Great Dean or Mitcheldean Gloucestershire Universal British Directory 1791

Great Dean, or Mitchel-Dean, was formerly a staple for wool, but it much decayed;  it is a small ill-built town, of very inconsiderable trade; has a market on Mondays, and two annual fairs, viz. Easter-Monday and October 10.  it is the principal town in the forest, otherwise called the Forest of Dean; for a farther account of which see the end of this article.
Dean is distant from London 120 miles, Gloucester 12, Newenham 6, Ross 6, Coleford 9, and from Monmouth 14.  It has a good church with a handsome spire, and the town consists chiefly of one street. Cloth and pins have bee the principal articles of its manufacture.
The post comes in, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and goes out, Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Mr. Henry Bossoms is the post-master
The Monmouth and Brecon wagons pass through Dean every week.  The principal inn is the George.
At Gunn’s Mills, two miles from this town, Mr. Joseph Lloyd carried on a very capital paper-manufactory; and at Flaxley, four miles distant, are very large and extensive iron furnaces and forges, the property of Sir Thomas, Crawley Boevey, Bart.

The following are the principal inhabitants:

Aldridge John, (F.) Gent.
Colchester John, Esq. (F.)
Pickersgill Paul, Esq.
Palmer Mrs. Mary
Pearce Mrs. Jane
Sargeant Edward, (F.) Gent.

Harris Rev. John, (F.) Vicar

Trigg Wm. Surgeon and Apothecary

Bayley John, (F.) Attorney
Bayley Thomas, Attorney

Traders, &c.
Barrett William, (F.) Sadler
Baynham Mary, Shopkeeper
Bowery James, Mason
Bennett Thomas, Mealman
Bossom Henry, Post-master
Coleman Richard, (F.) Mercer
Coleman William, (F.) Shopkeeper
Coleman William, Baker
Cross Elizabeth, Mercer
Dobbs Samuel, Butcher
Evans Thomas, Fellmonger
Griffiths Thomas, Mason
Hale Joseph, Maltster
Hartland William, Innkeeper, (George)
Hartland Miles, Gaol-keeper
Hartley Henry, Victualler
How Edward, Cooper
Hughes Joseph, Mercer
James John, Carpenter
Marfell William, Maltster
Miller Richard, Taylor
Partridge Thomas, (F.) Hatter
Pearce William, (F.) Victualler
Powell William, (F.) Mason
Powell John, (F.) Mason
Rudge James, Maltster
Sargeant Thomas, Baker
Stephens John, (F.) Currier
Symonds John, Shopkeeper
Voyce George, Clock-maker
Wallden William, Breeches-maker

In the vicinity of the above town, is Flaxley Abbey, the seat of Sir Thomas Crawley Boevey, Bart. (F.) and Abbenhall, the seat of Tho. Blunt, Esq. (F.)

Little Dean is three miles distant from Great Dean; it is a very small town, on the verge of the forest, and had formerly a market.  The only branch of manufacture carried on here is making of nails; and those made in this place are esteemed superior to most in the kingdom.  Contiguous to this town, has been lately built a penitentiary-house and bridewell for the forest-division of the county.  Newenham is the post-town. – the following are the principal inhabitants:

Gentry, &c.
Brookes William, Gent. (F.)
Cullimore William, Esq.
Evans – , Gent.
Morton William, Esq.
Pyrke Joseph Watkyns, Esq. (F.)

Frier Rev. William, Curate
Webb Rev. Benjamin, (F.) Vicar of Dean

Traders, &c.
Robinson Philip, (F.) Proprietor of capital Coal and Nail-works
Boughton Joseph, Timber-merchant
Taylor Thomas, (F.) Nailor

The forest of Dean comprehends that part of Gloucestershire which lies between the Severn and Monmouthshire, and contains twenty-three parishes, and four market-towns.  The forest once contained 30,000 acres of land, being twenty miles long, and so full of wood, that it was very dangerous to travel through it.  Its oak was famous for shipping; it was the glory of our own, and so much the envy of other nations, that the famous Spanish armada had it in special charge to burn it.  The great number of iron forges near it has greatly lessened, though not consumed, the wood, which is still preserved with much care.  It is subject to forest-laws; and the iron-miners have here a court also.  From hence to Gloucester is all a rich country, and a fine river, but narrower, to the Northward, till, a little short of Gloucester, it ceases to be navigable by ships of burden, but continues to be so by large barges above one hundred miles further, not reckoning the turnings and windings of the river; besides that, it receives several large and navigable rivers.
Lord Gage, captain Berkley, and Mr. Edwin, attended by the commissioners of the land-revenue, have lately had a meeting with the minister, respecting the repairs of the turnpike-road that runs across the forest of Dean.  This road is eleven miles in length.  It seems that it is the province of government to keep it in repair; of late years, however, this business has been so much neglected as to render it impassable for stage-coaches, &c. which are obliged to take a circuitous road, some miles out of the way.

Source: Universal British Directory 1791