Coleford

COLEFORD, a market-town and chapelry, in the parish of Newland, union of Monmouth, hundred of St. Briavell's, W. division of the county of Gloucester, 20 miles (W. S. W.) from Gloucester, and 124 (W. by N.) from London; containing 2208 inhabitants. This place, which is pleasantly situated on the verge of the county, next Monmouthshire, and bounded on the north and east by the Forest of Dean, obtained the grant of a market from James I. During the parliamentary war, a skirmish took place previously to the siege of Gloucester, between a party of royalists, commanded by Lord Herbert, and the parliamentary forces under Col. Barrow, when the market-house was destroyed, and Sir Richard Lawdy, major-general of South Wales, and several officers, were killed: at a subsequent period, during the same war, the ancient chapel was demolished. The town is situated on the old turnpike-road between Gloucester and Monmouth, and consists principally of one spacious street, in which is the market-place; the houses are in general neat and well built. The environs are pleasant, in some points beautifully picturesque; and in the vicinity are several elegant mansions. Many of the labouring class are employed in extensive iron-works in the neighbourhood. Here is a pottery for the manufacture of various articles of common ware; and sandstone is quarried to a considerable extent, the best of which is used for troughs, millstones, &c., and that of inferior quality for drains and walls. There is a tramroad to Monmouth, above five miles distant, for the conveyance of coal and lime: Coleford lies on the edge of the Forest of Dean coal-basin, and some pits have been sunk within its boundary. The market is on Friday; and fairs are held on June 20th for wool, and Dec. 5th for cattle and pedlery; the market-house was rebuilt in 1679, Charles II. contributing £50 towards defraying the expense. The county magistrates hold a petty-session here for a portion of the Forest division. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150; patron, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. The chapel, a very plain structure, built in the reign of Queen Anne, who contributed £300 towards its erection, and rebuilt of stone in 1821 at a cost of £3000, is dedicated to All Saints; it has accommodation for about 1000 persons: a new organ was lately erected. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans; and a national school, built in 1837, is supported by subscription. A sum of £200 was bequeathed by Colonel Ollney, the interest to be distributed among the poor at Christmas, in coal and blankets. Vestiges of Offa's Dyke may be distinctly traced in some parts of the town.

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

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