Local history of the lower Ebbw & Sirhowy Valleys in Gwent, South Wales
|Last update 29th June 2002|
ice sheet as far south as Abergavenny. Gwent would have
bitterly cold tundra. Sea level dropped by 200 feet - Bristol Channel was
mainly dry land. Land Bridge connected Britain to the Continent.
migrate from the Gwent levels to the uplands - including
Maen (Twmbarlwm) , Mynydd Machen, Mynydd y Grug
Age Hill Fort constructed by the Silures (the dominant
tribe in South Wales)
established at Isca Silurum (Caerleon). Only two other
Legionary fortresses existed in Britannia at this time.
finally brought under Roman Miltary control by Sextus
The Romans take 5 years to control the S.E of Britain *
to achieve the same level of control in the Silurian territories, known nowadays
as South Wales.
*England did not exist at this time
|120||Roman city constructed at Venta Silurum (Caerwent)|
|5th Century||Romans leave
Kingdoms of Gwent and Glywysing established.
Gwent - the land between the River Usk and the River Wye
Glywysing - the land between the River Usk and the River Tawe.
The Ebbw & Sirhowy Valleys being situated within the Kingdom of Glywysing
Cadogan gives Villa Treficarn Pont (settlement or estate
bridge over the Carn ) to Bishop Wulfrith with King Cadell's guarantee
ie the place where the Carn meets the Ebbw (now Cwmcarn).
|1536||Act of Union created the Welsh County of Monmouthshire|
Blast Furnace built at Abercarn by Edmund Roberts
for smelting iron ore .
Society of Mineral and Battery Works accuses Richard
of secretly manufacturing iron at Abercarn, Glenebo (Ebbw) and
Monkswood for the previous 20 years.
|1606 (1607)||The Great Flood.
January 20th. The Bristol Channel floods the Gwent levels
Wentloog and Caldicot. An inscription on St Bride's Church records the
height of the flood - 5ft 6inches.
|1624||Commencement of registers for Bedwellty|
|1656||Commencement of registers for Mynyddislwyn|
|1736||Commencement of registers of Risca|
|1755||First use of coal for smelting iron instead of charcoal|
wireworks and a pit coal forge established at Abercarn
by Joshua and Samuel Glover
Monmouthshire Canal Navigation Company was created.
The Canal Navigation Act authorised the construction of a Canal
from the River Usk (Newport) to Pontnewynydd (Pontypool)
and a branch from Crindau Farm (Malpas, Newport) to Crumlin.
The Act also authorised the construction of several tramroads
to link the canal to various iron works.
Williams born at Gwrhay near Argoed. Chartist leader
in the Newport Uprising on 4th November 1839
to Pontnewynydd section of the Monmouthshire Canal
completed (February) 10.5 miles long, 42 locks, 3 tunnels.
Could take barges 64ft by 9ft
Jones of Bristol, merchant, public accountant and
author of Jones's English System of Book-keeping (1796), leases
land near Risca for £500 a year from Sir Charles Morgan
Jones begins to sink the Waunfawr Colliery near Risca at
Coed Waunfawr on the lower slopes of Mynydd Machen in the Parish
|1799||The population of Newport was 750|
|1799||Crumlin Branch of Monmouthshire Canal completed. 11 miles long , 32 locks (April)|
Coxe travels through Monmouthshire.
He describes it in his "Historical Tour of Monmouthshire"
of Risca population = 240 : Parish of Mynyddislwyn
population = 1544
Parish of Machen population = 676
Act of the 26th June sanctioned the construction of the
Sirhowy Tramroad. Monmouthshire Canal proprieters to construct a
(dual) tramroad from Newport to a point 9 miles towards the Sirhowy Valley
(between Wattsville and Cwmfelinfach).
Tredegar Iron Company to construct a (single) tramroad from
Nine Mile Point to Tredegar.
Sir Charles Morgan to construct the "Golden Mile" (dual) tramroad
- through his land.
at Tonypistill farm Abercarn. Produced 40 tons of coal a
from a small shallow level.
of Halls Road Tramroad begins. Built by Benjamin Hall.
