Monmouthshire (historic)

Monmouthshire (historic)

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Encyclopedia
Monmouthshire also known as the County of Monmouth (ˈ; ), is one of thirteen ancient counties of Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 and a former administrative county.

It corresponds approximately to the present principal areas of Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire is a county in south east Wales. The name derives from the historic county of Monmouthshire which covered a much larger area. The largest town is Abergavenny. There are many castles in Monmouthshire .-Historic county:...

, Blaenau Gwent
Blaenau Gwent
Blaenau Gwent is a county borough in South Wales, sharing its name with a parliamentary constituency. It borders the unitary authority areas of Monmouthshire and Torfaen to the east, Caerphilly to the west and Powys to the north. Its main towns are Abertillery, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and...

, Torfaen
Torfaen
Torfaen is a county borough in Wales within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It was originally formed in 1974 as a district of the county of Gwent and in 1996 it was reconstituted as a unitary authority.-Education:...

, and Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

 and those parts of Caerphilly
Caerphilly (county borough)
Caerphilly is a county borough in southern Wales, straddling the ancient county boundary between Glamorgan and Monmouthshire.Its main town is Caerphilly, and also the largest...

 and Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

 east of the Rhymney River
Rhymney River
The Rhymney River is a river in the Rhymney Valley, south-east Wales, flowing through Cardiff into the Severn estuary.The river forms the boundary between the historic counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire.-Path of the river:...

.

The eastern part of the county is mainly agricultural, while the western valleys had rich mineral resources. This led to the area becoming highly industrialised with coal mining
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

 and iron working being major employers from the 18th century to the late 20th century.

Monmouthshire's Welsh status was ambiguous between the 16th and 20th centuries, with it considered by some to be part of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 during this time.

Formation


The "county or shire of Monmouth" was formed from parts of the Welsh Marches
Welsh Marches
The Welsh Marches is a term which, in modern usage, denotes an imprecisely defined area along and around the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods...

 by the Laws in Wales Act 1535
Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542
The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 were parliamentary measures by which the legal system of Wales was annexed to England and the norms of English administration introduced. The intention was to create a single state and a single legal jurisdiction; frequently referred to as England and Wales...

. According to the Act the shire consisted of all Honours, Lordships, Castles, Manors, Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments, lying or being within the Compass or Precinct of the following Lordships, Townships, Parishes, Commotes and Cantrefs... in the Country of Wales:

Monmouth
Monmouth
Monmouth is a town in southeast Wales and traditional county town of the historic county of Monmouthshire. It is situated close to the border with England, where the River Monnow meets the River Wye with bridges over both....

 • Chepstow
Chepstow
Chepstow is a town in Monmouthshire, Wales, adjoining the border with Gloucestershire, England. It is located on the River Wye, close to its confluence with the River Severn, and close to the western end of the Severn Bridge on the M48 motorway...

 • Matherne (Mathern
Mathern
Mathern is a historic village in Monmouthshire, south east Wales, about 5 km south west of the town of Chepstow, close to the Severn estuary, the Bristol Channel and the M48 motorway. The village is designated as a Conservation Area...

) • Llanvihangel (Llanfihangel Rogiet) • Magour (Magor
Magor, Monmouthshire
Magor - meaning 'a wall' - is a large village in Monmouthshire, south east Wales, between Chepstow and the city of Newport, and adjoining the Caldicot Levels beside the Severn estuary. Magor lies close to the M4 motorway, which has a nearby motorway service area sharing its name...

) • Goldcliffe (Goldcliff) • Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

 • Wentloog
Wentloog
Wentlooge , sometimes known as Wentloog, is a community in the southwest of the city of Newport, South Wales, in the Marshfield ward.The name Wentlooge is a corruption of the earlier name Gwynllŵg, which itself was named after Gwynllyw, its 5th century or 6th century ruler.The community is bounded...

e • Llanwerne (Llanwern
Llanwern
Llanwern is an electoral ward and community in the urban-rural fringe of the City of Newport, South Wales. Llanwern ward is bounded by the M4 and Langstone to the north, Ringland, Liswerry and the River Usk to the west, the River Severn to the south and the city boundary to the east...

) • Caerlion (Caerleon
Caerleon
Caerleon is a suburban village and community, situated on the River Usk in the northern outskirts of the city of Newport, South Wales. Caerleon is a site of archaeological importance, being the site of a notable Roman legionary fortress, Isca Augusta, and an Iron Age hill fort...

) • Usk
Usk
Usk is a small town in Monmouthshire, Wales, situated 10 miles northeast of Newport.The River Usk flows through the town and is spanned by an ancient, arched stone bridge at the western entrance to the town. A castle above the town overlooks the ancient Anglo-Welsh border crossing - the river can...

 • Treleck (Trellech
Trellech
Trellech is a village in Monmouthshire, south-east Wales, near Monmouth and the location of an archaeological site. The village is designated as a Conservation Area....

