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the village websmith - web design & services in & around Blakeney

Blakeney is a small, thriving village on the eastern edge of the Forest of Dean, on the main A48 road between Gloucester and Chepstow. It was at a house called Hawfield that Thomas Stenhold was born. He was Groom of the Robes to Henry VIII and his son, but is renowned (along with John Hopkins of Awre) for publishing the first metrical version of the Psalms. The house where he was born still exists in the village. Thomas Sternhold died in 1549.

Situated at the confluence of the Blackpool and Soudley Brooks, Blakeney is a busy Forest village that was a natural site for early industry (an iron forge and furnace existed here as early as 1228). The oldest building is the 16th century Swan House, formerly an inn, although there are several 17th and 18th century buildings in the village, the largest being the early 18th century Church of All Saints. Blakeney's industrial past is recalled by several buildings, including two corn-mill; the Upper Mill, by the A48 and Nibley Mill ( a partly half timbered house with adjoining stone mill where the B4431 Parkend road joins the A48). The old Blakeney Goods Station and the imposing six arched railway viaduct were built for the Forest of Dean Central Railway, which was begun in 1856 and was intended to run from Howbeach Colliery (situated about 1mile north east of the village) to a new dock at Brimspill on the Severn, it was never completed and only ran to a junction on the main South Wales line.

During renovations on one of the houses near Blackpool Brook, a large high-status Roman villa was discovered. This building was located next to the Roman military coast road from Newnham and it not only had a heating system, tiled roof and a stone courtyard but also a slip-way on the stream, indicating it was accessible by boat from the Severn. Pottery on the site dated construction to c75AD, making it the earliest villa known in the Dean and it was occupied for around sixty years until being demolished sometime in the middle of the 2nd century. It is thought that it was the residence of a high ranking Roman official, possibly an Army officer from the legionary fortress at Gloucester.

The Church of England church at Blakeney was built in the 1800's. Before this time, the parish was combined with the village of Awre, a little further to the east and closer to the River Severn. The font is what appears to be a 15th century stoup for holy water, believed to have been removed from Awre church during the reformation and buried for safety. It was found near Gatcombe when the railway was built, and used locally as a flower pot for many years before being brought to the church at Blakeney. In the early 1800s there was a considerable non-conformist movement from the established church, and a tabernacle was built at Blakeney in 1823, a mile north of the village. This building is now used as houses. A replacement tabernacle was built in the village in 1849 (before the church of England church was built). For more information, please call us on the number shown, or click in the header of any page to email Blakeney-forest-of-dean@villagewebsmith.co.uk.

Photo from Featured Project near Blakeney
GP Performance - Motorcycle tuning and rolling road dyno specialist.

This is one of our oldest Webinthebox? sites and has been largely unchanged since 2005. Despite this, the site is still performing well, giving great search engine performance and attracting lots of new customers.



The site has just had its first major revision in all that time so has changed beyond measure. Check out the original site by clicking here and see what has changed. As servers evolve, browsers update and search engine algorithms get more sophisticated, keeping up to date is now more important, and opens up more opportunities than ever.

Grant Perrin first contacted us in December 2004, being referred by Carl Abram of Abram Racing, a supermoto racer for whom we had created a site earlier that year.

It seems that Grant's main problem was that he already had a website, but it wasn't getting found. Even if you searched under the company name, there were 24 million results, mostly to do with people rating the performance of their General Practitioner. The other search terms that Grant wanted his business to be found under were also performing very poorly.

We set to work, coming up with a carbon fibre look to the site to reflect the use of that material in performance motorcycles. Underneath the shiny CF exterior lay the heart of a Webinthebox? chassis that placed the phrases from Grant's new text, written in collaboration, and placed it in the most appropriate locations for search engines to find. Motorcycle Rolling Road was one of the most important search phrases for Grant so we helped him to upload dyno charts and other relevant information to this page. February 2006 saw GP Performance rise to first place from millions of results when the name was searched, and to this day, on a world-wide search for 'motorcycle rolling road', GP performance still comes up in first or second place.

Likewise, customers looking for motorcycle MOT, service or repair in Oxfordshire or Berkshire will find Grant on the first page. We are very pleased that Grant has stuck with the Village Websmith throughout and look forward to providing his web presence for a long time to come.

Web & Internet Services Services Provided in:
  • Blakeney
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  • Web design
  • Search engine optimisation
  • SEO
  • Webvertising
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  • Branding
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