Glos. R.O., D 1381/6K.
  • 68. O.S. Map 1/2,500, SO 6114 (1974 edn.).
  • 69. Below, Educ., elementary schs.; Nat Soc. files, Lydbrook.
  • 70. Inf. from vicar (1990).
  • 71. Ecclesiologist, N.S. xlv, 258-9.
  • 72. Glos. R.O., P 208/CW 3/1-2; ibid. IN 4/1; ibid. MI 3; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1910), 241; (1931), 246.
  • 73. Glos. Ch. Bells, 421-2.
  • 74. Glos. Ch. Plate, 140.
  • 75. Cf. Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 144.
  • 76. Glouc. Jnl. 10 Feb., 30 June 1817.
  • 77. Procter, Origin of Ch. in Dean, 23 and n.; cf. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 157-61; Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 130-8.
  • 78. Hockaday Abs. clxxvi; Glos. R.O., Q/RGf 1/8; cf. P.R.O., F 16/63 (nos. 576-7, 857); F 16/70.
  • 79. Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 138-9; Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 98.
  • 80. Hodgson, Queen Anne's Bounty (1845), pp. cciii, cclxxxiv; Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 138-9.
  • 81. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 6.
  • 82. Ibid. 11; Glos. R.O., P 109/IN 1/1.
  • 83. G.D.R. vol. 383, no. cxl.
  • 84. Glos. Colln. L 9.3; Hockaday Abs. clxxvi.
  • 85. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 11-12; Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 140; above, this chapter (Holy Jesus).
  • 86. Glos. Colln. L 9.3-4.
  • 87. Hockaday Abs. clxxvi.
  • 88. G.D.R. vol. 361, ff. 101v.-103v.; cf. ibid. V 6/138.
  • 89. Hockaday Abs. clxxvi.
  • 90. Dean Forest Eccl. Districts Act, 5 & 6 Vic. c. 65; G.D.R. vol. 384, f. 77.
  • 91. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 531.
  • 92. Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 144-7.
  • 93. I. Gray, Antiquaries of Glos. and Bristol (B.G.A.S. 1981), 117-18.
  • 94. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 163; Hockaday Abs. clxxvi; Glos. R.O., P 109/CW 2/1; for the Mill, also P.R.O., HO 129/332/1/3/9; cf. below, Educ., elementary schs.
  • 95. Glos. R.O., P 109/CW 2/1; PA 109/1.
  • 96. Cf. Citizen (Glouc.), 18 July 1978.
  • 97. Lond. Gaz. 20 Apr. 1852, pp. 1118-19; 13 Aug. 1880, pp. 4451-3.
  • 98. Glos. R.O., P 1/IN 3/2; P 354/VE 3/4.
  • 99. Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 137.
  • 100. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, illustration at p. 162, reproduced above, Fig. 24.
  • 101. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 10.
  • 102. Glos. R.O., P 109/VE 2/1; Glouc. Jnl. 29 Nov. 1902.
  • 103. Glos. R.O., PA 109/1; Glos. Ch. Bells, 269.
  • 104. Sheila Smith, Hist. of St. John the Evang. Ch., Cinderford (1984), 7; Glos. R.O., P 85/IN 1/1; Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 172, gives the dedication as St. John the Apostle.
  • 105. Glos. R.O., P 85/CW 3/1; 34th Rep. Com. Woods, H.C. 330, p. 127 (1856), xxxvii; cf. G.D.R., F 3/1, pp. 21-4, 85.
  • 106. 21st Rep. Com. Woods, H.C. 590, p. 12 (1844), xxxi; Smith, St. John's Ch. 9; cf. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 175.
  • 107. Hockaday Abs. clxxvi; Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 171; cf. G.D.R., F 3/1, pp. 78, 82.
  • 108. Dean Forest Eccl. Districts Act. 5 & 6 Vic. c. 65; G.D.R. vol. 384, f. 76, 26th Rep. Com. Woods, H.C. 611. pp. 124-5 (1849), xxvii.
