Freeminers (General)

by dnelmes, Thursday, May 21, 2020, 04:49 (122 days ago)

Has anyone got a copy of the book 'The Freeminers of the Royal Forest od Dean..' by Cyril Hart? I was wondering if anyone could tell me the information/references to Nelmes/Nelms/Nelme.
I am trying to research whether my ancestor quarrymen of the forest of dean were freeminers. I know the following were quarrymen/stonecutters
Richard Nelmes (1712-1772)
and his sons Richard and John (and possibly Thomas), and grandsons to include John (1777 - 1848)
I am just learning about the Forest Acts 1831 and 1838, and Award as to Quarries 1841, and I also wondered whether the Nelmes appeared in any of these, John (1777 - 1848) certainly might have.
Thanks for any help in anticipation.


by probinson @, S. Oxon, Thursday, May 21, 2020, 10:27 (121 days ago) @ dnelmes

The freeminers register can be searched from this site. There's a link at the top of the page.



by anthonyworgan @, Monday, May 25, 2020, 18:40 (117 days ago) @ dnelmes

I have a copy of 'The Free Miners of the Royal Forest of Dean and Hundred of St Briavels by Cyril Hart, Second Edition: 2002 (First Edition 1953) - I purchased this book as a birthday treat to myself back in 2002. In the index there are 8 references to a Richard Nelmes and 2 concerning a Thomas Nelmes (no variant spellings). They go from the year 1674 to 1687, so of earlier generations than your Richard (1712-1772), Thomas or John (1777-1848)

The references are of the 48 free miners who attended the Forest Courts and witnessed the proceedings.

e.g. Index Reference 77: Order No 2 (8 September 1674)
At the Court of Myne and Myners of the said Forest holden at Clowerwalle within the said Forest on Tuesday the 8th September in the 26th year of the reign of our most gracious Sovereign Lord Charles the Second.....
.....the Jury of 48 miners then and there impannelled and sworn, for the better ordering and government of the said Mine and miners did (amongst divers other orders therein mentioned) order and ordain that no foreigner living out of the hundred shall or may at any time hereafter transport or carry any iron ore or coal contrary to the custom except it be carried and delivered unto them by a free miner out of the hundred, under the penalty of 100 dozen of good sufficient ore or coal, the one half &c.....
In witness whereof the said deputy constable, Castle Clerk, gavellers and jurors have subscribed their names and set their seals in open Court the day and year above written.
Richard Nelmes is one of the 48 named free miners.

Other years when a Richard Nelmes signed his name were:
Ref: 79 - 9 March 1675, Ref: 82 - 18 January 1676, Ref: 85 - 15 February 1676, Ref: 96 - 27 April 1680, Ref: 98 - 19 September 1682, Ref: 99 - 8 December 1685, Ref: 101 - 11 January 1687

A Thomas Nelmes was among the other 48 Jury free miners who signed their names in 1694 & 1701 at the Forest Courts.
Ref: 105 - 23 April 1694 & Ref: 107 - 27 January 1701

I have many free miners in my family & found the Gavellers Office in Coleford very helpful. So you could perhaps contact Daniel Howell, the Deputy Gaveller at: Forestry England, Forest of Dean, Bank House, Bank Street, Coleford, Gloucestershire, GL16 8BA or email:

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