Museum & Gallery
- GALLERIES 1 - 5
- OUTDOOR DISPLAYS
- OTHER SITES
- ART GALLERY
- HISTORY OF THE COLLECTION
- ACCESSING THE COLLECTION
- CURRENT PROJECTS
- DONATIONS & OFFERS
- DENNIS POTTER
Religion has played a major part in Forest life over the past 150 years. Many chapels were established during the Victorian era, when they formed a focal point for the growing communities of the industrialised Forest.
Zion chapel was founded in 1846 by the Bible Christians, a Methodist denomination started in Cornwall in 1815. The Bible Christians at first organised open-air religious meetings in the Forest. The first one in Soudley was held in 1826.
In 1913 the chapel was enlarged by the addition of a schoolroom. The chapel closed for regular work in 1988 and, in 1991, it was leased to the Dean Heritage Museum Trust by the Forest of Dean Methodist Church. The Trust's aim is to preserve the chapel in its Forest setting. Since 1991, the trust has undertaken some restoration work but further funds are needed to complete interior repairs. The chapel is also occasionally used by the Trust for historical events and re-enactments.
Iron making in the Forest of Dean spanned more than 2,000 years. The early nineteenth century iron-works at Whitecliff near Coleford, were bought by the Trust in 1983. The blast furnace (owned by the Dean Heritage Museum Trust) was one of the first coke-fuelled furnaces built in the Dean, and is one of a handful in the country to survive. Recent archaeological excavations revealed the foundations of a second furnace and other buildings.
The remains at Whitecliff are being conserved. An estimated £150,000 will be required. At present, viewing is only available by prior arrangement with our Assistant Curator.
LITTLEDEAN CAMP & MILL GROVE WOOD
Littledean camp is an earthwork on high ground overlooking the Severn Valley . It is thought to be the site of the 'Old Castle of Dene' from which the Forest takes its name.
Mill Grove Wood nearby comprises eight acres of ancient chestnut coppice. Both these fragile sites are being managed for conservation with limited public access. They were donated to the Trust by Dr. C. E. Hart, O.B.E. in 1987.