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Newent, Gloucestershire

Historical Description

Newent, a small market-town, the head of a poor-law union, county court district, and petty sessional division, and a parish in Gloucestershire. The town stands in Dean Forest, 2½ miles E of the boundary with Herefordshire, 8 S of Ledbury, 9 NW of Gloucester, and 9 E of Ross, with a station on the Gloucester and Ledbury section of the G.W.R., and a post, money order, and telegraph office under Gloucester. Newent dates from the time when a road was made across its site from Gloucester into Wales; was originally called New Inn, from a single house which formed its nucleus, and grew to such importance as to have nine streets and lanes. It became a borough, governed by a bailiff, and passed afterwards into a state of decadence; consists now of two principal streets, with many well-built houses and some good shops; and is a seat of petty sessions and county courts. The market-house is a Tudor timber structure of the 16th century, and was restored in 1864. The church is a spacious and handsome edifice, originally erected about 1590. It was rebuilt in 1679 and restored in 1879-84. It has a tower and spire 153 feet high, and contains many interesting monuments. There are Congregational and Wesleyan chapels. The chief buildings are the Sessions House, the Temperance Hall, used for concerts, &c., and the Albion Club, which has a library and reading-room. The Workhouse was built in 1867. There are ten almshouses. The weekly market is now discontinued; a market for stock is held on the first Tuesday in the month, and an onion fair on the Friday after 19 Sept. There are brick and drain-pipe works, a tannery, a saw mill, and flour mills in the neighbourhood. Some trade is done in cider and perry, produced within the parish and held in great repute. The town was garrisoned for the king during the Civil War.

The parish contains also the tithings of Malswick, Cugley, Compton, and Boulsdon and Killcot. Acreage, 8091; population of the civil parish, 2605; of the ecclesiastical, 2072. There is a parish council consisting of eleven members. It also sends four members to the district council. Newent Court and Stardens are the chief residences. A Benedictine priory was founded at New Court by Roger Montgomery as a cell to Cormeille in Normandy, was given at the suppression of alien monasteries to Fotheringay Nunnery, and has left some vestiges. A Roman settlement was at Coneygore. Coal was once worked in Boulsdon. A mineral spring, of similar quality to the springs of Cheltenham and Gloucester, is near the town. Some splendid scenery lies around the spring, and Slay Hill, formerly called Yartledon Hill, situated in the SW of the parish, commands a magnificent view. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol; net value, £541 with residence. Patron, St Catherine's College, Cambridge. Part of the ecclesiastical parish of Gorsley, with Cliffords Mesne, is in this parish.

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 
Ecclesiastical parishNewent Virgin Mary 
Poor Law unionNewent 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1672, and contains an entry February 24, 1702, of the burial of Anne Wilson, widow, aged 115.

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


Church of England

St. Mary the Virgin (parish church)

The parish church of St. Mary the Virgin is a handsome structure, originally erected about the middle of the 14th century, and consisting of chancel, lady chapel, nave, aisle, south porch and an embattled tower on the south side, with a spire 153 feet in height, and containing a clock and 6 bells, one of which was recast and the whole rehung in 1906: there is an altar tomb, with the recumbent effigies of a knight in armour and his lady, not, as yet identified, but the lady wears the cotehardie, surcoat and cloak of the usual style in the time of Richard II.; a brass to Roger Porter esq. ob. 1523; monuments to the Nourse family, 1636-73; the Woodward family, 1699-1710; and to William Rogers, a benefactor to the parish, 1690: there is also a large and handsome mural monument of marble, with several finely executed figures, to Barbara, late wife of Charles Bourchier esq, one of the members of the Council at Bombay, and second daughter of James Richardson, of this place, who died at sea on her passage to England January 18th, 1784; and other memorials to Thomas Phipps Onslow, d. 1750, and James Richardson, d. 1776: the stained east window was presented by A. Knowles esq. in 1901 as a thanksgiving for the safe return of his son, Capt. J. Knowles, 14th Hussars, from S. Africa: in 1662 the top of the spire was blown down, and on Sunday, Jan. 18th, 1673, the nave roof, being heavily laden with snow, fell about midnight, carrying the entire nave with it, but was rebuilt in six years' time, in a different style of architecture, with stone from Culvert street and 80 tons of timber from Newent wood, the gift of King Charles II.: the chancel roof sunk when the north wall was being rebuilt, and so remains: in 1679 the church was thoroughly repaired and much altered: the chancel was restored in 1879 at a cost of £480, and in 1880 and 1884 the remainder was completely restored, at a cost of about £1,200, when the nave ceiling was enriched with panelled work from the existing oak beams and boarding and the old oak seats made uniform; during the progress of the work a piscina was discovered; the whole was carried out under the direction of the late Mr. J. H. Middleton F.R.I.B.A. of Westminster and Cheltenham: in 1906 the stonework of the church and the nave roof were renovated at a cost, including other work, of about £1,400: in 1912 the lady chapel was restored and its east window filled with stained glass as a memorial to the late Andrew Knowles esq.: the window in the south side of the sanctuary is in memory of Mrs. Amelia Louisa Connor, wife of a former rector: in the early part of 1907 a portion of the shaft of a cross of the 8th or 9th century, sculptured on all sides with scripture subjects and hieroglyphics, was found in the churchyard: there are sittings for 800 persons.


Congregational Chapel

The Congregational chapel was built in 1844 and has seating for between 300 and 400 persons.


Wesleyan Chapel

The Wesleyan chapel was built in 1855, and has 150 sittings.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Newent from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Newent are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Gloucestershire online:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Boulsdon and Killcott

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of the county of Gloucester, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.

DistrictForest of Dean
RegionSouth West
Postal districtGL18