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The Market House, Newent
Newent is located in Gloucestershire
Location within Gloucestershire
OS grid referenceSO7225
Civil parish
  • Newent
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townNEWENT
Postcode districtGL18
Dialling code01531
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
51°55′49″N 2°24′17″W / 51.9302°N 2.4048°W / 51.9302; -2.4048Coordinates: 51°55′49″N 2°24′17″W / 51.9302°N 2.4048°W / 51.9302; -2.4048

Newent (/ˈnjuːənt/; originally called "Noent") is a market town and civil parish about 10½ miles (17 km) north-west of Gloucester, England.[1] Its population of 5,073 at the 2001 census increased to 5,207 by 2011.[2] A 2018 estimate put the population at 5050.[3] Once a medieval market and fair town, its site had been settled at least since Roman times. It appeared first in the historical record in the 1086 Domesday Book.[4]


Noent, the original name for Newent, may mean "new place" in Celtic.[5] It also may mean "new inn" to reference lodging for travellers to Wales, according to John Leland (c. 1503–1552).[6] According to Leland, there was a house called "New Inn", later named The Boothall, which provided lodging along the road to Wales.[6][7][a]


Newent is on the northern edge of the Forest of Dean and within the Forest of Dean District of Gloucestershire.[6] It is south-east of the River Wye. The river was connected via Newent to Gloucester in the late 18th century by the 34-mile Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal.[11][12][13]


Romano-British period[edit]

A Roman road was constructed between Newent and Ariconium, near what is now Ross-on-Wye.[14] Within 1 mile (1.6 km) of Newent, there were several metal-working sites used by the Romans. Aside from these, there is evidence of Romano-British settlement apparent at as many as 56 sites within 6 miles (9.7 km) of Newent. Archaeological evidence drawn from them includes old Roman coins and pottery found near the town itself, Roman coins and treasure at Little Gorsley, and a settlement at Dymock.[15]

Medieval period[edit]

The priory was established in Newent as a cell of Cormeilles Abbey, founded in Normandy in 1060 by William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford. The abbey received an endowment from him which included the manor of Newent and the surrounding woods, the church and its income, and other properties he owned in England.[16]

The hitherto Benedictine priory became part of the college of Fotheringhay after the suppression of alien priories during the wars with France.[6] Its site is now occupied by the Court House, adjacent to the parish church.

The Domesday Book (1086) records that in 1066 the lord of Newent, then spelt Noent, had been Edward the Confessor. Twenty years later tenant-in-chief and one of the lords was Cormeilles Abbey. Other lords were Durand of Gloucester (brother of Roger de Pitres) and William son of Baderon (William fitzBaderon).

Newent, with its 34.5 households, was located within the Botloe Hundred of Gloucestershire. There were 10 villagers, 19 smallholders, four serfs and one reeve. There were also four lord's plough teams, 19 men's plough teams, and three mills.[17]

Henry III approved an annual fair in 1226 and additionally allowed for a weekly market, which began in 1253.[16] Located in the town is a half-timbered market house.

St Mary's[edit]

The Church of England Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Grade I listed building located in Church Street.[18][19] It dates from the 13th century, but the site had been occupied since the Anglo-Saxon period.

St Mary's has stained glass windows from the famed company of Clayton and Bell.[20] Set on a 65 feet (20 m) tower with a ring of eight bells is a 88 feet (27 m) spire. The church organ was built in 1737 by Thomas Warne, a resident of the town.[19]

19th century[edit]

In 1848, Newent had a population of 3,099, of whom 1,454 people lived in the town itself. This was fewer than in earlier periods. There were mineral springs near the canal.[6][21]

The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal between Gloucester and Ledbury closed on 30 June 1881 and the section between Ledbury and Gloucester was converted into a railway line. This line, a branch of the Great Western Railway, opened on 27 July 1885.[22][23] The line closed in 1959,[24] but the canal is now being restored.[11][12][13])


Church Street, Newent

Newent has many historical buildings, including a stilted Market House and a number of other black-and-white, half-timbered buildings typical of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Behind Church Street, a former museum of Victorian life called the Shambles was home to a replica 19th-century street that is now occupied by real traders.

