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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
EU ParliamentSouth West England
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 small market town and civil parish about 10.6 miles (17.1 km) northwest of Gloucester in Gloucestershire, England.[1] Its population at the 2001 census was 5,073, increasing to 5,207 at the 2011 census.[2] The town's site has been settled since at least Roman times and appears first in the historical record in the Domesday Book.[3] It was a Medieval market and fair town.


Noent, the original name for Newent, may mean "new place" in Celtic.[4] It also may mean "new inn" to reference lodging for travellers to Wales, according to John Leland (c. 1503 – 1552).[5] According to Leland, there was a house called "New Inn", later named The Boothall, that provided lodging along the road to Wales.[5][6][a]


Newent is on the northern edge of the Forest of Dean, and within the Forest of Dean District.[5] It is southeast of the River Wye, which was connected, via Newent, to Gloucester in the late 18th century by the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal, which was 34 miles (55 km) long.[10][11][12]


Romano-British period[edit]

A Roman road was constructed between Newent and Ariconium, near what is now Ross-on-Wye.[13] Within 1.3 kilometres (0.81 mi) of Newent, there were several metal working sites used by the Romans. Aside from the metal working sites, evidence of Romano-British settlement was seen within that area and up to 56 sites within 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) of Newent. Archaeological evidence includes old Roman coins and pottery found near Newent, Roman coins and treasure found at Little Gorsley, and a settlement at Dymock.[14]

Newent Priory[edit]

A cell to the Cormeilles Abbey, founded in Normandy in 1060 by William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford, was established in the village. The abbey received an endowment from him which included the manor of Newent and the surrounding woods, and the church and its income, as well as other properties that he owned in England.[15] The Benedictine priory became part of the college of Fotheringhay after the suppression of alien priories[5] during the wars with France. The priory was located on the site now occupied by The Court House, adjacent to the parish church.

Domesday Book[edit]

The Domesday Book (1086) shows that in 1066 the lord of Newent, then spelled Noent, was Edward the Confessor and 20 years later the Cormeilles Abbey was the tenant-in-chief and one of the lords. Other lords were Durand of Gloucester (brother of Roger de Pitres) and William son of Baderon (William fitzBaderon). With 34.5 households, it was located within the Botloe Hundred of Gloucestershire. There were 10.5 villagers, 19 smallholders, four slaves and one reeve. There were four lord's plough teams, 19 men's plough teams, and three mills.[16]

St Mary[edit]

St Mary the Virgin, of the Church of England,[17] is a Grade I listed building.[18] Located on Church Street,[17] it 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.[citation needed] Set on a 65 feet (20 m) tower with eight bells, is a 88 feet (27 m) spire. The church's organ was built in 1737 by Thomas Warne, a resident of the town.[18]

Market and fair town[edit]

Henry III approved of an annual fair in 1226 and additionally allowed for a weekly market beginning in 1253.[15] Located in the town is a half-timbered market house.

19th century[edit]

In 1848, there was a population of 3,099, and 1,454 people who lived in the town, which was a reduction from earlier periods. There were mineral springs near the canal.[5][19]

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, which was a branch of the Great Western Railway, opened on 27 July 1885.[20][21] (The line closed in 1959,[22] but the canal, is now being restored.[10][11][12])

Historic places[edit]

Newent is home to many historical buildings, including the stilted Market House, and a number of other black and white, half-timbered buildings that are typical of the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire borders.

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 the buildings on Church Street. Among the others are, Devonia, on High Street, a Grade II-listed house dating back to the Georgian period.[23] The early 18th Century Court House, situated in a small park adjacent to the parish church, is built on the site of the ancient priory and is reputed to contain the foundations of the former building. The house contains a number of historic features including a very fine Rococo plaster ceiling and several complete panelled rooms. The building was restored by Mr R V Morris , the Chairman of Gloucester Civic Trust.

Joe Meek's birthplace, in Market Square, is commemorated with a blue plaque.


The nearest railway station is Ledbury on the Cotswold Line. The main bus routes through the town connect it to Ross and Gloucester.[24]

Foley Road has been claimed as the longest cul-de-sac in Europe,[25] but recent construction may have ended the road's claim.