His son, aslo named Benjamin Hall (later Lord Lanover) was responsible
for the famous clock tower of the Houses of Parliament known as "Big Ben"
Tramroad completed (Tredegar to Newport)
Long Bridge Viaduct constructed of stone at Risca - approx 50 feet high
consisting of 33 arches (the largest number built in Wales).
|1807||Union Copper Company constructs a smelting plant at Risca (Danygraig)|
|1808||Iron works at Abercarn sold to Richard Crawshay|
|1809||The beginnings of the Darren Colliery at Risca|
|1810||Iron Works in operation at Pontymister|
Road tramroad completed - from a location in what is now
Crosskeys via Pentwynmawr to Waterloo Colliery in Gwrhay
and Abergavenny Canal opened and linked to the
|1814||Extension of Hall's Road tramroad to Manmoel level completed.|
|1816||First strike of it's kind. Ironworkers at Tredegar protest at reduction in wages.|
battle took place on the hills of Monmouthshire, on
the 9th of May between a detachment of the Scotch Greys,
and several thousands of colliers and miners
Passenger service intoduced on Sirhowy Tramroad by John
Horse drawn vehicle known as the Caravan.
|1823||Newport becomes the most important coal port in Wales|
and Penllwyn Tramroads built.
(Lanarth - Blackwood to 9 Mile Point, Penllwyn - Ynysddu to 9 Mile Point)
constructed by Monmouthshire Canal Co. to link Risca with
Halls Tramroad at Hall's Road Junction (Crosskeys)
|1829||Monmouthshire Canal Co. completes Tramroad from Risca to Crumlin (Ebbw Valley)|
Steam Engine "Brittania" travels on Sirhowy
Tramroad (December 17th)
only two months after the famous Rainhill Trials and the appearance of
|1830||Gwent miners strike in protest against the company "Truck Shops"|
|1832||William Thomas born in Ynysddu - Islwyn the Poet - April 3rd|
|1836||John Frost Mayor
of Newport and Magistrate until 1839. Chartist leader
in the Newport Uprising on 4th November 1839
Monmouthshire Iron and Coal Company plan to sink 6
in the Abercarn and Cwmcarn districts.
Colliery purchased by John Russell and Co. Site covered
over 1000 acres.
The Risca House was included in this purchase and was where John
Russell resided for a time.
Merlin publishes an article claiming " Chartism in
is now extinct " (2/11/1838)
Iron and Coal Company goes into liquidation.
Only 2 ,of the 6, planned Collieries are completed ie the Abercarn
& Gwyddon Collieries
Uprising in Monmouthshire
On November 3rd 1839 seven thousand men from the valleys of Monmouthshire
set out to march on Newport.There were three main contingents
one from Blackwood , one from Ebbw Vale and Nantyglo, and one from Pontypool.
The first two contingents converged at Risca and then pressing on
to the assembly point at the Welsh Oak in Pontymister before
the final advance on Newport.
They were an organized force, armed, angry, and intent on inaugurating
a brave new world.
The rising proved to be the most serious clash between people and government
in modern industrial Britain. In the confrontation between Chartists and troops
in Newport more than twenty men were shot dead,and subsequently more
than 250 people were put on trial for treason.
"British Authorities inflicted greater casualties
on the civilian population than at any other time in the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries" (The Last Rising - D.J.V.Jones)
population = 1072 : Mynyddislwyn population = 6000
Machen population = 1577
Russel had a new shaft sunk at the Coed Waunfawr near
(what is now known as) Cross keys.
