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