) • Tintern
Tintern
Tintern is a village on the west bank of the River Wye in Monmouthshire, Wales, close to the border with England, about 5 miles north of Chepstow...

 • Skenfrith
Skenfrith
Skenfrith is a small village in Monmouthshire, south-east Wales, in the United Kingdom. It is located on the River Monnow, close to the border between Wales and England, about 6 miles north-west of Monmouth.- History and amenities :...

 • Grosmont
Grosmont, Monmouthshire
Grosmont is a village in Monmouthshire, Wales near Abergavenny.- History :Grosmont Castle is a major feature of the village and was the birthplace of Henry, 1st Duke of Lancaster. St...

 • Witecastle (White Castle
White Castle (Wales)
White Castle is a medieval castle located in Monmouthshire, Wales. The name "White Castle" was first recorded in the thirteenth century, and was derived from the whitewash put on the stone walls. The castle was originally called Llantilio Castle , after Llantilio Crossenny, the mediæval manor of...

) • Raglan
Raglan, Monmouthshire
Raglan is a village in Monmouthshire, south east Wales, United Kingdom. It is located some 9 miles south-west of Monmouth, midway between Monmouth and Abergavenny on the A40 road very near to the junction with the A449 road...

 • Calicote (Caldicot
Caldicot, Monmouthshire
Caldicot is a small town in Monmouthshire, southeast Wales, located between Chepstow and Newport, just off the busy M4 / M48 motorway corridor. The site adjoins the Caldicot Levels, on the north side of the Severn estuary. Caldicot has easy access by motorway and rail to Cardiff, and across the...

) • Biston (Bishton
Bishton
Bishton or Bishopston is a small rural community in the east of the city of Newport, south Wales. The parish lies in the Llanwern electoral district and contains the eastern end of Llanwern Steelworks, the Underwood estate as well as Bishton itself.- Government :The area is governed by the...

) • Abergavenny
Abergavenny
Abergavenny , meaning Mouth of the River Gavenny, is a market town in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located 15 miles west of Monmouth on the A40 and A465 roads, 6 miles from the English border. Originally the site of a Roman fort, Gobannium, it became a medieval walled town within the Welsh Marches...

 • Penrose (Penrhos
Penrhos
Penrhos may refer to:*Penrhos, Anglesey, Wales** home of Penrhos Country Park*Penrhos, Gwynedd, Wales**RAF Penrhos, Gwynedd, Wales*Penrhos, Herefordshire, England*Penrhos, Monmouthshire, Wales*Penrhos, Powys, Wales...

) • Grenefield (Maesglas
Maesglas
Maesglas is a neighbourhood in the south west of the city of Newport, South Wales. In the 16th century it was known as Greenfield but in later years the Welsh language Maesglas has come to be more widely used....

) • Maghen (Machen
Machen
Machen is a large village 3 miles east of Caerphilly, south Wales, situated in the Caerphilly borough within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It neighbours Bedwas and Trethomas, and forms a council ward in conjunction with those communities. It lies on the Rhymney River.-Mynydd...

) • Hochuyslade (possessions of Llanthony Priory
Llanthony Priory
Llanthony Priory is a partly ruined former Augustinian priory in the secluded Vale of Ewyas, a steep sided once glaciated valley within the Black Mountains area of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Monmouthshire, south east Wales. It lies seven miles north of Abergavenny on an old road to Hay...

)

The Act also designated Monmouth as the "Head and Shire town of the said county or shire of Monmouth", and ordered that the Sheriff
High Sheriff of Monmouthshire
This is a list of High Sheriffs of Monmouthshire, which was created in 1536 but not fully settled until 1540. The shrievalty was finally abolished in 1974 when the county and shrievalty of Gwent was created.-List of Sheriffs:Served under Henry VIII:...

's county or shire court be held alternately in Monmouth and Newport.

Historic boundaries and subdivisions



The historic boundaries are the River Wye
River Wye
The River Wye is the fifth-longest river in the UK and for parts of its length forms part of the border between England and Wales. It is important for nature conservation and recreation.-Description:...

 on the east, dividing it from Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

 and the Rhymney River
Rhymney River
The Rhymney River is a river in the Rhymney Valley, south-east Wales, flowing through Cardiff into the Severn estuary.The river forms the boundary between the historic counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire.-Path of the river:...

 to the west dividing it from Glamorgan
Glamorgan
Glamorgan or Glamorganshire is one of the thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Wales. It was originally an early medieval kingdom of varying boundaries known as Glywysing until taken over by the Normans as a lordship. Glamorgan is latterly represented by the three...

shire, with the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

 to the south. The boundaries with Herefordshire
Herefordshire
Herefordshire is a historic and ceremonial county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire" NUTS 2 region. It also forms a unitary district known as the...

 to the northeast and Brecknockshire
Brecknockshire
Brecknockshire , also known as the County of Brecknock, Breconshire, or the County of Brecon is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, and a former administrative county.-Geography:...

 to the north were less well-defined. The parish of Welsh Bicknor
Welsh Bicknor
Welsh Bicknor is an area of Herefordshire, England. Despite its name, it is not currently in Wales, but was historically a detached parish of the county of Monmouthshire....