The beginnings of the new Blackvein Colliery
Comission reported that more cases were recorded of the
employment of children in pits in South Wales than anywhere else
Explosions at the Blackvein Colliery - 2 killed (1st
-3 killed (2nd explosion)
Colliery obtains contracts to supply its steam coal to
West India Steam Packet Company, the Peninsular and Oriental Company
and the East India Company
Act. Prohibited employment of girls and boys under 10 to
|1843||Tinplate works erected in Pontymister by T.G. Lewis (Messrs. T & G Lewis ?)|
Collieries in the West of Monmouthshire. 46 in the
(24 Collieries in the Ebbw Valley, 21 Collieries in the Sirhowy Valley)
and only 8 in the Eastern Valley
Act limits working hours for children to 6.5hrs and 12hrs
day for teenagers and women.
|1845||Abercarn and Gwyddon Collieries re-opened by by Messrs Alfrey of Newport|
Morris of Risca takes over the Abercarn Ironworks and
to manufacture tinplate.
Canal Navigation Company changes name to
Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company (MR&CCo)
|1846||Act of Parliament
forbids the teaching of the Welsh language in schools.
All Welsh teachers replaced with English ones. Any child caught speaking
Welsh was punished.
|1846||Gas explosion at the Blackvein Colliery - 35 killed (3rd explosion)|
|1849||Explosion at the Blackvein Colliery - 2 killed (4th Explosion)|
|1849||Horse drawn vehicles prohibited from using tramroads.|
|1850s||The early beginnings of the Village of Cross keys|
Valley line from Newport via Crosskeys to Blaina opened
for passenger traffic. 10 mph speed limit. (21st December)
School opened (25th February) near the Blackvein Colliery,
at Coed Waunfawr.
This was the first school to be opened for the Parish of Risca but was
built in the Parish of Machen
at the Blackvein Colliery - 10 killed (5th Explosion).
becomes known as the "Death Pit"
Bridge Viaduct at Risca bypassed - OK for trams but
|1854||Brittania Foundry opened at Pontymister (Jordan & Co)|
relaid the main Western Valley Lines (including Risca to
Nine Mile Point)
to that of a standard guage rail.
|1855||Railway line from Nine Mile Point to Newport was complete as a rail way|
Viaduct officially opened - The highest railway Viaduct
in the UK
The third highest bridge of its type in the world.
|1860||Explosion at the Blackvein Colliery - 142 killed (6th explosion)|
Tramroad converted to a standard guage rail.
Name changed to Sirhowy Railway Company (S. R. Co.)
and Abergavenny canal purchased by Monmouthshire Railway
and Canal Company
R. Co. granted running powers over the Nine Mile Point to
Enabled a service from Tredegar to Newport. 19th June.
Railway and Canal Co. starts it's passenger service (June)
to Dock St. Newport
passed for lighting with Gas the Parishes of Risca,
Abercarn and Machen.
|1867||Nine Mile Point railway station opened|
|1870||Trinity Congregational Church - Pontywaun - Officially opened (6th April)|
|1870||"Riscatype" type foundry established by Yendall & Co. Ltd in Risca|
Henry Davies the Poet born in Newport (1871-1940)
His first major success, The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp
was published in 1908
|1872||Blackvein Colliery purchased by Edmund Hannay Watts.|
|1873||Monmmouthhshire & South Wales Coal owners Association formed|
|1873||Edmund Hannay Watts forms the London and South Wales Coal Company (LSWCC)|
|1873||Celynen South Colliery - Abercarn - shafts first sunk in June|
60,000 Coal Miners on Strike in the Monmouthshire Valleys.
12,000 Iron Workers locked out.
Floods in Monmouthshire - Flannel Factory Disaster
at Cwmcarn - 14th July
|1875||North Risca Colliery sunk near Crosskeys (in the Parish of Mynyddislwyn)|
Western Railway (G.W.R) takes over the Monmouthshire
and Canal Company (MR&CCo)
|1876||Rugby first played at Crosskeys - one of the four original Welsh Clubs.|
|1876||Coal production commences at the Celynen South Colliery - Abercarn|
|1876||London & Northwestern (L&NW) takes over the Sirhowy Railway line.|
|1877||Great Western Railway (GWR) takes over Hall's tramroad (Crosskeys to Manmoel)|
Parish of Risca is governed by a "Local Board"
from 1878 until 1894.
