is located at the foot of the Cannop Valley, in the
Royal Forest of Dean, and has a
history dating back to the early 17th century.
During the 19th century it
was a busy industrial village with several coal mines, an
ironworks, stoneworks, timber-yard and a tinplate works, but by
the early 20th century most had succumbed to a loss of markets
and the general industrial decline.
In more recent times, the
village has found new life within the tourism sector, primarily
as a centre for the provision of tourist accommodation.
The village has two public
houses, both with guest accommodation, and one with an adjoining
hostel; the Fountain Inn and Lodge and the Woodman Inn.
There are also two
guesthouses, several holiday let properties, a CIU affiliated
club with caravan & camping facilities, and a large camping and
caravan site named Whitemead Forest Park; owned and operated by
the Civil Service Motoring Association (C.S.M.A.).
The Dean Field Studies
Centre, once part of Parkend Ironworks, is owned by Bristol City
Council and is used to accommodate schoolchildren from that
building is the village and parish church, dedicated to St Paul,
and situated on the eastern edge of the village in a forest
clearing. The shape provides the point of interest, being both
octagonal and cruciform, with the arms formed by the sanctuary,
north and west transepts and the west tower. It was designed and
built in 1822, together with the village school, by Henry Poole;
a local priest who raised most of the money through public
subscription and his own generosity. Wikipedia
|Parkend Ironworks.The first
building on this site is believed to have been erected
around 1799. A second furnace and new water wheel, 51
feet in diameter, and 6 feet wide, was installed in 1827
with the water mainly coming from a reservoir one and a
half miles away. It was built by damming Cannop Brook at
Bixlade to fill an old quarry (now Cannop Lower Pond).
The furnaces and chimney stack were demolished in 1908.
Our second photo shows the surviving structure today,
now the Dean Field Studies Centre.
The Parkend Roman
Hoard. In 1852 over 900 coins in a grey earthenware jar
were dug up by
workmen near the site of the present day post office at Parkend.
The finders would not indicate the exact location of the site to
the lady who purchased the hoard, being of the opinion that
anything found on Crown land automatically became Government
Around 500 were corroded
together in a solid mass and therefore indecipherable. The
remaining 405 were catalogued and their dates were found to vary
from that of Julia Domna (wife of Severus) 217AD, the only
silver coin, to Allectus 293-296AD.
140 were from the reign of
Postumus Usurper 260AD-269AD, and 70 from Claudius Gothicus
The King's Ironworks at Parke End
In 1612 King James Ist
contracted the Earl of Pembroke to build and run a blast
furnace and forge at ‘Parke End’. The furnace's
structure is described in “The Booke of Survey of the
Forest of Dean Ironwork,” dated 1635, from which it
appears that the stone body was about twenty-two feet
square, the blast being kept up by a water-wheel around
twenty-two feet in diameter, powered by the Cannop
brook, working two pairs of bellows measuring eighteen
feet by four.
The exact site is not known but was approximately in the
area below York Lodge and between the end of Hughes
Terrace and the lorry park.
The workers employed at the
King's ironworks formed the first real recorded
settlement at what was later to become the village of
Parkend. Leases in 1636 permitted the
building of cabins to house the workmen, and during that
time many others took advantage of the felling and
charcoaling operations to establish themselves illegally
in the woodlands.
The furnace and forge were
destroyed by order of Parliament during the Civil War
and then rebuilt in 1654 when it went back into
production to supply the Royal Navy with shot and
wrought iron fittings. The site then seems to have
deteriorated and had to have a serious overhaul in 1662.
In later years, because the
charcoal-hungry ironworks and forges in the Forest of
Dean were responsible for gobbling up most of the
timber, and leaving virtually none to be available for
ship-building, Forest law was reestablished by Act of
Parliament in 1672 and the furnaces and forges were
ordered to be closed. They are believed to have ceased
production in 1674. In 1671,
Henry Somerset, 1st Duke of Beaufort, the Warden
of the Forest, had ordered the demolition of all cabins
except those necessary for officially sanctioned cording
and charcoaling operations for the ironworks, and the
1678 the Quarter Sessions ordered the magistrates of the
Forest division to remove all poor people from the waste
and settle them in adjoining parishes.
The site was then abandoned.
David Mushet, the famous
Coleford based steel processor, wrote in 1826 “About
fourteen years ago I first saw the ruins of one of these
furnaces, situated below York Lodge, and surrounded by a
large heap of slag or scoria that is produced in making
pig iron. As the situation of this furnace was remote
from roads, and must at one time have been deemed nearly
inaccessible, it had all the appearance at the time of
my survey of having remained in the same state for
nearly two centuries. The quantity of slags I computed
at from 8000 to 10,000 tons."
