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© MonGenes 2016

The sea wall at Goldcliff
The sea wall at Goldcliff


(A description written in 1891)

A Parish on the Bristol Channel, 149.1/2 miles from London, 6 south-east from Newport and 3.1/2 south of Llanwern station on the South-Wales section of the Great Western railway, in the Southern division of the county, Lower division of Caldicot Hundred; Petty Sessional division of Christchurch, Union and County Court district of Newport; western division of the rural deanery of Netherwent, archdeaconry of Monmouth and diocese of Llandaff.

A high sea wall, erected to prevent the irruption of the tide, skirts one side of the parish.

frontpagefloodret1The church of St Mary Magdalene is an ancient building of stone in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch, and an embattled western tower containing one bell: in the chancel there is a mural brass thus inscribed:-

"On the 20th day of January, 1606, even as it came to pass, it pleased God the flood did flow to the edge of this same brass, and in this parish there was lost £5,000 in stock &c. besides 22 people was in this parish drowned.

Goldcliff: John Wilkins, of Pill Rew, William Tap, Churchwardens. 1609"

The church has 90 sittings all free. The register of Baptisms and Burials dates from the year 1728; Marriages, 1729. The living is a vicarage, tithe rent-charge £32, gross yearly value £96, in the gift of Eton College, and held since 1882 by the Rev. Edward Davies M.A. of Jesus College, Oxford who is also vicar of and resides at Whitson. Parish Clerk: Thomas Huggett.

Here is a Congregational chapel, erected in 1840.

On Goldcliff Hill, and about a mile from the church, are the remains of the Benedictine Priory of SS. Mary and Mary Magdalene, founded in 1113 by Robert Chandos; it was first a cell of Bec, and afterwards of Tewkesbury; the Welsh drove out the monks between 1442 and 1446; the revenues were estimated at £144 yearly.

The principal landowners are the Provost and Fellows of Eton College, who are the lords of the manor, Capt. Kingsmill Manley Power D.L., J.P. Lord of Porton, Mrs Dowle, the Commissioners of Sewers, Newport, St John Knox Rickards Phillips Esq. J.P. and G.C. Williams Esq. The soil is loam; subsoil, clay. The land is wholly in pasture. The area is 2,197 acres of land; rateable value, £3,290;

The population in 1881 was 228.

Post: Letters through Newport, arrive at 9. a.m; dispatched at 5 p.m. The nearest money order & telegraph office is at Maindee. Whitson is the nearest post office.


National School (mixed), for the parishes of Goldcliff & Whitson, erected in 1872, for 60 children; average attendance attendance, 35; Miss Kate Louisa Barker, mistress.

(extracts from Kelly's 1891 Directory of Monmouthshire, transcribed by J. Doe)


Here is the BBC Timewatch documentary about the "Great Flood" of 1607

For full screen video click on the YouTube logo (bottom right of window next to cogwheel). This takes you to the DailyMotion website.

(This video is approximately 45 minutes duration).

Here is the Time Team dig at Goldcliff

For full screen video click on the YouTube logo (bottom right of window next to cogwheel). This takes you to the YouTube website.

(This video is approximately 45 minutes duration).

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