"NEWNHAM, a parish, post and market town, in the hundred of Westbury, county Gloucester, 11 miles S.W. of Gloucester, and 114 W. by N. of London. It is a station on the South Wales railway. The town is situated on an eminence overlooking the river Severn, near the ferry where Henry II. received Strongbow after the conquest of Ireland. It is a polling-place and petty sessions town, and returned members to parliament in Edward I.'s time. It was chartered by King John, whose state sword is still kept here, and is now governed by two constables in lieu of a mayor, &c.
There are a branch bank, savings-bank, and town hall, in which last the county courts are held monthly on a Wednesday. Petty sessions for the Forest of Dean are held at the "Bear" hotel fortnightly. The lord of the manor holds a court-leet annually. An extensive trade is done in bark, timber, coal, slate, and some coasting trade is carried on. There is a quay which is accessible for ships of 150 tons, and ship-building affords employment to some of the inhabitants. The river is here subject to a sudden rise called the "bore", or "eagre", which happens occasionally at the flow of the tide.
Glass was made here in the reign of Charles I. In the neighbourhood are extensive iron and coal mines, the produce of which is conveyed by the Berkeley canal and the Bullo Pill railway, which here passes through a tunnel 1,060 yards long into the Forest of Dean. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £201 53.
The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, value £140. The church, which is situated on the cliff, is dedicated to St. Peter. It is an ancient stone structure, with a modern square embattled tower containing a clock and six bells. The interior of the church contains a font carved with the effigies of the twelve apostles. There are various charities. The Independents and Wesleyans have each a place of worship. There is a National school.
Here was formerly a Norman castle, built as one of the fortresses on the Welsh frontier, and garrisoned for Charles I. by Wyntoun, who gave it up to Colonel Massie. Newnham Park and Hill House are the principal residences. The manor is in the possession of the devisees and trust of John James, Esq. Market day is Friday. Cattle fairs are held on 11th June and 18th October."
"RUDHALL, (or Ruddle), a tything in the parish of Newnham, county Gloucester, 2 miles from Newnham, on the Severn."