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Forden Villa Ge, South Of Welshpool

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NPRN423871
Map ReferenceSJ20SW
Grid ReferenceSJ2261901020
Unitary (Local) AuthorityPowys
Old CountyMontgomeryshire
CommunityForden
Type Of SiteVILLAGE
PeriodMultiperiod
Description
Forden is a small village situated four miles south of Welshpool. According to the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, 'the church and the surrounding dwellings lie on a flattish spur between the twin branches of a stream which run down westwards to the Camlad, itself a tributary of the Severn less than 2 km away.'
'Forden is one of those rare places in Wales that features in the Domesday Book (1086). There it was distinguished as Furtune, incorporating the Old English elements ford and tun, though because of its position away from any river, experts consider that the first element means `route? or `road?. Thus Forden is interpreted as the "settlement by a road," the road being of Roman date. In 1292 it was Forton and in 1570 it appeared in its present form for the first time.'
'Its appearance in Domesday Book points to the presence of a late Saxon estate here and this has been tentatively linked to Nantcribba, (a farm complex about one kilometre to the east) and more importantly also to Offa's Dyke. Nantcribba has been seen as a manorial centre with a demesne. But this was referred to as Wropton alias Nantcribba in 1596 which in turn has been associated with the Wrobeton of 1292 and the Vrbetvne of Domesday Book, (and the name of a township). This points to an estate or settlement, separate from Forden.'
'The church (NPRN 400341), though outwardly with little to suggest that it had a long history, could conceivably be an early medieval foundation. It is the shape of the churchyard as shown on an estate map of 1783 which hints at this, though the accuracy of the map has not been assessed, and the picture it presents is clearly different from the outline of the churchyard today.'
'The post-Conquest nature and appearance of Forden remains uncertain through subsequent centuries, but there must be some doubt as to whether a settlement ever grew up around the church. For much of its time it was a chapel attached to the mother church at Chirbury. An estate map of the 1780s shows the church in a circular churchyard on a common, with two or three houses set in their fields as separate but detached enclosures.'
'The pattern represented on the late 18th century map, and the later Tithe survey map of 1843 where the church was accompanied only by Church House, a farm called Quabb and one or two post-enclosure cottages, suggests that Forden was generally a dispersed settlement, its individual elements spread intermittently around extensive tracts of common land, and that only in the later 19th century did it take on a nucleated appearance. At present there is nothing to suggest that Forden was anything other than a church settlement.'
'Considerable changes to the landscape were made to the area at the end of the 18th century and during the course of the 19th century, following the construction of the Montgomery-Welshpool turnpike road (B43881 - A490) in the late 18th century. A large proportion of the area subject to enclosure awards in 1803 had formerly been unenclosed 'wild heath or common' stretching from The Gaer along the road to Cilcewydd. With enclosure came a proliferation of "huts erected suddenly, so as to give their builders an invested right to them", though by the later 19th century the area was already suffering from depopulation as the children of farmers and labourers were heading for the larger towns.
The imposing redbrick Pool-Montgomery Union 'House of Industry' (the former Bryn Hyfryd Hospitable) (NPRN 32046) which dominates the southern end of Forden was built in 1793-95 by nine parishes and six townships in the neighbouring border country of Montgomeryshire and Shropshire with the intention of relieving the heavy burden of ministering the poor. Until 1818 those that died in the workhouse were buried at the parish church, but due to the enormous number of deaths that occurred there at that time and the high burden this imposed on the parish a new graveyard with unmarked graves was consecrated next to the workhouse, which was further extended in 1881. At its height, in 1817, up to 500 of Montgomeryshire's rural poor were in residence at the workhouse.'

Source: Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust report no. 1134 - 'Historic Settlements in Montgomeryshire' by R J Silvester, C H R Martin and S Watson, published in March 2012 (p. 36-7); CPAT characterisation of the 'Bro Trefaldwyn Historic Landscape' W J Britnell, C H R Martin and R Hankinson, published in March 2000 (p. 34-6)
M. Ryder, RCAHMW, 15th January 2019
Resources
DownloadTypeSource
application/msaccessTPA - Trysor Projects Archive
application/pdfCPATP - Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust Project Archives
application/pdfTPA - Trysor Projects Archive