Cwmbran is a new town in Wales. Lying within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire, it forms part of the county borough of Torfaen. Cwmbran was designated as a new town in 1949 to provide new employment opportunities in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield. Cwmbran means Crow Valley. Cwmbran is twinned with Bruchsal in Carbonne in France. Comprising the villages of Old Cwmbran, Upper Cwmbran, Croesyceiliog and Llanyrafon, its population had grown to 48,535 by 2011; this makes it the sixth largest urban area in Wales. Cwmbran is a new town, designated in 1949 to provide new employment opportunities in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield. There is evidence that Neolithic and Bronze Age people used the area, with the Iron Age Silures tribe occupying the region before being subdued by the Roman legions based at nearby Usk and Caerleon. Around 1179, Lord of Caerleon gave a gift of money and land to found the Cistercian abbey at Llantarnam. At the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII the abbey was closed and was bought by a succession of wealthy landowners.
By the 18th century the abbey had passed into the ownership of the Blewitt family, who were to become key figures in the early industrialisation of Cwmbran. Brick making, lime kilns, iron ore mining and coal mining were established during this period, along with a canal to transport goods to the docks at Newport. In 1833 the Ordnance Survey map of Monmouthshire shows Cwmbran as a farm situated in the area now known as Upper Cwmbran, in the valley named Cwm Brân. Cwmbran now covers about 3,000 acres and has a population of around 50,000. Following some investigation by local residents Richard Davies and Mike Price, the Ancient Cwmbran & The Cistercian project was created and a £48,000 grant has been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore some unrecorded sites of interest in the Greenmeadow and Thornhill areas; the Cistercian Way passes through Llantarnam, Old Cwmbran and Thornhill before reaching the ancient chapel of Llanderfel on Mynydd Maen, onwards to Twmbarlwm. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Cwmbran was the site of heavy industrial development.
Coal and iron ore were extracted on Mynydd Maen, moved by inclined planes and tramways into the Eastern Valley for use in factories such as the Patent Nut and Bolt Company, various tin plate works and brickworks. This industry drove the creation of the Monmouthshire Canal, the Newport and Pontypool Railway and the Pontypool and Newport Railway. Little of this industrial heritage remains today, though many of today's light industrial or retail estates were created on the sites. Following the 1946 New Towns Act and county councils were asked to nominate sites for housing. For Wales, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government proposed Church Cwmbran; the Church Village proposal was vetoed by the Ministry of Power as new housing there would have interfered with plans for the expansion of coal mining in the area. The name of the town derives from the Welsh "Cwm Brân", meaning "valley of the river Brân"; this was the name of a village located in the valley, which had grown up around the tinplate works of the Cwmbran Iron Company.
"Brân" means "crow", which could be allusion to the dark waters of the river, or may have been the personal name of someone associated with the area. Sitting as it does at the corner of the South Wales Coalfield, it has a hilly aspect to its western and northern edges, with the surrounding hills climbing to over 1,000 feet; the Afon Llwyd forms the major river valley, although the most significant water course is the remains of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. To the east of Cwmbran the land is less hilly, forming part of the Usk valley; the longest established employer in Cwmbran is biscuit maker Burton's Foods, who employ 1000 people to make its Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels biscuits. As of 2005, the Cwmbran plant produces over 400 million Wagon Wheels a year. Safran Seats Great Britain is the current owner of a factory in Cwmbran in 2000, employed 1000 people manufacturing aircraft seats. Constructed from 1959 to 1981, the pedestrianised Centre hosts supermarkets, high street retailers, theatre, bowling alley, creche, trampoline park, police station, magistrates court, youth centre, library, arts centre and office space.
