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Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Historical Description

Dean, Forest of, or Dean Forest, an ancient forest in Gloucestershire. The forest lies on Offa's Dyke, 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 Vicfc, cap. 48, into the two townships of East Dean and West Dean. It comprises 24,169 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, but about 11,000 acres were replanted before the end of the 17th century. The inhabitants were long a lawless people, possessing peculiar rites; but the entire territory has in many ways undergone great modern improvement, and a mineral railway, in connection with the South Wales section of the G.W.R., runs through it. Population, 22,752. See DEAN, EAST, and DEAN, WEST.

Forest of Dean Parliamentary Division of Gloucestershire was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 52,793. It comprises the following :-Newent -Bromsberrow, Corse, Dymock, Highleadon, Kempley, Newent, Oxenhall, Pauntley, Preston, Taynton, Tibberton, Upleadon; Newnham -Abinghall, Awre, Blaisdon, East Dean, Flaxley, Huntley, Hinders Lane and Dockham, Lea Bailey (so much as in Gloucestershire), Littledean, Longhope, Mitcheldean, Newnham, Ruardean, Westbury-on-Severn; Coleford-English Bicknor, Newland, St Briavel's Staunton, West Dean; Lydney-Alvington, Aylburton, Hewelsfield, Lancaut, Lydney, Tidenham, Woollaston.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyGloucestershire 
HundredSt. Briavells 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The Gloucestershire Parish Registers are available online at Ancestry, in association with Gloucestershire Archives.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Forest of Dean from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Gloucestershire is available to browse.


Online maps of Forest of Dean are available from a number of sites: