m4Monmouthshire flag by NikNaks

m6Flag of St David


Pontypool (a name corrupted from Pont-ap-Howel)

(A description written in 1891)

See also Trevethin

A Town in the Parish of Trevethin, 146 miles from London, 18 south-west from Monmouth, 8 north from Newport, 9.1/2 south from Abergavenny and 15 from Caerphilly; in the Northern division of the county, Abergavenny Hundred, and is the Head of the Petty Sessional division, Poor Law Union and also of a County Court district; Blaenau Gwent division of Abergavenny rural deanery, Monmouth archdeaconry and Llandafff diocese.

Pontypool is situated on the slopes of a hill, rising from the river Avon Lwyd, or Torvaen, over which is a stone bridge of three arches, and is on the edge the great basin of coal and ironstone, which stretches westward into Pembrokeshire.

CraneStreetPontypool1Crane Street, Pontypool c.1900

The Great Western Railway Company have three stations here: in Crane Street, Clarence Street and Pontypool Road. The Crane Street station is in the centre of the town, on the line from Newport to Blaenavon, with a branch to Brynmawr and Merthyr, and is in connection with the London and North Western system. The Clarence Street (Town) station, a little to the south of the town, is on the line from hence to the Vale of Neath and Swansea. The Pontypool Road station is about 1.1/2 miles south of the town.

The Town is governed by a Local Board of twenty-four members, who are also the sanitary authority. The town is paved and lighted, and supplied with excellent water by the Pontypool Gas & Water Company, established in 1871, with a capital of £40,000; there is a reservoir with a capacity of 4.1/2 million gallons, and a small tank at Cwm Avon; at Abersychan the supply is obtained from a spring rising at Nantymailor.

The church of St. James, in Hanbury Road, is a building of stone, in the Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave, north, south and centre aisles, south-west and west porches and a western belfry containing 1 bell: it was restored in 1877, at a cost of about £2,500, and has 1450 sittings, 100 being free. The living is a vicarage, the income derived from endowment and pew rents, in the gift of the vicar of Llanover, and held since 1891 by the Rev. Joshua Evans, of St. David's College, Lampeter.

There is also a Chapel of Ease at Tranch, which is annexed to the vicarage of Trevethin.

Other places of Worship:

St. Alban's Franciscan Catholic Church, George Street, erected in 1838, was restored and enlarged and a gallery added in 1881-2 at a cost of £600: it will seat 500 persons, and has the Monastery of St. Francois d'Assisi is attached. The Very Rev. Father Evangelist Rudolph, priest.

The Presbyterian Church, High Street, erected in 1868, is a plain building of stone and will seat 200 persons. Rev. John Maxwell Lloyd, minister.

The Wesleyan Chapel, High Street, was erected in 1860, in the Gothic style, at a cost of £2,300, and contains 900 sittings. Rev. George Edward Startup, minister.

The Baptist Chapel, Crane Street, erected in 1847, is a building of freestone, in a Modern Classic style, and contains sittings for about 600 people. Rev. John Williams, minister.

The Pen-y-Garn Baptist Tabernacle, Crane Street, erected in 1835, is a fine building of stone, and will seat about 750 persons; the interior was considerably altered and improved in 1884, at a cost of over £1,200. Rev. Beresford Robinson F.R.G.S. minister.

Pen-y-Garn Baptist Tabernacle, Pen-y-Garn, was erected in 1727, restored in 1888, and is now used for Burial services only.

Trosnant Baptist Church, Bridge Street, Upper Trosnant, is a handsome structure; the old building was completely renovated in 1885. Rev. Daniel Thomas. minister.

Congregational Chapel, Nicholas Street, erected in 1855, is a fine building of stone, with 760 sittings. Rev. Melchisedec Evans. minister.

Primitive Methodist Chapel, Park Terrace, a stone building in the Gothic style, was erected in 1877, at a cost of £2,200. Rev. Jesse Wilson, minister.

United Methodist Free Church, Crumlin Street, was erected in 1814. ministers various.


