Edward Hunt's Forest of Dean Miscellany

Fact, Fiction and Fantasy

Mitcheldean Meend

Mitcheldean Meend Enclosure Stone

These stones were set up around the Forest of Dean to mark enclosures.

This is the enclosure stone marking "Mitcheldean Meend Enclosure No. 1" set up in 1847.

(see below for an explanation of meend)

A.R.P is the area covered: A(cres), R(oods) and P(oles) i.e. 9.5 acres, 0 roods and 0 poles.

Lord Morpeth was the Crown Commissioner of the Woods

(see below)

Mitcheldean Meend

(see British History Online: Forest of Dean Introduction)

The Forest was most significant as a producer of oak timber, which was the principal reason for its survival in the modern period. Until the early 17th century, however, there was as much beech as oak among its large timber trees, and chestnut trees once grew in profusion on the north-east side of the Forest near Flaxley and gave the name by 1282 to a wood called the Chestnuts. The underwood was composed of a variety of small species such as hazel, birch, sallow, holly, and alder. The ancient forest contained many open areas. In 1282 various 'lands', or forest glades, maintained by the Crown presumably as grazing for the deer, included several with names later familiar in the Forest's history, Kensley, Moseley, Cannop, Crump meadow, and Whitemead (later a part of Newland parish). Numerous smaller clearings called 'trenches' had also been made as corridors alongside roads for securing travellers against ambush or for the grazing and passage of the deer. Larger areas of waste, or 'meends', such as Clearwell Meend and Mitcheldean Meend, lay on the borders adjoining the manorial lands, whose inhabitants used them for commoning their animals.

Mitcheldean Meend

(see British History Online: Forest of Dean Settlement)

North of Drybrook there were 11 cottages on Dean (or Mitcheldean) Meend in 1782. A small settlement on the road to Hope Mansell (Herefs.), known as Hawthorns in the 1830s, straddled the boundary between the extraparochial Forest and the parishes of Ruardean and Hope Mansell to the west and originated as a cluster of buildings on the parochial land in the 16th century at the place then called Haseley. In 1851 the hamlet included an inn known as the Crown.

In the late 1870s T. B. Brain had gasworks at Puddlebrook, to the north-east, supplying Euroclydon, his large house on a prominent site nearby, in Hope Mansell parish.

Some of the dwellings recorded on Mitcheldean Meend in 1782 may have stood on the edge of Wigpool common, to the north, where settlement remained widely scattered in 1834. Among the houses there in 1992 was one built in the late 19th century at an iron-ore mine. In 1782 there was also a cottage to the east in Lining wood, overlooking the Mitcheldean-Lea road.

South-west of Wigpool at Blackwell meadows, a detached part of Mitcheldean parish, a cottage or small farmhouse built by 1583 was one of two dwellings there in 1785. It was apparently rebuilt as two cottages in the mid 19th century and three or four more houses had been built near it by the later 20th century.

Forest of Dean Enclosures


By this time (1842) some of the enclosures made in 1814 were become fit for being thrown open, the young trees having grown up sufficiently, and the following Commissioners, viz., Lord Lincoln, A. Milne, C. Gore, Sir T. Crawley, J. Pyrke, M. Colchester, C. Bathurst, E. Machen, P. J. Ducarel, J. F. Brickdale, Esqrs., proceeded to authorize the laying open of 163 acres 2 roods 24 poles in Little Stapledge and Birchwood, directing that an equal quantity of land should be added to the Acorn Patch and the Bourts.

In the year 1843 Beechenhurst and Shutcastle Enclosures, comprising 467 acres 2 roods 31 poles, were disenclosed, an equal extent of land at the Delves, Harry Hill, Hangerberry, Old Croft, the Blind Meand, Cleverend Green, Clearwell Meand, and Birch Hill being taken in. Upon the 22nd of this October a sale was effected to the Crown, for the sum of £1,260, of the eligible school premises at Cinderford, erected originally by Mr. Protheroe for his workpeople. On the 22nd of October in the ensuing year, 1844, the church adjoining the school just named, to the erection of which Dr. Warneford and Charles Bathurst, Esq., largely contributed, was consecrated by Bishop Monk, the Crown endowing it with £150 per annum, making the total sum given by the Government to church endowments in the Forest upwards of £10,347. The following year is almost a blank in the annals of the neighbourhood. The Report of the Commissioners of Woods was issued on the 5th of August.

In 1846 enclosures to the extent of 1,433 acres 3 roods 5 poles, comprising Blakeney Hill, Crab-tree Hill (North), Holly Hill, Bromley, part of Edgehills, and part of Stapledge, were thrown open, and instead thereof enclosures were made at Light Moor, Middle Ridge, and Phelp’s Meadow, Blaize Bailey, Mitcheldean Meand (North, South), and Loquiers, the Delves No. 4, Crump Meadow, Bourts No. 1 and 2, Eastbatch Meand, and Coverham (North and South). The Commissioners of Woods published their yearly Report on the 25th of August this year, signed by Lord Morpeth. It states that since 1841 upwards of 291 pieces of encroached land had been purchased by the foresters for £201 13s. 3d., and that no less than 193 grants of coal and iron mine had been galed under 1 and 2 Vict. c. 48, at a total annual rent to the Crown of £3,783, in sums varying from £1 to £250, as at the Bilson Colliery, besides 315 grants of stone-quarries at a total rent of £87 9s. 7d. This includes the following coal-works lately galed, viz., the collieries of Nash’s Folly, New Mill Engine, Unity Colliery, Nag’s Head, Smart’s Delph, Gosly Knoll, producing a rental of £16, and the iron-mines at Old Park, Scarpit, Easter, Slope Pit, Yew-tree, Bromley Hill, Drybrook, Prince of Wales, Belt, and Wigpool, bringing £81 10s. to the Crown, to all which receipts a royalty of so much per ton on the mineral sold was added.

This text was is an extract from "The Forest of Dean", By H. G. NICHOLLS, M.A., PERPETUAL CURATE OF HOLY TRINITY, DEAN FOREST. (published by John Murray, Albemarle Street.1858.)

Edward Hunt