, was an exclave of Monmouthshire, sandwiched between Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. The area was considered part of Monmouthshire until it was made part of Herefordshire "for all purposes" by the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844
Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844
The Counties Act 1844 , which came into effect on 20 October 1844, was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which eliminated many outliers or exclaves of counties in England and Wales for civil purposes....

, while the Herefordshire hamlet of Fwthog adjoining the Honddu Valley
Vale of Ewyas
The Vale of Ewyas is the steeply-sided and secluded valley of the Afon Honddu, in the Black Mountains of south Wales and within the Brecon Beacons National Park. As well as its outstanding beauty, it is known for the ruins of Llanthony Priory, and for several noteworthy churches such as those at...

 remained an exclave within Monmouthshire until 1891.

The county was divided into six hundreds
Hundred (division)
A hundred is a geographic division formerly used in England, Wales, Denmark, South Australia, some parts of the United States, Germany , Sweden, Finland and Norway, which historically was used to divide a larger region into smaller administrative divisions...

 in 1542:
Abergavenny
Abergavenny (hundred)
Abergavenny was an ancient hundred of Monmouthshire.It was situated in the northern part of the county, bounded on the north by Herefordshire; on the east by the hundreds of Skenfrith, Raglan, and Usk; on the south by Wentloog hundred; and on the west by Wentloog and Brecknockshire.It contained the...

 • Caldicot
Caldicot (hundred)
Caldicot was an ancient hundred of Monmouthshire, Wales.It was situated in the south-eastern part of the county, bounded on the north by the hundreds of Usk and Raglan; on the east by Gloucestershire; on the south by the Bristol Channel, and on the west by the hundred of Wentloog.It contained the...

 • Raglan
Raglan (hundred)
Raglan was an ancient hundred of Monmouthshire.It contained the following ancient parishes:It is now administered by the local authority of Monmouthshire....

 • Skenfrith
Skenfrith (hundred)
Skenfrith was an ancient hundred of Monmouthshire.It contained the following ancient parishes:*Grosmont*Llantilio Crossenny*Llangattock-Vibon-Avel*Monmouth*Rockfield*Skenfrith*St. Maughans*Wonastow...

 • Usk
Usk (hundred)
Usk was an ancient hundred of Monmouthshire.It was situated in the centre of the county, bounded to the north by the hundreds of Abergavenny and Raglan; to the east and south by the hundred of Caldicot; and to the west by the hundred of Wentloog....

 • Wentloog
Wentloog (hundred)
Wentloog was an ancient hundred of Monmouthshire.It was situated in the western part of the county, bounded to the north by Brecknockshire; on the east by the hundreds of Abergavenny, Usk and Caldicot; on the south by the Bristol Channel, and on the west by Glamorganshire...



The county contained the three borough
Borough
A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

s of Monmouth, Newport and Usk.

Municipal reform


Monmouth and Newport were reformed as municipal borough
Municipal borough
Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002...

s with elected town councils by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835
Municipal Corporations Act 1835
The Municipal Corporations Act 1835  – sometimes known as the Municipal Reform Act, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed local government in the incorporated boroughs of England and Wales...

. Usk continued as an unreformed borough
Unreformed boroughs in England and Wales 1835 - 1886
Unreformed boroughs were those corporate towns in England and Wales which had not been reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. A handful of these obtained new charters under the 1835 Act...

 until its final abolition in 1886.

New forms of local government were established in the urban areas of the county with the setting of local boards
Local board of health
Local Boards or Local Boards of Health were local authorities in urban areas of England and Wales from 1848 to 1894. They were formed in response to cholera epidemics and were given powers to control sewers, clean the streets, regulate slaughterhouses and ensure the proper supply of water to their...

 under the Public Health Act 1848 and Local Government Act 1858. The Public Health Act 1875
Public Health Act 1875
The Public Health Act 1875 was established in the United Kingdom to combat filthy urban living conditions, which caused various public health threats, including the spread of many diseases such as cholera and typhus. Reformers wanted to resolve sanitary problems, because sewage was flowing down the...

 divided the rural areas into rural sanitary districts
Sanitary district
Sanitary districts were established in England and Wales in 1875 and in Ireland in 1878. The districts were of two types, based on existing structures:*Urban sanitary districts in towns with existing local government bodies...

.

An administrative county
Administrative county
An administrative county was an administrative division in England and Wales and Ireland used for the purposes of local government. They are now abolished, although in Northern Ireland their former areas are used as the basis for lieutenancy....

 of Monmouthshire, governed by an elected county council
County council
A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries.-United Kingdom:...