CommercialStreetPontypool1Commercial Street, Pontypool c.1900

The Town Hall, in Hanbury Road, is a well-built structure of stone, in the Italian style, erected at the sole cost of the late Capel Hanbury Leigh Esq. of Pontypool Park, then Lord-Lieutenant of the county, and was opened for public business on Jan 5th, 1856. An Assembly Room is about (1891) to be built in George Street.

The Market House, in Market Street, was erected in 1846. The market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the fairs are held April 2nd and 22nd, July 5th and October 10th, for pleasure, horses, cattle, sheep and cheese. A bill is now before Parliament to acquire the rights of toll and to build a new market place.

The Recreation Ground, Pontypool Road, is available for cricket, football, lawn tennis, coursing &c.

Fire Brigade:

A Volunteer Fire Brigade, instituted in March 1881, consists of a captain, lieutenant, two foremen, two engineers, two pioneers and twelve members.

At Pontypool are stationed the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the South Wales Borderers; the B Company of the 4th Battalion, formed in 1860, comprises a captain, two lieutenants, five sergeants and 80 to 100 rank and file: the Headquarters are at the Armoury, Trosnant Street.

There are numerous forges and iron mills within a short distance of the town, for the manufacture of the heaviest iron work and for the making of tin plates. The chief articles of trade are coal and iron of every quality and description, with which the neighbouring hills abound; ample facility of conveyance is afforded both by the numerous railways and by the Monmouthshire Canal to the Docks at Newport.


Pontypool Baptist Theological College occupies an elevated position at Pen-y-Garn overlooking the town; it was originally the College of the Welsh & English Baptist Education Society, instituted at Abergavenny in 1807, but removed to Pontypool in 1836; the building was enlarged in 1857, at a cost of £3,000, and again in 1882, when a large library and dining-room were added; it has a library of 4.000 volumes and receives 25 students; President, Rev. William Edwards B.A; classical & mathematical tutor, Rev. Joseph Moriais Davies M.A.

Board School, George Street (under Trevethin School Board) (mixed), erected in 1846 for 230 boys and girls & 110 infants; average attendance, 217 boys & girls, & 101 infants; Thomas Brooks Smith, master; Miss Sarah Jane Maggs, infants' mistress.

Trevethin Board School, Park Terrace (mixed and infants), built in 1882 for 325 children; average attendance, 88 boys & girls & 98 infants; William Stanley Grant, master; Miss Rhoda Spence Mends, infants' mistress.

National School, High Street, (mixed), built in 1838 for 520; average attendance, 165 boys, 151 girls & 96 infants; John Thomas Boothman, master; Mrs. Boothman, mistress.

Infant School, Twmpath, built in 1830 for 100 children; average attendance, 90; Miss Hannah Moseley, mistress.

Catholic School, St. Albans (mixed & infants), built in 1865 for 150 children and enlarged in 1886; average attendance, 185; Miss Kate O'Hare, mistress.

Pontypool Union:

Workhouse at Griffiths Town, near Pontypool


Pontypool Free Press, Osborne Road - Henry Hughes, junr, Proprietor & publisher; published every Friday.


Police duties are discharged by the Monmouthshire Constabulary, and William James, the superintendent has an office at the Police Station adjoining the Town Hall. The local force consists of 1 superintendent, 2 sergeants and 6 constables.

Railway Stations:

Great Western, Crane Street - Christopher Millard, station master.

Clarence Street - John Mends, station master.

Pontypool Road - William C.A. Pullin, station master.

Goods station, Crane St & Clarence St. - R. T. Smith & Co. Delivery agents.

Omnibus meets all express trains at Pontypool Road.

Pontypool Park is the residence of John Capel Hanbury D.L., J.P: on the verge of this park is a lofty stone building, used as a look-out or observatory, from the top of which several counties may be seen.

The population of the Local Board district in 1881 was 5,244; rateable value, £14,514; the acreage is returned with the parish of Trevethin.

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




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