The 170+ shops can be accessed by the bus station located in the Centre, a train station a few minutes walk north-east or with the 3000 free parking spaces located around the Centre's ring road. SME-businesses include the Cwmbran Brewery in Upper Cwmbran, which opened in 1996 as Cottage Spring Brewery; the town has two secondary education schools: Cwmbran High School. There are numerous primary and nursery schools including a Welsh medium primary school, Ysgol Gymraeg Cwmbrân. Cwmbran Stadium was home to international athletics events in the 1980s. British athletics coach Malcolm Arnold used to train some of his athletes at Cwmbran in the 80s and early 90s while he was the Welsh National Coach. Athletes who trained there under Malcolm include former World 110m Hurdle Champion and World Record Holder, Colin Jackson; the 1999 World Indoor 400m Champion Jamie Baulch used the stadium as a regular training track under
Strata Florida Abbey
Strata Florida Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey situated just outside Pontrhydfendigaid, near Tregaron in the county of Ceredigion, Wales. The abbey was founded in 1164. "Strata Florida" is a Latinisation of the Welsh Ystrad Fflur. The Welsh word ystrad is synonymous with "strath" and "dale", while fflur is the name of the nearby river. After the region around St Davids was occupied by the Norman Marcher lordship of Pembroke by the early 12th century, with St Davids under Norman influence thereafter, the princely Dinefwr family of Deheubarth transferred their patronage to Strata Florida, interred many of their family members there; the Monastery was founded in 1164 by the Cambro-Norman Knight Robert FitzStephen. In the 12th century, Cistercian monks from Whitland Abbey, Carmarthenshire started to construct a religious settlement on the banks of the Afon Fflur, a short distance from the present site; this was at a time of fast expansion of the Cistercian order. The site of this first settlement is known as Hen Fynachlog.
Around 1164 the Abbey of Strata Florida was founded through the patronage of Rhys ap Gruffydd. In 1184, a further charter was issued by Lord Rhys, reaffirming Strata Florida as a monastery under the patronage of Deheubarth, a principality of South Wales. Several descendants of the Lord Rhys have been buried at this Abbey, including 11 princes of the Welsh royal house of Dinefwr of Deheubarth during the 12th and 13th centuries Notable burials include Prince Gruffydd ap Rhys II and poet Dafydd ap Gwilym; the church was consecrated in 1201. Strata Florida became an powerful religious centre. Around 1238, Prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth held a council at Strata Florida, it was here that he made the other Welsh leaders acknowledge his son Dafydd as his rightful successor. Strata Florida controlled many farms throughout Wales; the most important primary historical source for early Welsh history, the Brut y Tywysogion, was compiled at Strata Florida. In 1401, during the early years of Owain Glyndŵr's rebellion, Strata Florida Abbey was taken by King Henry IV and his son.
The monks were deemed to be sympathetic to Glyndŵr, so they were evicted from the monastery, plundered. Henry IV turned the religious buildings into a military base as he planned to capture or defeat any Welsh rebel forces active in the area. By 1402 the Earl of Worcester held the Abbey for the English Crown with a garrison of several hundred men-at-arms and foot soldiers, it continued to be used as a military base for further campaigns against the Welsh rebels in 1407 and 1415. The monastic site was returned to the Cistercians with the end of the Glyndŵr rebellion. Beginning in 1539, Henry VIII used his dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church in Rome to dissolve and sack the monasteries of England and Wales. Strata Florida Abbey was dissolved in 1539 by church commissioners; the buildings and their contents were valued and sold off. The church and most of the ancillary buildings were demolished for building materials such as the window glass and stone as well as the roof tiles and lead. However, the refectory and dormitory were rebuilt as a house for the local gentry.
The property has been owned by a number of notable families including the Steadmans and the Powells of Nanteos. Much of the former monastic lands of the Cistercian abbey at Strata Florida were given to Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex who sold them on to Sir John Vaughan, of Trawsgoed. Through his marriage to Jane Stedman, daughter of John Stedman of Ystrad Fflur and Cilcennin, he gained more land on which to create the large Trawsgoed estate; the present parish church of St. Mary, within the boundaries of the graveyard, may have been built with stone taken from the monastic site. Following its dissolution, the site of Strata Florida Abbey was left to deteriorate, it was not until the coming of the railways in the late 19th century that interest in the site was rekindled. Stephen Williams, a railway engineer, was surveying a possible route through the area when he took an interest in the ruins; as Williams was a founder member of the Cambrian Archaeological Association, he invited the group to the site in 1848.
Following this visit the Association leased the Abbey site in order to create better displays and presentations to the public. Williams, to become a leading expert on the archaeology of the Cistercian Order, was placed in charge of excavations. Over the next few years, he removed huge amounts of spoil, to uncover the majority of remains that are still on view today. Interest in the ruins brought in wealthy Victorians by railway. Strata Florida, a principal station on the Carmarthen Aberystwyth Line, was named after the Abbey. About the Abbey the 1851 Illustrated London Reading Book says: The remains of Strata Florida Abbey, in South Wales, are most interesting in many points of view, more as the relics of a stately seminary for learning, founded as early as 1164; the community of the Abbey were Cistercian monks, who soon attained great celebrity, acquired extensive possessions. They founded a large library that included national records from the earliest periods, works of the bards, genealogies of the Princes and great families in Wales.
