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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

The first incumbent was the Rev

[Picture: Lydbrook Church and Schools]

The church was designed by H. Woodyer, Esq., in the Geometrical style of Decorated architecture, and comprises a nave and aisles 60 feet long and 50 feet in width, a handsome chancel, a south porch, and tower 80 feet high. It is built in the ornamented parts and internally of Bath stone, the exterior being the gritstone of the neighbourhood. The foundation stone was laid on Monday, the 12th of August, 1850, and the church, called that of "The Holy Jesus," was consecrated on the 4th December, 1851, by Dr. Ollivant, Bishop of Llandaff, the Bishop of the diocese being too unwell to attend. Considering the season of the year, the day was very fine, nearly fifty clergymen were present, and upwards of one thousand people crowded into the edifice. The Rev. E. Machen, Rector of Mitcheldean, preached the sermon on Isaiah lvi. 7. A stipend of about 120 pounds was secured to the incumbent of the church by annexing to it 30 pounds from the tithes of English Bicknor, with an additional 90 pounds from the Crown, which consequently presents to the living, alternately with Queen's College, Oxford. The first incumbent was the Rev. W. Deering, who was succeeded in 1853 by the Rev. T. H. Chase, by whom it is still held, and who has been enabled to erect a suitable parsonage house. About thirty baptisms, fifteen funerals, with a proportionate number of weddings, take place at this church annually. Nearly 150 persons attend on the Sunday morning, and 250 in the afternoon, amongst whom there are forty communicants, the total population of the parish being 2,500.

In addition to the five churches named above, my knowledge of the district enables me to state that the rapid increase of population calls for the erection of at least three more, on the east, south, and west sides of the Forest, all of which should, if possible, be provided without delay.

Besides the efforts of the Church, directed as now described, for the benefit of the population of the Forest, its inhabitants have of late years become an object of religious regard to the different bodies of Congregationalists, most of whom are represented amongst the Foresters. The wealthier coal and iron masters manifest a benevolent interest in the welfare of their workmen, and in one instance have established a large day-school, and built a place of worship for their use. The Commissioners of the Crown have always attended to applications for help in furtherance of these objects, and have at different times granted sums to the amount of 10,347 pounds towards endowing the Forest churches, and in some years have devoted as much as 800 pounds to the maintenance of schools, which they annually aid by the following donations:

pounds _s._ _d._ St. Paul's 70 0 0 District (Park End, 30 pounds, Oldcroft 20 pounds, and Blakeney Woodside 20 pounds) Christ Church 30 0 0 District Holy Trinity 70 0 0 District (Trinity 30 pounds, Ruardean Woodside 20 pounds, Hawthorns 20 pounds) Cinderford 30 0 0 Lydbrook 30 0 0 Bream 15 0 0 St. Briavel's 5 5 0 Mitcheldean 5 5 0 Blakeney 15 0 0 Staunton 10 0 0 Dixton 5 0 0 Coleford 5 0 0 English Bicknor 2 2 0 Whitchurch 5 0 0 ---- --- --- 297 12 0

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