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History of the Parish by kind permission of Neville Enderson


In Colebrooke, nine councillors were permitted and the prescribed public meeting took place on December 4th 1894 in The Old School where about thirty parishioners gathered for the occasion. Mr Thomas Edwards the postmaster of Copplestone was proposed and elected to be Chairman of the meeting. Having taken the chair at 6.45pm he called for nomination papers from those wishing to stand as councillors. After 15 minutes, twelve nomination papers were handed in. Three of these were found to be invalid which meant the remaining nine formed Colebrooke's first Parish Council with no election necessary. This seemed to the set pattern for the ensuing years. Out of a possible 35 elections up to 2011, it would appear only 6 were contested.

The Local Government Act 1888 established elected County Councils in March 1894 further legislation provided for elected Parish Councils. A timetable was proposed whereby there should be a public meeting in the parish to elect a Parish Council in December of that year. This would be followed by a meeting of the elected Council fourteen days after that date. Each member of the parish was entitled to a single vote. A Parish Council would consist of a Chairman and between five and fifteen councillors. The relevant County Council would decide on the number of councillors for a parish.

The successful candidates in 1894 were:

  • William Gorwyn Lee, farmer, Penstone Barton
  • Arthur Knapman farmer, Landsend Barton
  • John Howard, mason Coleford
  • William Osborne, tailor,Lower Coombe
  • James Wreford, farmer, Youngs Farm
  • Francis Stoneman, farmer,Great Wotton
  • Samuel Salter, farmer, Mardles Gate
  • George Tolley,shopkeeper, Coleford
  • William Thorne, gardener, Coombe Lodge

The Parish Council met for the first time on December 17th 1894 when Mr Lee was unanimously elected chairman. Mr Charles Edwards of Copplestone, the son of Thomas, was offered and accepted the post of Colebrooke's first Parish Clerk. Initially a councillor's term of office was 12 months but in 1899 further legislation extended this to three years. This remained until 1979 when the term of office was extended to four years. After many years discussion the village of Copplestone became a parish in its own right in 1993. This resulted in Colebrooke Parish being depleted by the removal of some 20 properties from its northern end.