The monks compiled a valuable history of the Principality, down to the death of Llewellyn the Great. When Edward I invaded Wales, he burned the Abbey, but it was rebuilt A. D. 1294. Extensive woods once flourished in the vicinity of Strata Florida, its burial-place covered no less than 120 acres. A long list of eminent persons from all parts of Wales were buried, and
Wales is a country, part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Bristol Channel to the south, it had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2. Wales has over 1,680 miles of coastline and is mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit; the country has a changeable, maritime climate. Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century; the whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party.
Welsh national feeling grew over the century. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation. Two-thirds of the population live in South Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and the nearby valleys. Now that the country's traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, Wales' economy depends on the public sector and service industries and tourism. Although Wales shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, a majority of the population in most areas speaks English as a first language, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is bilingual. Over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west.
From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song", in part due to the eisteddfod tradition. At many international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, Wales has its own national teams, though at the Olympic Games, Welsh athletes compete as part of a Great Britain team. Rugby union is seen as an expression of national consciousness; the English words "Wales" and "Welsh" derive from the same Germanic root, itself derived from the name of the Gaulish people known to the Romans as Volcae and which came to refer indiscriminately to all non-Germanic peoples. The Old English-speaking Anglo-Saxons came to use the term Wælisc when referring to the Britons in particular, Wēalas when referring to their lands; the modern names for some Continental European lands and peoples have a similar etymology. In Britain, the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used to refer to anything that the Anglo-Saxons associated with the Britons, including other non-Germanic territories in Britain and places in Anglo-Saxon territory associated with Britons, as well as items associated with non-Germanic Europeans, such as the walnut.
The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. These words are descended from the Brythonic word combrogi, meaning "fellow-countrymen"; the use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the location in the post-Roman Era of the Welsh people in modern Wales as well as in northern England and southern Scotland. It emphasised that the Welsh in modern Wales and in the Hen Ogledd were one people, different from other peoples. In particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage and language to the Welsh; the word came into use as a self-description before the 7th century. It is attested in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan c. 633. In Welsh literature, the word Cymry was used throughout the Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the Britonnic peoples and was the more common literary term until c. 1200. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh.
Until c. 1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland. The Latinised forms of these names, Cambrian and Cambria, survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales and the Welsh people. Examples include the Cambrian Mountains, the newspaper Cambrian News, the organisations Cambrian Airways, Cambrian Railways, Cambrian Archaeological Association and the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art. Outside Wales, a related form survives as the name Cumbria in North West England, once a part of Yr Hen Ogledd; the Cumbric language, thought to
Cwmynyscoy is a suburb of Pontypool town in the district of the County Borough of Torfaen, south east Wales. All figures quoted have been derived from the 2001 Census. Total population of 1283 48.6% Male, 51.4% Female Age Structure. Male economic activity rate 63.4%, female economic activity rate 48.9%, total economic activity rate 56.1% Whilst unemployment in the area has declined and only 24 people remain registered unemployed, 16 males and 8 females. Of the 24 claimants, 10 are under 24 years of age and 5 are registered as long-term unemployed. Cwmynyscoy has a lower proportion of owner occupied households at 64.9% than Torfaen 68.3% and Wales as a whole 71.3%. 28.4% of properties are rented from the local authority 32.7% of households in Cwmynyscoy do not own a car. Residents qualified to Level 4/5: 8.9%. 10.9% of households in Cwmynyscoy are occupied by lone parents. Cwmynyscoy Quarry is a local nature reserve, within a disused quarry, home to a number of species including noctule bats and barn owls
Abersychan is a settlement and community north of Pontypool in Torfaen and lies within the boundaries of the historic county of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent. Abersychan lies in the narrow northern section of the Afon Lwyd valley; the town includes two schools. Abersychan was the birthplace of Don Touhig and Paul Murphy. Like many of the 17th century isolated agricultural hamlets in the forested South Wales Valleys, Abersychan became a thriving industrial centre in the 19th and early 20th centuries for iron production. After the discovery of iron stone locally, the principal ironworks were built by the British Iron Company in 1825, served by the LNWR's Brynmawr and Blaenavon Railway; the ironwork's main office building and quadrangle were designed by architect Decimus Burton, best known for his design of London Zoo. The works passed to the New British Iron Company in 1843 and to the Ebbw Vale Company in 1852, before closing in 1889. On 6 February 1890, an underground explosion at Llanerch Colliery killed 176.
