Tredegar is a town and community situated on the banks of the Sirhowy River in the county borough of Blaenau Gwent, in the southeast of Wales. Within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire, it became an early centre of the Industrial Revolution in Wales; the historic Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, United States was named in honour of the town. The relevant wards collectively listed the town's population as 9,473 in the UK 2011 census, it is sometimes wrongly claimed that the name Tredegar can be explained as tre deg erw, an adaptation and reduction of "tref y deg erw" or reduction of "tre'r deg erw" ("tref" is an older form of "tre". Deg erw is Welsh for "ten acres". "tref / tre" was a "homestead, hamlet, estate". In this respect we can compare the sense development of Old English "tūn" to modern English "town". So "tre deg erw" is plausible morphologically, but is not the origin of the name "Tredegar". Another erroneous explanation, around in the 1800s, is that Tredegar is tri deg erw, which means "thirty acres".
In the case of both "ten acres" and "thirty acres" there is no indication of what this land area might refer to. In the second case, "tri deg erw" could not have resulted in "Tredegar". In both of the above interpretations it is supposed that "erw" has been reduced to "er" through the loss of the final vowel "w", the resulting final syllable "er" has become final "ar"; this would be consistent with features of south-eastern Welsh, or Gwentian, the variety of Welsh spoken in Tredegar. South-eastern field names show this reduction -- a field name in Penderyn; the resulting form would be Tredegar. "Tri-deg" is thirty, but as a numeral is a recent innovation in Welsh, since "deg-ar-hugain" is the traditional numeral. In addition, "tri-deg" would hardly change to "tre-deg". In fact, the town of Tredegar is so called because in 1800 Samuel Homfray, who had married into the Morgan of Tredegar family, formed a company to produce iron, named the Tredegar Iron Company – the land where he extracted and treated the ore belonged to his father-in-law and was a part of the Tredegar Estate.
The company’s buildings appeared on an 1832 Ordnance Survey map as Tredegar Iron Works. The Tredegar in the name of the company and its ironworks referred to the original Tredegar, in Coedcernyw by Newport, is nowadays more known in English as Tredegar House. Older forms of the name show it to be Tredegyr. Tredegyr is "farmstead of Tegyr" + soft mutation + Tegyr. A Brythonic form *Tecorix might be supposed, as such a form would have resulted in Welsh "Tegyr" following normal processes in the development of Welsh from Brythonic. There is a similar name in Denbighshire – Botegyr, meaning "Tegyr’s dwelling", < Bod Degyr < + +. The local form of the name was in fact Tredecar; this feature, typical of south-eastern Welsh, or Gwentian, is known as “provection” and involves the devoicing of stops. In this way “b > p”, “d > t” and “g > c”. The form is to be found in the title of the folk song “Ar Ben Waun Tredecar” ("At the Top of Waun Tredegar by the group Yr Hwntws. There was a shortened form Decar – the loss of a pretonic syllable is not unusual in Welsh and a number of place-names show this feature.
Examples in spoken Welsh are ceffyle > ffyle, afale > fale, ysgubor > sgubor, ystafell > stafell, eisteddfod > steddfod. Tredegar grew as a developed town thanks to the natural resources it had within the Sirhowy Valley, namely: Iron ore Coal with which to produce coke Power, from the fast-flowing Sirhowy River Wood, which could be cut for buildings and pit props, burnt for fuelHence by the start of the 1700s, the upper Sirhowy Valley was a natural well wooded valley, consisting of a few farms and the occasional small iron works where iron ore and coal had occurred together; the first recorded iron works in the Sirhowy Valley was Pont Gwaith Yr Hearn, developed by two Bretons and worked by men from Penydarren, Merthyr Tydfil. The Sirhowy Iron Works was erected in 1750 by Mr Kettle of Shropshire. In 1778 Kettle sold this ironworks to Thomas Atkinson and William Barrow, who came to the area from London, they developed it as the first coal fired furnace, so men were employed to dig coal at Bryn Bach and Nantybwch, the first small scale coal mining operation in the area.
