In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Forest of Dean like this:
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, 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. Pop. of St. John, 4, 417; of St. Paul, 4, 937; of Trinity, 3, 218; of Christchurch, 1, 777. These four are vicarages in the dio. of G. and Bristol. Value of St. J., £300;* of each of the others, £150.* Patron of St. P., the Bishop; of each of the others, the Crown. See Viney-Hill. There are four dissenting chapels and eight Public schools.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Forest of Dean has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Forest of Dean. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Forest of Dean and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 26th May 2013
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