70,000 -
8,300 BC
Glacial ice sheet as far south as Abergavenny. Gwent would have been
bitterly cold tundra. Sea level dropped by 200 feet - Bristol Channel was
mainly dry land. Land Bridge connected Britain to the Continent.
2,500-900 BC
Bronze Age
Local tribes migrate from the Gwent levels to the uplands - including Mynydd
Maen (Twmbarlwm) , Mynydd Machen, Mynydd y Grug
900-55 BC
Iron Age
Iron Age Hill Fort constructed by the Silures (the dominant tribe in South Wales)
on Twmbarlwm.
75 Roman fortress established at Isca Silurum (Caerleon). Only two other
Legionary fortresses existed in Britannia at this time.
78 Siluria is finally brought under Roman Miltary control by Sextus Julius Frontinus.
The Romans take 5 years to control the S.E of Britain but take 35 years
to achieve the same level of control in the Silurian territories, known nowadays
as South Wales.
120 Roman city constructed at Venta Silurum (Caerwent)
5th Century Romans leave Brittania.
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
942 Llywarch ap Cadogan gives Villa Treficarn Pont (settlement or estate near the
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
1576 Charcoal-fired Blast Furnace built at Abercarn by Edmund Roberts
for smelting iron ore .
1597 The Society of Mineral and Battery Works accuses Richard Hanbury
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 of
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
1782 Charcoal wireworks and a pit coal forge established at Abercarn
by Joshua and Samuel Glover
1792 The 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.
1795 Zephaniah Williams born at Gwrhay near Argoed. Chartist leader involved
in the Newport Uprising on 4th November 1839
1796 Newport to Pontnewynydd section of the Monmouthshire Canal
completed (February) 10.5 miles long, 42 locks, 3 tunnels.
Could take barges 64ft by 9ft
1796 Edward Jones, a Bristol merchant's clerk, leases land near Risca
for 500 a year from Sir Charles Morgan
1797 Edward Jones begins to sink the Waunfawr Colliery near Risca at
Coed Waunfawr on the lower slopes of Mynydd Machen in the Parish
of Machen.
1799 The population of Newport was 750
1799 Crumlin Branch of Monmouthshire Canal completed. 11 miles long , 32 locks (April)
1799 Archdeacon Coxe travels through Monmouthshire.
He describes it in his "Historical Tour of Monmouthshire"
1801 Parish of Risca population = 240 : Parish of Mynyddislwyn population = 1544
Parish of Machen population = 676
1802 Canal 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.
1804 Colliery at Tonypistill farm Abercarn. Produced 40 tons of coal a day
from a small shallow level.
1805 Construction 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"
1806 Sirhowy 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
1811 Halls Road tramroad completed - from a location in what is now called
Crosskeys via Pentwynmawr to Waterloo Colliery in Gwrhay
1812 Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal opened and linked to the
Monmouthshire Canal.
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.
1822 Desperate battle took place on the hills of Monmouthshire, on Thursday
the 9th of May between a detachment of the Scotch Greys,
and several thousands of colliers and miners
1822 First Passenger service intoduced on Sirhowy Tramroad by John Kingston.
Horse drawn vehicle known as the Caravan.
1823 Newport becomes the most important coal port in Wales
1824 Llanarth and Penllwyn Tramroads built.
(Lanarth - Blackwood to 9 Mile Point, Penllwyn - Ynysddu to 9 Mile Point)
1827 Tramroad constructed by Monmouthshire Canal Co. to link Risca with the
Halls Tramroad at Hall's Road Junction (Crosskeys)
1829 Monmouthshire Canal Co. completes Tramroad from Risca to Crumlin (Ebbw Valley)
1829 First Steam Engine "Brittania" travels on Sirhowy Tramroad (December 17th)
only two months after the famous Rainhill Trials and the appearance of
Stephenson's "Rocket"
1830 Gwent miners strike in protest against the company "Truck Shops"
1831 Cholera Epidemic
1832 William Thomas born in Ynysddu - Islwyn the Poet - April 3rd
1836 John Frost Mayor of Newport and Magistrate until 1839. Chartist leader involved
in the Newport Uprising on 4th November 1839
1836 The Monmouthshire Iron and Coal Company plan to sink 6 Collieries
in the Abercarn and Cwmcarn districts.
1836 Waunfawr 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.
1838 Monmouthshire Merlin publishes an article claiming " Chartism in Monmouthshire
is now extinct " (2/11/1838)
1839 Monmouthshire Iron and Coal Company goes into liquidation.
Only 2 ,of the 6, planned Collieries are completed ie the Abercarn
& Gwyddon Collieries
1839 Chartist 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)
1841 Risca population = 1072 : Mynyddislwyn population = 6000
Machen population = 1577
1841 John 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
1841 Royal Comission reported that more cases were recorded of the
employment of children in pits in South Wales than anywhere else
1842 Two Explosions at the Blackvein Colliery - 2 killed (1st explosion)
-3 killed (2nd explosion)
1842 Blackvein Colliery obtains contracts to supply its steam coal to the Royal
West India Steam Packet Company, the Peninsular and Oriental Company
and the East India Company
1842 Mines Act. Prohibited employment of girls and boys under 10 to
work underground.
