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ABERGAVENNY, Monmouthshire - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"ABERGAVENNY, a parish and market town in the hundred of Abergavenny, in the county of Monmouth, 14 miles to the W. of Monmouth, and 143 miles from London, or 165½ by the Great Western railway. It is situated in a range of pleasant meadow grounds at the confluence of the Usk and Gavenny. The mountains terminate abruptly near the town, and the scenery is very picturesque. One of the hills, called the Sugar Loaf, rises to the height of nearly 1,900 feet. Another lofty one is the Skirrid Vawr.

The town itself is long and straggling, with narrow streets, and houses not regularly built; but the enlargement of the marketplace, and the removal of some unsightly projections, has improved the general appearance of the place. An ancient bridge, of fifteen arches, plain yet noble in aspect, crosses the river Usk. There are some remains of a castle built by Hammeline de Baladun, or Balun, one of the followers of William the Conqueror, now held by the Neville family, and from which they take the title of Earl of Abergavenny.

A priory of the Benedictine order was founded here soon after the Conquest, and of this there are still some alight vestiges. There are also traces of a Roman camp near the town, with a balneum, or sudatory; and many Roman coins and other remains have been discovered in the neighbourhood. The place is considered to have been the Roman Gobannium, a station so named from the river Gobannius (Gavenny).

The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient and spacious building in the Norman style, and contains some curious and interesting old monuments of the Herberts, Hastings, Beauchamps, &c. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Llandaff, value £510, in the patronage of Sir John Guest, Bart.

The free grammar school was founded in 1543, having a fellow ship and exhibitions at Jesus College, Oxford. National and British schools have been established in the town. Besides the ancient one, there is a district church, called Trinity Church, the living of which is a perpetual curacy in the patronage of Miss Rachel Herbert; and there are chapels belonging to the Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics.

The chief trade of Abergavenny is in wool; but from the abundant supply of coal and iron in the mountains, many works have been established in the surrounding district, among which are those of Blaenavon and Clydach; and the trade is greatly promoted by the facilities for transport afforded by the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, which passes within half a mile of the town, and the Hereford railway. The town had anciently a charter of incorporation, but this became forfeited during the reign of William III. Abergavenny is the seat of a poor-law union, and the head of a county-court district.

There is a town-hall, gas-works, a union poor-house, and a large hall, erected for the use of the Abergavenny Cymreigyd-dion Society. This society was established in the ear 1832, for the purpose of promoting the study of Welsh literature and music, and for the encouragement of native industry and manufactures. Large numbers of persons from all parts of the principality assemble at the annual festival of this society, which is held in the month of October, in the great hall. It is said this hall is capable of holding 2,000 persons.

Cantilupe, a bishop of the 13th century, and Baker, the Benedictine chronicler, were natives of Abergavenny. The market is held on Tuesday and Saturday. Fairs are held on the 14th May, the Monday after Trinity, the 29th September, and the 19th November. Races take place annually in April."

"HARDWICKE, a hamlet in the parish of Abergavenny, upper division of the hundred of Abergavenny, county Monmouth, 2 miles from Abergavenny, and 14 W. of Monmouth. It is situated under the Sugar Loaf Hill, near the junction of the rivers Gavenny and Usk."

"LLOYNDU, a hamlet in the parish and lower division of the hundred of Abergavenny, county Monmouth, in the vicinity of Abergavenny."

"PENPERGURN, a hamlet in the parish of Abergavenny, county Monmouth, 2½ miles from Abergavenny, and 15 W. of Monmouth. It is a station on the West Midland section of the Great Western railway."

"PENTRE, a hamlet in the parish and hundred of Abergavenny, county Monmouth, 1 mile N.W. of Abergavenny. It is situated under the Sugar Loaf Hill, near the confluence of the rivers Gavenny and Usk."

"UPPER STANTON, a hamlet in the parish and hundred of Abergavenny, county Monmouth, 4 miles N.E. of Abergavenny."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]