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including Pontymister, Pontywain and Cross Keys,

(A description written in 1891)

A Parish and Village in the valley between the lofty Twyn Barlwyn (Maen) and the Machen Mountains, on the Monmouthshire Canal, which runs through the parish, and on the Western Valleys section of the Great Western railway, which here forms a junction with the Sirhowy line. There are stations at Risca Village and Cross Keys, both in the parish, which is 165.1/2 miles from London and 6.1/2 north-west-by-west from Newport; in the Southern division of the county, Hundred of Wentloog, Petty Sessional division, Union and County Court district of Newport; Newport rural deanery, Monmouth archdeaconry and Llandaff diocese.

The parish is governed by a Local Board of 9 members. The district was formed in 1878 of Risca and parts of Upper and Lower Machen, and by a Local Government Provisional Order No.12, 157, confirmed by Act 44 & 45 Vict.cap.cii. when parts of Mynyddyslwyn were added.

The Village is lighted with gas by a company reformed in May, 1890. A company is now (1891) being formed to supply the parish with water,

The church of St. Mary, rebuilt in 1853 on the ancient foundation, is an edifice of stone, in the Florid Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles and a tower at the south-east angle with spire, containing one bell: there are 400 sittings, 150 being free. The register of Baptisms dates from the year 1736; Marriages, 1754; Burials, 1779. The living is a vicarage, tithe rent-charge £110, gross yearly value £350, with residence and 45 acres of glebe, in the gift of the vicar of Bassaleg, and held since 1876 by the Rev. Basil Williams M.A. of Wadham College, Oxford, who resides at Rogerstone Court, Tydee. Sexton: Charles Pearce.

Here are Baptist, Congregational, Primitive Methodist, Wesleyan and Calvinistic Methodist chapels.

A Cemetery of 4 acres was formed in 1889, and is under the control of the Local Board, with the exception of one-fourth part, which has been consecrated and contains mortuary chapel and caretaker's residence.

The Public Hall, erected in 1884, is Italian in style, and includes the hall proper, which is 68ft by 48ft. and seats 800 persons, and offices for local and school boards and a suite of Masonic rooms.

Here are collieries, a large tinplate manufactory and new steel works of Mr. P.S. Phillips, the extensive iron and steel foundry of Messrs Henry White & Co., a brewery, brick works and lime kilns.



A Village with the parish of Risca, half a mile to the south-east, where there is a Catholic chapel with school, dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua and St. Clare; a stone building, erected in 1868 to seat 150 persons;

There are also Baptist and Wesleyan chapels.



A Village within the parish, one and a half miles north, where there are Congregational and Wesleyan chapels.



A village within the parish, one mile north-west, where there are English Presbyterian, Baptist and Primitive Methodist chapels.


St. Mary's Church: Rev. Basil Williams M.A. vicar

Catholic Church, Pontymister: Rev. Edward Williams, priest

Presbyterian (English), Cross Keys: Rev. Thomas Evans, minister

Baptist (Welsh), Risca: Rev. Evan Ungoed Thomas, minister

Baptist Bethany, Pontymister: Rev. Thomas Thomas, minister

Baptist, CrossKeys: Rev. Charles H. Watkins, minister

Calvinistic Methodist, Risca: Rev. Morgan Davies, minister

Congregational, Pontywain: Rev. J Hughes, minister

Congregational, Pontymister: Rev. Jacob Williams, minister

Wesleyan, Risca: Rev. William H. Major, minister

Wesleyan, Pontywain: ministers, various


A School Board of 7 members was formed in 1871, with Machen & Waenfawn United District contributory, sending 2 members:

Clerk to the Board: T. S. Edwards, 20 High Street, Newport

Attendance officer: T.J. Bayton, Pontymister

Board School, Risca, (mixed), erected in 1848, for 275 children; average attendance, 160 boys & girls & 90 infants; Edward Lewis, master; Miss Evans, infants' mistress.

Board School, Pontymister, erected in 1877, for 400 children; average attendance, 127 boys, 109 girls & 129 infants; Edwin Williams, master; Miss Mary Watkins, girls' mistress; Miss Annie Edwards, infants' mistress.

Joint Board School, Cross Keys, erected in 1880, for 500 children; average attendance, 153 boys, 142 girls & 172 infants; William George Edwards, master; Miss Elizabeth Thomas, girls' mistress; Mrs. Susan Edwards, infants' mistress.

Catholic School, Pontymister, held in the school chapel, erected in 1868, for 60 children; average attendance, 30; Miss Morris, mistress.

Post, M.O. & T.O., S.B. & Annuity & Insurance Offices:

Risca - Abraham Williams, postmaster

Pontymister - Mrs. Jane Duggin, postmistress

Cross Keys - William Benjamin Davies, receiver

Post Office:

Pontywain - Lewis Lewis, receiver. Cross Keys is the nearest money order office and Risca the nearest telegraph office.

Local Board:

Offices: Risca - Board Day, third Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Clerk: Wyndham C Pain, Bank Chambers, Llanarth St., Newport

Treasurer: Edwin Webber, London & Provincial Bank, Newport

Medical Officer of Heath: Richard Istance, The Laurels, Pontymister

Surveyor, Inspector of Nuisances & Collector: George Chas. Giles, Local Board Office, Risca

County Constabulary:

William Porter, sergeant, and 5 constables.


Monmouthshire (1st) Volunteer Brigade, Western Division Royal Artillery (Position Artillery, No 3 &4 Batteries):

Captain & Hon. Major J. Williams & Captain George William Wilkinson,

Commandants; S Baker, sergeant-instructor.