The "Risca Local Board" takes over parts of the Parishes of Upper and
Lower Machen and Mynyddyslwyn
|1878||Explosion at the Prince of Wales Colliery - Abercarn - 268 killed (3rd explosion)|
Risca Colliery (near Crosskeys ) - officially opened in
located in the Parish of Risca
near the Colliery) is listed as being in the Parish of Mynyddislwyn
on the 1881 Census
|1878||Islwyn dies and is buried at Babel Chapel (Cwmfellinfach) 2th November|
|1878||John Oliver and
Robert Britton start a Baptist Sunday School at Woodland
Place Crosskeys. Simple services were held at the home of Henry Shipton
(A grocer at Woodland Place - probably located at what is now the Post Office
(1881 Census & O.S Maps)
and Mynyddislwn Joint Board School opened at Western
stone of Hope Baptist Chapel at Crosskeys laid
by E.H Watts 4th March
|1880||July 15th Explosion at North Risca Colliery - Crosskeys - kills 120 men and boys|
Risca "Local Board" takes over the
administration of further portions of the
Mynyddislwyn Parish .
|1881||The South Wales area becomes the foremost coal exporting district in Britain|
|1882||Hope Baptist Chapel at Crosskeys officially opened - February 18th|
|1885||Crosskeys Rugby Football Club founded|
|1885||Abercarn Colliery reopened by Abercarn Coal Company (ACC)|
Brace of Risca was elected miners' agent for the Monmouth
and South Wales District Miners Association
|c.1890||First Postcards of local views printed. Very popular with the public 1890-1920|
of Risca population = 5647 : Mynyddislwyn population = 14,364
Machen population = 3161
|1894||Risca Urban District Council formed under the Local Government Act|
& LSWCC amalgamate to form United National Collieries
(E.H. Watts Chairman)
|1897||Waunfawr School opened in Crosskeys|
Wales miners locked out for four months by the coal
(April - August) .
Compelled to accept owners terms in September.
|1898||South Wales Miners Federation setup|
|1899||South Wales Miners Federation had 104,000 members|
|1900||154,571 employed in South Wales Coal Mines|
|1902||124 working mines in Western Monmouthshire|
of Coronation Colliery (Nine Mile Point) begins. West
392 yards east shaft 383 yards.
estimates that 225 Million tons of Coal exists between
Hurricane of 1908. 31st August - 2nd September. In Gwent
was considered "the worst storm in living memory"
constructed in Crosskeys out of Lodge funds.
It contained one of the most up-to-date libraries in Monmouthshire
|1916||Miners' Institute constructed in Risca|
|1918||Serious gob fire at the Blackvein Colliery (12th July - 9th August)|
|c. 1920||First Bus Services begin in the valleys|
Crosskeys Advertiser first published by Yendall & Co.
Ltd (12th May)
The "Advertiser" - a free journal - was later renamed the Risca & Blackwood
|1926||General Strike and lock-out - time of mass demonstrations and riots.|
22nd Massive demonstration in the Western Valleys -
thousands of people
from Abercarn, Crosskeys, Pontymister, Risca, Wattsville, Bedwas and Machen
marched on Newport to protest on the lack of poor relief.
|1930||Commercial use of the Crumlin branch of the Monmouthshire Canal ceases|
|1930||Pithead Baths opened at the North Risca Colliery - August|
down strike" at Nine Mile Point Colliery and the
Colliery near Cross keys.
186 miners stage a stay down strike at the "Risca Pit" for 72hrs.
177hrs underground at the Nine Mile Point Colliery.
|1947||Nationalisation of the Coal Mines|
|1952||Crumlin Viaduct scheduled for preservation.|
|1964||Nine Mile Point Colliery closed.|
|1967||North Risca Colliery at Cross keys closed. (or July66?)|
|1967||Crumlin Viaduct demolished|
Mile Point coal tip and colliery removed - now known as
Point Industrial Estate.
|1972||1630th edition of
the "Advertiser" was published and printed by
|1974||Local goverment re-organisation - "Monmouthshire becomes Gwent"|
|1979||Ten pits left in Gwent|
|1985||Celynen South Colliery at Abercarn closed|
(Old Monmouthshire) is broken up into five Unitary
Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen