m6Flag of St David



(A description written in 1891)

See also Llanover

A Town among the hills in the Parish of Llanover Upper, 173 miles from London by rail, 6 north from Pontypool, 6 south-west from Abergavenny, 5.1/2 west from Llanover and 14 north from Newport; in the Northern division of the County, Pontypool Hundred; Petty Sessional division and Union of Abergavenny, within the County Court districts of Abergavenny and Pontypool; Blaenau Gwent division of Abergavenny rural deanery, Monnmouth archdeaconry, and Llandaff diocese.

It is situated on the river Avon Lwyd, or Torfaen, and has a station on the Great Western railway (Eastern Valleys branch), which commences at Newport and terminates here; the London & North Western railway has also a station here on the line from Abersychan to Brynmawr, about a quarter of a mile from the town, on a mountain side, and called the High Level station. “The Local Government Act, 1858”, was adopted by the ecclesiastical parish March 27, 1860, and the board consists of fifteen members. The town is lighted with gas and supplied with water by the Blaenavon Gas & Water Co. Limited; the water is obtained from three reservoirs, two at Llanover road and one at Cae Cradoch.

An Ecclesiastical Parish was formed here by an Order in Council in 1858, under the name of Blaenavon-cwm-Capel Newydd, which takes in a portion of each of the following parishes, namely: from Llanover Upper about 1,632 acres, Lanfoist 1,003, Llanwenarth 96, and Trevethin 631; total, 3,362 acres.

The church of St. Peter, built and endowed by Samuel Hopkins and Thomas Hill Esqrs, the proprietors at that time, of the Blaenavon Iron & Coal Works, was opened in 1804 and consecrated in June, 1805: it is a building of stone in the Gothic style, consisting of a chancel, nave and a western tower, with a small spire, containing 6 bells: the church was re-pewed in 1850 and thoroughly repaired, and again re-pewed in 1883, and was reopened in August of that year; the expense, about £1.000, was partly borne by the Blaenavon Co. Limited the patrons of the living, and partly from local subscription and the proceeds of a bazaar: there are 650 sittings, 470 being free: the churchyard was enlarged in 1882, at the expense of the Company, by whom the land was inclosed and presented. The register dates from the year 1805. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £350, with residence, in the gift of the Blaenavon Company Limited, and held since 1891 by the Rev. John Lewis Clougher B.A. of St David's College, Lampeter. Sexton: John Griffiths

Here is a Catholic church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart & St Felix.

Five Baptist Chapels (one being Welsh), English and Welsh Congregational chapels, Calvinistic Methodist, Bible Christian, Primitive Methodist and Wesleyan chapels; A Wesleyan chapel, costing £1,300, was erected in … Park street, with sittings for 500.

The Town Hall is a building of stone, erected in 1869, … and will seat 1,000 people; the trustees of Mr John Griffith Williams, proprietors.

A Hospital for the treatment of accident cases was erected in 1883, and is entirely managed and supported by a local committee of the workmen and agents of the Blaenavon Company Limited; the number of cases admitted in 1890 was 30.

Here are two breweries.

The A Company of the 4th Volunteer Battalion, South Wales Borderers, have their head quarters and armoury in High street, the present strength of the company being 82 rank and file.

Post, M.O. & T.O., S.B. & Annuity & Insurance Office, (Railway Sub-Office. Letters should have R.S.O. Mon added) - Postmaster, Rees Jones. Letters arrive from Newport daily at 6.15 & 8 a.m. & 3.30 p.m; dispatched at 11 a.m. & 4.10, 5, 6.10 & 7 p.m. (except Sundays, then at 11 a.m.) Wall Letter Box, Forge side, cleared 10 a.m. & 5.30 p.m. except Sundays.

Places of Worship:

St Peter's Church: Rev. John Lewis Clougher B.A. vicar

Mission Church, Forge Side: served by the vicar & curate

Catholic: served from the Monastery, Pontypool

Baptist (Welsh & English), James St: Rev. Gwillym Evans, minister

Baptist, Broad Street: Rev. William Rees, minister

Baptist, Church Road: Rev. William Morgan, minister

Baptist, Forge Side: ministers various

Baptist, King Street: Rev. Ewen Tidman, minister

Bible Christians, Board Street: Rev. John Selden

Calvinistic Methodist, King Street

Congregational (Welsh), Broad Street: Rev. Ephraim Thomas, minister

Congregational, Lion Street: Rev. Levi Rees, minister

Congregational (Welsh), James Street: Rev. Thomas Mavonwy Davies, minister

Primitive Methodist, Broad Street: Rev. William Jones, minister

Wesleyan, Park Street: Rev. John Banfield Gedye, minister

Wesleyan (Wesley), Chapel Row: Rev. John Banfield Gedye, minister


Board School (mixed infants) (under Trevethin School Board)

erected in 1883, for 248 children; average attendance, 100 boys & girls; & 65 infants; Edmund Jones, master; Mrs Jones, infants' mistress

National School (mixed)

built & endowed by Mrs Hopkins, & opened 15th April, 1816, for 150 boys & 180 girls; average attendance, 123 boys & 145 girls; William Howse, master; Miss Fanny Philippe, mistress

National School (infants), built by subscription & opened 12th of February, 1849, for 285 children, & with class rooms since added 350; average attendance, 180; these schools are principally supported by the Blaenavon Company; Miss Annie Russell, mistress

Catholic School (mixed)

built in 1870, for 150 children; average attendance, 110; Mrs Ellen De Lacey, mistress

British School (mixed)

built in 1871, for 500 children; average attendance, 219 children & 125 infants; Titus Jenkins, master; Mrs Annie Davies, infants' mistress

Wesleyan School (mixed)

built in 1871, for 400 children; average attendance, 248; Henry Lindsay Hudson, master; Miss Ruth West, infants' mistress

Railway Stations:

Low Level station (G.W.R.), William Lewis, station master

High Level station (L.N.W.R.), Henry J Duck, station master

The market day is on Saturday, and fairs are held on 16th of April and 17th September.

The Blaenavon Company Limited have very extensive iron, steel and coal works, with 9 blast furnaces, 3 rolling mills, for heavy, light and colliery rails and tinplate bars, and a tyre mille, and employ about 4,000 persons: the Company also maintains 2 brick factories; their works are lighted by the electric light. Blaenavon House, in the town, formerly the residence for Robert William Kennard Esq. J.P. is now used by the directors of the Blaenavon Company Limited.

The Marquess of Abergavenny is lord of the manor. The principal landowners are the Blaenavon Company, whose property extends over about 11,000 acres; John Capel Hanbury Esq. J.P. and Mrs James Edwards have also small properties here. The soil is clay; subsoil, coal and mining strata, resting on mountain limestone; the area is 3,362 acres, rateable value, £22,605.

The population is 1881 was 9,451


(extracts from Kelly's 1891 Directory of Monmouthshire, transcribed by J. Doe)




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