1889 - The Village that took the blame.
One late April day in 1889, an incident, both ugly in action and repercussion,
between the town of Cinderford and its neighbouring village to the north-west,
Ruardean, occurred which has gone down in the annals of Forest of Dean folk lore -
the killing of the bears. In ensuing years that sombre event caused rift, anger and
often violence as the people of Ruardean were blamed for the death of the animals.
Rugby teams from the Forest playing away games were often baited with cries
of: 'Who killed the bears?' and even as late as 50 years ago, it was a brave man
who posed the question, particularly within earshot of Ruardean village itself. It was
a stain on its character that the village found hard to endure and reacted sorely
Happily, as time went by, those directly involved or eye-witnesses, died and
feeling mellowed. So much so, that in 1989, the people of Ruardean marked the
centenary of the killing, with fancy dress parades and a gala weekend which
attracted considerable press and television coverage. So, exactly what did happen
all those years ago on that road from Cinderford to Ruardean that soured relations
between the two centres for nigh on the best part of a century.