  • 109. G.D.R. vol. 361, ff. 115v.-116v.; cf. ibid. V 6/138.
  • 110. Dean Forest Eccl. Districts Act, 5 & 6 Vic. c. 65; G.D.R. vol. 384, f. 76.
  • 111. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 531-2; Dioc of Glouc. Dir. (1989), 55.
  • 112. Glos. R.O., D 4335/258; P 85/IN 3/1.
  • 113. Below, this chapter (St. Stephen).
  • 114. Below, this chapter (mission churches).
  • 115. Colvin, Biog. Dict. Brit. Architects (1978), 120.
  • 116. Glos. R.O., P 85/CW 3/1; Nicholls, Forest of Dean, illustration at p. 171, reproduced below, Fig. 25.
  • 117. Smith, St. John's Ch. 9-14, 22; cf. Glos. R.O., P 85/CW 3/4-5.
  • 118. Glos. Ch. Bells, 218-19; Glos. R.O., P 85/CW 3/7.
  • 119. Glouc. Jnl. 29 Apr. 1822.
  • 120. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 168-70; Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 155-7; P.R.O., HO 129/577/1/5/17.
  • 121. Hodgson, Queen Anne's Bounty, pp. ccvi, ccviii, cclxxxv.
  • 122. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 6, 16.
  • 123. Hockaday Abs. clxxvi.
  • 124. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 21; Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 159.
  • 125. 3rd Rep. Dean Forest Com. 21.
  • 126. G.D.R. vol. 383, no. cxli.
  • 127. Ibid. 361, ff. 101v.-103v.; cf. ibid. V 6/138.
  • 128. Dean Forest Eccl. Districts Act, 5 & 6 Vic. c. 65; G.D.R. vol. 384, f. 77.
  • 129. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 617; Dioc. of Glouc. Dir. (1989), 56.
  • 130. Lond. Gaz. 10 Feb. 1920, pp. 1679-81; cf. G.D.R., V 6/14.
  • 131. Below, this chapter (mission churches).
  • 132. Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 160; above, this chapter (All Saints).
  • 133. Lond. Gaz. 16 June 1854, p. 1863; 18 Apr. 1856, pp. 1464-5; 18 Sept. 1866, pp. 5081-2; 8 July 1890, pp. 3775- 7; cf. Glos. R.O., P 93/IN 3/3; P 348/CW 3/1.
  • 134. Lond. Gaz. 13 Apr. 1909, p. 2899.
  • 135. Glouc. Jnl. 29 Apr. 1822; Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 169; above, Plate 36; for Poole's archit., Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 155-9; Colvin, Biog. Dict. Brit. Architects, 650-1.
  • 136. Glos. R.O., D 3921/11/6; D 1381/9B; D 3867/III/35.
  • 137. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 169; Trans. B.G.A.S. xciii. 175.
  • 138. Nicholls, Forest of Dean, 169; Glos. Ch. Bells, 495.
  • 139. Glouc. Jnl. 3 Nov. 1888; 31 May 1890.
  • 140. G. A. Allan, Church Work in Forest of Dean (copy in Glos. Colln. L 9.6), 19.
  • 141. Lond. Gaz. 13 Aug. 1880, pp. 4451-3; cf. G.D.R., V 6/126.
  • 142. Allan, Church Work in Dean, 20.
  • 143. Glos. R.O., P 85/2/IN 3/1; D 543, Littledean Hill chap. deeds 1867-1904; cf. G.D.R. vol. 377, f. 55.
  • 144. Glos. R.O., P 85/2/MI 4.
  • 145. Allan, Church Work in Dean, 21.
  • 146. Glouc. Jnl. 29 May 1875; 31 May 1890; cf. Glos. R.O., D 2186/41.
  • 147. Glos. R.O., P 85/2/IN 3/1; Lond. Gaz. 13 Aug. 1880, pp. 4451-3; cf. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1885), 420.