The furnace and hence the business failed in 1794. In 1797, Samuel Homfray, with partners Richard Fothergill and the Matthew Monkhouse built a new furnace, leasing the land from the Tredegar Estate in Newport; this created the new Sirhowy Ironworks, that were in 1800 to be
Llanhilleth is a village, community and an electoral ward on the A467 road between Ebbw Vale and Crumlin in Blaenau Gwent, Wales. Two large mounds in the field behind the Carpenter’s Arms are the remains of the medieval Llanhilleth castle which had two large, stone-built towers. Part of the Monmouthshire Canal ran through the parish; the twin-belled Church in Wales church of St Mark is located on Brooklyn Terrace, near the High Street junction. It is in the benefice of Abertillery with Cwmtillery with Llanhilleth with Six Bells, in the deanery of Pontypool, was built in 1898. Nearby are the villages of Aberbeeg and St Illtyd, the latter of which contains the former parish church; the village contains the Miners Institute, which provides many essential ceremonies for locals, such as Weddings and Funeral Receptions. The building is connected to St. Illtyd's Primary School, which supplies for ages 3 to 11; the Llanhilleth Rugby Club sits along a road sprouting off the A467, at the entrance from Crumlin.
Llanhilleth railway station, reopened in 2008 Llanhilleth Miners Institute Llanhilleth Rugby Club Llanhilleth Castle.
Abertillery is the largest town and a community of the Ebbw Fach valley in the historic county of Monmouthshire, Wales. Following local government reorganisation it became part of the Blaenau Gwent County Borough administrative area; the surrounding landscape borders the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Blaenavon World heritage Site. A major coal mining centre the Abertillery area was transformed in the 1990s using EU and other funding to return to a greener environment. Situated on the A467 the town is 15 miles north of the M4 and 5 miles south of the A465 "Heads of the Valleys" trunk road, it is 47 miles from Bristol. According to the 2001 Census and information gathered by The Welsh Language Board, 1,146 of Abertillery speaks Welsh. In the 2011 Census, this figure dropped to a 2.7 percentage point drop. Abertillery's traditional-style town centre developed in the late 19th century and as such has some interesting Victorian architecture. Spread over 4 main streets the town in its heyday had two department stores and a covered Victorian arcade linking two of the main shopping areas.
These were all included in a Blaenau Gwent Borough Council remodelling and modernisation project using European Union funding in a £13 million programme spread over a 5-year period ending in 2015. The project included a new multi-storey car park, a revamp of public areas and the town's Metropole Theatre; this RICS award-winning building provides state of the art production, exhibition and meeting facilities as well as housing Abertillery museum. In March 2014 Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, officiated at the launch of Jubilee Square, a public facility in the town centre next to St Michael's Church. Major industry came to the area in 1843 when the locality's first deep coal mine was sunk at Tir Nicholas Farm, Cwmtillery; the town developed thereafter and played a major part in the South Wales coalfield. Its population rose steeply; the population peaked just short of 40,000 around the beginning of the 1930s. There were six deep coal mines, numerous small coal levels, a tin works, brick works, iron foundry and light engineering businesses in the area.
Just one of the coal mines, produced over 32 million tons of coal in its lifetime and at its height employed 2760 men and boys. In 1960 an underground explosion at Six Bells Colliery resulted in the loss of life of 45 local miners. Fifty years the archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams officiated at the launch of the Guardian mining memorial; this artistically acclaimed monument standing at 20m tall overlooks Parc Arael Griffin, the now reclaimed and landscaped former colliery site. The adjoining Ty Ebbw Fach visitor centre provides conference facilities, a restaurant and a "mining valley" experience room. Not long after the disaster the renowned artist L. S. Lowry recorded the scene; the resultant landscape painting now hangs in the Museum of Wales in Cardiff. The coal mines remained the predominant economic emphasis until the general run down of the industry in the 1980s. Away from the town centre, the steep sided nature of the landscape, imposes its own demands on development. Whilst this sounds limiting it has helped provide the amphitheatre nature of Abertillery Park described as one of the most attractive rugby grounds in world rugby.