, was formed in 1889 under the terms of the Local Government Act 1888
Local Government Act 1888
The Local Government Act 1888 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which established county councils and county borough councils in England and Wales...

. The administrative county had similar boundaries, but included the Beaufort
Beaufort, Ebbw Vale
Beaufort is a village located in the historic county of Brecknockshire and the preserved county of Gwent. It currently lies on the northern edge of the county borough of Blaenau Gwent in Wales....

, Dukestown, Llechryd
Llechryd
Llechryd is a village lying on the A484 road approximately from Cardigan, in Ceredigion, Wales.-Etymology:The name Llechryd derives from the Welsh for "Slate Ford" , as slate was once extracted from nearby quarries. The canal was used to transport fresh water to a tin works which used to stand...

 and Rassau
Rassau
Rassau, sometimes The Rassau is a small village located in the historic county of Brecknockshire and the preserved county of Gwent. It currently lies on the northern edge of the county borough of Blaenau Gwent in Wales. According to the 2001 census, the population of Rassau is 3,190...

 areas of south Breconshire
Brecknockshire
Brecknockshire , also known as the County of Brecknock, Breconshire, or the County of Brecon is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, and a former administrative county.-Geography:...

. The county council was based in Newport, rather than the historic county town
County town
A county town is a county's administrative centre in the United Kingdom or Ireland. County towns are usually the location of administrative or judicial functions, or established over time as the de facto main town of a county. The concept of a county town eventually became detached from its...

 of Monmouth. In 1891 the borough of Newport achieved county borough
County borough
County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control. They were abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales, but continue in use for lieutenancy and shrievalty in...

 status and therefore left the administrative county, although the Shire Hall
Shire Hall, Newport
The Shire Hall is a building in Newport, Wales which served as the County Hall for Monmouthshire until the Monmouth County Council was wound up in 1974. It continued to be used as local government headquarters until 1978 and has subsequently been converted into offices...

 continued to be based there. In the same year the parish of Fwthog was transferred to both the administrative and geographic county of Monmouthshire.

Under the Local Government Act 1894
Local Government Act 1894
The Local Government Act 1894 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales outside the County of London. The Act followed the reforms carried out at county level under the Local Government Act 1888...

 Monmouthshire was divided into urban
Urban district
In the England, Wales and Ireland, an urban district was a type of local government district that covered an urbanised area. Urban districts had an elected Urban District Council , which shared local government responsibilities with a county council....

 and rural district
Rural district
Rural districts were a type of local government area – now superseded – established at the end of the 19th century in England, Wales, and Ireland for the administration of predominantly rural areas at a level lower than that of the administrative counties.-England and Wales:In England...

s, based on existing sanitary district
Sanitary district
Sanitary districts were established in England and Wales in 1875 and in Ireland in 1878. The districts were of two types, based on existing structures:*Urban sanitary districts in towns with existing local government bodies...

s.
Municipal boroughs Monmouth
Monmouth
Monmouth is a town in southeast Wales and traditional county town of the historic county of Monmouthshire. It is situated close to the border with England, where the River Monnow meets the River Wye with bridges over both....

Urban districts Abercarn
Abercarn
Abercarn is a small town community in Caerphilly county borough, Wales, 10 miles north-west of Newport on the A467 between Cwmcarn and Newbridge, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire.-History:...

 • Abergavenny • Abersychan
Abersychan
Abersychan is a settlement and community north of Pontypool in Torfaen, Wales, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It has a population of 6,826.It lies in the narrow northern section of the Afon Lwyd valley...

 • Abertillery
Abertillery
Abertillery is a town in the county borough of Blaenau Gwent in South Wales, north-west of Newport, originally on the Great Western Railway. Its population rose steeply during the period of mining development in South Wales, being 10,846 in the 1891 census and 21,945 ten years later...

 • Bedwellty
Bedwellty
Bedwellty was a parish and urban district in Monmouthshire, South Wales, until 1974.The original ancient parish was very large, including most of the upper Ebbw and Sirhowy valleys...

 • Blaenavon
Blaenavon
Blaenavon is a town and World Heritage Site in south eastern Wales, lying at the source of the Afon Lwyd north of Pontypool, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. The town lies high on a hillside and has a population of 6,349 people...

 • Caerleon
Caerleon Urban District
Caerleon Urban District is a defunct district council. It was established under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1894 and comprised the parishes of Caerleon and Christchurch in the administrative county of Monmouthshire....

 • Chepstow
Chepstow
Chepstow is a town in Monmouthshire, Wales, adjoining the border with Gloucestershire, England. It is located on the River Wye, close to its confluence with the River Severn, and close to the western end of the Severn Bridge on the M48 motorway...

 • Ebbw Vale
Ebbw Vale
Ebbw Vale is a town at the head of the valley formed by the Ebbw Fawr tributary of the Ebbw River, south Wales. It is the largest town and the administrative centre of Blaenau Gwent county borough...