1843 Tinplate works erected in Pontymister by T.G. Lewis (Messrs. T & G Lewis ?)
1843 55 Collieries in the West of Monmouthshire. 46 in the Western Valleys
(24 Collieries in the Ebbw Valley, 21 Collieries in the Sirhowy Valley)
and only 8 in the Eastern Valley
1844 Factory Act limits working hours for children to 6.5hrs and 12hrs a
day for teenagers and women.
1845 Abercarn and Gwyddon Collieries re-opened by by Messrs Alfrey of Newport
1845 David Morris of Risca takes over the Abercarn Ironworks and starts
to manufacture tinplate.
1845 Monmouthshire 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.
1849 Cholera Epidemic
1850 The early beginnings of the Village of Cross keys
1850 Western Valley line from Newport via Crosskeys to Blaina opened
for passenger traffic. 10 mph speed limit. (21st December)
1850 British 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
1853 Explosion at the Blackvein Colliery - 10 killed (5th Explosion). Colliery
becomes known as the "Death Pit"
1853 Long Bridge Viaduct at Risca bypassed - OK for trams but unsuitable for
rail traffic
1854 Brittania Foundry opened at Pontymister (Jordan & Co)
1855 MR&CCo 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
1857 Crumlin 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)
1860 Sirhowy Tramroad converted to a standard guage rail.
Name changed to Sirhowy Railway Company (S. R. Co.)
Parish Popuplation Houses Acres   Voters (1867)
Machen 2377 520 4460   60
Machen Upper 1414 315      
Machen Lower 963 205      
Mynyddyslwyn 6877 1456 15938   169
Clawrplwyf 2409 515      
Mynyddmaen 1782 355      
Penmaen 2686 586      
Risca 2744 642 1877   58
1865 Brecknock and Abergavenny canal purchased by Monmouthshire Railway
and Canal Company
1865 S. R. Co. granted running powers over the Nine Mile Point to
Newport section.
Enabled a service from Tredegar to Newport. 19th June.
1865 Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Co. starts it's passenger service (June)
to Dock St. Newport
1867 Act passed for lighting with Gas the Parishes of Risca, Mynyddyslwyn,
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
1871 William 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 Hanay Watts.
1873 Monmmouthhshire & South Wales Coal owners Association formed
1873 Edmund Hanay Watts forms the London and South Wales Coal Company (LSWCC)
1873 Celynen South Colliery - Abercarn - shafts first sunk in June
1873 Over 60,000 Coal Miners on Strike in the Monmouthshire Valleys.
12,000 Iron Workers locked out.
1875 Disastrous Floods in Monmouthshire - Flannel Factory Disaster
at Cwmcarn - 14th July
1875 North Risca Colliery sunk near Crosskeys (in the Parish of Mynyddislwyn)
1875 Great Western Railway (G.W.R) takes over the Monmouthshire Railway
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)
1878 The 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)
1878 North Risca Colliery (near Crosskeys ) - officially opened in the Mynyddislwyn
Originally constructed in the Parish of Mynyddislwyn but now
located in the Parish of Risca
The New Town of North Risca (situated
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)
1880 Risca and Mynyddislwn Joint Board School opened at Western Terrace,
1880 Foundation 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
1881 The 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)
1890 William 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
1891 Parish of Risca population = 5647 : Mynyddislwyn population = 14,364
Machen population = 3161
1894 Risca Urban District Council formed under the Local Government Act
1895 ACC & LSWCC amalgamate to form United National Collieries Ltd
(E.H. Watts Chairman)
1897 Waunfawr School opened in Crosskeys
1898 South Wales miners locked out for four months by the coal owners
(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
1900 Ebbw Vale Facts at the turn of the Century
1902 124 working mines in Western Monmouthshire
1902 Sinking of Coronation Colliery (Nine Mile Point) begins. West Shaft
392 yards east shaft 383 yards.
1902 Survey estimates that 225 Million tons of Coal exists between Crosskeys
and Pontllanfraith.
1908 The Great Hurricane of 1908. 31st August - 2nd September. In Gwent it
was considered "the worst storm in living memory"
1911 Miners' Institute 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)
1920 First Bus Services begin in the valleys
1923 Risca and 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.
1926 May 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
1935 "Stay down strike" at Nine Mile Point Colliery and the North Risca
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
1970 Nine Mile Point coal tip and colliery removed - now known as Nine Mile
Point Industrial Estate.
1972 1630th edition of the "Advertiser" was published and printed by The Starling
Press Ltd
1974 Local goverment re-organisation - "Monmouthshire becomes Gwent"
1974 Miners Strike
1979 Ten pits left in Gwent
1984 Miners strike Closure of Pits
1985 Celynen South Colliery at Abercarn closed
1996 Gwent (Old Monmouthshire) is broken up into five Unitary Authorities
Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen
2002 On July 5th At 10:30am the steel works started it's last shift and bringing an end to the Steel Works and Iron era of Ebbw Vale.
2008 On February 6th At 06:40 the first commercial passanger train for 46 years leaves Ebbw Vale. The Journey Takes a route to Cardiff

Back to Ebbw Vales History Page
(C) 2008 Bioeddie's all material substance from this site can be used except for publication with out prior permission