The street plan and housing stock flow uninterrupted from Cwmtillery in the north to Six Bells in the south, forming the town, Abertillery. Prior to 1974 local government was provided by Abertillery Urban District Council, its area included the small neighbouring villages of Aberbeeg and Brynithel. Historical data relating to Abertillery refers to this AUDC area meaning that it can be difficult to compare like with like. For example, the 2014 population for the wider conurbation area is around 20,000 rather than the 11,000 quoted for Abertillery itself. Whilst in the main the area has an older housing stock there are several developments of modern large homes found on the outskirts of the town with views out over the surrounding area; these apart, terraced council tax band A and B properties predominate, meaning that average house prices are among the most affordable in the UK. There are few written historical records relating to the area before the town developed in the middle of the 19th century.
There are facts that you can use to outline important events. Abertillery museum has locally discovered artefacts dating as far back as the Bronze Age. St Illtyd's Church overlooking the town dates to the 13th century – with 6th century origins. St Illtyd's Motte lies just to the south west of the church. A Norman castle mound, it was destroyed in 1233; the ruins of two more recent 14th century, castles lie on private land to the northeast of St Illtyd's Church. There are several ruined mediaeval farmhouses in the Abertillery area; the Local Blaenau Gwent Baptist church can trace its roots back to Tŷ Nest Llewellyn, a ruined 17th-century dwelling place used by non-conformists to escape from the religious persecution of the times. Before the coming of major industry, Abertillery was little more than an area of scattered farms in the ancient parish of Aberystruth. In 1779 the parish minister Edmund Jones described the area thus: "The valley of Tyleri... is the most delightful. The trees... the beech trees, abounding about rivers great and small, the hedges and lanes make these places exceeding pleasant and the passing by them delightful and affecting... in these warm
Six Bells is an electoral ward and neighbourhood in Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, Wales. It was a village that grew up around the local coal mines; the ward elects two county councillors to Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. The village of Six Bells developed in part of Llanhilleth parish during the mid 19th-century, with the growth of the coal industry in the area, it may have gained its name from the Six Bells public house. Employment would have centred around the Hafod Fan pit, replaced by the larger Arael Griffin colliery, which opened in 1898 and became known as Six Bells Colliery; the village was incorporated into Abertillery Urban District and, in the early years of the 20th-century, Alexandra Road and Richmond Road were built which joined Six Bells with Abertillery town to the north. Most of the houses of Six Bells lie east of the River Ebbw. Six Bells Halt railway station closed in 1962. According to the 2011 census the population of Six Bells was 2,396. On 28 June 1960, 45 men were killed by an explosion at the Six Bells Colliery.