The site of the former ironworks today is a core site of 71 hectares, a total land area of 526 hectares, includes a number of listed buildings: Abersychan Limestone Railway: built c 1830 to carry limestone from Cwm Lascarn quarry to the British Ironworks. Air Furnace at British Ironworks British Colliery Pumping Engine House: a Cornish beam pumping engine house built by the British Iron Company. Built of sandstone with a slate roof, retains several fixtures Cwmbyrgwm Colliery: Site of former colliery including remains of a water-balance headgear, oval shafts, water power dams, tramroad routes, waste tips. Various proposals have been made over the years to redevelop the site under the ownership of HSBC, but none have so far passed the requirements of Torfaen county council. Abersychan constitutes a community and electoral ward of the county borough of Torfaen; the area was part of the ancient parish of Trevethin, in Monmouthshire. On 3 June 1864 Abersychan was constituted a local government district, governed by a local board.
In 1894 Abersychan became civil parish. The urban district was abolished in 1935, with most of its area passing to Pontypool urban district, a small area going to Abercarn UD. In 1974 the area became part of the borough of Torfaen, in the new local government county of Gwent; the community of Abersychan was formed in 1985. Abersychan and Cwmavon is now a ward for the Pontypool Community Council. In 1996 Torfaen became a unitary authority; the Abersychan community includes Abersychan, Garndiffaith, Talywain and Victoria Village. The nearest railway stations to Abersychan are Pontypool & New Inn and Abergavenny. Abersychan was served by the following stations: Abersychan and Talywain railway station Abersychan Low Level railway station Pentwyn, Torfaen is a small village located in the district of Abersychan, it contains several houses and a small play park. The village is located right next to the old railway line; the cricket club celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2006 with a successful tour to Cork, Ireland.
The village has Newport to the south. Victoria Village is a small hamlet located in the district of Abersychan, it comprises a number of houses. A small group of houses on Incline Road mark the beginning of the village and the village boundary is near Cwmavon. Victoria Primary School is in this area, housed in large grounds. Many homes are built around the school's boundaries. Victoria Village primary school was opened in 1903 and closed by the council in 2018; the last head of the school was Miss Joy Dando. And caretaker Miss Debbie Williams
Fairwater is a community and suburb of Cwmbran in the county borough of Torfaen, in south east Wales, was built by the Cwmbran Development Corporation between 1963 and 1966. Cwmbran was the only new town in Wales designated by the New Towns Act 1946. Cwmbran Development Corporation was formed in 1949 to develop the new town and building of seven new residential areas began in 1951 followed by Llanyrafon. By 1962, when Gordon Redfern took over as chief architect of the corporation, the increased use of cars had to be accommodated in the layout of further housing estates, Redfern adopted the Radburn system, used most rigidly in Fairwater; the remains of Llanderfel Chapel, a medieval chapel important as a stopping point on a pilgrims' route to Penrhys, are in Fairwater. The pilgrim route is now part of the modern long distance Cistercian Way footpath; the remains are a scheduled monument. Near the site of the chapel is Llanderfel Farm, a 16th-17th century Grade II listed building. Nearby is Ty'r Ywen Farmhouse and barn which are both 17th century Grade II listed buildings.
There are three primary schools in Fairwater community: Blenheim Road Community Primary Coed Eva Primary Henllys Church in Wales Primary Nant Celyn PrimaryCwmbran High is located in Fairwater. The community of Fairwater includes the estates of Coed Eva, Ty Canol and includes three electoral wards for Torfaen County Borough Council: Coed Eva, which returns 1 councillor Fairwater, which returns 2 councillors Greenmeadow, which returns two councillors
Blaenavon is a town and community in south eastern Wales, lying at the source of the Afon Lwyd north of Pontypool, within the boundaries of the historic county of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent. The town lies high on a hillside and has a population of 6,055. Blaenavon means "front of the river" or loosely "river's source" in the Welsh language. Parts of the town and surrounding country form the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. Blaenavon is a community represented by Blaenavon Town Council and electoral ward of Torfaen County Borough Council. Blaenavon grew around an ironworks opened in 1788 by the West Midlands Industrialist, Thomas Hill, his partners, Thomas Hopkins and Benjamin Pratt; the Three partners seized the opportunity to invest in the Blaenavon site, which they knew was rich in mineral resources. The businessmen erected three blast furnaces, they founded a hugely successful iron works. Thomas Hopkins, through operating the Cannock Wood Forge in Rugeley, was in contact with skilled and experienced ironworkers.
