Clearwell (anciently "Clower-Wall" etc.) is a village and former ancient manor in the Forest of Dean, West Gloucestershire, England. A recent survey indicated that the population of Clearwell is approximately 350.
There are mines locally that date back over 7,000 years to the mining of ochre and are known as Clearwell Caves. Later, the Romans mined iron at Clearwell Meend. Iron production expanded in medieval times and peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries, leaving a legacy of fine stone built buildings.
Clearwell Castle, a 'mock' castle of Gothic architecture built in 1728, is located in Clearwell.
History of the village
The village of Clearwell began as a group of hamlets which coalesced to form the village. It formed around three roads which run down shallow valleys to a central junction. The hamlets on the three roads were Clearwell, Peak, and Platwell, with a fourth hamlet, Wainlete, to the north-west of Clearwell. Clearwell and Platwell had dwellings by around 1300. In 1462 fourteen houses were mentioned at Clearwell and Wainlete, thirteen at Platwell, and sixteen at Peak.
Most of the houses that formed Clearwell village were replaced by stone cottages in the late 18th century and the 19th, although several older buildings survive, including the Wyndham Arms which is a substantial 17th-century house.
In 1830 a chapel was built for Clearwell village at the east end, on the road leading to the Forest. It was replaced in 1866 by a new church built by the countess of Dunraven, owner of the Clearwell estate. The countess also built a village school in 1859 and opened a cottage hospital in 1869