Morris & Co. Commercial Directory & Gazetteer of

Flaxley 1876


FLAXLEY is a parish and village in Westbury-on-Severn union, containing, by the census of 1861, 272, and in 1871, 1090 inhabitants, and 1375 acres; in the northern division of the deanery of the Forest, archdeaconry of Gloucester, diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, hundred of St. Briavels, West Gloucestershire; 4 miles north from Newnham, on the road from Mitcheldean to Westbury-on-Severn. The vicarage, in the incumbency of the Rev. Charles Stephenson, M.A., is valued at £148 per annum, and is in the patronage of Sir Thomas Hyde Crawley Boevey, Bart., who is also lord of the manor and owner of the soil. The church is a handsome edifice, dedicated to St. Mary, in the Decorated style, which was erected in 1856, and consists of nave, chancel, north aisle, and porch, with a tower surmounted by a spire; a clock was added about two years since. The Particular Baptists have a place of worship here, and there is a National School for children of both sexes. There is a fund for providing religious books, also for apprenticing poor children, bequeatherd by Mrs. Boevey, the distribution of books being under the management of the incumbent for the time being, and the apprenticing in that of the lord of the manor. The rateable value of this parish is £3646.

FLAXLEY ABBEY was founded by Roger, Earl of Hereford, in the reign of Stephen, at this place; or, as history states, the valley of Costiard, a name now unknown. The brother of the founder was accidentally killed while hunting. The abbey was called "the Abbey of St. Mary de Dene, or Dene Abbey," and was inhabited by the white monks of the Cistercian order, to whom are traced the local names of St. White's on Little Dean Hill, and Whitecross, in this parish. Henry II confirmed the privileges of the abbey, and increased its endowment by two charters, which are still extant. The usurper John visited the abbey several times during his stormy reign; it afterwards became a mitred abbey, and its abbot was summoned to Parliament in the 21st year of the reign of Edward III. Richard II made some additional grants to the abbey, and amongst other possessions gave it the manor and impropriate church of Flaxley, and the manors of Blaisdon, Newnham, and Ruardean. At length, after basking in the sunshine of prosperity for four hundred years, the abbey was suppressed by Henry VIII., in 1541, and the lands, then valued at £118 13s. 1d., were granted to Sir William Kingston, the lieutenant of the Tower, who took charge of Cardinal Wolsey at Leicester Abbey, and to whom the fallen and dying man made the memorable confession, "Had I but served God as dilligently as I have served the kind, He would not have deserted me in my grey hairs." Sir William dying, Henry re-granted the abbey lands to his son Anthony, whom he also knighted. This Anthony was rather a notable personage in his time. He was provost-marshal of the army sent under Lord Russell against the rebels in the West, who had risen on behalf of the Roman Catholic religion, and he was so severe that he earned the title of the "terrible provost-marshal." But it may be said in excuse that he and his family had largely benefited by the Reformation. Yet at a later period, in 1555, he was engaged in burning the Protestant Bishop Hooper at Gloucester, he being one of the commissioners appointed for the purpose, and it may be supposed that he did not sorrow about his task, Hooper having, in his day, admonished him for gross immorality, and brought on him penance and a fine of £500. But when Mary proposed to follow up the martyrdom of Protestants by restoring the property of which the church has been despoiled, Anthony Kingston made a violent resistance, and behaved so violently in Parliament, seizing the keys, that he was committed to the Tower; the next year, having obtained his liberty by begging pardon, he was concerned in a plot for stealing £50,000 from the Exchequer, and raising a rebellion; and in all probability would have been beheaded, like the rest of the conspirators, had he not escaped by dying on his road to London, whither he had been summoned to answer for his misdeeds. The Kingstons made no figure in later history. The line of the Kingstons having become extinct in 1608, Flaxley Abbey was sold to Abraham Clarke, Esq., from whose son it passed to Mr. Boevey, a near relative. This gentleman married the daughter of John Riches, Esq., a London merchant, when in her sixteenth year, and left her a widow at twenty-one. This lady, after a life of piety and usefulness, which is not yet forgotten, and through her generous benefactions to the parish is not likely to be, died in 1726, and the estate passed to Thomas Crawley, Esq., another London merchant, who assumed the name of Boevey, and from him it has descended to the worthy baronet who is its present owner.

NEWTOWN (OR FLAXLEY MESNE) is a detached portion of this parish in the Forest of Dean, about 4 miles south-west, closely adjoining Cinderford. It was formerly a forest, the property of the Abbots of Flaxley, given them for the purpose of supplying the abbey with wood and fuel. It has been cleared of late years, and built on, and has now become a thriving and populous hamlet. There are Church of England Schools for children of both sexes, which have also been licensed for the celebration of divine services, the vicar of Cinderford being the officiating minister. The Particular Baptists have a place of worship here.



BOEVEY The Dowager Lady Crawley, Flaxley cottage

BOEVEY Sir Thomas Hyde Crawley, Bart., J.P., Flaxley abbey

BRAIN William Blanch, Esq., St. Annals

HAMILTON Mrs. Colonel, Walrond cottage


Trades & Professions

BRICE Charles Tucker, farmer, Monk Hill farm

COOPER Timothy, farmer, Mouseall farm

DOWDING John, farmer, Gawlett farm

GUEST William, farmer, Malden Elm farm

HAGUE Joseph, farmer, St. White's farm

HOBBS Miss Ellen, National schoolmistress

MAYO Albert, blacksmith, parish clerk, and sexton

NEWMAN John, farmer, Sutton farm

NICHOLLS Hartley, farmer, Wintle's farm

PALMER Thomas, miller and farmer, Flaxley mill

SMITH Joseph, butcher and farmer, Tibbs cross

SMITH William, farmer, The Moors

THOMAS Jas., carpenter, Oak Tree cottages

Letters through Newnham, which is the nearest telegraph office. The nearest money order office is at Westbury-on-Severn.

National School - Miss Helen Hobbs, mistress



Clergy, Gentry and Private Residents

HEANE William, Esq., High view

JAMES Mr. John, Bath place

KELLY Rev. William, B.A., curate of St. John's, Stainsby house

MOORE Rev. Joseph (Baptist), Providence cottage

RHODES Mr. Tom, Frowen

WILKS Mrs. Ann, Alma cottage


Trades & Professions

BANKS Robert, carpenter and beer retailer

BEARDMORE William, carpenter, builder, and undertaker, 1 Providence place

BRAIN Ambrose, builder, and agent for the Manchester Fire Insurance Co., 1 Manchester villas

CADLE James, clerk

CARRIER John, clerk

CHIVERS Joseph, lodginghouse-keeper

CHURCH William, butcher

CLARK William, blacksmith

CLEMENTS Samuel, chimneysweeper

COLEMAN Ezra, painter

COOK Leonard, baker and grocer

CORNISH John G., coal agent, 8 Manchester villas

DAWSON William, builder

DREW Ambrose, grocer and provision dealer, and Royal Union Stores, Cinderford

EVANS Charles, monumental mason

GARDINER William, shopkeeper

GWINNELL George, tailor, outfitter, bookseller, stationer, and Emigration & Insurance agent, Flaxley cottage

HARRIS Joseph George, beer retailer and shopkeeper

HAYWARD Charles, grocer

HEANE William, surgeon, High view

HEAVEN James, builder

HOBBS Joseph, haulier

HOOK Timothy, tailor

JENKINS Henry, coal agent

KNIGHT Thomas, cabinet maker and French polisher

LETCHER John, bookkeeper, 4 Manchester villas

LUCAS James George, boot and shoemaker

LUCAS Mrs. Sarah Ann, dressmaker

MARTIN Charles, grocer and butcher

MEREDITH Thomas, beer retailer

MILLWATERS John, beer retailer

MORGAN Benjamin, shoemaker

MORGAN William, glass, china, and earthenware dealer and carrier

NASH Peter, cowkeeper

PARRY John, haulier

PRICE Thomas, carpenter

RIDLER Alfred, colliery manager, Brogden house

ROBERTS Henry, coal factor, Chertsey villa

RYDER Thomas, haulier

SAYSELL John, shopkeeper

SAYSELL Samuel, greengrocer

SMITH Edmund, shoemaker

SMITH Edwin, carpenter and joiner

SMITH Mrs. Sarah, lodginghouse-keeper

STARGOTT Adam, tailor

TAYLOR John, newsagent and shopkeeper

UNDERWOOD Arthur, shoemaker

UNDERWOOD Henry, furniture broker, Littledeans, Woodside

WALKER Edward P., agent to the Scottish Equitable Life Assurance Society, Ross villa

WOODMAN George, master of Church of England Schools

Letters through Newnham via Cinderford. The latter is the nearest money order and telegraph offices.

Church of England Schools - George Woodman, master

Carrier - Gloucester - William Morgan, Mon, Wed, and Sat. Ross and Ruardean - Wm. Morgan, Thurs.