Morris & Co. Commercial Directory & Gazetteer of

Saint Briavels 1876


SAINT BRIAVELS is a village and parish in Chepstow union, containing, by the census of 1861, 1261, and in 1871, 1315 inhabitants; in the southern division of the deanery of the Forest; archdeaconry of Gloucester, diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, in the hundred to which it gives the name, West Gloucestershire; 5 miles south-west from Coleford, 8 north from Chepstow 6 north-west from Lydney, and 8 south-east from Monmouth. Several portions of this parish are included in the civil portion thereof only viz: The Hudnalls, The Common, Brockweir Common, Mawkins, Hazels, The Fence, and the Lower Meen, not being included in the Ecclesiastical parish, the extent of which is 3794a. 2r. 2p. The vicarage, in the incumbency of the Rev. William Taprell Allen, M.A., is valued at about £160 per annum, with residence, and is in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Hereford. The vicarial tithes were commuted at £229 per annum, and the rectorial at £215. The present glebe house was bought by the late vicar, who made considerable additions to it, and the present vicar has almost rebuilt the front. The church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is a cruciform edifice, consisting of nave, chancel, transepts, choir, and north and south aisles, with tower containing eight bells. In 1830, the tower, which stood at the intersection of the nave and transepts, was rebuilt on the present site, upon which the south porch formerly stood. The chancel was thoroughly rebuilt and a vestry added on the north side in 1861, and at the same time it was new seated with open benches, and a new organ added. The cost of restoration was £2000. It is a very ancient one, and shews the Norman, Early Decorated, and Early English styles of architecture, the oldest portion consisting of five Norman arches in the south arcade, of the time of William Rufus (1089). The Congregationalists and Wesleyans have places of worship here. A School Board for the united district of St. Briavels and Hewelsfield has lately been formed. Commodious National Schools were erected here in 1872, at a cost of nearly 1£000. The Wye Valley Railway, which is in the course of formation between Chepstow and Monmouth, will pass within 2 miles of the village, and will have a station for this place at Bigsweir Bridge. There is a Reading Room and Library here, which was founded by, and is under the management of Charles L. Denton, Esq. The manorial rights are the property of the Crown. Colonel Rooke, the trustees of the late Dowager Countess of Dunraven, and Thomas James, Esq., of Uxbridge, are chief landowners.

The Castle was originally built by Milo Fitz-Walter, afterwards Earl of Hereford, about 1131, and King John was a frequent visitor here for the purpose of hunting in the Forest of Dean. The Keep, a square Norman tower 100 feet high, fell down about the year 1754; the present remains are not earlier that the reign of Edward I.: they consist of two towers flanking the entrance on the north side, which are inhabited; there are also the remains of an oratory, which, with an adjoining chamber, were used in later times as the Court and the Jury Room, in connection with the old Mine Law Court of the Forest of Dean. The moat was drained a few years since, and is now in turf. The Rev. Nicholls, in his "History of the Forest of Dean," says:- "The 'Annals" of Giraldus, relative to the Reign of Henry I., inform us that the Castle of St. Briavels, or Brulais, was now built by Milo Fitz-Walter, with the design of confirming the royal authority in the neighbourhood, and of checking the inroads of the Welsh; but, extensive as its ruins still are, they seem to contain no trace of so early a period. The only vestige of that age is seen in the Parish Church, which stands opposite the north entrance of the Castle. Henry created Fitz-Walter, Earl of Hereford, and committed the Castle of St. Briavels, and the district adjoining, to his care. The 'Itinerary' of the same writer speak of 'the noble Forest of Dean, by which Gloucester was amply supplied with iron and venison.' Tithes of the latter were given by this King to the Abbey there. In the fifth year of the succeeding reign of Stephen, by whom the gifts just mentioned were confirmed, the Forest of Dean, that is, its Royal quit-rents, were granted to Lucy, Milo Fitz-Walter's third daughter, upon her marrying Herbert Fitz-Herbert, the King's chamberlain, and progenitor to the present Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery. So profuse a gift on such occasion may seem almost incredible, but its tenure we must remember was precarious, the Forest itself being continually exposed to danger by its proximity to the Welsh border. Mahel was this lady's youngest brother, of whom Camden records that 'the judgment of God overtook him for his rapacious ways, inhuman cruelties, and avarice, always usurping other men's rights; for, being courteously treated at the Castle of St. Briavels, by Walter de Clifford, the Castle taking fire, he lost his life by the fall of a stone on his head from the highest tower.' It should be observed, however, that according to Sir R. C. Hoare, Camden is mistaken in placing the scene of Mahel's catastrophe in the Forest of Dean; Brendlais, or Brynllys, as mentioned by Giraldus, being a small village on the road between Hereford and Hay, where a stately Tower marks the site of the ancient Castle of the Clifford's, in which most likely this tyrant lost his life."

