The essential factor for these hamlets was the swathe of newly available wide fertile fields that stretched from Highmeadow around the hillsides down to the Valley Brook, and these were the Nova Terra, the new lands. But while the name was adopted for the parish, the village that evolved around the church was known for centuries as “Churchend.” The church builder, Robert of Wakering, King John’s “beloved clerk” was the trusted agent of Hugh de Neville. The church probably reflected his master’s policy, who substantially improved the castle at St Briavels, the administrative centre for the Constable of the forest, and a manor was created in Newland to be held with the castle as part of a royal estate.
Early rectors were royal appointees, as though the office was a royal plum bestowed on men of substance. William Gifford, for example, was later Archbishop of York. King Edward 1’s favours caused dismay when he granted the rector, John of London, a sudden bounty of tithe revenue charged on 2000 acres of ascertained illegal assarts from various forest parishes, but dismay turned to outrage when Edward then transferred the church in total, with all its revenues to the Bishop of Llandaff in 1305. The Newland tithe barn was raided, forest clergy hampered and harassed. The Bishop’s men and were in turn, themselves, summoned to court. However, the King’s will prevailed. No doubt the chantry altar dedicated to King Edward’s service in the church heard fulsome and grateful prayer, and there is no doubt that these enrichments provided the means to rebuild the church to its present large dimensions.