A monastic priory was established here by Roger Earl of Hereford. The monastery’s fish ponds eventually became Newent Lake and later, Newent Court occupied the site.The Market House (1668) was one of many grand buildings that were built in a similar style. Several were later clad in brick-work to make them appear much more ‘fashionable’.
Famous residents of Newent include Dick Whittington who lived at nearby Pauntley, and Joe Meek, pioneer of electronic music and producer of the revolutionary hit ‘Telstar’.
St Mary’s Church was rebuilt in stone quarried from Culver Street after part of the nave collapsed in the 17th century. It now features the largest unsupported wooden roof in the country.
Nearby May Hill is the highest point in Gloucestershire with stunning views of over seven counties.
Holts, a large townhouse, used to occupy the site now taken by the police station. It was once the centre of a murder investigation which attracted national news coverage.
Spider Cottage on Church Street holds the world record for the largest spider web ever found during it’s renovation.
The Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal has been restored near to the town. It features a working lock and a aqueduct across the Ledbury road.
In 1885 the Railway was built over the canal. It became known as the daffodil line, as acres of wild daffodils could be seen on the route through Newent. Local people picked the flowers and sent them to hospitals in London.
Fourteen acres of land have been planted with 4000 trees to create the Broadford’s Arboretum across from Newent Community School.
Origins of the Newent Onion Fayre - www.newentonionfayre.net
Newent was already a sizeable town at the time of the Norman Conquest and was mentioned in the Domesday Book. By the 13th century, Noent was part of a manor belonging to the Abbey of Cormeilles in Normandy and King Henry III granted the town a market and two annual fayres by charter. With two more annual fairs granted by James 1st, by the end of 17th century Newent was a well established thriving market town with a weekly market and four annual fairs.
Originally, the September fair dealt mostly in sheep, but by the end of the 18th century this fair was the only one of the annual fairs to have survived and was now trading onions. There were onion fairs all over the country at this time and Newent Onion Fayre rose to such importance that the price of onions at Newent was used to set the onion price over a wide area, including South Wales, Gloucester and even Birmingham (the largest onion fair in the country!).
The Newent Onion Fayre survived to the early part of the twentieth century when, unfortunately, the war years saw its demise. However in 1996 the Fayre a group of local people set to work and Newent Onion Fayre was revived as a festival to celebrate local food and drink. The merriment now attracts almost 15,000 visitors each year and is a fantastic crowd-pulling national event.
With lots of live music, entertainment, food and drink, plus over 150 stands, exhibitions, children’s events and not forgetting THE ONE AND ONLY NEWENT ONION SHOW! (See annual events for more details or www.newentonionfayre.net for this years fayre and history)