9 – Bream’s Meend

In the late 1800’s John Bellows, a Cornishman but later a successful publisher in Gloucester, followed our route up from the Coleford road. In his very early guidebook, “A Week’s Holiday in the Forest of Dean”, he eloquently describes two local iron ore miners:

“Leaving Bream proper to our right, we turn uphill to the left and come out upon an open turf down, with half a dozen cottages (524 feet above the sea); the gusty wind sweeps over the Meend, and under the lee of one of the whitewashed cottages but still out on the Meend sits a miner on a chair, from the crown of his curly head to the sole of his boots, he is, hair, hands, face, bare arms, clothes and all, the colour of a red-horn carrot. He is an iron miner rolled in the ochre. Behind him, bending over him, another stalwart miner, bare headed, bare armed and ‘raddled all over’ with the dust of his calling, is singeing his hair …”

A week’s holiday in the Forest of Dean by John Bellows
An image of two iron miners from Nichloos (1858)
Portraits of two Iron-Miners in their working dress. Photographed from life by Mr Atkinson. – from “The Forest of Dean” by H. G. Nicholls (1858)
The book cover of A Weeks Holiday in the Forest of Dean
A Weeks Holiday in the Forest of Dean by John Bellows. This is a the cover of a facsimile edition produced by Ian J Standing in 2013