From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
Shirenewton Church.jpg
Church of St Thomas Becket, Shirenewton
Grid reference: ST478936
Location: 51°38’20"N, 2°45’21"W
Post town: Chepstow
Postcode: NP16
Dialling code: 01291
Local Government
Council: Monmouthshire

Shirenewton is a village in Monmouthshire, 3 miles due west of Chepstow. The village stands around 500 feet above sea level and has extensive views of the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel.

Parish Church

In the late 12th century the estate was inherited by Henry de Bohun. The church was built by his son Humphrey after he inherited the title in 1220, and was dedicated to Thomas Becket who had been murdered in 1170 and declared a saint three years later. The chronicler Adam of Usk, who held the post in 1399, was one of the earliest known rectors of the church.[1]

Much of the current church, including the fortified tower, choir, chancel and nave, originally dates from the 13th century, although it was partly rebuilt and completely restored in 1853.[2][3]


Before the Norman invasion, the Shirenewton area formed part of the forest of Wentwood. At the time of the Domesday Book, it was part of the lands at Caldicot which were held by Durand, the Sheriff of Gloucester. Durand and his successor as sheriff, his nephew Walter FitzRoger also known as Walter de Gloucester, had part of the forest cleared around the year 1100, and established a small settlement which was known as "Sheriff's Newton (or New Town)" or, in Latin, Nova Villa.[2] The manor then became known as Caldecot-cum-Newton, and in some documents the village was called Newton Netherwent. "Netherwent" is the English name given to the Welsh cantref of Gwent-is-coed ("Gwent beneath the wood"). The name "Sheriff's Newton" became contracted over the years into Shirenewton.

After Walter retired to become a monk at Llanthony Priory, he was followed as Sheriff by his son, Milo Fitzwalter (Miles de Gloucester), who became Earl of Hereford and Lord High Constable of England in 1141. The area north west of the village became known as the Earl's Wood about that time, hence modern Earlswood.[2]

The village today

There has recently been some controversy over the Welsh language name for the village. This has been confirmed by the Place Names Standardisation Committee of the Welsh Language Board to be Drenewydd Gelli-farch, which is normally translated as "new settlement at the stallion's grove", although one of the roads leading in to Shirenewton still has the Welsh name as 'Trenewydd Gelli Farch'. According to the 1901 Kelly's Directory, the Welsh name "appears to have been but seldom used".[4] The village is though entirely English-speaking.

Mynydd-bach is a community separated by the width of a single field from Shirenewton. The name is from the Welsh language and means "little hill".

The 1892 Chepstow Directory has an entry for Shirenewton, showing that it had a population of around 650 people at that time. The current population is unknown, but the number of houses in the village has increased markedly in recent years. Many attempts have been made to extend the village, to add small housing estates, but most have come up short due to the village boundaries, and the desire of the locals to keep the village as it is.

Shirenewton, although relatively small, has four pubs: The Tan House, The Carpenters Arms, The Tredegar Arms and The Huntsman Hotel.

The village also has a modern primary school called Shirenewton Primary that was built in 1985. This lies between Shirenewton and Mynydd-bach, and is situated in large open playing fields. The school hosts eight classes, four infant classes, and four junior.

Until recently Shirenewton had a large golf course, which closed down on the 31 May 2005. This has now been turned into luxury houses. The golf course is now being kept as a conservation area. The golf course also houses the abandoned village of Dinham, which also had a small castle, all now left in unrecognisable ruins.

Shirenewton has became a commuter village, placed within easy reach of the M48 motorway at Chepstow, making access to Newport and Cardiff quick and easy.

The Grondra

The Grondra in the village is considered to be one of the finest 18th century country houses in Monmouthshire. The owner was recently fined £40,000, however, after major structural changes were carried out without local authority consent. It is estimated that remedial work, to return the Grade II listed building to its former condition, will cost more than £450,000. [5]


  1. Sir Joseph Bradney, A History of Monmouthshire: The Hundred of Caldicot, 1932
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 History of Shirenewton Church
  3. John Newman, The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire, 2000, ISBN 0-14-071053-1
  4. Kelly's 1901 Directory of Monmouthshire on Shirenewton
  5. Footballers' Wives house fine – South Wales Argus

Outside links