A new history of the Dean

At the next meeting of the Society, this coming Saturday 5 Dec, Christine Martyn's brand new, very well researched and highly readable history of the Forest, The Forest Revisited, A Modern History will be launched. To mark the occasion the book will be on offer for a one off discount price of £13. A wonderful Christmas present.
Thereafter, it will be available on this website's e-shop and at various local stockists.
At the meeting, Vice President Averil Kear will talk about Bridges of the Lower Wye Valley. The venue is the West Dean Centre, Bream, at 3 pm.
Visit our website at forestofdeanhistory.org.uk

Foresters’ Forest Heritage Landscape Programme

Yesterday evening, the Foresters' Forest programme hosted an evening in Clearwell Caves to showcase the number and range of projects coming together within the Partnership, and to encourage people to volunteer. 
The aim of the Programme is to raise awareness and participation in the built, natural and cultural heritage that makes our Forest special. The event was very well attended and a number of Society members were also there.
The Society has been asked to play an important role in the Programme, overviewing the various historical elements. In addition, two of our Committee members, Simon Moore and Mary Sullivan, are members of the Programme Board.
It's not all about history, however, by any means  – there are many strands to this effort, as you can see if you go to their newly launched website here Foresters Forest website
It's important to understand that the total funding is not yet guaranteed. Currently the Programme is in a development phase, finalising projects and objectives and getting together resources.
The whole task is very dependent on volunteers, so please go to the website (and on an ongoing basis as it fills up with more information) and have a look to see how you might like to get involved. 

The Speech House pilot – a correction and some more information

The November newsletter published a short article I wrote about the
Speech House pilot who crashed and died there in WW2. First of all, a major
correction – the aircraft was a Westland (as it actually says on the memorial
stone and on the photograph held at Gloucestershire Archives) not a
Westmoreland. A good lesson in seeing what you want to see rather than what’s
actually there.

In addition, Dave Tuffley, one of our members, tells me there was an
excavation there about 1979/1980. Dan Howells, the Deputy Gaveller, did mention
this, but my recollection is that he thought it was not an approved excavation.
In any case, Dave believes the excavation was approximately 1979/1980-ish. The
site, as far as he remembers, is about 60 yards inside the Speech House field, between
the cricket square and the oak trees on the Speech House road side of the

He learned from a Speech House Cricket Club player, Adrian Morgan, that
the excavation recovered some small bones (even though they were told that the
pilot’s body was recovered.) The excavation was stopped when the bones were
found. Some cannon shells or bullets were also recovered.

If anybody has more to add, do post a reply to this item.

English Bicknor’s medieval castle

An invitation to the next English Bicknor
Local History Group meeting where the lead archaeologist from
Headland Archaeology, who unexpectedly uncovered a medieval castle during works
for new classrooms at Bicknor School, will talk about this exciting find.


English Bicknor
Castle: Medieval Discoveries

A talk by Andy
Boucher, Headland Archaeology

history has to be rewritten with this amazing discovery found under our

 Thursday 12 November 2015

7.30pm, English
Bicknor Village Hall

Entry: £2.50, FREE
for members – join on the door

Contact: Claire

Eric Warden-Heggie



Visit our website at forestofdeanhistory.org.uk

The Chartism Magazine is now online

The Chartists have a new electronic version of the Chartism Mag. So click on the link to go to their website for a host of interesting sections where you can access historical data and imagery as well as current debates about the value of Chartism today.

The site is edited by Les James and David Mayer. If you have any queries or articles you wish to submit please email: les.james22@gmail.com <mailto:les.james22@gmail.com>


Tidenham Day School – a good day’s learning

On Saturday 17 October, a few members of the Society joined with a large number of other interested people for a day of learning about the history of Tidenham and surrounds. We started with geology, carried through prehistory, the Romans and Anglo Saxon times to the 20th century, learning about lead fonts along the way. And that was just the morning.
After lunch we broke into three groups – one to Tidenham Church and its lead font; one to Lancaut and the Church of St James; and the third to Beachley to see the remains of what happened there over a short period towards the end of and following WW1. 
I was with the Beachley group, so here, in a nutshell, is what we learned from the talk by Carol Clammer and the tour: In 1917 the government evacuated the small village and hastily threw together a vast shipbuilding site, complete with numerous railways, POW huts and labourers houses (some 10,000 people on site), all within a few months. No ship was ever built and it took many years for the villagers to get their homes back and some sort of compensation.
Many thanks due to Ian Standing and the Dean Buildings Preservation Trust for organising an excellent speaker list, and to Tidenham Local History Society for their organisation and for sharing their current research.

GLHA Day Saturday 24 October, Pates Grammar School, Cheltenham

Attached is the programme for the GLHA Day on 24 October, where the topic will be Immigration and Emigration to, from and within Gloucestershire.
As well as a line up of interesting speakers, many Gloucestershire local history societies will have displays on the theme. Cecile Hunt and Mary Sullivan have been working hard on our display, which will feature the Bledisloe New Zealand Trust, set up in the early part of the 20th century by the first Viscount following his term as Governor of New Zealand. Its aim then was to support people wishing to emigrate to NZ. The Trust is still functioning, but now with more emphasis on study periods and the like rather than emigration.
I'm sure it will be a fascinating day, so do take the time to go along.

pdf icon LH-Day-programme-pdf.pdf