In ancient times what is now the separate townships of Abercarn, Cwmcarn and Newbridge were known as Abercarne, a manorial title which goes back to the Norman period. The three townships were also within the boundaries of the ancient parish of Mynyddislwyn and remained therein up until comparatively recent times.
Newbridge / Trecelyn
This is an example of where the English and Welsh names have evolved separately. The English name refers to a town developing around a new bridge built over the Ebbw river. There are English records of the place name dating back to ‘Newbridge Monythuscland’ in 1566 and ‘Newbridge mill’ in 1630. The Welsh name was originally a more literal translation of new+bridge in that there is a record of ‘tyr ynis y bont newyth’ in 1630. In 1839 there is also ‘y Bontnewydd’. The name Trecelyn seems to have evolved seperately since the development of houses for workers at the two Celynen pits, North Celynen and South Celynen (named after the Nant Celyn stream). Many current OS maps incorrectly give the Welsh name as ‘Cefn Bychan’, which is actually the Welsh name of Newbridge near Ruabon in Denbeighshire.
Newbridge, as its name implies, was the name given by the people to land around the
“new bridge” built across the Ebbw (Afon Ebwy) towards the end of the eighteenth
century. At this time Newbridge was a predominantly Welsh agrarian community. In the valley, the chief farms were Ty-LLydd, where the new vicarage now stands,
Tynewydd, where Newbridge Hotel stands, Ty-hir, the house which stands next to the Beaufort Arms, and the Newbridge Corn mill which stood near the South Celynen Colliery.
The road pattern as we know it today was non-existent, all activity and commerce took place along the mountain tracks which led over Mynyddislwyn and Mynydd Maen. Adjacent to the tracks were the more prosperous farms, Hyfod Fach, Glanshon and Cillonydd.