 • Llanfrechfa Upper • Llantarnam
Llantarnam
Llantarnam is a community and suburb of Cwmbran in the county borough of Torfaen in southeast Wales.Llantarnam Abbey is a Cistercian abbey founded in 1179 as a daughter house of Strata Florida Abbey...

 • Nantyglo and Blaina • Panteg
Panteg
Panteg is a village in the county borough of Torfaen, Wales. It is adjacent to Griffithstown, between the towns of Cwmbran and Pontypool. The village is best known for Panteg Steel Works, which finally closed in 2004....

 • Pontypool
Pontypool
Pontypool is a town of approximately 36,000 people in the county borough of Torfaen, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire in South Wales....

 • Rhymney
Rhymney
Rhymney is a town and a community located in the county borough of Caerphilly in south-east Wales, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. Along with the villages of Pontlottyn, Fochriw, Abertysswg, Deri and New Tredegar, Rhymney is designated as the 'Upper Rhymney Valley' by the local...

 • Risca
Risca
Risca is a town of approximately 11,500 people in South Wales, within the Caerphilly County Borough and the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It is today part of the Newport conurbation , though it is not a Ward of Newport City Council...

 • Tredegar
Tredegar
Tredegar is a town situated on the Sirhowy River in the county borough of Blaenau Gwent, in south-east Wales. Located within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire, it became an early centre of the Industrial Revolution in South Wales...

 • Usk
Usk
Usk is a small town in Monmouthshire, Wales, situated 10 miles northeast of Newport.The River Usk flows through the town and is spanned by an ancient, arched stone bridge at the western entrance to the town. A castle above the town overlooks the ancient Anglo-Welsh border crossing - the river can...

Rural districts Abergavenny • Chepstow
Chepstow Rural District
Chepstow Rural District Council was a rural district in the administrative county of Monmouthshire, Wales. It was established under the Local Government Act 1894, and was abolished in 1974 when its functions were assumed by the new Monmouth District Council.The responsibilities of the Rural...

 • Magor
Magor Rural District
Magor Rural District is a defunct district council. It was established under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1894 and comprised the parishes of Bishopston, Kemeys, Christchurch, Goldcliff, Langstone, Llandevenny, Llanwern, Llanvaches, Llanfarthin, Llangattock, Llanhennock, Magor, Nash,...

 • Monmouth • Pontypool • St Mellons
St Mellons Rural District
St Mellons Rural District is a defunct district council. It was established under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1894 from part of the existing Newport Rural Sanitary District...



In 1899 Abergavenny was incorporated as a borough. Two further urban districts were formed, Mynyddislwyn
Mynyddislwyn
Mynyddislwyn was a civil parish and urban district in Monmouthshire, south east Wales. It was abolished in local government reorganisation in 1974.The ancient parish of Mynyddislwyn covered a large part of the lower Ebbw and Sirhowy Valleys...

 in 1903, and Bedwas and Machen
Bedwas and Machen
Bedwas and Machen was an urban district in the administrative county of Monmouthshire from 1912 to 1974, In 1974 it became a community in the district of Rhymney Valley, Mid Glamorgan....

 in 1912. The County of Monmouth Review Order 1935
Local Government Act 1929
The Local Government Act 1929 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that made changes to the Poor Law and local government in England and Wales....

 revised the number and boundaries of the urban and rural districts in the administrative county. A new Cwmbran
Cwmbran
Cwmbrân is a new town in Wales. Today forming part of the county borough of Torfaen and lying within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire, Cwmbrân was established in 1949 to provide new employment opportunities in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield. Cwmbrân means Crow...

 urban district was formed by the abolition of Llanfrechfa Upper and Llantarnam UDs, Abersychan and Panteg UDs were absorbed by Pontypool urban district, and Magor and St Mellons RD
Magor and St Mellons Rural District
Magor and St Mellons Rural District was created on 1 April 1935 from Magor Rural District and St Mellons Rural District in the administrative county of Monmouthshire...

 was formed by a merger of two rural districts.

The last major boundary change to affect the administrative and geographic county was in 1938 when the parish of Rumney
Rumney, Cardiff
Rumney is a district in the east of the city of Cardiff, Wales. It lies east of the Rhymney River, and is historically part of Monmouthshire...

 was removed to be included in the county borough of Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

, and therefore the geographic county of Glamorgan.

Abolition


The administrative county of Monmouthshire and county borough of Newport were abolished in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972
The Local Government Act 1972 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales on 1 April 1974....

. Most of the area formed the new county of Gwent
Gwent (county)
Gwent is a preserved county and a former local government county in south-east Wales. It was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, and was named after the ancient Kingdom of Gwent....