On the 50th anniversary a 20 metre high memorial sculpture was unveiled by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, on the colliery site. Called Guardian, the monument was described as the Welsh answer to Antony Gormley's Angel of the North; the colliery closed in 1988. Six Bells is in the Blaenau Gwent parliamentary constituency for elections to the UK parliament and a constituency of the same name for elections to the Welsh Assembly government. Six Bells is a ward of Llanhilleth Town Council, electing three town councillors; the Six Bells county ward elects two county councillors to Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. It is bordered to the south by the Llanhilleth ward. To the east is the Abersychan ward of Torfaen. At the May 2017 elections the ward elected two Independent councillors, Denzil Hancock and Mark Holland. Since 1995 the ward has elected a mixture of Labour and Plaid Cymru representatives, with Cllr Hancock being elected for Plaid Cymru in 1995 though subsequently standing as an Independent
Beaufort, Blaenau Gwent
Beaufort is a village and community located in the historic county of Brecknockshire and the preserved county of Gwent. It lies on the northern edge of the county borough of Blaenau Gwent in Wales. According to the 2011 census, the population of the ward of Beaufort is 3,866 with the community of Beaufort being 10,210; the settlement arose on the boundary of two parishes, Llangattock in Brecknockshire and Aberystruth in Monmouthshire on the 1779 establishment of the Beaufort Iron Works by Edward and Jonathan Kendall after whom the new settlement was first named. NB The photograph is of the'New Rassau estate'. Built late fifties-seventies; the information above, pertains to the village known as'The Old Rassau', but recognised by the local Authority as one community called'Rassau'. The village's name derives from the fact that much of the local land was owned by the Duke of Beaufort; the border between Beaufort and Ebbw Vale itself is considered to be the Ebbw River which passes close to St David's Church.'Carmeltown' so-called because of the presence of Carmel Chapel, lies between the Rassau and the rest of Beaufort.
Confusingly, the'rest of Beaufort' is simply referred to as'Beaufort' or'Beaufort Hill'. The eastern end of Beaufort is more densely populated than Carmeltown or the border areas of Rassau or Brynmawr. Beaufort was administratively part of Brecknockshire, but was transferred to the administrative county of Monmouthshire as part of the urban district of Ebbw Vale in 1888; however in the 1920s,'Beaufort Breconshire' was still used in postal correspondence. Subsequent local government changes incorporated it into the Blaenau Gwent district of Gwent in 1974 and the unitary authority of Blaenau Gwent in 1996. Beaufort and parts of nearby Badminton and Rassau are seen as being some of the most affluent areas in the County. House prices in these area are some of the most expensive in the area, with a new housing development at the top of Beaufort Hill being developed with house starting around £200,000 - £300,000; the village has a theatre with a ball room where many famous people played at the start of their careers.
One of the most famous was Tommy Scott who went on to become known worldwide as Sir Tom Jones. Up until 1958 the village was served by Beaufort railway station, a station on the LNWR railway line from Abergavenny - Merthyr. In 2010 the Beaufort community was replaced by three smaller communities, named Beaufort and Rassau; the language of Beaufort was Welsh. The Reverend Peter Williams' monograph,'The Story of Carmel', concerning Carmel Congregational Church in Beaufort, published in 1965 is useful here. Williams reports that between 1904 and 1906, the change was made to conduct the morning Sunday service in English, whereas both the morning and evening services had been in Welsh. From the 1830s until the early 1900s, Beaufort was bilingual with both Welsh and English-language chapels: before the 1830s - and much - the community was Welsh-speaking. Elements of a Welsh service continued until the 1970s. Amongst its Nonconformist chapels, the Welsh Independent Congregational Chapel'Carmel' was pre-eminent, rising to national fame under the leadership of Thomas Rees DD.
According to the 2001 census, 440 residents, or 11.7% of the village's population aged 3 and over can now speak Welsh. This gives Beaufort the highest percentage of Welsh Speakers in Blaenau Gwent. Parc Nant y Waun is a nature reserve incorporating 22 hectares of grassland and reservoirs, opened in 2007. Home to many wildlife species, it includes outdoor classroom and angling Club. Carmel Chapel, referred to above, is a Grade II listed building The Beaufort Male Choir formed in 1897, are still going strong today with over sixty singers from all over Gwent, they have performed in many prestigious venues all around the world, are one of the most famous choirs in Wales. The Beaufort Male Choir, one of the oldest in Wales, was founded at the end of the eighteenth century. Today’s choir was reformed after the Second World War in 1947 and this year we are celebrating sixty years of successful music making. Though times and circumstances have changed, we, like our predecessors still aspire to the highest ideals of male voice singing.
