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Coordinates: 51°49′26″N 3°01′00″W / 51.824°N 3.0167°W / 51.824; -3.0167

Abergavenny
Welsh: Y Fenni
Abergavenny.jpg
Abergavenny town centre, showing the Market Hall and Town Hall clock tower
Abergavenny is located in Wales2
Abergavenny

 Abergavenny shown within Wales
Population 14,055 
OS grid reference SO295145
Community Abergavenny
Principal area Monmouthshire
Ceremonial county Gwent
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ABERGAVENNY
Postcode district NP7
Dialling code 01873
Police Gwent
Fire South Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Monmouth
Welsh Assembly Monmouth
List of places: UK • Wales • Monmouthshire

Abergavenny (Welsh: Y Fenni), meaning Mouth of the River Gavenny, is a market town in Monmouthshire, Wales.

It is located 24 km (15 mi) west of Monmouth on the A40 and A465 roads, 10 km (6 mi) from the English border within the Welsh Marches. Situated at the confluence of a tributary stream, the Gavenny, and the River Usk, it is almost surrounded by two mountains – the Blorenge (559 m)[1] and the Sugar Loaf (596 m)[2] – and five hills: Skirrid Fawr, Ysgyryd Fach (Skirrid Fach), Deri, Rholben and Mynydd Llanwenarth, known locally as "Llanwenarth Breast". The town is situated just south of the Black Mountains, part of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Offa's Dyke Path long distance footpath passes close by and the Marches Way, The Beacons Way and Usk Valley Walk all pass through the town.

A sign on the Town Hall gives Abergavenny the title "Gateway to Wales". Formerly a medieval walled town, it was originally a Roman fort, Gobannium. It contains the remains of a medieval stone castle built soon after the Norman Conquest.

Contents

History

Origins of the town and its name

Part of Abergavenny and Skirrid Fach (Little Skirrid) seen from the castle ruins

Gobannium was a Roman fort guarding the road along the valley of the River Usk which linked the legionary fortress of Burrium (Usk) and later Isca Augusta (Caerleon) in the south with Y Gaer, Brecon and Mid Wales. It was also built to keep the peace among the local British Iron Age tribe, the Silures. Remains of the walls of this fort were discovered west of the castle when excavating the foundations for a new Post Office and telephone exchange building in the late 1960s.

The name derives from a Brythonic word Gobannia meaning "river of the blacksmiths", and relates to the town's pre-Roman importance in iron smelting. The name is related to the modern Welsh word gof (blacksmith), and so is also associated with the Welsh smith Gofannon from folklore. The river later became, in Welsh, Gafenni, and the town's name became Abergavenny, meaning "mouth of (Welsh: Aber) the Gavenny (Gafenni)". In Welsh, the shortened form Y Fenni may have come into use for a very short period after about the 15th century, although pronounced similarly in English or Welsh the English spelling Abergavenny is in general use.[3]

The Norman period

Abergavenny grew as a town in early Norman times under the protection of the Lords of Abergavenny. The first Baron was Hamelin de Balun, from Ballon, a small town and castle in Maine-Anjou called "Gateway to Maine", near Le Mans, today in the Sarthe département of France. He founded the Benedictine priory, now the Priory Church of St Mary, in the late 11th century. The Priory belonged originally to the Benedictine foundation of St. Vincent Abbaye at Le Mans. It was subsequently endowed by William de Braose, with a tenth or tithe of the profits of the castle and town. The church contains some unique alabaster effigies, church monuments and unique medieval wood carving, such as the Tree of Jesse.

Owing to its geographical location the town was frequently embroiled in the border warfare and power play of the 12th century and 13th century in the Welsh Marches. In 1175, Abergavenny Castle was the scene of a reputed massacre of local Welsh chieftains by the pious and ruthless William de Braose. So the story goes, after a period of discord and conflict he invited the local leaders to a Christmas banquet under the pretext of resolving differences and building relations but his plan was to eliminate them. Accepting his supposed hospitality, at a traditional time for settling differences, the influential Welsh leaders of the surrounding areas nearly all arrived, proffered their swords as tokens of peaceful intent to servants and, unarmed, were ushered further into the castle where de Braose's armed soldiers hacked them down in cold blood. Giraldus Cambrensis relates how in 1182 the castle was seized back by the Welsh.

1300 to 1900

Owain Glyndŵr attacked Abergavenny in 1404. According to popular legend, his raiders gained access to the walled town with the aid of a local woman who sympathised with the rebellion, letting a small party in via the Market Street gate at midnight. They were able to open the gate and allow a much larger party in who set fire to the town and plundered its churches and homes leaving Abergavenny Castle intact. Market Street has been referred to as Traitors Lane thereafter. In 1404 Abergavenny was declared its own nation by Ieuan ab Owain Glyndŵr, illegitimate son of Owain Glyndŵr. The arrangement lasted approximately two weeks.

