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Newnham on Severn
Newnham is delightfully located on the banks of the River Severn. The village has a tree-lined main street reminding you of the imminent surroundings of woodlands, with may listed buildings. In the centre, you will see the prominent clock tower. You will find delightful shops, selling local crafts, antiques, books, porcelain and pottery, post office, Inns, village stores as well as a delicatessen and library.
The church stands on high ground and if you venture up to it, you can see the horseshoe bend of the Severn. Unfortunately the church was partially destroyed by fire in 1881 but later in the year, it was rebuilt and re-opened for worship.
Newnham has many fine large stone buildings, most of which were built with money generated by the town's maritime trade. These include the 18th century. Victoria Hotel, 19th century. Town Hall, the old Bear Inn (a coaching inn used by people crossing the river on the ferry) and at the north end of the town, Unlawater house (16th / 18th century) but historically, the most notable structures are the quay Warehouses and Newnham Quay, which were built c1755 by a local shipping entrepreneur, Robert Pyrke. When completed, the quay was over 150ft long and 20ft high and although buried in the riverbank it is one of the most important surviving maritime structure in Dean.
Little in the way of industry existed at Newnham apart from a tannery, but in the early 17th century, Sir Edward Mansell erected a glass furnace at the Northern end of the town which was the first in the country to be fired by coal. This had closed by 1700 and although no remains exist today, many of the cottages Church Street were partly built from blocks of hard, black slag from the furnace.
Newnham appears to have been fortified in Norman times to restrain the intrusions of the Welsh. The fortification on the South probably have Norman roots and the ramparts at the back of the village may date from the times of the Civil Wars when Newnham was garrisoned for the King by Sir John Wintour.
ChurchesSt. Peter, in Newnham, had a chapel of ease by 1018 but the church only attained full parochial status in the 14th century, by which time it was in danger of being undermined by the River Severn. In 1366 a new church was dedicated and built on a fresh site further to the west. Both the church and castle were captured from the Royalists by Colonel Massey in 1644. During the commotion, the Royalists exploded a powder keg in the church causing a great deal of damage. The tower was given new battlements in the 19th century. Unfortunately the church was partially destroyed by fire in 1881 but later in the year, it was rebuilt and re-opened for worship.
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