Land round a new bridge

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.


The Mill Farm   

millDuring the eighteenth century little happened to disturb the tranquillity of the hamlet.

Between 1792 and 1798, the Monmouthshire Canal Company constructed their canal from Crumlin to Newport but still the rural way of life persisted.

In 1805, Hall’s Tram road was constructed, named after Sir Benjamin Hall who as the principal landowner in the district and may be remembered for his help in the restoration of Mynyddislwyn Parish Church in 1818.The tram road was built to transport minerals from his collieries at Manmoel to the Monmouthshire Canal Company tram road at Crosskeys. In 1829 the canal company extended their line from Risca to Crumlin. The line was again chiefly used for the transporting of minerals but it seems that some passengers were carried. 

However, the company managers were inefficient and by 1844 the line had ceased to operate.

The ‘Monmouthshire Merlin’ – forerunner of the daily “Argus” reports:- We understand that the coach hitherto operating between Newbridge and Newport has been discontinued in consequence of the public not affording the sinews of war”. 

The Turnpike Act of George III saw the construction in 1810 of two turnpike roads – the first from Ystrad Bridge to Pontymoel via Newbridge and the other from Newbridge to Risca, to link there with the Newport turnpike road. Owing to the central position of the Newbridge road, trustees held their meetings in the Newbridge Inn.

By Act of Parliament (June 20, 1866), the trustees were authorised to make the following tolls:-“For every horse, mule or other animal except an ass, drawing any carriage – sixpence for every ass drawing any carriage – three pence For every four-wheeled carriage fixed in any manner:- if empty sixpence if loaded shilling.”  

The Act further stated that the word carriage shall mean:“All stage coaches, omnibuses, cabs, flys, vans, caravans, chariots, post chaises, curricles, phaetons, gigs and dog carts”, and that the word cart shall mean:-“All wagons, wains, drays, timber carriages, sledges and other vehicles by whatsoever name known”.      

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