Parish boundaries (General)

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, January 18, 2014, 15:46 (2438 days ago) @ fozzy

Hi Fozzy and belated welcome to the forum.
Have you tried searching "parish boundaries" within this forum via the search box at top right ?. If in doubt about your researches it's always worth searching as the questions have probably already been asked, indeed you may find someone else has already researched "your" family.
If you do then this is one of the hits you'll see.

This query has been asked several times over the years, I too found it all very confusing when I started researching a few years ago. If it's any consolation if you're searching the western Forest say Lydbrook, then you also get added complications as county and country boundaries enter the mix !!

I wrote this post (and a few more similar ones), which try to explain how/why the boundaries have apparently moved or changed names. Altho it's essentially about the Western side of the Forest, the same basic principles apply.
From this post the main points for your enquiry are;

In the early days say late 1700s, before the Forest population really "exploded",.... general lack of "normal" C of E Churches within the Forest is why the PRs show so many apparently different places of worship & religions, such as the Chapels & Circuits of various Methodists, Baptists, etc; this all confused & intrigued me having been brought-up in Cinderford as a "standard" C of E lad with no exposure or knowledge of Dean's rich religious history !

Before this the nearest sizable towns, which had existed for centuries so were the main local "civic centres", were Westbury On Severn to the east in England, and Monmouth to the West and just inside Wales #. ie all outside the upper plateau of the central Forest. For the Eastern forest Littledean was another ancient town, clearly linked to Westbury wrt geography and land usage, still outside the central plateau.

In 1842 (as this central Forest filled with immigrants to the many new mines etc) the Forest was split into West Dean & East Dean Townships for local government purposes. Hence when I see "East Dean" on a Census they're usually referring to the-then "new" town of Cinderford, or Woodside as it was known in it's early days. Similarly "West Dean" = Lydbrook and Coleford areas towards Monmouth.

As the population within the Forest continued to grow with industrial expansion, and towns such as Coleford expanded and new towns such as Cinderford were created, so the civic boundaries had to change too and new names of Civic Districts came along. At the same time new Churches were being built so new Parishes created.

The best way I've found to understand this is using the excellent Genuki site which deserves thorough reading, very informative indeed, you can follow the various changes of Districts etc.
Eastern FoD = Westbury =
Western FoD = Monmouth =

Hope this helps.

PS # ref Monmouth being in Wales, this has been a bone of contention and much discussion in recent centuries. Altho it is undoubtedly considered part of modern Wales, in Victorian times it was perhaps convenient for the politicians of Westminster et al to think of Monmouthshire as English, if only because of it's huge wealth of coal and such-like.

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