, with parts going to the new Rhymney Valley
Rhymney Valley (district)
Rhymney Valley was one of six local government districts in Mid Glamorgan from 1974 to 1996.The district was formed from areas in the administrative counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire...

 district of Mid Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan is a preserved county of Wales. From 1974 until 1996, it was also an administrative county, with a county council.Mid Glamorgan was formed in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972...

 and Cardiff
Cardiff (district)
The Cardiff district was one of the two local government districts of South Glamorgan in Wales from 1974 to 1996.The district comprised the county borough of Cardiff and several surrounding parishes. Letters patent continuing the city status of the county borough were granted on April 1, 1974...

 district of South Glamorgan
South Glamorgan
South Glamorgan is a preserved county of Wales.It was originally formed in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, as a county council area...

. Successor districts of Gwent were Blaenau Gwent, Islwyn
Islwyn
The Borough of Islwyn was one of five local government districts of Gwent from 1983 to 2011.The district was formed under the Local Government Act 1972 from part of the administrative county of Monmouthshire, namely the urban districts of Abercarn, Mynyddislwyn and Risca, and the Bedwellty urban...

, Monmouth
Monmouth (district)
The Monmouth district was one of five districts of Gwent in Wales between 1974 and 1996. In 1988 the district was granted a charter conferring borough status, becoming the Borough of Monmouth .The district was created by the Local Government Act 1972 from the following parts of the...

, Newport
Newport (district)
The Newport district was one of the five local government districts of Gwent from 1974 to 1996. The district comprised the county borough of Newport and several surrounding parishes...

 and Torfaen
Torfaen
Torfaen is a county borough in Wales within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It was originally formed in 1974 as a district of the county of Gwent and in 1996 it was reconstituted as a unitary authority.-Education:...

.

Legacy


The name "Monmouthshire" was revived for one of the principal areas created on further local government reorganisation in 1996
Local Government (Wales) Act 1994
The Local Government Act 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which created the current local government structure in Wales of 22 unitary authority areas, referred to as principal areas in the Act, and abolished the previous two-tier structure of counties and districts...

. The principal area covers only part of the historic county, which also includes the principal areas of Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

, Torfaen
Torfaen
Torfaen is a county borough in Wales within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It was originally formed in 1974 as a district of the county of Gwent and in 1996 it was reconstituted as a unitary authority.-Education:...

, most of Blaenau Gwent
Blaenau Gwent
Blaenau Gwent is a county borough in South Wales, sharing its name with a parliamentary constituency. It borders the unitary authority areas of Monmouthshire and Torfaen to the east, Caerphilly to the west and Powys to the north. Its main towns are Abertillery, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and...

, and parts of Caerphilly
Caerphilly (county borough)
Caerphilly is a county borough in southern Wales, straddling the ancient county boundary between Glamorgan and Monmouthshire.Its main town is Caerphilly, and also the largest...

 and Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

.

The preserved county
Preserved counties of Wales
The preserved counties of Wales are the current areas used in Wales for the ceremonial purposes of Lieutenancy and Shrievalty. They are based on the counties created by the Local Government Act 1972 and used for local government and other purposes between 1974 and 1996.-Usage:The Local Government ...

 of Gwent
Gwent (county)
Gwent is a preserved county and a former local government county in south-east Wales. It was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, and was named after the ancient Kingdom of Gwent....

, which still exists for some ceremonial purposes, is similar in extent to historic Monmouthshire with the addition of the Rhymney Valley
Rhymney Valley
The Rhymney Valley is a valley encompassing the villages of Abertysswg, Fochriw, Pontlottyn, Tirphil, New Tredegar, Aberbargoed, Rhymney, and Ystrad Mynach, and the towns of Bargoed and Caerphilly, in south-east Wales, formerly famous for its coal mining and iron industries.-Geography:Created as a...

 area.

Ambiguity over Welsh status


Monmouthshire's Welsh status was ambiguous between the 16th and 20th centuries, with it considered by some as part of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

.

Between about the 5th and 10th centuries the Welsh Kingdom of Gwent covered a broadly similar but variable area. It then became part of Morgannwg, and shortly before the Norman conquest had become part of a unified kingdom of Wales
History of Wales
The history of Wales begins with the arrival of human beings in the region thousands of years ago. Neanderthals lived in what is now Wales, or Cymru in Welsh, at least 230,000 years ago, while Homo sapiens arrived by about 29,000 years ago...

 under Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn was the ruler of all Wales from 1055 until his death, the only Welsh monarch able to make this boast...

. At the time of the Domesday Survey
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 in 1086 the Chepstow and Monmouth areas were, for accounting purposes, reckoned as parts of the English counties of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire respectively. These areas, along with the rest of what would later become Monmouthshire, were subsequently included in a substantial swathe of land from Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is a county in the south west of Wales. It borders Carmarthenshire to the east and Ceredigion to the north east. The county town is Haverfordwest where Pembrokeshire County Council is headquartered....

 through south Wales to the Welsh Borders which was largely in the hands of the Marcher Lords
Marcher Lords
A Marcher Lord was a strong and trusted noble appointed by the King of England to guard the border between England and Wales.A Marcher Lord is the English equivalent of a margrave...

