The South Aisle


The main entrance to the church is by the south door, through a porch, which originally had a room, above which was used for meetings and also as a local school. In the walls of this porch are fragments of carvings discovered during the nineteenth century restoration. They are the few remaining indications of the carvings, which were in the church before the banning, and destruction of such things, partly during the Reformation but mainly during the Puritan revolution of the seventeenth century.
At the entrance to the church is the font (1661), the place of Baptism, traditionally and symbolically placed near the entrance. This is largely a replacement for the one destroyed during the early seventeenth century.
The south aisle contains many items of historic interest. There are a number of wall monuments to local families. The Coster family was important in the metalworking industry, particularly copper and brass, in this parish at Redbrook and in Bristol during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Metalworking of high quality continued until the closure of the tin-plate works at Redbrook in the 1960s. Thus the end of an important era of metalworking in this parish from Roman times. Also the end of not only the industry on the River Wye at Redbrook but also other parts of the ancient parish, including the pioneering work in the early production of steel at Whitecliff Furnace on the outskirts of Coleford.
Close by the monuments to the Coster family, and at the entrance to the St Edward Chapel, lies the free-standing table-tomb of Sir John Joce and his wife, owner of the original Clearwell Castle and lands which he gave to his son-in-law, Robert Greyndour.
The tomb was originally in the chapel of St John and St Nicholas (sometimes called the 'Clearwell' or 'Greyndour' chapel) and by the nineteenth century it had been moved to its present position. During the 1863 restoration it was unfortunately 'tidied up' by local stonemasons — much to the annoyance of the consultant architect, William White. Sir John's head rests on his helmet which is surmounted by a bearded Saracen's head, his feet and those of his wife, rest on a lion. His wife's head rests on two tasselled pillows supported by two mutilated angels.

The North Aisle

In the north aisle there is a reclining effigy. Very little is known about this person who appears to be a woman dressed in late medieval fashion. This effigy is headless—
a head in the wall of the porch may be from this figure.


In this area, now used as an exhibition space, are historical displays and exhibitions of contemporary art and craft relevant to this church and the area. There is a permanent display of important Festal Vestments designed and made specifically for this church by the internationally known Beryl Dean — a major figure in the revival of ecclesiastical embroidery in the late twentieth century.
In the west wall is a stained glass window in memory of George Ridout, formerly lecturer at William Jones Almshouses and then Vicar of Newland, who died in 1871, and of Mary, his wife. It was during his time at Newland that the major restoration of the church was undertaken. This window depicts the calling of the disciples.
The eastern part of this aisle houses only one monument, it is in memory of another member of the Bond family, the other monuments having been taken down and not replaced in the nineteenth-century restoration. The stained glass window in this area is in memory of Thomas Birt, lecturer at Jones Almshouses, who died 1813 and of his wife and daughters. This depicts, amongst a variety of New Testament scenes, the Resurrection and St Mary Magdalene with her pot of ointment.
The north door in this aisle leads out into the area of the churchyard which, as in all early churchyards, was only used for the burial of the unbaptised and suicides.

During the nineteenth century changes were made in the ecclesiastical law thus allowing other burials to take place in this area. The contrast between the meagre memorial stones in this section of the churchyard and those in other parts, which contain many fine table tombs, is very apparent.