  • 148. Allan, Church Work in Dean, 21; cf. V.C.H. Glos. x. 47-8; above, Littledean, church.
  • 149. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1910), 115.
  • 150. Glos. R.O., P 110/MI 1/1; Dioc. of Glouc. Dir. (1989), 56; cf. G.D.R., D 5/1/31.
  • 151. Glos. R.O., P 85/2/IN 3/9; cf. Kelly's Dir. Glos.(1910), 115; (1914), 118.
  • 152. Glos. R.O., P 85/2/VE 2/2; D 543, Littledean Hill chap. deeds.
  • 153. Ibid. P 85/2/VE 2/5.
  • 154. Ibid. CW 3/1-4; ibid. VE 2/2; Glos. Colln. R 78.3; cf. Burke, Peerage (1963), 269.
  • 155. Glos. R.O., P 85/2/VE 2/2; Glos. Ch. Plate, 86; cf. Burke, Peerage (1963), 269.
  • 156. Glos. Ch. Bells, 219-20.
  • 157. Glos. R.O., D 2297.
  • 158. Morris's Dir. Glos. (1876), 475; cf. Lond. Gaz. 18 Apr. 1856, pp. 1464-5.
  • 159. O.S. Map 6", Glos. XXXVIII. SE (1884, 1903 edns.).
  • 160. Nicholls, Personalities of Dean, 150-1.
  • 161. Morris's Dir. Glos. (1876), 475; P.R.O., ED 7/35/350.
  • 162. Glos. R.O., P 93/IN 4/3/4-5.
  • 163. Lond. Gaz. 8 July 1890, pp. 3775-7; cf. G.D.R., V 6/138.
  • 164. Glos. R.O., P 93/IN 3/3; ibid. IN 4 3 6; Glouc. Jnl. 28 Nov. 1891.
  • 165. Glos. R.O., D 3921 II/6; Glos Colln. RQ 102.1.
  • 166. Glos. R.O., P 93/IN 3/3.
  • 167. Ibid. IN 4/3/6-9.
  • 168. Ibid. D 3921/II/5.
  • 169. Ibid. P 93/IN 3/5; Glouc. Jnl. 30 Nov. 1935: Glos. Colln. RQ 102.1.
  • 170. Glos. Ch. Bells, 431, cf. Glos. N. & Q. ix. 189.
  • 171. Glos. R.O., P 85/MI 2, which mentions an earlier mission of Isaac Bndgman.
  • 172. G.D.R. vol. 377, f. 76; cf. O.S. Map 6", Glos XXXIX NE. (1884 edn.); below, Educ., elementary schs.
  • 173. Allan, Church Work in Dean, 23-4. Glouc. Jnl. 6 Oct 1906.
  • 174. Glouc. Jnl. 18 Sept. 1909; 14 May 1910.
  • 175. Glos. R.O., P 85/2/CW 2/15.
  • 176. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1894), 109.
  • 177. Glos. R.O., P 85/2/IN 4/1; ibid. VE 2/3, min. 30 Apr. 1919.
  • 178. Dioc. of Glouc. Dir. (1989), 56.
  • 179. Glos. Ch. Bells, 146.
  • 180. Glos R.O, D 2297.
  • 181. G.D.R. vol. 377, f. 13; Yorkley Wood was in a detached part of Newland: above, Newland, intro.; cf. Lond Gaz. 16 June 1854, p. 1863.
  • 182. Nat. Soc. files, Bream St. John; Morris's Dir. Glos. (1876), 536.
  • 183. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1885), 372; cf. O.S. Map 6", Glos. XXXIX. SW. (1883, 1904 edns.).
  • 184. Lond. Gaz. 13 Apr. 1909, p. 2899; cf. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1931), 281.
  • 185. Glos. R.O., D 3469/5/112.
  • 186. Dean Forest Guardian, 15 Mar. 1991.
  • 187. Christian Herald, 8 June 1974; Glos. Ch. Bells, 677.
  • 188. Dean Forest Guardian, 15 Mar. 1991.