He managed to persuade many of them to migrate to Blaenavon to help establish the new iron works. It is that the iron masters provided incentives to convince these workers and their families to relocate. Comfortable accommodation, for example, was provided for them at Stack Square, in the immediate vicinity of the works, it was essential that these skilled workers were brought to Blaenavon because they were required not only to help build and start the works but to train new workers in the art of iron-making. It would have been useless to have an impressive iron works with no-one skilled enough to make the iron. In 1793, Thomas Hopkins died leaving his 25% share in the Company to his son Samuel Hopkins. Benjamin Pratt died in May 1794, bequeathing all of his capital to his friend and colleague Thomas Hill. Thomas Hill continued to run the Blaenavon enterprise with his 32 year old nephew, Samuel Hopkins, who became residential manager of the ironworks. Archdeacon William Coxe, in his Historical Tour of Monmouthshire tells us that in 1798 Hopkins was building ‘a comfortable and elegant mansion’ for himself.
When the young Hopkins arrived in Blaenavon his first concern was to ensure that he had a fine home, but at the same time some of the poorer Blaenavon residents did not have adequate housing. Hopkins had ordered that the arches of a local viaduct be bricked up to provide make-shift accommodation for the surplus workforce. Hopkins’s Mansion, known as Ty-Mawr or Blaenavon House, was an expensive and elaborate home, a visible contrast to the homes inhabited by the workers; the 3 storey classically Georgian Mansion stood in an expansive parkland setting. Despite his ‘extravagance’ Samuel Hopkins was a popular man in Blaenavon, seen as a father-figure by many of the local people; the historian Lewis Browning claimed that Hopkins made the effort to learn the name of every worker and treated the people of Blaenavon with respect. Samuel Hopkins and his uncle, Thomas Hill, both staunch Anglicans, took religious leadership in the community and were responsible for the creation of St. Peter’s Church in 1804.
The gifting of the church to the parish was the earliest example of an industrialist family establishing an Anglican church in south Wales. Following Hopkins death in 1815, his sister Sarah Hopkins of Rugeley, who had inherited much money from her late brother, erected a school for the children of Blaenavon in his memory; the Blaenavon Endowed School was completed in 1816 had one hundred and twenty pupils and the first headmaster was Mr. John Caldwell; the educational initiative promoted by the Hopkins siblings provides one of the earliest examples of an industrialist family taking a leading role in the education of their workers’ children in Wales. In 1836 Robert William Kennard JP DL formed the Blaenavon Coal and Iron Company in 1836, which subsequently bought the Blaenavon Ironworks. There he employed his son, the noted civil engineer Thomas Kennard, his cousin and the photographer George Swan Nottage. Thomas Kennard took up residency at Ty-Mawr and set about extending it in 1836. Ty-Mawr remained in the ownership of The Blaenavon Coal and Iron Company and following the death of Kennard, was used by the Directors of the Blaenavon Company as a hunting lodge until 1924, when it became a hospital supported by the subscriptions of local people.
When the Hospital closed it became a nursing home and in 1995 a Grade 2 Listed Building. Left empty following its closure in 2006, badly vandalised and stripped of its lead work, slate Roof and original interiors, the building was placed on the At Risk register; the House was sold in 2017 and is undergoing restoration as a family home once again. The Blaenavon Coal and Iron Company developed the Big Pit coalworks with adjoining steel works rail manufacture, part of which since 1988 is the museum; the steel-making and coal mining industries followed, boosting the town's population to over 20,000 at one time before 1890. Following twenty years after the closure of the ironworks in 1900 the population has declined at each ten-year census, including after closure of the coal mine in 1980. Part of this decline was not emigration but a decrease in birth rate. Attractions in the town include the Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon Ironworks, the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway, Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, Blaenavon Male V