More than 50 buildings and monuments in the town centre are listed by Historic England, including most of those in Church Street. They also include Devonia in High Street, a Grade II-listed house dating from the Georgian period.[25] The early 18th-century Court House situated in a small park beside the parish church, occupies the site of the ancient priory and is reputed to contain the foundations of the former building. The house contains historic features that include a fine Rococo plaster ceiling and several complete panelled rooms. The building was restored by R. V. Morris, Chairman of Gloucester Civic Trust.


The nearest railway station is Ledbury on the Cotswold Line. The main bus routes through the town connect it to Ross and Gloucester.[26]

Newent used to be served by Newent railway station on the Ledbury and Gloucester Railway, which opened in 1885. The station stood opposite what is now the fire station. It was closed to passengers in 1959 and for freight traffic in 1964.[27] The buttresses of the Station Bridge can be seen in Old Station Road.

Outdoor attractions[edit]

Newent is home to the National Birds of Prey Centre, just east of the neighbouring village of Cliffords Mesne and a vineyard :The Three Choirs. It 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 fair each September, at which there are competitions for growing onions and for eating them. The "Onion Fayre" is now the town's principal annual event. Its onion show and onion-eating competitions date from 1996 as a restaging of a historical agricultural fair that died out around the time of World War I. It now claims to be the largest free, one-day festival in Gloucestershire, attracting up to 15,000 visitors on the second Saturday in September.[28]

The arts[edit]

The town is home to an orchestra, founded in 1940,[29] a choral society,[30] and several other amateur musical and performing groups.

Traditionally, May Day has been celebrated by morris dancing on the summit of nearby May Hill at dawn, after which the dancers would process into Newent.[31]

Between 2007 and 2014, a Joe Meek festival was held in venues around the town.[32]

Artist Paul Nash took a collection of photographs around Carswalls Farm, Upleadon, Newent in the late 1930s or early 1940s that are held in the archives of the Tate.[33]


Education commissioners in the reign of Edward VI (1547–53) noted the lack of schooling in Newent. Gloucestershire commissioners reported that Newent was a market town with over 500 inhabitants, but "all the youth of a great distance there hence 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."[34] Newent is now served by three schools, two of them federated, all within the town. The federation of Glebe Infant School and Picklenash Junior School provides primary education, while Newent Community School provides both secondary and tertiary education for those aged 11 and upwards.

Sports and recreation[edit]

  • The town's football team, Newent Town AFC, plays in the Hellenic League System. It was promoted as Champions of the North Gloucester Premer League after winning the title on 14 May 2013. Newent Town also won the Northern Senior "Reg Davis" League Cup in 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. It then won the Hellenic Div 2 West at its first attempt in the 2017/2018 season. Its reserve team plays in the Hellenic League 2 West. There is also a third team which plays in the North Gloucester League. At youth level, the Under 16s won the Cheltenham top division without losing a single game in the 2016/2017 season. In the 2018/2019 season there were only Under 18s. The home pitch and club house are at Wildsmith Meadow.
  • Newent RFC plays Rugby Union in the Gloucester Premier Division of the Rugby Football Union South West Division and is based at the recreation ground in Watery Lane. It was promoted as Champions of Division 1 on 22 April 2013.
  • Newent Cricket Club plays in the Gloucestershire County Cricket League, Division 2. The Club is located at Three Ashes Lane, just outside Newent.
  • Newent Leisure Centre is run by the Forest of Dean District Council within the grounds of Newent Community School. It has a range of facilities, including a gym, a multi-use indoor arena, a squash court and a swimming pool. There are also tennis courts and also an all-weather artificial turf pitch for football and hockey. These are run by the adjacent Sports Bar.

