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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

And also all other the manors and granges of Flaxley


[Picture: Stone coffin lids at Flaxley Abbey]

[Picture: The Refectory of Flaxley Abbey]

[Picture: Open Timber Roof of the Abbot's Room at Flaxley Abbey]

A further trace of the same period is also to be found at the head of one of the brooks feeding the stream which descends the Flaxley valley, called "St. Anthony's Well," and which, from its supposed medicinal properties, was until late years widely famed for curing cutaneous disorders, although under circumstances somewhat connected with the marvellous, its peculiar efficacy being combined with the rising of the sun, the month of May, and the visits to it being repeated nine times in succession. However, after due allowance for some exaggeration, there remains ample proof of the utility of its waters in removing diseases of the skin. The square basin or reservoir of stone immediately adjoining the head of the spring was made at the commencement of this century for the convenience of bathers, and occupies a very secluded position, overshadowed by a large beech-tree, and closed round with mossy banks. The water is abundant in quantity, and contains iron and lime, derived from the strata through which it percolates. The general temperature is 50 degrees.

[Picture: St. Anthony's Well]

On the suppression

of the Abbey in 1541, Henry VIII. granted it to Sir William Kingston, the Constable of the Tower of London, memorable as being the person to whom the dying Wolsey confessed--"If I had served God as diligently as I have done the King, he would not have given me over in my gray hayres." Sir William dying in 1545, letters patent regranted to Anthony his son (who in consideration of his father's services was knighted on the occasion) "the site of the late Abbey, and all the church, bellhouse, and churchyard of the same, and all the houses, granges, &c., as well within as without the said site, and also all other the manors and granges of Flaxley, Howle, Goderith, Climperwell, Wolmore, Blaisdon, Aclingham, Le Rouhen, Ruardene, Newland, Dene Parva, Newnham, Pulton, and Dymock, with their rights in the county of Gloucester, and the house and manor of Rochilburgh in the county of Somerset, belonging to the same; and all advocations, presentations, &c., of the said parishes at any time appurtenant to the said monastery," subject to the yearly payment of 1 pound 8s. 2d. In the third year of Edward VI. he accompanied Lord Russell as Provost Marshal of the army sent against the Western rebels, in which capacity his great severity obtained for him the epithet from Fuller of "the terrible Provost Marshal." His name occurs on the roll of High Sheriffs for the county in the year 1549. In 1555 Queen Mary appointed him one of the commissioners to see execution done upon that excellent prelate and martyr Bishop Hooper, by whom he had been formerly admonished for gross immorality, and forced to submit and do penance, as well as pay a fine of 500 pounds.

It is not surprising to find him a vigorous opponent in parliament of the Queen's effort for restoring to the religious establishments the property of which they had been deprived. So strongly was he opposed to this, that on one occasion he seized the keys of the House from the serjeant, for which he was committed to the Tower, although upon his humble submission he was afterwards discharged. The next year he was supposed, and not without reason, to be involved in a plot to rob the Exchequer of 50,000 pounds, and therewith to raise a rebellion; but it was discovered, and all the conspirators were executed except Sir A. Kingston, who perhaps only escaped by dying on his road to London, whither he was summoned to appear before the Council. By his will, dated 27th of April, 1 Edw. VI., he entailed his several manors and estates on his sons, Anthony and Edmund. Anthony died without issue, having in 1591 leased the Grange estate to one William Brain and others of Little Dean, for 370 years, of which an annual acknowledgment of 6 pounds continues to be paid by its present holders, and Edmund succeeded to all the Kingston property. He left two sons, Anthony and George, the former of whom died in 1594, leaving by his will his sons Edmund and George joint executors and heirs. George died in the year 1647, intestate, seized of the Collect (Gawlet?) woods, in the parish of Flaxley, and was father of Anthony.


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