Extract from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England, 1831.
Transcribed by Mel Lockie, © Copyright 2010
Lewis Topographical Dictionaries

DEAN (MITCHELL), a parish and market-town and parish in the hundred of ST-BRIAVELLS, county of GLOUCESTER, 11 miles (W.) from Gloucester, and 113 (W.) from London, containing 556 inhabitants. This place, the origin of which is anterior to the Conquest, derives its name, denoting its situation in a deep dell, from the Saxon. Dene, a dell, and its adjunct from Mycel, great, in contradistinction to the village of Little Dean, in the neighbourhood: it was the principal town in the Forest of Dean, and consists of three streets, diverging obliquely from the common centre; and was formerly a staple town for the wool trade; at present the manufacture of leather is carried on to a small extent. The market is on Monday: the fairs are on Easter-Monday and October 10th, for horses, cattle, and sheep. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Hereford, and diocese of Gloucester, rated in the king's books at £10. 16. Of., endowed with £200 royal bounty. M. Colchester, Esq. was patron in 1802.

The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a spacious structure, built at different periods, and exhibiting various styles of English architecture, with a tower, surmounted by an octagonal spire; in the east window of the north aisle are some remains of the original stained glass with which the church appears to have been generally ornamented; the roof, of oak, is decorated with flowers and other ornaments, exquisitely carved; the font appears to have been formed from the inverted capital of a column, which, from its embellishments, has the character of the early English style. A subterraneous passage leads from the church to a wood, about half a mile from the town.

A charity school was founded by means of a bequest of £1000, by William Lane, Esq., of Gloucester, in 1789, and one of £300 by his widow, in 1806, these sums being vested by the trustees in the funds, together with other benefactions, provide an annual income of £62, of -which the master receives £15 per annum; there are about thirty boys, who are supplied with books; the sum of £5. 5. is paid to the minister for catechising them, and the overplus is bestowed, at the discretion of the trustees, in rewards to the scholars and their teacher. Mr. Jonathan Parker, in 1718, bequeathed £200, the interest of which is applied to the clothing and apprenticing of one poor child; there are also other charitable bequests.

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