The Great Flood of Coleford 1841

The Great Flood of Coleford 1841

In November 1841 the bottom of Coleford was devastated by floods.

After a vestry meeting chaired by Mr Robert Madge of Copplestone House, the following appeal appeared in the Western Times.

Severe Loss in The Great Storm

In consequence of the great fall of rain which occurred on Monday the 29th of November great damage was done in the village of Coleford. The water rose to such a height as to overwhelm workshops, stables, cellars, and a great part of some dwelling houses, some of which were levelled to the ground. These premises belong to GEORGE DAVEY, a widower with five children the eldest under eleven (now the stone barns part of Browns Farm). To ELIZABETH SOUTHCOTT, a widow with two children (part of the back of the New Inn). To JAMES SHOPLAND, an old man who has not been able to earn anything for a long time past (the single-storey section and part of the main house Riverside). To JAMES DAVEY (former blacksmith) a very feeble man, a widower with two children and a mother in law confined to bed. (part of Forge Cottage and the original smithy) They all of them have been honest, diligent, careful tradespeople and the amount of their damage is from three hundred to four hundred pounds.

The aid of a generous public is solicited, and any donations will gladly be received by any Bank, The Flying Post and Western Times offices Exeter and Mr Francis Lee, Coleford

At a vestry meeting, the beginning of February 1842, plans and specifications for erecting a bridge at Coleford were examined for which Elijah Gould of Coleford had put in a tender for £45-12s-6d and John Edwards of Crediton a tender for £38. Edwards tender was accepted. The building of the bridge necessitated raising the road levels from the NE corner of Riverside on the Eastern side of the bridge to a point opposite the entrance to Forge Cottage on the Western side. At this point two large stone culverts were built to carry surface water to the stream emptying under the bridge near the lower side.

When the Tithe Map appeared in 1845 the bridge had been completed.

So the “Ford over the Cole” ceased to exist. At certain times of the year when silt has been washed away, and weed has disappeared the large flat edging stones of the old ford can still be seen beneath the lower side of the bridge. Also until recent years some of the stumps of the timbers which had supported a footbridge could still be seen in the stream near the end wall of Riverside cottage. This was also washed away at that time.

© Neville Enderson