Newent (originally called "Noent") is a small market town about 8 miles north west of Gloucester, on the northern edge of the Forest of Dean, and lying within the Forest of Dean Local Authority District. Its population at the 2001 census was 5,073. The town includes a half-timbered market house, other houses of historical nature, and the site of the former small Victorian museum, the Shambles, containing a replica of a 19th-century street has been transformed. Now real local traders occupy the originally replica shops. There has been a settlement here since at least Roman times and the town first appeared in the Domesday Book.
Newent's church, St Mary's, dates from the 13th century but the site has been used since the Anglo-Saxon period. St Mary's Church has stained glass windows from the famous company of Clayton and Bell. The town is home to the Devonia, a large house dating back to the Georgian period.
Newent was served by the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal, which opened between Gloucester and Ledbury in 1798. The canal closed on 30 June 1881 and the section between Ledbury and Gloucester was converted into a railway line. This line, which was a branch of the Great Western Railway, opened on 27 July 1885. The original course of the canal between Dymock and Newent was by-passed as it was decided not to take the line through the 2,192 yard Oxenhall Tunnel. Newent had a station on this line. The line closed in 1959, but the canal (including the tunnel), is now being restored. Today the nearest station is Ledbury on the Cotswold Line.
The villages of Cliffords Mesne, Kilcot and Gorsley were within the parish until 2000 and are re-directed here.
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