Notable people[edit]

This first Joe Meek plaque at 1 Market Square was replaced by an official blue plaque in 2011


  1. ^ There was a house named Boothall on Lewall Street that was owned by members of the Richardson family in the late 18th century and early 19th century.[8][9] Lewall Street is located between High Street and Court Lane, north of Broad Street.[10]


  1. ^ "Directions: Newent to Gloucester". Google maps. 24 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Town population 2011". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  3. ^ Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  4. ^ Powell-Smith, Anna. "Newent | Domesday Book". Archived from the original on 16 February 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  5. ^ A. D. Mills (9 October 2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. OUP Oxford. p. PT891. ISBN 978-0-19-157847-2.
  6. ^ a b c d e Samuel Lewis, ed. (1848), "Newchurch - Newington", A Topographical Dictionary of England, London, pp. 389–393, archived from the original on 28 September 2017, retrieved 24 June 2017 – via British History Online
  7. ^ "The Boothall, Newent". Gloucestershire Notes and Queries. 1884. p. 95.
  8. ^ "Lease, release and assignment of term of 1000 years to attend the inheritance. Reference D2957/212/28". The National Archives. 24 June 2017. Archived from the original on 28 September 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Deed of gift. Reference D2957/212/29". The National Archives. 24 June 2017. Archived from the original on 28 September 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Newent Town Guide 2011–2012". Barry, Vale of Glamorgan: Heritage Guides. 2011. pp. 10–11, 12. Retrieved 24 June 2017 – via
  11. ^ a b "Map". Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Oxenhall". Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust. Archived from the original on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Hereford & Gloucester Canal – Oxenhall Lock and lock house (SO7126)". Geograph. Archived from the original on 23 September 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  14. ^ A. G. Bradley (22 November 2012). Herefordshire. Cambridge University Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-107-67886-6.
  15. ^ "Newent, Gloucestershire". ARCHI UK Archaeological Sites. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  16. ^ a b William Page, ed. (1907), "Alien houses: The Priory at Newent", A History of the County of Gloucester, 2, London: Victoria County History, pp. 105–106, archived from the original on 28 September 2017, retrieved 23 June 2017 – via British History Online
  17. ^ /newent/ Newent in the Domesday Book. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  18. ^ "St Mary the Virgin, Newent". A Church Near You. Archived from the original on 28 September 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  19. ^ a b "St Mary, Newent". Historic England. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Newent & District". U3A. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  21. ^ Augustus Bozzi Granville (1841). Southern spas. H. Colburn. p. 343.
  22. ^ J. E. Morris (April 1958). "The Gloucester and Ledbury Branch". Railway Magazine.
  23. ^ Miranda Greene (2003). "The Hereford and Gloucester canal". Herefordshire Through Time, Herefordshire Council. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  24. ^ Miranda Greene (2003). "The Ledbury and Gloucester railway". Herefordshire Through Time, Herefordshire Council. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  25. ^ England, Historic. "DEVONIA, Newent – 1152034 | Historic England". Archived from the original on 22 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  26. ^ "32 – Ross-on-Wye – Gorsley – Newent – Highnam – Gloucester – Stagecoach in Gloucester – Bus Times". Archived from the original on 8 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ "about the onion fayre". Archived from the original on 8 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  29. ^ "Newent Orchestra". Newent Orchestra. Archived from the original on 8 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Newent & District Choral Society ::". Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  31. ^ "May Hill – local places of scenic interest". Archived from the original on 23 November 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  32. ^ "Joe Meek | Newent Online | Find What's on in Newent & Add Your Own Event". Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  33. ^ Tate. "'Black and white negative, fallen trees, Carswalls Farm, Paul Nash, [c. 1938–1943] – Tate Archive". Tate. Archived from the original on 8 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  34. ^ Joan Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967, p. 229.
  35. ^ Pearce, Pam. "Sixties pop pioneer Joe Meek paved the way for music production techniques used today". Gloucestershire Live. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Newent, Gloucestershire, the Official Guide. Forward Publicity Limited. 1972. ISBN 978-0-7174-0242-7.
  • William Page (2010) [1907]. The Victoria History of the County of Gloucester. A. Constable, limited. ISBN 978-1-904356-36-3.

External links[edit]