Newent used to be served by Newent railway station on the Ledbury and Gloucester Railway, which opened in 1885. The station was located opposite what is now the Newent fire station and was closed for passengers in 1959. (The line remained open for freight traffic until 1964).[26] The buttresses of the Station Bridge can be seen intact on nearby Old Station Road.


Church Street, Newent

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.


The town is home to an orchestra, founded in 1940[27], a choral society[28], 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.[29]

From 2007, a Joe Meek festival was held in venues around the town. The event ended in 2014. [30]

The Onion Fayre is now the town's principal annual event. The Fayre, which includes an onion show and onion eating competitions, was started in 1996 as a restaging of an historic local 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 to the town on the second Saturday in September.[31]

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.[32]


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".[33] Newent is now served by three schools, two of which have 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 ages 11 upwards.

Sports and recreation[edit]

  • The town's football team is Newent Town AFC who play in the Hellenic League System. They were 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 2 years running (2015/16 and 2016/17). They then won the Hellenic Div 2 West at the first attempt in the 2017/18 season. Their Reserve Team play in the Hellenic League 2 West and also have a 3rd team who play in the North Gloucester League. At Youth level their Under 16s won the Cheltenham top division without losing a single game in the 2016/17 season. In the 2018/19 season there are just Under 18s. Their home pitch and club house are at Wildsmith Meadow, GL18 1HE.
  • 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 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.

Notable people[edit]


  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.[7][8] Lewall Street is located between High Street and Court Lane, north of Broad Street.[9]


  1. ^ "Directions: Newent to Gloucester". Google maps. 24 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  3. ^ Powell-Smith, Anna. "Newent | Domesday Book". Retrieved 15 February 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |website= (help)
  4. ^ A. D. Mills (9 October 2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. OUP Oxford. p. PT891. ISBN 978-0-19-157847-2.
  5. ^ a b c d e Samuel Lewis, ed. (1848), "Newchurch - Newington", A Topographical Dictionary of England, London, pp. 389–393, retrieved 24 June 2017 – via British History Online
  6. ^ "The Boothall, Newent". Gloucestershire Notes and Queries. 1884. p. 95.
  7. ^ "Lease, release and assignment of term of 1000 years to attend the inheritance. Reference D2957/212/28". The National Archives. 24 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Deed of gift. Reference D2957/212/29". The National Archives. 24 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Newent Town Guide 2011–2012". Barry, Vale of Glamorgan: Heritage Guides. 2011. pp. 10–11, 12. Retrieved 24 June 2017 – via
  10. ^ a b "Map". Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Oxenhall". Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Hereford & Gloucester Canal - Oxenhall Lock and lock house (SO7126)". Geograph. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  13. ^ A. G. Bradley (22 November 2012). Herefordshire. Cambridge University Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-107-67886-6.
  14. ^ "Newent, Gloucestershire". ARCHI UK Archaeological Sites. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  15. ^ 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, retrieved 23 June 2017 – via British History Online
  16. ^ Newent in the Domesday Book. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  17. ^ a b "St Mary the Virgin, Newent". A Church Near You. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  18. ^ a b "St Mary, Newent". Historic England. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  19. ^ Augustus Bozzi Granville (1841). Southern spas. H. Colburn. p. 343.
  20. ^ J. E. Morris (April 1958). "The Gloucester and Ledbury Branch". Railway Magazine.
  21. ^ Miranda Greene (2003). "The Hereford and Gloucester canal". Herefordshire Through Time, Herefordshire Council. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  22. ^ Miranda Greene (2003). "The Ledbury and Gloucester railway". Herefordshire Through Time, Herefordshire Council. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  23. ^ England, Historic. "DEVONIA, Newent - 1152034 | Historic England". Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  24. ^ "32 - Ross-on-Wye - Gorsley - Newent - Highnam - Gloucester – Stagecoach in Gloucester – Bus Times". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Newent in the Vale of Leadon Gloucestershire Tour and Tourist Information Guide". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Newent Orchestra". Newent Orchestra. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  28. ^ "Newent & District Choral Society ::". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  29. ^ "May Hill - local places of scenic interest". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Joe Meek | Newent Online | Find What's on in Newent & Add Your Own Event". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  31. ^ "about the onion fayre". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  32. ^ Tate. "'Black and white negative, fallen trees, Carswalls Farm', Paul Nash, [c.1938-43] – Tate Archive". Tate. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  33. ^ Joan Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967, p.229.

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]