A History of the County of Gloucester

May 2010
78 black and white, 15 line illustrations
392 pages
30.5x20.8 cm
Victoria County History
ISBN: 9781904356363
Format: Hardback
Victoria County History

A History of the County of Gloucester

Volume XII: Newent and May Hill

Edited by A.R.J. Jurica

Describes the area's varied agrarian history and industrial activity.
This volume of the county history covers the part of north-west Gloucestershire extending from the foothills of the Malverns in the north to the distinctive feature of May Hill in the south. Centred on the parish and former market town of Newent, it also covers the ancient parishes of Bromesberrow, Dymock, Huntley, Kempley, Longhope, Oxenhall, Pauntley, Preston, and Taynton.
Over much of the area a pattern of scattered farmsteads and small fields emerged from the clearance of ancient woodland. That process continued after the Norman Conquest but with the consolidation of farms from the later middle ages the story became one of the abandonment of numerous farmhouses and farmsteads. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries road improvements facilitated the growth of outlying villages and squatter settlement on common and waste land created a number of hamlets, as on May Hill and on the Herefordshire border at Gorsley.
The volume also describes the area's varied agrarian history, from sheep, dairy and arable farming to its orchards, and, more recently, viniculture. Industrial activity has included glassworks and ironworks, and charcoal production. Newent, the chief trading centre from the thirteenth century on, saw both a short-lived coalfield, one of the principal objects for the construction of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire canal, and a spa.


[T]he volume's structure is clear, logical and easy to follow. [It] has been produced to the VCH's usual high standards. SOUTHERN HISTORY

Volume XII, Newent and May Hill, maintains the impeccable scholastic standards of the VCH whilst extending the range of research and introducing changes both cosmetic and substantial to the familiar 'Red Books'. Like its predecessors it provides a vast range of hard facts, prompts further enquiries and builds a solid base for future research. It is perhaps especially valuable for its coverage of the medieval period. TRANSACTIONS OF THE BRISTOL & GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

The volume is a delight to read and provides a powerful antidote to sloppy thinking about the history of rural England. THE LOCAL HISTORIAN

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