However, whereas they placed great emphasis on competition in Eisteddfodau with significant success, we for the past forty years have concentrated on concert work This allows us greater musical freedom and affords us the opportunity of performing in the principal concert halls through the UK and Europe. One of the most noticeable changes in perspective has occurred in recent years with the introduction of an international dimension. For in those years the choir has undertaken tours to Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. In addition, the choir has played host to choirs from Germany, the Netherlands, the United States and Japan. Among the highlights in recent years was the accolade of singing before heads of state at Kensington Palace and before His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Annual Concert 2009 with RHYDIAN. Concerts at La Maison Blance in Oxford and St Mary's Chapel in Westminster. Under the musical direction of Craig James and Accompanist Margaret Davies, the choir has a much varied repertoire ranging from Welsh and English Hymns and modern ballads as wel
Ebbw Vale is a town at the head of the valley formed by the Ebbw Fawr tributary of the Ebbw River in Wales. It is the administrative centre of Blaenau Gwent county borough; the Ebbw Vale and Brynmawr conurbation has a population of 33,000. It has direct access to the dualled A465 Heads of the Valleys trunk road and borders the Brecon Beacons National Park. There is evidence of early human activity in the area. Y Domen Fawr is a Bronze Age burial cairn above the town and at Cefn Manmoel you can find a demarcation dyke of neolithic or medieval origins. In modern times the area was a quiet uplands spot in rural Monmouthshire. With only about 120 inhabitants at the end of the 18th century, Ebbw Vale and the whole area was transformed by the Industrial Revolution. Ebbw Vale Iron Works, which became the Ebbw Vale Steelworks, opened in 1778, followed by the opening of a number of coal mines around 1790. Rails for the Stockton and Darlington Railway were manufactured at Ebbw Vale in 1829. Steel from Ebbw Vale was used to construct the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
At its height, the steelworks in Ebbw Vale was the largest in Europe, although it attracted little attention from German bombers during World War II. By the 1960s, around 14,500 people were employed at the steelworks; the end of the century witnessed a massive collapse of the UK steel industry. A strike in 1980 was followed by closures and redundancies which resulted in the dismantling of many of the old plants. In 2002 only 450 were employed in the old industries, by July of that year the final works closed. Today there are no mines left in the area. Ebbw Vale is still recognised for its innovation and contribution to the development of Britain as an industrial nation. Ebbw Vale is recovering from a period of one of the highest unemployment rates in the United Kingdom as a result of the decline of the mining and steel industries. There are several industrial estates with some significant manufacturing facilities. Yuasa/Ybel is a good example. In 2003 work began on redeveloping the steelworks site.
By 2015 the site was changed with a new hospital, college campus and leisure centre. Ebbw Vale first hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1958; the Welsh language was dominant in the area until the last quarter of the 19th century and remnants of the language persisted into the 1970s. The National Eisteddfod returned to Ebbw Vale in 2010. Aneurin Bevan, the "father" of the National Health Service, represented Ebbw Vale as a Labour Party Member of Parliament in Parliament from the 1929 general election; when he died in 1960, he was succeeded as MP by Michael Foot. The seat joined with the neighbouring Abertillery constituency to form Blaenau Gwent. In 2010 the former community of Ebbw Vale was abolished and replaced by Ebbw Vale North and Ebbw Vale South; the Ebbw Vale conurbation today runs in an unbroken housing street plan 3 miles or so from Beaufort in the North to Cwm in the South. There are significant areas of modern housing to the south of the town. In 1992 the Ebbw Vale Garden Festival was the last National Garden Festival.
It was sited on the south side of the demolished steel works. The festival ran for five months between October 1992 attracting over 2 million visitors; the development cost around £18 million. Since the site has been redeveloped with new housing, some light industry and the Festival Park Branded Outlet, a retail outlet comprising forty shops; the Ebbw Vale Steelworks site known as "The Works" has been re-developed under a £350 million regeneration project by Blaenau Gwent Council and Welsh Government. It provides scope for wetlands, a Learning campus and more. Wales' first all individual bed hospital Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan opened in 2010 and is named after the NHS' founder: Aneurin Bevan. A small development of four prototype houses have been developed on the site as a precursor to the wider residential development parcels being developed. Following a competition run by the council several plots were developed in time to be demonstrated at the 2010 Eisteddfod, held on the steelworks site. In 2010 Blaenau Gwent council and United Welsh Housing Association, built two eco-friendly prototype buildings.
