Hewelsfield Parish Church
|Council:||Forest of Dean|
|Forest of Dean|
Hewelsfield is a village and parish in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. It is located six miles south of Coleford and five miles north-east of Chepstow, close to the Wye valley and partly within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The parish also includes the separate village of Brockweir.
The area was known in the Anglo-Saxon period as Hiwoldestone. It was included by William the Conqueror in the Royal Forest of Dean, but by the 12th century was established as a village with church. Ancient routes running up from the River Severn at Alvington and Woolaston met at Hewelsfield village and continued to the nearby village of St Briavels. In 1266 the manor of Hewelsfield was granted to Tintern Abbey, which retained it until the Dissolution in 1536. Together with the abbey grange at Brockweir, the manor was then granted to Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester.
The parish church of St Mary Magdalen has a Norman nave; an Early English chancel; and a north transept enlarged in the 16th century. The churchyard is circular in form, which is often taken to suggest a pagan site or Celtic foundation. There is evidence of a small motte-and-bailey castle close to the church, and earthworks close to the castle suggest either a deserted mediæval village or field boundaries. A separate ancient field system exists close to Hewelsfield Court.
The village was designated a Conservation Area in 1990.
The area known as Hewelsfield Common, west of the village and sloping down to the River Wye, was occupied and developed in a piecemeal fashion by squatters in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Later in the 19th century, encouraged partly by the opening of the Wye Valley Railway on the Monmouthshire side of the river in 1876, private residents and retired people settled in the area and enlarged the cottages or built new houses.
Village Community Shop
The Brockweir and Hewelsfield Village Shop and Cafe is established as a non-profit making community enterprise, staffed by volunteers from the local community. It was opened by the Prince of Wales in December 2004, when he described the project as "a triumph of community spirit".
The community shop was set up after the previous village shop closed down. It includes a café, general store and food outlet, post office, library kiosk, art gallery and IT training suite. The building is of traditional oak construction combined with sustainable technology, and aims to be environmentally friendly with photovoltaic roof shingles producing electricity, the excess from which is exported back to the national grid. The building also has a geothermal heating system drawing energy from the ground under the village playing field. The project cost around £375,000 and support came from many different sources, including Defra and the Countryside Agency.
- "Parish population 2011.Retrieved 27 March 2015". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150402093418/https://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=7&b=11124534&c=NP16+7NL&d=16&e=62&g=6427271&i=1001x1003x1032x1004&m=0&r=0&s=1427458194078&enc=1.
- Hewelsfield at British History Online
- Hewelsfield Castle
- Forest of Dean Council: Hewelsfield Character Appraisal
- Article on opening of Community Shop by HRH the Prince of Wales
- Brockweir and Hewelsfield Village Shop
- Interview with Fred Simpson, Community Shop Project Manager
- Charity Bank Annual Report 2004, including article on village shop
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