Description of Brynmawr extracted from The History of Brecknockshire

Centenary edition revised by Lord Glanusk (Sir Joseph Russell Bailey) published 1909



This is a town of 6,000, and has sprung up in response to a demand for houses for workmen employed at Nantyglo. The works were taken by Mr, (afterwards Sir) Joseph Bailey about 1813. There was then only one cottage on the hill where the town now stands; and the first cottages were built about this time near the site of the Vulcan foundry. The name Brynmawr occurs for the first time in 1817; by 1829 twenty houses had been built, but it was not until 1884 that the building of the town began in earnest, and in the following year we find streets named, viz., Bridge Sheet, Davies Street, Bailey Street, King Street, and Market Square. Twenty-two new tenants were added to the rolls of the Duke of Beaufort; in 1886 there were nine new tenants, and the names Worcester, Chapel, and Glamorgan Streets appear. By the year 1888 the greater part of the town appears to have been completed. Brynmawr was built upon a. portion of the parishes of Llangattock and Llanelly, and when the railway was made in 1864, Brynmawr Station was erected on a corner of Aberystruth parish in Monmouthshire, where a suburb sprung up. In 1870 the Nantyglo Works were sold by Messrs. Bailey and Son, and afterwards the iron manufactory ceased. Fortunately the railway enabled the population to find work further afield, and Brynmawr up to 1899 still continued to increase its population. In the year 1815 Brynmawr was formed into a. new ecclesiastical parish, carved out of L1anelly, Llangattock, with a small portion of Aberystruth. The parish is in the Diocese of St. David's, and the Bishop is patron. The tithe collected in Brynmawr (a small amount) was in 1880 transferred by the Rector of Llangattock to the incumbent of Brynmawr. The emoluments of the Vicarage arise from £200 .a year granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and £16 a year from the same source to meet a grant of land from the Duke of Beaufort. In 1877 Pyncombe's Trustees gave £200 towards a house; the incumbent raised £100 by subscriptions, and the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty met these benefactions with a grant of .£200. In 1880 the Duke of Beaufort gave a site for a house, and £1,500 was given by the Commissioners; the above £500 was thus set free for investment, and it forms a separate trust under Queen Anne's Bounty. The total emoluments are stated in the Clergy List as £220 a year, with a residence, which was built in 1889. The Church of St. Mary was built in 1875, but Bath stone, which will not stand the inclement climate, having been used, it became necessary to rebuild, and in 1900 the present structure was erected. It is of red sandstone with Hollington stone dressings, in the Perpendicular style, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, and a western turret containing two bells; there are nearly 500 sittings. An iron church was opened in January, 1890. The Roman Catholic Chapel of St. Mary was built in 1863, and the English Presbyterian Chape1 in 1874. There are a1so chapels for Calvinistic Methodists, Baptists (3), Congregationalists (4), Primitive Methodists, Wesleyans (2); and a Jewish Synagogue, and a Salvation Army Barracks. The Elementary Schools include, beside the King Street and Queen Street school, a Roman Catholic school. In the Cymro Old Road was erected in 1896-7 the Brynmawr County School under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act.. This was opened in 1899 by the Marchioness of Worcester. Shortly after the passing of the Public Health Act, 1810, Brynmawr became an Urban District, and under the Local Government Act, 1894, the portions of parishes forming the town became separate parishes bearing the names of the parishes to which they formerly belonged, with the addition of "Brynmawr Urban." Brynmawr returns four members to the County Council, and eight guardians to the Crickhowell Union. The Market Chambers in Beaufort 8treet have an enclosed Market Place annexed, and the hall will accommodate 500 persons. What is called the New Market Hall, built at a cost of £2,500, will hold at least 1,500 people. It has a clock presented by a former Member for the County, Charles Morley, Esq. Here markets are held on Saturdays. Fairs are he1d on Whit-Monday and on the Monday before the 25th September. In 1853, a general Cemetery was provided, about eleven acres having been secured. The cost has been £1,500, and the Council controls it. The rateable value in 1898 was £12,350 (of which three-quarters in Llanelly). Of late years Brynmawr has a separate Petty Sessional Division, to which the Southern Ward of Llanelly was added in 1898. On November 9th, 1899, the parish of .Aberystruth, Brynmawr, was by order of the Local Government Board placed within the Poor Law Union of Crickhowell, and in the year 1900 the three parts of parishes constituting the Urban District of Brynmawr were, by order of the County Council, consolidated into one parish, and named the parish of Brynmawr. The population of the Wards in 1901 was: Central, 1528; Eastern, 2149; Southern, 1634; Western, 1522--or 6833 in all.

Description extracted from The History of Brecknockshire First edition by Theophilus Jones published 1809

Centenary edition revised by Lord Glanusk (Sir Joseph Russell Bailey) published 1909

Extract contributed by the late Barrie Jones, 2005

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