At the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1541 the priory's endowment went towards the foundation of a free grammar school, King Henry VIII Grammar School, the site itself passing to the Gunter family.

During the Civil War, prior to the siege of Raglan Castle in 1645, Charles I visited Abergavenny and presided in person over the trial of Sir Trefor Williams, 1st Baronet of Llangibby, a Royalist who changed sides, and other Parliamentarians.

In 1639 Abergavenny received a charter of incorporation under the title of bailiff and burgesses. A charter with extended privileges was drafted in 1657, but appears never to have been enrolled or to have come into effect. Owing to the refusal of the chief officers of the corporation to take the oath of allegiance to William III in 1688, the charter was annulled, and the town subsequently declined in prosperity. Chapter 28 of the 1535 Act of Henry VIII, which provided that Monmouth, as county town, should return one burgess to Parliament, further stated that other ancient Monmouthshire boroughs were to contribute towards the payment of the member. In consequence of this clause Abergavenny on various occasions shared in the election, the last instance being in 1685.

Reference to a market at Abergavenny is found in a charter granted to the Prior by William de Braose (d. 1211). The right to hold two weekly markets and three yearly fairs, as held ever since, was confirmed in 1657. Abergavenny was celebrated for the production of Welsh flannel, and also for the manufacture, whilst the fashion prevailed, of goats' hair periwigs.

The title of Baron Abergavenny, in the Nevill family, dates from Edward Nevill, 3rd Baron Bergavenny (d. 1476), who was the youngest son of Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland by his second wife Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, first Duke of Lancaster. He married the heiress of Richard de Beauchamp, 1st Earl of Worcester, whose father had inherited the castle and estate of Abergavenny, and was summoned in 1392 to parliament as Lord Bergavenny. Edward Nevill was summoned to parliament with this title in 1450. His direct male descendants ended in 1387 in Henry Nevill, 6th Baron Bergavenny, but a cousin, Edward Nevill, 8th Baron Bergavenny (d. 1622), was confirmed in the Barony in 1604. From him it has descended continuously, through fifteen individuals, the title being increased to an Earldom in 1784; and in 1876 William Nevill [sic] 5th Earl (b. 1826), (d.1915) an indefatigable and powerful supporter of the Tory party, was created 1st Marquess of Abergavenny in 1876.

Abergavenny railway station opened 2 January 1854 and is on the Welsh Marches Line.

Later history

Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess was kept under escort at Maindiff Court during the Second World War, after his flight to Britain.[4]

Sporting traditions

Bailey Park bandstand and the Deri behind

Abergavenny is the home of Abergavenny Thursdays F.C., which was formed in 1927, and is currently a member of the Gwent County League Division 3. The club's current position comes within 15 years of their being one of the top sides in Welsh football, winning the old format Welsh Football League in 1991 and 1992, but being relegated in 1993 after just one season in the newly formed League of Wales. The club suffered relegation from the Welsh Football League in 2001 and has since slipped down through the next two divisions into its current position, although the future is now looking brighter.

Abergavenny Cricket Club play at Pen-y-Pound, Avenue Road, and Glamorgan CCC play some of their games here. Abergavenny Cricket Club is one of the oldest in the country and is celebrating the 175th anniversary of its foundation in 2009.

Abergavenny Tennis Club also play at Pen-y-Pound and fields Mens, Ladies, Mixed and Junior teams where it has tasted success on many occasions. The Club engages the services of a Head Tennis Professional to run a coaching programme for the town.

Abergavenny is also the home of Abergavenny RFC, a rugby union team founded in 1875 who play at Bailey Park. They play in the Welsh Rugby Union Division Two East league.

Abergavenny hosted the British National Cycling Championships in 2007 and 2009.

Markets and fairs

Cattle market

A cattle market has been held in Abergavenny on its current site since 1863. During the period 1825–1863 a sheep market was held at a site in Castle Street, to stop the sale of sheep on the streets of the town. Today the market is leased and operated by Abergavenny Market Auctioneers Ltd., who hold regular livestock auctions on the site. Market days are: Tuesday – The sale of finished sheep, cull ewe/store, a Fodder auction (sale of hay and straw). Some Fridays – The sale of cattle. A few other sales are held on the site on other days throughout the year.

Following the closure of Newport Cattle Market to make way for a new development. Newport’s sale will be held at Abergavenny Cattle Market on every Wednesday.

Market hall

Various markets are held in the Market Hall, for example: Tuesdays – retail market, which also stretches into the Town hall car park and temporarily the Cattle Market, while Brewery yard car park is regenerated; Wednesday – Flea Market; 4th Thursday of the month a Farmers market; Friday – retail market; Saturday – retail market (also in the Town Hall car park); 3rd Sunday of the month – antique fair; 2nd Saturday – craft fair.

Culture

Notable residents

Buildings of note

From 1851 the Monmouthshire Lunatic Asylum, later Pen-y-Fal Hospital, a psychiatric hospital, [1] stood on the outskirts of Abergavenny. Between 1851 and 1950 over 3000 patients died at the hospital. A memorial plaque for the deceased has now been placed at the site.

Twin towns

See also

References

External links

Abergavenny Clubs

External links

Wikisource-logo.svg "Abergavenny". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911. 


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Abergavenny is a town in Monmouthshire.

Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

Understand

A thriving town, Abergavenny is the gateway to South Wales where you can enjoy a relaxing short break or longer holiday amidst stunning countryside. The town itself is set against the Brecon Beacons National Park and Black Mountains, ideal for breathtaking walks and scenery and is nestled within the beautiful Usk Valley.

  • Abergavenny Castle dates back to 1087 and makes for a fascinating visit.
  • Abergavenny Museum is set in the grounds of Norman Castle. If it’s a nice day, take a picnic, otherwise simply learn about the history of this historic market town.

Buy

One of the most well-known markets in Wales, Abergavenny’s Tuesday market has more than 200 stalls offering a huge array of goods. In addition there is a Friday and Saturday market and the occasional craft fair, flea market and antique fair.

Eat

Home of the famous Abergavenny Food Festival, it stands to reason that the number of eateries on offer is more than adequate. From fancy restaurants to old-fashioned pubs, from bars and cafes to takeways, there is something offer to suit every taste.

Drink

Abergavenny has a thriving nightlife of pubs and bars.

Sleep

Guest houses, self-catering, hotels and inns; you will have no problems finding a lovely place to stay.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ABERGAVENNY, a market town and municipal borough in the northern parliamentary division of Monmouthshire, England, 14 m. W. of Monmouth on the Great Western and the London and North-Western railways. Pop. (1901) 7795. It is situated at the junction of a small stream called the Gavenny with the river Usk; and the site, almost surrounded by lofty hills, is very beautiful. The town was formerly walled, and has the remains of a castle built soon after the conquest, frequently the scene of border strife. The church of St Mary belonged originally to a Benedictine monastery founded early in the 12th century. The existing building, however, is Decorated and Perpendicular, and contains a fine series of memorials of dates from the 13th to the 17th century. There is a free grammar school, which till 1857 had a fellowship at Jesus College, Oxford. Breweries, ironworks, quarries, brick fields and collieries in the neighbourhood are among the principal industrial establishments. Abergavenny was incorporated in 1899, and is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 825 acres.

This was the Roman Gobannium, a small fort guarding the road along the valley of the Usk and ensuring quiet among the hill tribes. There is practically no trace of this fort. Abergavenny (Bergavenny) grew up under the protection of the lords of Abergavenny, whose title dated from William I. Owing to its situation, the town was frequently embroiled in the border warfare of the 12th and 13th centuries, and Giraldus Cambrensis relates how in 1173 the castle was seized by the Welsh. Hamelyn de Baalun, first lord of Abergavenny, founded the Benedictine priory, which was subsequently endowed by William de Braose with a tenth of the profits of the castle and town. At the dissolution of the priory part of this endowment went towards the foundation of a free grammar school, the site itself passing to the Gunter family. During the Civil War prior to the siege of Raglan Castle in 1645, Charles I. visited Abergavenny, and presided in person over the trial of Sir Trevor Williams and other parliamentarians. In 1639 Abergavenny received a charter of incorporation under the title of bailiff and burgesses. A charter with extended privileges was drafted in 1657, but appears never to have been enrolled or to have come into effect. Owing to the refusal of the chief officers of the corporation to take the oath of allegiance to William III. in 1688, the charter was annulled, and the town subsequently declined in prosperity. The act of 27 Henry VIII., which provided that Monmouth, as county town, should return one burgess to parliament, further stated that other ancient Monmouthshire boroughs were to contribute towards the payment of the member. In consequence of this clause Abergavenny on various occasions shared in the election, the last instance being in 1685. Reference to a market at Abergavenny is found in a charter granted to the prior by William de Braose (d. 1211). The right to hold two weekly markets and three yearly fairs, as hitherto held, was confirmed in 1657. Abergavenny was celebrated for the production of Welsh flannel, and also for the manufacture, whilst the fashion prevailed, of periwigs of goats' hair.

The title of Baron Abergavenny, in the Neville family, dates from Edward Neville (d. 1476), who was the youngest son of the 1st earl of Westmoreland by Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt. He married the heiress of Richard, earl of Worcester, whose father had inherited the castle and estate of Abergavenny, and was summoned in 1392 to parliament as Lord Bergavenny. Edward Neville was summoned to parliament with this title in 1450. His direct male descendants ended in 1587 in Henry Neville, but a cousin, Edward Neville (d. 1622), was confirmed in the barony in 1604. From him it has descended continuously, the title being increased to an earldom in 1784; and in 1876 William Nevill (sic), 5th earl (b. 1826), an indefatigable and powerful supporter of the Conservative party, was created 1st marquess of Abergavenny. (See NEVILLE.)


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