This large heap of of slag
and cinders was soon to be put to good use. In 1810 the
Office of Woods licensed Isaac and Peter Kear to erect a
stamping mill with 12 stampheads and a 24ft waterwheel
on the site of the old ironworks and then in 1814
granted them permission to use the mound of cinders on
the land they had leased.
|A 19th century
stamper and an example of the glass surfaced
slag still laying around near the lorry park and
nearby Cannop Brook today.
The slag, produced by the 17th century furnace after the
extraction of the iron, was crushed into a fine powder
to be used in the production of bottle glass. John
Morse, who had married Peter Kear's widow, was running
the mill till around 1850, when it ceased production.
In 1859 he purchased some land from the Office of
Woods to the west of the stampers cinder pile, and built
his home on it. He named it 'Stampers Cottage' and the
dwelling is still there today.
The eight cottages in Hughes Terrace, originally named
Stampers Row, were built in 1859 by James Hughes, who
owned a nearby saw-mill and lived at York Lodge.
Located on the western
edge of the village, RSPB Nagshead is a quiet and tranquil
reserve. open all year, facilities include a visitor centre and
toilets (open from 10 am to 5 pm at weekends during the summer),
large car park, two viewing hides, two way-marked walks, a
picnic area and information boards. Entrance and car parking are
redstarts, pied flycatchers, and crossbills are frequently seen
in the reserve, but fortunate visitors may also spot great
spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches, redwings, woodcocks and wood
In 1942, nest boxes were
erected, in the hope that pied flycatchers would control oak
leafroller moths, which were defoliating trees. These boxes have
been continually monitored since 1948, making it the world's
longest running bird breeding programme. Wikipedia
Sidings, the lower part being opposite the Fountain Inn, around
1935. Castlemain Colliery is top left.
1950 and today
The railway in Parkend
began life in 1810 as a horse-drawn tramroad, owned and operated
by the Severn and Wye Railway Company.
By 1874, the line had been
converted to run standard gauge steam locomotives and the
station was built in 1875 to enable the company to also run
passenger services alongside its freight operations. The level
crossing gates by the station are reputedly the longest in
A decline in coal
production and a reduction in passengers saw the station close
to regular passenger services in 1929.
The last goods train left
Parkend on 26 March 1976 and much of the track was dismantled.
The line was bought by the
Dean Forest Railway, based at Norchard, and Parkend was
officially re-opened on Friday 19 May 2006 by HRH the Princess
Royal. The station is currently the northern terminus of the
Dean Forest Railway. Wikipedia
turnpike in 1888. Crossing the Coleford road, and to the right
of the Bream road which was constructed by the Turnpike Trust in
the early 1820s, is the narrow-gauge Oakwood tramway built by
David Mushet in 1826. In the length that runs parallel with the Bream road, many
of the track's foundation stones are still visible
One of the Forest's best kept 'secrets'
(do not tell the tourists!) is the popular Rising Sun
Inn at Moseley Green.
A beautiful dog-friendly pub in a
secluded Forest location, it is steeped in the history of the Parkend
area, and a focal point for local families during the last two
Originally situated in the centre of several coal
mines and smithies, you would today find it hard to
believe that trams and trains ran only yards from the pub's
In its own grounds with extensive gardens and lawns,
there is a large children’s play area, and a picturesque
fish-filled pond. Definitely a personal favourite!
Parkend War Memorial.
The Memorial Hall was opened at
Parkend in memory of the men of the village who served in the
Great War. It was previously a warehouse owned by
Mr George Jones of Coleford, who generously donated the building
in 1919. Opened by Lord Bledisloe on July 23rd 1920, the
WW1 plaque of names is to the right hand side of the entrance
doors, and that of WW2 to the left.
Richard BURROWS, Private 50443, 14th Battalion Royal
Warwickshire Regiment. Born at Whitecroft, he was the 19 year
old son of steam engine fitter, William Edward Burrows and his
wife Alice Tamer Dykins, who were married in 1885. Richard
enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at Lydney. He was
killed in action on September 27th 1918, only six weeks before
the Armistice, and is remembered on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial
at Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
Henry HOWELLS, Private 12968, 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire
Regiment, was the 38 year old son of Parkend timber
merchant Henry Howells, and his wife Ann Knight, of 4, Parkend
Square, who were married in 1881. A mine-worker, Henry jnr was
employed in the Yorkshire coal-field in 1901. He was back in the
Forest when enlisting in the Glosters in 1914. He was killed in
action at Ypres on May 9th 1915 and is remembered on the Ypres
Menin Gate memorial.
