FOREST of DEAN, Gloucestershire
For much of its history the Forest of Dean, using the term in the particular sense of the area subject to forest law, included two distinct sorts of land: on the one hand there was land held by the Crown in demesne, mainly extraparochial and uninhabited woodland and waste, and on the other manorial and private freehold land, mainly cultivated, settled, and formed into parishes.
Extracted from A P Baggs and A R J Jurica, 'Forest of Dean: Bounds of the forest', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean, ed. C R J Currie and N M Herbert (London, 1996), pp. 295-300 available online [accessed 6 February 2015].
The link above will take you to a full explanation of the complex administrative and institutional history of the area. For our purposes we will adopt the broader approach of regarding the Forest as the whole of the area between the Severn and the Wye north east of Chepstow, roughly as far as Bromsberrow.
There is now a very active Trust providing resources for family history in the area, incuding extensive transcriptions of parish registers in a searchable database. They cover the following parishes within Gloucestershire and also a few others over the border in Herefordshire:
Parishes in the Forest of Dean
- Salter, Mike - The Old Parish Churches of the Forest of Dean. Folly Publications.
- ISBN 1-871731-07-0.
- Transcriptions (in progress) of Parish Records of the Forest of Dean for the period 1813-1901 - Forest of Dean Family History
- The transcription of the section for Forest of Dean from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.
- The Royal Forest of Dean FHS seems to have dissolved but the Forest of Dean Family History Trust has become a de facto successor.