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strictly speaking, belong to any particular style ; it is a large and handsome building, consisting of nave, aisles, and chancel, and possessing a fine old tower, with some private chapels and ancient monuments. The town was formerly of some consequence; in the fourteenth century it had a large trade in wool, which, however, has now almost entirely deserted it, although the ancient market is still held. The population is 1975.
FOREST OF DEAN. This picturesque and interesting tract of country lies on the west of Gloucestershire, between the rivers Severn and Wye. At one time this district was an oak forest of considerable importance; but it is now mainly covered with coppices, which are periodically cut down for the sake of the bark. This is in every respect the wildest part of Gloucestershire, and will afford the enterprising tourist many views of striking beauty.
The Forest of Dean possesses an entire little coal-field of some interest. The strata repose in a basin-like form, the greatest depression being near the centre; the larger axis extending from north to south about 11 miles, and the transverse axis, in the widest part, ranging from east to west about 7 miles. If the observer stands on the edge of the hills by which this basin is bounded, he will see the enclosing character of the ridge, as well as the less conspicuous circle of somewhat elevated land occupying the central portion of this field, and which is separated by a valley or plain from the surrounding ridge. This outlying ridge in most places marks the outcrop of the conglomerate mountain limestone, iron veins, millstone grit, and lower coal measures. A local collector has obtained about twelve species of coal plants, comprising the prevalent ferns, from this coal basin.
MICHELDEAN [INNS : George, White Horse].—This town, which is on the northern border of the forest, is two miles from the station of the same name. It consists mainly of one long irregular street, having near the northern end a Town Hall, in the style common in many parts of the adjoining counties. The building is small but substantial, and rests on massive stone pillars, from which spring rude circular arches.
The Church, dedicated to St. Michael, is an ancient building in several styles of architecture, and consists of nave, with two aisles on the north side and one on the south, chancel, and tower with spire at west end of south aisle. The tower is Early English, and the octagonal spire that rises from it is, from its beautiful tapering, an ornament to the landscape as well as to the building to which it is attached. The west window of the nave is new, and Perpendicular; that of the second north aisle is old, and somewhat worn, but a good specimen of the same style ; the intermediate aisle is lighted at this end by a small Early English window. The east window is Decorated, and of five lights. The east window of the second north aisle is a fine specimen of Perpendicular, and is divided into seven lights. The other windows are mostly Decorated. The interior has been carefully restored and re-pewed. Above the chancel-arch are some interesting frescoes, discovered during restorations. The painting is in several compartments, each devoted to a sacred subject. More of these frescoes might be discovered here and elsewhere under the plaster and whitewash. There is a fine carved font, and an elegant pulpit. None of the monuments call for special notice.
There are Dissenting chapels, schools, etc., in the town. The population is 689, houses 144.
A picturesque road leads through the forest to Coleford. In some places the country has a very dismal aspect, from the deserted ruins and heaps of rubbish; while in others one witnesses the outgoings of the rude vigorous life of an uncultured mining population. In some places the result of man's work seems even to add a new and strange beauty to the scenes in which it is carried on. It is unnecessary to diverge to the left to the little church of Abenall, which has one rude circular arch, which is probably the work of village masons of our own day, and an old brass. Ruerdean, farther to the right, has as little to repay a visit ; and English Bicknor, to which a road strikes off on the right about 6 miles from Micheldean, though older than the Conquest, has nothing to attract the antiquarian or ecclesiologist.
COLEFORD, 8 miles from Micheldean and 4 from Monmouth, being merely a hamlet to the parish of Newland, is of no historical importance. It is a neat little market-town, and does a large trade in mineral productions. It consists mainly of one principal street, which is lighted with gas and substantially paved. The neighbouring country is exceedingly pleasant, and embraces some very picturesque views, especially those on the Wye, by which the town is bounded on the west. There are three places of Worship, one of which is in connection with the Established Church. The National School is the principal place of public instruction. A market is held weekly, and an extensive sheep fair annually in the month of June. Population, 2600; inhabited houses, 538.
NEWLAND lies about 2 miles distant from Coleford, in a very pleasant situation near the river Wye. The village is quadrangular in form, and in its centre stands the Church, which is a spacious and ancient structure, ornamented at the west end with a fine tower, with pinnacles and openwork battlements. There are several old monuments in the interior. On the western side of the churchyard is the Grammar School, founded A.D. 1632, adjoining which is the residence for the master. Near these buildings is a row of Almshouses founded by one William Jones, who also founded the Grammar School and Almshouses at Monmouth.
St. BRIAVELL's is distant from Newland between 3 and 4 miles ; its Church is modern, and dedicated to
St. Mary. Here are some interesting remains of a strong Castle, built in the reign of Henry I. by one of the Earls of Hereford.
WESTBURY-ON-THE-SEVERN.—The Church of this extensive parish may be reached by a pleasant footpath across the fields from near the Grange Junction Station. The distance is 2 miles ; and the spire will guide the tourist the most of the way. The Church consists of nave, aisles, and chancel. The spire stands a few yards from the church, and has, from traces on the east front of the tower, been attached to the west end of a former building. The tower is square, and the spire octagonal and massive. Over the doorway at the west end of the church, which is Early English, is a square canopy enclosing a trefoil-headed one, within which is a cross (without figure on it), and a figure on either side of it. There is an old cross in the churchyard.
FLAXLEY is about 4 miles from either Newnham or Grange Court Station. This village was a place of considerable importance in olden times, being the site of a Cistercian abbey founded in the reign of Stephen by Robert Fitz-Milo, second Earl of Hereford, on the spot where his brother had been accidentally shot while hunting. It was further endowed by Henry II., and was worth £112 :13:1 at the Dissolution. Only a few remains of foundations can now be traced ; but excavations, carried on under proper directions, would probably lay bare the whole ground-plan. Part of the abbot's lodgings is incorporated in a modern mansion