Gallery 54 - Ross on..
Contemporary abstract art, ceramics and glassware
Cleeve Orchard Cider..
Artisan maker of Little Owl cider from the last orchard in Ross on Wye

Mitcheldean is a thriving large village with old timbered houses and narrow streets and a medieval church. Once a centre for the brewing industry. The original brewery now known as The Mews, is now occupied by several local businesses. On the edge of the village is a large business park which includes Xerox , once one of the largest employers in the Forest of Dean, now a shadow of its former self.

Starting life as Dene Magna, Mitcheldean originated as a small hamlet at a major crossroads. First recorded in Saxon Times, by the 13th century Mitcheldean had grown in to a large village that was a centre of industries based on the products of the Forest, thanks to its proximity to the Iron Ore outcrops at nearby Wigpool. As well as having an iron works, the village was a producer of cloth and leather, by 1328 it had a market and a wealth of tradesmen including tailors, leather-makers and shop keepers (the first known shop in Dean was at Mitcheldean as early as 1366).

By the 18th century Mitcheldean's industry had started to decline and it gradually became known more as a shopping centre than as an industrial area. After WW2 however, industry returned to the town when Rank Precision Industries established a factory (where my Dad came to work in 1961) which subsequently become Rank Xerox ( "the Lazy R"), a world famous manufacturer of photocopiers. As well as creating valuable jobs it has been largely responsible for increased residential development, but in recent years, this industry has been hit by recession and is now only a shadow of its former self.

The wealth that was generated by the towns industries and retail concerns shows in the buildings, such as the early 18th century Town Hall, 17th century George Inn and half timbered Mill End Street cottages, but the most distinguished building is the Church of St Michael. This was built in the 14th century, but in 1460, an outer aisle was added to the nave which helped make it one o the widest churches in the country. It was restored by Henry Woodyer in 1853 but retains much of its early character. 


 The church of St Michael is remarkable for being very wide, consisting of nave, north aisle, outer north aisle and south aisle and tower which were built variously between the 13th and 15th century. The chancel and vestry were remodelled in the 19th century. The large tower and steeple conspire to dominate the town. Inside the church, above the sanctuary screen there is a 15th century painting depicting the Last Judgement. There is also an enormous modern (1911) reredos with life sized white marble figures illustrating the text 'Come unto me'.

Dene Magna Community School
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