Place:Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England

Alt namesRuuirdinsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 114
Coordinates51.85°N 2.567°W
Located inGloucestershire, England
See alsoSt. Briavels (hundred), Gloucestershire, Englandhundred in which it was located
East Dean and United Parishes Rural, Gloucestershire, Englandrural district in which it was situated 1894-1935
East Dean Rural, Gloucestershire, Englandrural district in which it was situated 1935-1974
Forest of Dean (district), Gloucestershire, Englandmunicipal district of which it has been a part since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Ruardean is a village in the district of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England, located to the west of Cinderford. It is situated on a hillside with views west towards the mountains of South Wales. Little now remains of the village's industrial history, but once it was a centre for iron ore smelting furnaces, forges and coal mines. The Norman castle, now little more than a mound, commanded the shortest route from Gloucester Castle to the Welsh Marches and the Wye Valley.


The village has been, in times past, an important centre of iron and coal mining, though little evidence remains of this aspect of the village's history. The main historical landmark of the village is Ruardyn Castle, near to the parish church. In the past the village was spelt as Ruardyn and was part of Herefordshire. Nowadays the village lies inside Gloucestershire and is part of the Forest of Dean district. Like much of the surrounding area, Ruardean has historically been relatively poor; the 1831 census records 127 families, with half the population employed in agriculture and 160 people on poor relief.

Today, St. John the Baptist's Church, dating from 1111 AD, is the village's centrepiece and main landmark, including a nave, chancel, tower and spire added in the 14th century and a chapel added in 1798. A manor house which once stood in the field behind the church was crenellated in 1310 to become Ruardyn Castle but this was largely destroyed by Oliver Cromwell's troops in the English Civil War.

Ruardean's Congregationalist minister in the early 19th century was Reverend John Horlick. His relatives, James and William, were born in Ruardean and are today known worldwide for their hot malt drink Horlicks. The shed in which they first developed the technique of producing dried milk with malt, in the 1860s, still stands behind the Malt Shovel public house on the high street.

Registration Districts

Research Tips

Online sources which may also be helpful:

  • Volume 5, Chapter 3 of the Victoria County History of Gloucestershire found in the website British History Online expands on the subjects of freemining and foresters throughout the Hundred of St Briavels. The chapter includes maps of the various communities and their relationships to one another. There is an article specifically on Abenhall.
  • GENUKI gives pointers to other archive sources as well as providing some details on each parish in the county. The emphasis here is on ecclesiastical parishes (useful before 1837)
  • A listing of all the Registration Districts in England and Wales since their introduction in 1837 and tables of the parishes that were part of each district and the time period covered with detailed notes on changes of parish name, mergers, etc. Respect the copyright on this material.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki for Gloucestershire provides a similar but not identical series of webpages to that provided by GENUKI
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has a group of pages of statistical facts for almost every parish in the county
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Ruardean. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.