. These men were appointed by the English king, but their lands were not subject to English law. While the Principality of Wales
Principality of Wales
The Principality of Wales existed between 1216 and 1542, encompassing two-thirds of modern Wales.It was formally founded in 1216 at the Council of Aberdyfi, and later recognised by the 1218 Treaty of Worcester between Llywelyn the Great of Wales and Henry III of England...

 was made part of the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 by the Statute of Rhuddlan
Statute of Rhuddlan
The Statute of Rhuddlan , also known as the Statutes of Wales or as the Statute of Wales provided the constitutional basis for the government of the Principality of North Wales from 1284 until 1536...

, enacted on 3 March 1284, the administration of the Marcher lands was unchanged. From the 11th until the 16th centuries, the area which later became Monmouthshire (subject to some boundary revisions) comprised six Marcher lordships - Abergavenny
Abergavenny
Abergavenny , meaning Mouth of the River Gavenny, is a market town in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located 15 miles west of Monmouth on the A40 and A465 roads, 6 miles from the English border. Originally the site of a Roman fort, Gobannium, it became a medieval walled town within the Welsh Marches...

, Caerleon
Caerleon
Caerleon is a suburban village and community, situated on the River Usk in the northern outskirts of the city of Newport, South Wales. Caerleon is a site of archaeological importance, being the site of a notable Roman legionary fortress, Isca Augusta, and an Iron Age hill fort...

, Chepstow
Chepstow
Chepstow is a town in Monmouthshire, Wales, adjoining the border with Gloucestershire, England. It is located on the River Wye, close to its confluence with the River Severn, and close to the western end of the Severn Bridge on the M48 motorway...

 (or Striguil
Striguil
Striguil or Strigoil is the name which was used from the 11th century until the late 14th century, for the port and Norman castle of Chepstow, on the Welsh side of the River Wye which forms the boundary with England...

), Gwynllwg
Gwynllwg
Gwynllŵg was a kingdom of mediæval Wales and later a Norman lordship and then a cantref.-Location:It was named after Gwynllyw, its 5th century or 6th century ruler and consisted of the coastal plain stretching between the Rhymney and Usk rivers, together with the hills to the north...

 (Wentloog), Monmouth and Usk
Usk
Usk is a small town in Monmouthshire, Wales, situated 10 miles northeast of Newport.The River Usk flows through the town and is spanned by an ancient, arched stone bridge at the western entrance to the town. A castle above the town overlooks the ancient Anglo-Welsh border crossing - the river can...

.

The Laws in Wales Act 1535
Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542
The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 were parliamentary measures by which the legal system of Wales was annexed to England and the norms of English administration introduced. The intention was to create a single state and a single legal jurisdiction; frequently referred to as England and Wales...

 integrated Wales directly into the English legal system and the "Lordships Marchers within the said Country or Dominion of Wales" were allocated to existing and new shires. Some lordships were annexed to existing counties in England and some were annexed to existing counties in Wales, with the remainder being divided up into new counties, one of which was Monmouthshire.

Although the original Act of 1535 specifically includes Monmouthshire as being in the 'Country or Dominion of Wales' the Laws in Wales Act 1542
Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542
The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 were parliamentary measures by which the legal system of Wales was annexed to England and the norms of English administration introduced. The intention was to create a single state and a single legal jurisdiction; frequently referred to as England and Wales...

 enumerates the Welsh counties as twelve in number, excluding Monmouthshire from the count. Neither Act refers to Monmouthshire as being an English county; indeed, no Act of Parliament states that Monmouthshire has been removed from Wales and added to England. However, Monmouthshire was made directly responsible to the courts of Westminster rather than falling under the Court of Great Sessions in Wales
Court of Great Sessions in Wales
The Court of Great Sessions in Wales was the main court for the prosecution of felonies and serious misdemeanours in Wales between the second Laws in Wales Act of 1542 and the court's abolition in 1830....

. According to historian John Davies
John Davies (historian)
John Davies is a Welsh historian, and a television and radio broadcaster.Davies was born in the Rhondda, Wales, and studied at both University College, Cardiff, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He is married with four children...

, this arrangement was the cause of the erroneous belief that the county had been annexed by England rather than remaining part of Wales. He also says "Monmouthshire was no less Welsh in language and sentiment than any other eastern county".

Despite Monmouthshire being a new county, it was given two Knights of the Shire
Knights of the Shire
From the creation of the Parliament of England in mediaeval times until 1826 each county of England and Wales sent two Knights of the Shire as members of Parliament to represent the interests of the county, when the number of knights from Yorkshire was increased to four...

 in common with existing counties in England, rather than one as in the counties in Wales. The relevant section of the Act states that "one Knight shall be chosen and elected to the same Parliaments for every of the Shires of Brecknock
Brecknockshire
Brecknockshire , also known as the County of Brecknock, Breconshire, or the County of Brecon is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, and a former administrative county.-Geography:...

