Fishing has been practised in the Severn estuary for several centuries, probably at least the 5th or 6th. The Domesday book recorded sixty three fisheries in Tidenham in 1086, but none now remain.
The catch was salmon in the main, though the Severn is also well known for eels, and elvers are a new delicacy though local people enjoyed them for years before they were ‘discovered’ by popular restaurants.
The Beachley Bay putcher rank above in 1981 and below the same rank in 2013.
Salmon fishing took the form of putcher rank fishing, stop boats and lave nets on the sand banks.
In 1911 several of the fishermen living in the parish had come to live in this area from Morcambe to work for the Wye Fisheries Board, the pictire below may show some of those men.
One hundred years ago in 1917 when the villagers of Beachley were evicted there were still several fishermen living at Beachley Green. and the row of cottages at Buttingtom were built to house them so tht they could easily access their boats and putchers.
Up until the 1980s there was still some fishing, a putcher rank in Beachley bay was in operation until about that time, some lave net fishing was still being done on the sandbanks by a lone fisherman.
Putchers were conical shaped baskets which were traditionally made from hazel or willow, those that are used on the last remaining rank today further up the river are made of steel. The putchers were placed in ranks in order to catch the salmon as they returned to the sea.
Lave nets are Y shaped baskets which are used to trap the fish, the men would wait on the sandbanks until a fish was close enough to catch. The only lave net fishing still being done is at Black Rock a few miles downstream. The limitations on the catches mean that this is no longer a viable occupation and the Blackrock fishermen now operate as a heritage centre to keep this ancient tradition alive.
The lave net men caught an 18lb salmon on Wednesday 21st June 2017 the largest fish they had caught for many years and only the second fish in five years for Paul who netted it, he also claimed the Bob Leonard Cup for the first fish of the season.
Above some of the Beachley lave net fishermen from the early 20th century.
Tidenham Historical Group published their first book in 2014
‘The Churches and Chapels of Tidenham Parish’.
After many years of research all present and former places of worship in the parish are recorded in the book, from St Tecla at the mouth of the Wye to the Church of the Sacred Heart in Sedbury consecrated in 1988.
The first recorded church was built in AD625 and over foureteen centuries since then the parish has been the location for a wide and intriguing variety of Christian places of worship. This beautifully illustrated book provides a lively and unique overview of their history, significance and architecture as well as providing detailed guides to all of the surviving buildings accessible to the public.
As it was the local people who used the buildings and brought them alive, the book reflects many colourful human aspects of their story: the wealthy benefactors who paid for the churches and supported the poor in the area; some memorable priests; raiding pirates and even a whole commumnity given just eleven days to move out of their homes.
There are also chapters on Stained Glass and Fonts.
The book is available from Chepstow Bookshop or Hanley Farm Shop on the A48 or by post from this website, price £15 plus p&p.
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The book has raised funds for all the current places of worship including over £1000 for the Tidenham Parish Church of St Mary and St Peter.
In 2017 the a second book was published Beachley and the First World War; the story of the failed shipyard and the eviction of a whole village with just a few days notice.
£25 plus p&p
Our third book is now available Tidenham Remembers. The men on the Tidenham War Memorials have been reserached so that they can be remembered as more than just a name read out on Remembrance Sunday.
£7 plus p&p
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All three books are also available at Chepstow Bookshop
We have indoor meetings during the winter months and have walks and visits during the summer.
Our Spring 2019 Programme
Tuesday January 29th Naylor Firth
‘The Severn Ferries – Roman Times to Extinction’
Tuesday February 26th Keith Walker
‘The First Severn Tunnel’
Tuesday March 26th Charlie Miles
‘Flora Klickman Brockweir Authouress’
Tuesday April 30th Robert Kenny
‘The Newport Ship’
Members £1 Visitors £2 – the entry fee includes refreshments.
Membership fees of £10 single and £15 double.
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Any events for the next Chepstow Festival will be advertised here.