Old Market Hall
Newent shown within Gloucestershire
|OS grid reference|
|District||Forest of Dean|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||Forest of Dean|
Newent (originally called "Noent") is a small market town about 8 miles north west of Gloucester, on the northern edge of the Forest of Dean, and lying within the Forest of Dean Local Authority District. Its population at the 2001 census was 5,073. The town includes a half-timbered market house, other houses of historical nature, and the site of the former small Victorian museum, the Shambles, containing a replica of a 19th-century street has been transformed and now real local traders occupy the once replica shops. There has been a settlement here since at least Roman times and the town first appeared in the Domesday Book.
Newent's church, St Mary's, dates from the 13th century but the site has been used since the Anglo-Saxon period. St Mary's Church has stained glass windows from the famous company of Clayton and Bell.
Newent is home to the Devonia, a large house dating back to the Georgian period.
Newent was served by the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal, which opened between Gloucester and Ledbury in 1798. The canal closed on 30 June 1881 and the section between Ledbury and Gloucester converted into a railway line. This line, which was a branch of the Great Western Railway, opened on 27 July 1885. The original course of the canal between Dymock and Newent was by-passed as it was decided not to take the line through the 2,192 yard Oxenhall Tunnel. Newent had a station on this line. The line closed in 1959, but the canal (including the tunnel), is now being restored. Today the nearest station is Ledbury on the Cotswold Line.
Newent is home to the National Birds of Prey Centre, located just east of the neighbouring village of Cliffords Mesne, a vineyard (The Three Choirs), and is at the centre of the Golden Triangle, so called because of the preponderance of daffodils in the surrounding area.
The town holds an onion fayre each September, at which there are competitions for growing onions and for eating onions.
Educational commissioners during the reign of Edward VI (1547–53) noted the lack of educational opportunities in Newent. Gloucestershire commissioners reported that Newent was a market town with over 500 inhabitants but "all the youth of a great distance therehence rudely brought up and in no manner of knowledge and learning, where were a place meet to ... erect a school for the better and more godly bringing up of the same youth". Newent is now served by three schools, all within the town. Glebe Primary School is for children aged 4 to 7, moving on to Picklenash Junior School until age 11. Newent Community School provides both secondary and tertiary education for ages 11 upwards.
Sports and recreation
- The town's football team is Newent Town AFC who now play in the Gloucester Northern Senior League, they were promoted 'as Champions' of the North Gloucester Premer League after winning the title on the 14th of May 2013. They have a Reserve team and a 3rd team who play in the North Gloucester League. Also an under 18s and an under 15s youth teams. Their home pitch and club house are at Wildsmith Meadow.
- Newent RFC play Rugby Union in the Gloucester Premier Division of the Rugby Football Union South West Division and are based at the recreation ground in Watery Lane. They were promoted 'as Champions' of Division 1 on 22 April 2013.
- Newent Cricket Club play in the Gloucestershire County Cricket League in Division 2. The Club is located at Three Ashes Lane, just outside of Newent.
- Newent Leisure Centre is run by the Forest of Dean District Council and is located within the grounds of Newent Community School. It has a range of facilities including a Gym, a multi use indoor arena, squash court and swimming pool. There is also an all weather Artificial turf pitch for Football and Hockey as well as Tennis Courts. These are run by the adjacent Sports Bar.
- Joe Meek - record producer and songwriter who was born at 1, Market Square. He produced the 1962 number 1 hit 'Telstar' by The Tornados.
- Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin - Gold Medal Winners in the Team Dressage and Individual Dressage events at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London are based at Newent.
- Stuart Fleetwood - Professional Footballer currently playing for Luton Town F.C. who attended Newent Community School and played for various Newent Youth Football teams. Fleetwood has previously played for Cardiff and represented Wales at U21 and U23 levels.
- Alex Cuthbert - Wales rugby star went to Newent Community School. Cuthbert scored the decisive try in the 2012 Six Nations game as well as 2 tries in the 30-3 win over England in the 2013 title-deciding game. Cuthbert was English schooled and raised but was given his chance in international rugby by the Welsh Sevens team after initially being overlooked by the England setup.
- "Railway Magazine", April 1958
- Joan Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967, p.229.