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Places and People Forest of Dean

  1. About the Forest of Dean
  2. Abenhall, Gloucestershire
  3. Anchor Inn, Lydbrook
  4. Ariconium, Herefordshire
  5. Arthur and Edward Colliery
  6. Bigsweir, Gloucestershire
  7. Bishopswood, Herefordshireshire
  8. Bixslade (Bicslade)
  9. Blakeney, Gloucestershire
  10. Bloomery (definition)
  11. Bradley House
  12. Bream, Gloucestershire
  13. Bullo Pill, Gloucestershire
  14. Cannop Colliery
  15. Cinderford, Gloucestershire
  16. Clearwell, Gloucestershire
  17. Coleford, Gloucestershire
  18. Collieries
  19. Crawshay, Henry
  20. Danby Lodge
  21. Darkhill Brick, Colliery + Ironworks
  22. Dates in the Forest of Dean
  23. Dean Forest (Mines) Act 1838
  24. Dean Forest Railway
  25. Dean Forest (Reafforestation)
    Act 1668
  26. The Dean Forest Riots
  27. Dean Hall, Littledean
  28. Dean Heritage Centre
  29. Dean Road
  30. Drybrook, Gloucestershire
  31. Eastern United Colliery
  32. Fairplay Iron Mine
  33. Findall Iron Mine
  34. Flaxley, Gloucestershire
  35. Forest of Dean Central Railway
  36. Free Miners
  37. Green Bottom
  38. Gunns Mill
  39. The Haie (house + tunnel)
  40. Harvey, F. W.
  41. Hopewell Engine Colliery
  42. Horlick, James and William
  43. Kings Lodge
  44. Lightmoor Colliery
  45. Littledean, Gloucestershire
  46. Lower Redbrook, Gloucestershire
  47. Lydbrook, Gloucestershire
  48. Lydney, Gloucestershire
  49. Mining and Forest Terms
  50. Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire
  51. Mushet, David and Robert
  52. Nelson Colliery
  53. Newland, Gloucestershire
  54. Newnham, Gloucestershire
  55. Northern United Colliery
  56. Offas Dyke
  57. Parkend, Gloucestershire
  58. Pillowell, Gloucestershire
  59. Protheroe, Edward
  60. Pubs of the Forest of Dean
  61. Purton, Gloucestershire
  62. Redbrook, Gloucestershire
  63. Ruardean, Gloucestershire
  64. Severn and Wye Railway Co.
  65. Severn Bridge Railway
  66. Shakemantle Iron Mine
  67. Speech House
  68. Speech House Hill Colliery
  69. St Briavels Castle
  70. St Briavels, May-pole
  71. Strip-and at-it Colliery
  72. Symonds Yat
  73. Teague, James
  74. Teague, Moses
  75. Trafalgar Colliery
  76. Tramroad
  77. True Blue Colliery
  78. Union Colliery
  79. Upper and Middle Forge
  80. Upper Lydbrook Station
  81. Upper Mill, Edge Hills
  82. Upper Redbrook
  83. Verderer (definition)
  84. Verderers' Court
  85. Welshbury Hill Fort
  86. Westbury Brook Iron Mine
  87. Whitecliff Furnace
  88. Whitecliff House
  89. Whitecliff Quarry
  90. Whitecroft
  91. Whitecross Manor
  92. Wigpool, Gloucestershire
  93. Wintour, Sir John
St Briavels, Forest of Dean

Published in the Illustrated London News, May 5, 1849.

May-Pole at St. Briavels, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Harde is his harte that lovith nought
In May, whan al this mirth is wrought; Whan he may on these branches here
The small birds singing clere,
Ther blisfull sweet song pitious;
And in this season delitious,
When Love affirmith alle things.
CHAUCER'S Romant of the Rose.

So completely are objects connected with old English customs being removed, in consequence of our rapid improvement and change of habits, that we take the opportunity of illustrating one of the few remaining May-poles - that in the village of St. Briavels, in the picturesque Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire.

There are few places in England more interesting to the antiquary and lover of fine scenery than the Forest of Dean. This Castle, in which the accompanying sketch was taken, is situated on a lofty eminence which overlooks the valley of the Wye. The view is very beautiful, and is terminated by the distant Welsh mountains. The Castle is of emmense strength, and was, until lately, used as a prison and court connected with some ancient privileges held by the foresters of Dean. The church, in front of the Castle, contains specimens of early Norman architecture; and the old May-pole is still standing in the village at Clearwell Green.

A short distance from St Briavels is a simple cross, of early date; indeed, the Forest of Dean abounds in Roman remains, ancient and most curious churches, mural monuments, crosses, &c. In some of the villages the stocks and whipping-posts may still be seen. The forest coal and iron districts are also of much interest.

In the second edition of Mr Cliffe's excellent "Book of South Wales" we find the following attractive details of this district, which our tourist considers to have been strangely overlooked by writers on the Wye:-

"Those who visit the Buckstone, and possess curiosity or leisure, must feel moved by an impulse to penetrate the vast region of solemn woods which stretches before them. A large forest is always invested with an air of mystery - sublimity. You may lose yourself in it. You may meet with some adventure. Wild animals or birds that shun the haunts of man are sure to cross your path. How fresh and soothing are the cool green woods! How deep the solitude! - We recommend tourists to proceed through the town of Coleford to the Speech House, distant about 8 1/2 miles from Monmouth; and to walk from thence - the path often wet and miry - to the "White Oak" a monarch towering over subject woods. The scenery about Park-end, and along the road through Lydney by Bream, is also exceedingly beautiful; besides the sylvan attractions, superb views are sometimer obtained of the Vale of the Severn. The largest oak in the forest (41 feet in girth) is at Newland, by which village - there is afine old church - strangers might return to Monmouth. - There is a road, chiefly along high ground, near the western edge of the forest from Monmouth to Chepstow, through Clearwell, St Briavel's, and Tidenham Chase. St Briavel's Castle - an interesting ruin- was built by Milo Fitzwalter (temp. Henry I) to curb the incursions of the Welsh. About a century afterwards it reverted to the Crown by forfeiture. - Offa's Dyke terminates at Beachley, and may be traced at a point where it crosses the road at Buttington Tump."

"This has always been a famous forest. In the middle ages it afforded a safe refuge to robbers, who used often to go afloat and plunder vessels on the Severn. The commanders of the Spanish Armada had orders 'not to leave a tree standing in it, if,' says Evelyn, 'they should not be able to subdue our nation.' Early in the reign of Charles I. the forest contained 43,000 acres; 14,000 of which were woodland; but the devastations committed were so great, that in 1667 only 200 large oak and beech trees were standing. 'To repair these mischiefs, 11,000 acres were immediately enclosed, planted, and carefully guarded,' and large additions have since been made. The plantations, during the last twenty years, in this magnificent nursery of navy timber (the quality of the oaks is the finest in England) have made very great progress. The forest is divided into 'walks,' and placed under the care of officers and keepers. Iron-mines were opened here by the Romans; and there are extensive and remarkable workings partly attributed to that people, near Coleford, Bream, and Littledean. These wild, deserted scowles (that is their local name) can be penetrated for considerable distances. The mineral treasures of the forest - coal; and iron - are great; and foresters retain peculiar rights."