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LLANGATTOCK JUXTA CAERLEON, Monmouthshire - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"LLANGATTOCK JUXTA CAERLEON, a parish in the lower division of the hundred of Usk, county Monmouth, 2 miles N.E. of Newport. It is situated on the river Usk, and near the line of the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford railway. The parish includes the township and village of Caerleon, its post town. On the other side of the rivet, opposite the village, is the seat of Lord Llanover, built under the shadow of the Blorenge Mountain.

Graig Hill, an isolated wooded eminence, is a conspicuous feature in the landscape. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Llandaff, value £296, in the patronage of the dean and chapter. The church is a small primitive looking edifice. The charities consist of an endowment to Morgan's almshouses amounting to £10 per annum."

"CAERLEON, a market town in the parish of Llangattock juxta Caerleon, lower division of the hundred of Usk, in the county of Monmouth, 21 miles to the S. of Monmouth, and 148 miles from London. It is 3 miles from Newport, which is a station on the South Wales railway. Caerleon is situated on the N. bank of the river Usk, which here receives the Afon Lwyd, and is crossed by a stone bridge of three arches of modern date, built near the site of an ancient one of wood.

This place, the name of which is British, and signifies "camp", or "city of the legion", is of very great antiquity, and possesses no ordinary interest by reason both of its legendary and historical associations. It was one of the most important cities of Roman Britain, and the metropolis of that division called Britannia Secunda. At different periods of the Roman dominion it was variously named Ilea Legions Secundę (the second legion being at one time stationed here), Isca Colonia, and Isca Silurum. It contained a great number of public buildings, baths, temples, amphitheatre, &c. and was strongly fortified. Several great roads connected the city with other important towns.

The British way Akeman Street ran from hence to Bath; the Via Julia Maritima to Neath and St. David's; and the Via Julia Montana to Abergavenny and Monmouth. Caerleon became famous as a seat of learning and for its religious houses. It has a high place in the Arthurian legends as the metropolis of Wales, under the "flower of kings", and as the burial-place of that national hero. It was long the seat of an archbishopric, which was founded, it is said, soon after the introduction of Christianity into the island, and was removed by St. David to Menevia, from that time called St. David's. Its last archbishop was Dubricius, who distinguished himself as an opponent of the doctrine of Pelagius.

A castle existed here at an early period, which was probably of Norman origin, and became the seat of the princes of Wales, lords or kings of Gwent. In 1171 this castle and the town were taken by Henry II., who deposed Iorwerth ap Owain, then lord of Gwent. The latter retook it after two years, and it remained in the power of the Welsh until their final subjugation by Edward I.

Caerleon is now a town of small importance. The houses are chiefly old and irregularly built. There are two main streets, and till lately an old market-house, supported on four ancient Roman pillars, which are now placed in the crypt of the new museum. Some of the inhabitants are employed in the iron and tin-plate works. Many cinders, the refuse of ancient smelting-furnaces, are scattered in the neighbourhood.

The parish church of Llangattock, dedicated to St. Cadoc, stands in the town, and greatly needs a thorough restoration. It is partly in the early English and partly in the perpendicular style. There are chapels belonging to the Baptists, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists; a free school, founded by Charles Williams in 1724, for 50 children of both sexes, who are clothed as well as educated, the income from endowment amounting to about £800 per annum; National and infant schools, and almshouses for widows, which last are about being sold for the benefit of the pensioners, as they are in ruins, and have no repair fund belonging to them.

The charitable endowments of the town produce altogether about £830 a year. Petty sessions are held in the town. There is a museum of antiquities. Portions of the walls of the Roman city, which stood a little to the S.W. of the present town, still mark its site, now mostly covered with orchards or corn-fields. The walls are 12 feet thick. The amphitheatre generally called King Arthur's Round Table is plainly traceable, including an area of 222 feet by 192 feet. Many interesting Roman relics have been discovered, consisting of altars, pavements, columns, tiles with the inscription "Leg. II. Aug.", remains of baths and aqueducts, and coins of various emperors from Augustus to Valentinian.

Some inconsiderable ruins of the castle and monastery still exist. St. Aaron and St. Julian, natives of Caerleon, are said to have suffered martyrdom here in the reign of Domitian. Near the town is St. Julian's, the seat of Lord Herbert of Cherbery. A market is held on the first Monday in every month. Fairs are held on the 1st May and the 5th September."

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


(Last updated - Gareth Hicks  - 17 Feb 2009)

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