Edward Hunt's Forest of Dean Miscellany

Fact, Fiction and Fantasy

Berry Hill

Berry Hill, being one of the larger villages in the central, high and most populous ridge of the Forest, has two chapels, one a Methodist outpost, Zion, and the other a ‘free church’, Salem. Zion and Salem, Salem and Zion, twin guardians of the village, not above a great deal of jealousy for each other; and at times in the past, their associations were as much social and political as narrowly biblical, for this form of Christian fundamentalism has often has often been closely related to the history of the English and Welsh working classes, and our Labour movement. Salem and Zion were once, undoubtedly, the two most important places in the village, revered far more than the band and the rugby team. Their prim stone hulks were the solidification of almost everything judged important in the life of the district gathered immediately around them. Half a mile away there would be another chapel, and, half a mile onwards again, yet another. Each ruling centre, with a ruling cabinet a discipline as immutable as an established natural law.

The preceding text is taken from The Changing Forest
by Dennis Potter
(publisher: Secker and Warburg, 1962)

Edward Hunt