HODGES, Lance Corporal 21146, 2nd Battalion, Coldstream
Guards, was the 20 year old son of William Hodges and his wife
Fanny Alice Jones, who were married at English Bicknor in 1887
and had a family of four boys. They lived at Western Cottages,
the Folly, Parkend, where William was employed as a forestry
worker. Leslie joined the Coldstream Guards at Monmouth. He died
from his wounds at a military hospital and is buried in St.
Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.
Tom Raymond MOORE,
Lance Corporal 18141,13th (Forest of Dean) Battalion,
Gloucestershire Regiment, was the 22 year old son of Augustus
and Maria Moore, of Parkend. The couple, who were married in
1878, had nine children, all born at Parkend. Augustus was
employed as the station-master there and the family lived in the
station-master's house.15 year old Tom appears on the 1911
census working as a colliery clerk. He enlisted in the Glosters
before February 1915 and is believed to have then been living at
Easton Road, Bristol. He was killed in action on October 15th
1918, only 4 weeks before the Armistice. Lance Corporal Tom
Raymond Moore is buried in Carling (Karlingen) Communal
George Long MAYO,
Lance Corporal 18140, 13th (Forest of Dean) Battalion,
Gloucestershire Regiment, was the 25 year old son of Berkeley
born carpenter, Joseph Clarke Mayo, and his wife, Mary Hardwick
from Newport, Berkeley, who were married at Thornbury in 1876.
George gave his residence as Parkend when enlisting with the
Glosters in 1915. He was killed in action at Douleux, France on
11th October 1916 and is buried in Contay British Cemetery,
World War 2
BAILEY, Driver T/171162, Royal Army Service Corps.
28 year old son of Walter and Rosanna Bailey; and
husband of Hilda James, who he married at Parkend
A lorry driver in
civilian life, he died on August 13th 1945 and is buried
at Munster Heath War Cemetery in Germany.
Leading Stoker, Royal Navy, was the 27 year old son of
collier Hosea Griffiths and his wife Sarah Jane from
Parkend, and husband of Lillian Catherine Griffiths.
During the war the couple lived at Holton Heath near
Wareham where the Navy had a cordite factory. He died on
July 13th 1943 and is buried at Wareham in Dorset.
contact us at
George HARDWICK, Lance Corporal 2000772, Royal
Engineers, was the 24 year old son of Coleford collier Henry
Charles Hardwick and his wife Laura Maria Gething.
Fred married 19 year
old Winifred Laura Norris, from Viney Hill, in 1940.
He was killed in
action on June 30th 1944 and is buried at St. Manvieu War
Cemetery in France.
Sergeant, 150 Squadron Royal Air Force Bomber Command. On
its way to the target, Emden, Wellington X3279 from 150
Squadron was shot down by a night-fighter flown by Oblt
Ludwig Becker, of 6.NJG2, and crashed at 00.47am on the 7th
of June 1942 into the Waddenzee. All the six crewmen were
killed. The wireless operator, 22 year old Sgt
Jackson, was found on the sea dike east of Buren village,
Ameland, in the Dutch Fresian Islands on the morning of 7th
June. He was first buried in the Roman Catholic graveyard of
St. Clement's Church, Ameland on 10th June but after the war
reinterred in Jonkerbos Cemetery. William was the son of
Isaac and Nancy Jackson.
George Edward PREEST,
Private 5187409, 2nd Battalion Somerset Light Infantry (Prince
Albert's), was the 27 year old son of colliery worker
Richard Preest and his wife Elizabeth Milbrough Preece who
were married at Parkend Church in 1908, and living at The
Barracks, Parkend in the 1930s. He was killed in Italy on
May 12th 1944 and is commemorated on the Cassino Memorial.
The 2nd Somersets, arrived in Italy in March 1944 and served
in the Italian Campaign as part of the British Eighth Army
in many battles such as that of Monte Cassino, one of the
worst battles of the Italian Campaign, where they played an
important role alongside the 2nd King's.
Charles William WEBB, Corporal 5114139, 1/7th
Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was the 21 year old
son of Thomas Webb and Edith Edwards, of Parkend, who were
married at Clearwell in 1913. He was killed in action on May
27th 1940 and is buried at Esquelmes War Cemetery.
The British Expeditionary
Force was involved in the later stages of the defence of
Belgium following the German invasion in May 1940, and
suffered many casualties in covering the withdrawal to
Those buried in Esquelmes
War Cemetery died in defending the line of the River
Scheldt. The Germans attempted to cross the river near
Esquelmes during the morning of 21 May, but were repulsed
after heavy fighting. They eventually crossed on 23 May,
when the British Expeditionary Force withdrew to the Gort