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Clearwell

Clearwell CrossThe central point in Clearwell is the Cross which was erected in the 14th century; it was called the High Cross in 1624 and the Upper Cross in 1705 suggesting a second cross elsewhere.

The source of water from which the village name derives (although it was originally known as Wellington and then Clowerwell) is a clear spring which emerges in the village at the well and then flows down into the Valley Brook and ultimately the River Wye. The well was constructed in about 1860 by the Dunravens and was renovated by the Parish Council in 2005.
 
There were houses in the village by 1300 and by 1349 there were 23 but most of them were replaced in the late 18th and 19th century, some however remained. Stank Farm was built in the 17th century as was Stock Farm (now Tudor Cottage and Tudor Farmhouse Hotel) and The Wyndham Arms Hotel. Although there is no evidence of any stocks being in the vicinity of Stock Farm (Tudor Cottage), it is believed that there was hangman’s gallows in the grounds of the Wyndham Hotel!

Chapel of EaseIn 1830 the Chapel of Ease was built but it was replaced by a new church built in 1863 by the Countess of Dunraven, owner of the Clearwell estate. The new church was designed in the high Victorian style by John Middleton of Cheltenham and is built of dark Forest sandstone with Bath stone dressings. The Countess also built a school in 1859 to replace one built in 1847, and a cottage hospital in 1869. The recreation ground was laid out before 1934 and later in that decade Col. Vereker of Clearwell Court organised unemployed men in building an open-air swimming pool there.

Clearwell Court (or Castle as it is now known) is an ancient mansion built of Forest stone standing in 90 acres on what is believed to have been the site of a Roman villa. The original castle was pulled down and the present one built in 1740 by Thomas Wyndham. It survived a fire in 1929 and was repaired by Major Vereker. Water for the castle was supplied from a pump house opposite the bottom of the driveway which also had a drinking fountain for dogs (one of the few in the country), one for horses and a brass cup and chain for weary travellers.

Entrance to Clearwell CastleIn the early 19th and 20th centuries the village was inhabited mainly by small freeholders, often engaged in village crafts or mining and quarrying. Nail making was a trade carried on throughout the 19th century, employing six men in 1851 – in the same year there was also a tannery.

Clearwell today (including the outlying areas) has 418 registered electors. There are three hotels – The Wyndham Arms, The Tudor Farmhouse and The Lambsquay as well as two public houses – The Butchers Arms and The Lamb. Regrettably there are no retail facilities; the last one, the Post Office, having closed in 2006.

The recreation ground was refurbished in 2012 with new play equipment, entrance and gates courtesy of a £49340 grant from the National Lottery. The land is owned by the Parish Council as Custodian Trustee and managed by the Clearwell Recreation Ground Management Committee.

The Church of England school provides quality education in a caring and happy environment. The Head Teacher is supported by a highly motivated team of teachers and support staff. The school was the first in the county to be awarded the Diana, Princess of Wales Anti Bullying Award. A new nursery was opened in 2007 in partnership with Ellwood Nursery for children aged 2 – 5 years and the school has strong links with secondary schools including Lakers, Whitecross and Monmouth Comprehensive.


Clearwell Memoril HallThe Memorial Hall was renovated in 2006 and is used by a variety of organisations, including the Parish Council for every third meeting, and for village social events.