Place:Dean Forest, Gloucestershire, England

NameDean Forest
TypeFormer district
Coordinates51.7652°N 2.5614°W
Located inGloucestershire, England     ( - 1844)
See alsoSt. Briavels Hundred, Gloucestershire, Englandhundred in which Dean Forest was located
East Dean, Gloucestershire, Englandcivil parish which replaced part of Dean Forest in 1844
West Dean, Gloucestershire, Englandcivil parish which replaced part of Dean Forest in 1844

Dean Forest was an extra-parochial area abolished in 1844 when it was formed into the two townships of East Dean and West Dean.

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Dean Forest from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"DEAN FOREST, an ancient forest and five chapelries in the districts of Westbury-on-Severn and Monmouth, and county of Gloucester. The forest lies on Offa's dyke, and on the Gloucester and Dean-Forest railway, between the rivers Severn and Wye, S of Mitcheldean, W of Newnham, N of Sydney, and E of Newland. It was formerly extra-parochial, but was formed by the act of 5 and 6 Vict.. 48 [1848], into the two townships of East Dean and West Dean, and by a subsequent act into four chapelries.
"It comprises 22,522 acres; and was anciently divided into Herberts, Little Dean, Denby, Speech-House, Worcester, and York or Parkend walks. It belongs to the Crown; and has always been famous as a forest. Its surface is hilly and well-watered; its woods have yielded vast supplies of navy-timber; and its rocks are rich in ores, coal, and building-stones. About 14,000 acres were woodland in the early portion of the reign of Charles I, but soon underwent great devastation; and about 11,000 acres were re-planted before the end of the 17th century.
"The inhabitants were long a lawless people, possessing peculiar rites; but the entire territory, in many ways, has undergone great modern improvement; and a mineral railway into it from the South Wales, with branches, was formed in 1862. The real property of it in 1860 was £81,357; of which £55,950 were in mines, £654 in quarries, £810 in iron-works, and £327 in railways.
"The five chapelries are St. John, St. Paul or Parkend, Trinity, Christ Church, and All Saints or Viney-Hill. St. John is in East Dean township; Christ Church, in West Dean township; and St. Paul and Trinity, partly in each township. Post town of St. John: Newnham; of St. Paul: Lydney; of Trinity: Mitcheldean, under Newnham of Christchurch: Coleford. Population of St. John: 4,417; of St. Paul: 4,937; of Trinity: 3,218; of Christchurch: 1,777. These four are vicarages in the [diocese] of [Gloucester] and Bristol. Value of St. [John]: £300; of each of the others: £150. Patron of St. Paul: the Bishop; of each of the others: the Crown. See Viney-Hill. There are four dissenting chapels and eight Public schools."

For the later history of the area, see East Dean and West Dean.

Registration Districts

Monmouth (1837-1844) For registration districts of later dates see East Dean and West Dean.

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.
  • 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