South Wales Borderers, 2nd Monmouthshire Volunteer Battalion (D Company), Pontymister:

Captain W.E. Cross

Railway Stations:

Risca Village - James Basham, station master

Cross Keys - David Osborne, station master

Lord Tredegar, who is lord of the manor, John Arthur Edward Herbert Esq. D.L., J.P., Frederick Phillips Esq, and Lady Llanover, are the chief landowners. The soil is gravel; subsoil, clay and limestone. The chief crops are wheat, oats, barley and pasture. The area is 1,850 acres of land and 35 of water; rateable value, £14,974.

The population of the parish in 1881 was 3,971, and of the Local Board district, 5,540.

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

Some Risca Churches & Chapels

Slideshow images by Steve Vesey




AberbargoedAberbeegAbercarnAbergavennyAbersychan Abertillery (also see Aberystruth) • AberystruthBettws (near Llantillio Pertholey) Bettws (near Newport)Bettws NewyddBishtonBlackwoodBlaenavonBlainaBriery Hill BryngwynBwlch Trewyn Caerleon or Llangattock-Juxta-Caerleon (see Christchurch for Caerleon Village)CaerwentCaldicotCastletonCefnycribChapel HillChepstow Christchurch (also see Newport)Clawrplwyf CoedkernewCoed y PaenCrickCroesyceiliogCross AshCross KeysCrosshands Crumlin (also see Llanhilleth & Mynyddislwyn) Cwm (also see Ebbw Vale)Cwmavon (also see Trevethin)Cwmbran (also see Llanvihangel Llantarnam & Llanfrechfa) Cwmcarn CwmcarvanCwmffrwdoerCwmnantdduCwmtillery (also see Aberystruth)CwmynyscoyCwmyoy DevaudenDewstowDingestowDinhamDixton NewtonDuffrynEarlswoodEbbw ValeFleur-de-LysFreehold Garndiffaith (also see Trevethin) GarndyrrisGarnfachGellygroesGlascoedGoldcliff GolynosGovilonGoytreGraig Griffithstown (also see Llanfrechfa & Panteg) GrosmontGwehelogGwernesneyHardwickHenllysHigh CrossHighmoor Hill • HowickIfton IttonKemeys CommanderKemeys Inferior Kilgwrrwg Langstone Little Mill LlanarthLlanbadocLlanbedr LlandavennyLlandewi Fach Llanddewi RhydderchLlanddewi SkirridLlandegvethLlandennyLlandevaudLlandogoLlanellenLlanfaeneorLlanfair DiscoedLlanfair GilgoedLlanfair Kilgeddin • Llanfihangel CrucorneyLlanfihangel Gobion • Llanfihangel juxta Roggiett • Llanfihangel LlantarnamLlanfihangel nigh UskLlanfihangel Pont y MoileLlanfihangel TafernbachLlanfihangel Tor y MynyddLlanfihangel Ystern LlewernLlanfihangel y VedwLlanfoistLlanfrechfaLlangattock • Lingoed Llangattock nigh Usk • Llangattock Vibon Avel • LlangeviewLlangibbyLlangovenLlanguaLlangwm Ishaf & Llangwm Uchaf • LlanhennockLlanhillethLlanishenLlanllowellLlanmartinLlanover • LlanrumneyLlansantffraedLlansoy • Llanthewy RytherchLlanthewy Skirrid • Llanthewy VachLlanthomasLlanthonyLlantillio CrossennyLlantillio PertholeyLlantrissentLlanvachesLlanvair DiscoedLlanvair KilgeddinLlanvapleyLlanvetherineLlanwenarth CitraLlanwenarth UltraLlanwernLliswerry Llwyndu Machen (Upper & Lower) • Maes-y-cwmmerMagorMaindee (also see Christchurch & Newport)MalpasMamhiladMarshfieldMathern (also see St Pierre)May HillMichaelston y FedwMitchel TroyMonkswoodMonmouthMountonMynyddbachMynyddislwynMynyddmaenNantyderryNantygloNashNew TownNew TredegarNewbridgeNewcastleNewchurch East & WestNewport • Nightingale VillageOldcastleOvermonnow PantegPar Grace DieuPen y Clawdd PenaltPenbiddlePengamPenhowPenmaenPenpergwmPenrhosPenrosePenterryPentrepeod PenygarnPenyrheol Peterstone WentloogPillgwenllyPonthirPontllanfraithPontnewydd (also see Llanfrechfa)PontnewynyddPontrhydyrynPontygofPontymister PontymoilePontypoolPontywainPorthcassegPortskewettPwll DuPwllmeyricRaglanRedbrookRedwickRhydgwernRhymneyRisca RockRockfieldRogerstoneRoggiettRumneyRunston (also see Mathern)St ArvansSt Brides Netherwent St Brides WentloogSt Kingsmark St LawrenceSt MaughansSt MellonsSt Pierre (also see Mathern)St WoolosSebastopol (also see Panteg)ShirenewtonSirhowySix BellsSkenfrithSnatchwoodSomerton CommonSudbrookTalywain (also see Trevethin) • The Race and Upper RaceTintern AbbeyTintern ParvaTranchTredegarTredunnock TregareTrellechTrellech GrangeTrevethinTreworganTrostreyUndyUpper MachenUskVartegVictoriaWaunlwydWhitebrookWhitsonWilcrickWolvesnewtonWonastowWyeshamYnysddu




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