THE BROCKWELLS, DEWSTOW, FIVE LANES & HIGHMOOR HILL
CALDICOT is a parish, on the shores of the Bristol Channel, and watered by the Neddern brook, 1½ miles north-west from Portskewett and 1¼ miles north-east from Severn Tunnel station on the South Wales section of the Great Western railway, and 6 south-west from Chepstow, in the Southern division of the county, lower division of the hundred of Caldicot, petty sessional division, union and county court district of Chepstow, in the rural deanery of Netherwent, archdeaconry of Monmouth and diocese of Llandaff.
The church of St. Mary is an ancient building of limestone, with freestone dressings, chiefly in the Perpendicular style, but with some traces of earlier work, and consists of chancel, nave, north aisle and an embattled tower, placed between the nave and chancel, containing a clock and 8 bells, one of which is of pre-Reformation date.
The porch has a staircase leading to what may have been a parvise. There is a figure of The Blessed Virgin Mary, somewhat defaced, and at the side of the porch door a rudely cut consecration cross, and in the wall is a very curious half-length recumbent figure. There are also two old incised slabs in the nave.
The restoration of the church was completed in August, 1851, and there are 450 sittings.There is a good modern lych.gate at the entrance to the churchyard.
The register of burials dates from the year 1716, marriages from 1719. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value, £180, with 39¾ acres of glebe, and residence, in the gift of Keble College, Oxford, and held since 1893 by the Rev. Frederick William Clarke M.A. of St. John's College, Cambridge.
The mission church of St. Bartholomew, at Highmoor hill, was built in 1876; it has a belfry with one bell, and will seat 200.
The iron church of St. Michael and All Angels, at Wyndham Thomas's Tinplate works, was erected by Mrs. Clarke, wife of the present incumbent, in 1894, and has a belfry containing one bell. There is also a room used for meetings &c.
At Dewstow, about a mile from the village, there is said to have been an ancient chapel, dedicated to St. David, but no remains now exist. There are chapels for Wesleyan Methodists and Bible Christians.
The Caldicot Tin Plate Works, close to the South Wales railway, which runs through the parish, afford employment to a great number of hands.
The Herbert and Kemeys charities, producing £55 yearly, are distributed in money to the second poor.
Caldicot Castle is a magnificent stronghold, formerly belonging to the De Bohuns, Earls of Hereford and hereditary High Constables of England. The general design is oblong, having a round keep on its own moated mound at the north-west corner, and horseshoe towers at the south-west and south-east angles, and a grand gatehouse in the centre of the south face. The keep, probably the oldest part of the building, is considered to have been erected by Milo Fitz-Walter, who was high Constable both to the Empress Maud and King Stephen, and died in 1144.
The south front of the castle apparently dates from about the time of Edward II, and presents a grand and venerable appearance, but the great gatehouse in the centre of it and the postern tower opposite are of the time of Richard II. The tower bears the name "Thomas," as founder, on its gate jamb, probably referring to Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, son of Edward III. who was arrested by King Richard II in person, and afterwards murdered by his order in 1397, and who married Alianor, co-heiress (with the wife of King Henry IV) of the last De Bohun, Earl of Hereford, Essex and Northampton, whose name is sculptured on the foundation stone of an adjoining building. The whole was surrounded by a moat.
The castle is said to have been rendered untenable as a military fortress in the time of Edward IV, and is described in 1613 as having long been in ruins. The keep tower (somewhat similar in design to Hawarden castle) and the great gatehouse are considered to be the finest examples of military masonry remaining.
The ribs of the vaulting of the portal and grand staircase are supported by sculptured heads, believed to be portraits but now much defaced, while the machicolations of the west turret and some of the lintels are carried on heads, the features of which are as sharp as when first erected, and it is believed that canopied sculptures enriched all the window heads, and that everything of the sort within reach was purposely mutilated on the attainder of Edward Stafford, last Duke of Buckingham, in 1521.
William De Bohun, first Earl of Northampton, son of the 8th Humphrey De Bohun, Earl of Hereford, by Elizabeth, daughter of King Edward I. was born here; Henry V. must have been here, and Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, is said to have been staying here with his young wife, Margaret Beaufort, between his marriage and the birth of Henry VII. and from here Henry Stafford 2nd Duke of Buckingham, marched against King Richard III. in 1483, failing in consequence of the unprecedented flood in the Severn: in 1521 the property vested in King Henry VIII who made it parcel of the Duchy of Lancaster, by whom it was sold in 1857, and is now the property of Wheatley Cobb esq. who has roofed the gate-house and resides there: Mr. Cobb allows inspection to persons interested in architectural antiquities on personal application.
Charles Edward Lewis esq. of St. Pierre, near Chepstow, is lord of the manor and Prnacipal land owner: Wheatley Cobb esq. and others are also landowners.
The soil is light and sandy; subsoil, clay, gravelly and limestone. The chief crops are wheat and barley. The area is 1,875 acres of land and 4 of water and 1,307 of foreshore; rateable value, £10,721. The population in 1891 was 1,293.
Deputy Sexton: William Baynham
Post, M. 0. & T. 0., T. M. 0., Express Delivery, Parcel Post, S.B., Insurance & Annuity Oflice. Moses John Sqnibbs, Sub~postmaster.
National School (mixed & infants), enlarged in 1882, 1887 & 1894 for 300 children; average attendance, 190; Herbert Blonney, master; Miss Eliza Jane Morris, mistress.
County Police Station: 2 constables. Joshua Pritchard, constable in charge.
Boag James, Prospect house
Clarke Rev. Frederick William M.A. (vicar), The Parsonage
Cobb Wheatley, Caldicot castle
Collingbourn Alfred, The Woodlands
Cooper Alfred, Ferny cross
Corben Charles, The Grove
Hillier Mrs., Court house
Hillman John, Mount villa
Hope Seymour, Caldicot hall
Howard Edmund C. Church farm
Howells Edward, Ivy lodge
Mallet Mrs., Ightfield
Parry Morant, Lych cottage
Williams Rev. Edmd. Turberville M.A