The Larch house and the Lime House are both energy efficient houses meeting both Passivhaus and Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 and Level 5 respectively. The buildings were open for demonstration at the 2010 Eisteddfod. Ty Unnos is a 2-bed property designed by Cardiff University's Design Research Unit, it meets Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 and utilising construction techniques that allow Welsh softwood to be used in the fabric of the building. The Environmental Resource Centre is an educational facility run by Gwent Wildlife Trust. Designed by Cardiff University's Design Research Unit and Located on the Hotmill Plateau it was the first building to be completed as part of the redevelopment of the former steelworks site in Ebbw Vale; the centre is located on an ecologically rich site next to the Pumphouse cooling ponds, which have become a haven for wildlife since the closure of the steelworks. It was opened by Iolo Williams and Jane Davidson AM on 21 May 2010; the General Offices is a Grade II* listed building, undergoing renovation.
Built between 1913 and 1915 it formed part of the steelworks site. A brand-new modern extension opened on 24 October 2010 and houses the Gwent Archives; the main building is opened with an entrance hall and function rooms together with a
Rassau, sometimes The Rassau, is a village and community located in the historic county of Brecknockshire and the preserved county of Gwent. It lies on the northern edge of the county borough of Blaenau Gwent in Wales. According to the 2011 census, the population of Rassau is 3,234. Residents refer to either Old Rassau and New Rassau or Bottom Rassau and Top Rassau to distinguish the different parts of the village. Rassau was a part of Beaufort and therefore part of the historic county of Brecknockshire. In 1888 it was transferred, together with a number of other industrialized areas, to the historic county of Monmouthshire; the postal address of 6 Tramroad Side, for example, would have been "6 Tramroad Side, Beaufort, Monmouthshire". Note that Ebbw Vale was not part of the address as Rassau and Beaufort are on the other side of the river Ebbw – a distinction ignored today. On 1 June 2010 Rassau became a community in its own right. According to the 1991 census, only 107 residents, or 2.7% of the population aged three and over, could speak Welsh.
However, in the 2001 census, 281 residents, or 8.8% of the population aged three and over, were recorded as able to speak Welsh. It is that Welsh was still the everyday language of a number of residents throughout the early 1900s because in 1909, Theophilus Jones described the neighbouring village of Beaufort as bilingual, the language preference being English; this is supported by the Reverend Peter Williams' monograph,'The Story of Carmel', published in 1965. He reports that between 1904 and 1906, the change was made to conduct the evening Sunday service in English, whereas both the morning and evening services had been in welsh. At one time the Mari Lwyd was widespread all over Gwent – in the Welsh-speaking areas of the north and west, but as the Welsh language lost ground so too did the Mari Lwyd, its last recorded appearance in the borough was in The Rassau during the 1880s. An 830 acres site northwest of the village and beyond Rassau Industrial Estate is the proposed site of the Circuit of Wales, a 3.5 miles motor racing circuit, subject to planning permission.
The proposed £250m development is claimed by backers to represent the most significant capital investment programme in automotive and motor sports infrastructure in the UK in 50 years. The development would include: a karting track; the backers have proposed in their plans that up to 12,000 jobs could be created across the development, in an area which has one of the UK's highest unemployment rates. Located directly adjacent to the border of Brecon Beacons National Park, the development is opposed by organisations including the Gwent Wildlife Trust and the Open Spaces Society. If given planning permission, construction would be undertaken by FCC Construcción of Spain, be built to Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile and Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme standards. Rassa Railroad