Caldicot (St. Mary)

CALDICOT (St. Mary), a parish, in the union and division of Chepstow, hundred of Caldicot, county of Monmouth, 5½ miles (S. W.) from Chepstow; containing 625 inhabitants. The name is said to have been derived from Cil y Coed, signifying the "skirt of the wood." The parish comprises by computation 2000 acres, the soil of which is dry and gravelly. Caldicot Level, a portion of the lands called "the Moors," was in ancient times subject to continual inundations; but the greater part having been drained by the monks of a religious house in the vicinity, it now forms a rich grazing district, protected from the encroachments of the sea by walls and embankments. Here are limestonequarries. The new passage ferry across the Bristol Channel is only two miles distant, and vessels under thirty tons' burthen approach, at spring tides, to within about a mile of the village; which contains a lofty cross. The Living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 0. 7½.; patron, Sir E. Keynton Williams; impropriator, T. Rowland, Esq.: the great tithes have been commuted for £240, and the vicarial for £188, and the glebe contains about 15 acres. The church is chiefly in the decorated and later English styles, and consists of a nave, chancel, and north aisle, with a tower rising from between the chancel and nave, and a very large south porch supposed to have been a chapel. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. Here stand the remains of a magnificent castle that belonged to the Bohuns, earls of Hereford, as hereditary constables of England, and was held by the service of that office. The walls are of an oblong form, with round towers at the different angles: the principal entrance is under a lofty gate of smooth stone, flanked by others of massive construction; and opposite to this grand gateway is another entrance, through a fine hexagonal tower with a machicolated battlement. Within are the ruins of several apartments, particularly the baronial hall. At the northern angle is a circular tower on a mound of earth, evidently the keep, encircled by a ditch; and another dilapidated circular tower stands at the southern angle: the whole is still surrounded by a moat.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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