BROCKWEIR is a hamlet on the banks of the River Wye, about 4 miles south-west, partly in this parish and partly in those of Hewelsfield and Woolastone. Shipbuilding was formerly carried on here, but has been discontinued some time. It is proposed to build a bridge across the River here for the accommodation of the passengers from the Monmouthshire side to the New Railway.

MORK is also a hamlet of this parish.

STOWE is a hamlet, partly in this parish and partly in the tything of Clearwell, in the parish of Newland.

Clergy, Gentry, and Private Residents

ALLEN Rev. William Taprell, M.A., vicar, The Vicarage

BALLARD Arthur, Esq.

COOK Mr Thomas, Via Vache, The Common

DENTON Charles Lord, Esq.

GRIFFITHS John, Esq., Wilsbury

INNES Miss Mary, The Common

IRONSIDES Edmund, Esq., Birchfield House, The Common

JONES George, Esq., Bigsweir house

KYMASTON John, Esq., Humphrey's lodge

McDONALD Mrs. R., The Florence

MOULE Colonel William, Hampden cottage

NAISH Joseph, Esq., The Common

PAGE Mr, James, Patchwell house

PROSSER Mrs. Annie C., The Orchard

SHOVE Mr. Lewis, Woodspring, The Common

STRICKLAND Algernon, Esq., The Lindors

TOMS Mr. Thomas, Yew Tree villa


Trades & Professions

ALLEN William, farmer, Church farm

ALLPASS John, baker

ATFIELD Alfred, shoemaker

BEARD Thomas, farmer, Rodmore farm

BROWN William, master mariner, The Common

BULLOCK William Thomas, farmer

BUTLER John, farmer

CLARKE John, farmer, Stowe farm

CLEMENTS John, farmer, Mork

DAVIS Edmund, shoemaker

DIXON Thomas, farmer, High Grove farm

GERRISH John B., miller, Rodmore hill

GODWIN Thomas, farmer

GRAY Edward, carpenter and farmer

HALFORD James, farmer, Mork farm

HAYNES John, shoemaker, The Common

HOPKINS William, carpenter, Brockweir

HUGHES John Gwynne, shopkeeper

HULIN Alfred, painter, plumber, and glazier, Lower Meen

HULIN Colin, butcher and lime merchant, Ill Retiro cottage

HULIN Francis, carpenter

HULIN Henry, carpenter and wheelwright

HULIN Isaac, stonemason

HULIN King, painter, plumber, and glazier

HUNT Timothy, farmer, The Common

JAMES William, carpenter and beer retailer

JAMES William, castrator and beer retailer, Lower Meen

JENKINS Daniel, farmer, Roads farm

JONES John, farmer, Hoggins farm

JONES Robert, shoemaker

KEAR Joseph Grimes, assistant overseer and collector of rates and taxes, "George" inn

KEAR Thomas, haulier

LONGMAN Joseph, baker, pastry-cook, and confectioner

MARTIN Henry, police constable

MILES George, farmer

MILES Henry, Jun., farmer, Stowe grange

MILES Thomas, blacksmith

MOORE AND ROSSITER, grocers, drapers, and general warehousemen

PAGE Charles, carpenter and joiner, Brockweir common

PAGE William, butcher and farmer, Prospect house

PHILLIPS William, National schoolmaster

PRINCE George, butcher and farmer, Brockweir

ROSSITTER John Grant (firm of Moore and Rossiter)

ROWSELL Mrs. Caroline, laundress

SHIPTON James, grocer, draper, and sub-postmaster

SMITH John, farmer, Bearse farm

STEVENS Alfred, tailor

TAYLOR Mrs. Amelia, blacksmith

TAYLOR John, blacksmith

TEAGUE George, farmer, Closeturff farm

THOMAS John, thrashing machine owner, The Common

THORN James, shoemaker, Brockweir

TOVEY Mrs. Cecilia, dressmaker, The Castle

TOWNSEND William, farmer, Mork hill

WHITTINGTON John, beer retailer

WILDIN Richard, farmer, Bream Cross farm

WILLIAMS John, haulier, The Common

WINTLE Richard, farmer, Woodlands

WINTOUR Alfred William, farmer, Upper Dunkilns

Post Office - James Shipton, sub-postmaster. Letters through Coleford delivered at 8.40 a.m.; dispatched at 5.30 p.m. Money orders granted and paid, and savings bank, and insurance business transacted, and Inland Revenue licenses granted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays until 8 p.m., on week days only.

School Board - Rev. William T. Allen, M.A., St. Briavels

Rev. Edwin Giles, M.A., Hewelsfield

William Bullock, St. Briavels

Walter Evill, Hewelsfield

Joseph Kear, St. Briavels

Clerk to the Board - Thomas R. Steel

Police Station - Henry Martin, constable in charge

Reading Rooms and Library - Charles L. Denton, hon. secretary

Assistant Overseer and Collector of Rates and Taxes - Joseph Grimes Kear

Board School, Broadwell - Mrs. Emily Jones, mistress

National School - William Phillips, master; Mrs. Sarah Phillips, mistress