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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

The collieries of Nash's Folly

CHAPTER VIII. A.D. 1841-1858.

Messrs. Clutton's, &c., Report on the Forest timber--Viscount Duncan's Committee--Supply of 1,000 loads of timber to the Pembroke Dockyard resumed--Mr. Drummond's Committee--Report of Mr. Brown--Messrs. Matthews's Report.

By this time (1842) some of the enclosures made in 1814 were become fit for being thrown open, the young trees having grown up sufficiently, and the following Commissioners, viz., Lord Lincoln, A. Milne, C. Gore, Sir T. Crawley, J. Pyrke, M. Colchester, C. Bathurst, E. Machen, P. J. Ducarel, J. F. Brickdale, Esqrs., proceeded to authorize the laying open of 163 acres 2 roods 24 poles in Little Stapledge and Birchwood, directing that an equal quantity of land should be added to the Acorn Patch and the Bourts.

In the year 1843 Beechenhurst and Shutcastle Enclosures, comprising 467 acres 2 roods 31 poles, were disenclosed, an equal extent of land at the Delves, Harry Hill, Hangerberry, Old Croft, the Blind Meand, Cleverend Green, Clearwell Meand, and Birch Hill being taken in. Upon the 22nd of this October a sale was effected to the Crown, for the sum of 1,260 pounds, of the eligible school premises at Cinderford, erected originally by Mr. Protheroe for his workpeople. On the 22nd of October in the ensuing year, 1844, the church adjoining the school just named, to the erection of which Dr. Warneford and Charles Bathurst, Esq., largely contributed, was consecrated by Bishop Monk, the Crown endowing it with 150 pounds per annum, making the total sum given by the Government to church endowments in the Forest upwards of 10,347 pounds. The following year is almost a blank in the annals of the neighbourhood. The Report of the Commissioners of Woods was issued on the 5th of August.

In 1846 enclosures to the extent of 1,433 acres 3 roods 5 poles, comprising Blakeney Hill, Crab-tree Hill (North), Holly Hill, Bromley, part of Edgehills, and part of Stapledge, were thrown open, and instead thereof enclosures were made at Light Moor, Middle Ridge, and Phelp's Meadow, Blaize Bailey, Mitcheldean Meand (North, South), and Loquiers, the Delves No. 4, Crump Meadow, Bourts No. 1 and 2, Eastbatch Meand, and Coverham (North and South). The Commissioners of Woods published their yearly Report on the 25th of August this year, signed by Lord Morpeth. It states that since 1841 upwards of 291 pieces of encroached land had been purchased by the foresters for 201 pounds 13s. 3d., and that no less than 193 grants of coal and iron mine had been galed under 1 and 2 Vict. c. 48, at a total annual rent to the Crown of 3,783 pounds, in sums varying from 1 to 250 pounds, as at the Bilson Colliery, besides 315 grants of stone-quarries at a total rent of 87 pounds 9s. 7d. This includes the following coal-works lately galed, viz., the collieries of Nash's Folly, New Mill Engine, Unity Colliery, Nag's Head, Smart's Delph, Gosly Knoll, producing a rental of 16 pounds, and the iron-mines at Old Park, Scarpit, Easter, Slope Pit, Yew-tree, Bromley Hill, Drybrook, Prince of Wales, Belt, and Wigpool, bringing 81 pounds 10s. to the Crown, to all which receipts a royalty of so much per ton on the mineral sold was added.

Mr. Machen's Notes inform us that in the autumn of 1846 "there was the most abundant crop of Spanish chesnuts we have ever had, and they ripen well, but the people injure the trees to get them. No acorns at all--there are some on the Turkey oaks. The fruit of most kinds has failed this year, as well as the potatoes; but of some kinds, such as chesnuts, grapes, blackberries, the crop is abundant. The spruce firs are looking very bad; many of them are nearly dead."

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