, Radnor
Radnorshire
Radnorshire is one of thirteen historic and former administrative counties of Wales. It is represented by the Radnorshire area of Powys, which according to the 2001 census, had a population of 24,805...

, Montgomery
Montgomeryshire
Montgomeryshire, also known as Maldwyn is one of thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Wales. Montgomeryshire is still used as a vice-county for wildlife recording...

 and Denbigh
Denbighshire (historic)
Historic Denbighshire is one of thirteen traditional counties in Wales, a vice-county and a former administrative county, which covers an area in north east Wales...

, and for every other Shire within the said Country of Dominion of Wales"
. However, it was given only one Borough member, like the other Welsh counties (apart from Pembrokeshire which had two Borough members and Merioneth which had none).

In ecclesiastical terms, most of the county outside the town of Monmouth itself remained within the Diocese of Llandaff
Diocese of Llandaff
The Diocese of Llandaff is a Church in Wales diocese. It is headed by the Bishop of Llandaff, whose seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Llandaff, a suburb of Cardiff...

; the town of Monmouth was in the diocese of Hereford, while the parishes of Cwmyoy and Llanthony were in the diocese of St David's. In 1549 Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

 granted a Charter to Monmouth which was described as being "in the Marches of Wales
Welsh Marches
The Welsh Marches is a term which, in modern usage, denotes an imprecisely defined area along and around the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods...

". Later writers who described Monmouthshire as being in Wales included Humphrey Llwyd (History of Cambria, 1568); Thomas Churchyard
Thomas Churchyard
Thomas Churchyard , English author, was born at Shrewsbury, the son of a farmer.-Life:Churchyard received a good education, and, having speedily dissipated at court the money with which his father provided him, he entered the household of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey...

 (Worthiness of Wales, 1587); and Michael Drayton
Michael Drayton
Michael Drayton was an English poet who came to prominence in the Elizabethan era.-Early life:He was born at Hartshill, near Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. Almost nothing is known about his early life, beyond the fact that in 1580 he was in the service of Thomas Goodere of Collingham,...

 (Poly-Olbion
Poly-Olbion
The Poly-Olbion is a topographical poem describing England and Wales. Written by Michael Drayton and published in 1612, it was reprinted with a second part in 1622. Drayton had been working on the project since at least 1598.-Content:...

, 1613).

However, in the late 17th century under Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 it was added to the Oxford circuit of the English Assizes following which, according to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, it gradually "came to be regarded as an English county". The Modern Universal British Traveller of 1779 stated: "Monmouthshire was formerly a part of Wales, and continued so till the reign of Charles II, when it was reckoned an English county (as it has been ever since) because the judges then began to keep the assizes here in the Oxford circuit."

A later traveller, George Borrow
George Borrow
George Henry Borrow was an English author who wrote novels and travelogues based on his own experiences around Europe. Over the course of his wanderings, he developed a close affinity with the Romani people of Europe. They figure prominently in his work...

 in 1862, wrote: "Monmouthshire is at present considered an English county, though certainly with little reason, for it not only stands on the western side of the Wye, but the names of almost all its parishes are Welsh, and many thousands of its population still speak the Welsh language."

Although Wales was legally integrated into England, the word "England" was still taken to exclude Wales in many contexts. The Wales and Berwick Act 1746
Wales and Berwick Act 1746
The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which created a statutory definition of "England" as including England, Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed. This definition applied to all acts passed before and after the Act's coming into force, unless a given Act provided an...

 ensured that "in all Cases where the Kingdom of England, or that Part of Great Britain called England, hath been or shall be mentioned in any Act of Parliament, the same has been and shall from henceforth be deemed and taken to comprehend and include the Dominion of Wales and Town of Berwick upon Tweed".

"Wales and Monmouthshire"


The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica unambiguously described the county as part of England, but notes that "whenever an act [...] is intended to apply to [Wales] alone, then Wales is always coupled with Monmouthshire". However, most Acts of Parliament listed Monmouthshire as part of England, for example the Local Government Act 1933
Local Government Act 1933
The Local Government Act 1933 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that consolidated and revised existing legislation that regulated local government in England and Wales...

 listed both the administrative county of Monmouth and county borough of Newport as part of England, but in the rare event that an Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 was restricted to Wales, Monmouthshire was usually included as "Wales and Monmouthshire". For example, although the Sunday Closing (Wales) Act 1881
Sunday Closing (Wales) Act 1881
The Sunday Closing Act 1881 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It required the closure of all public houses in Wales on Sundays. The Act had considerable political importance as a formal acknowledgement of the separate character of Wales, setting a precedent for future...

 did not apply to Monmouthshire, the creation of the Welsh Office
Welsh Office
The Welsh Office was a department in the Government of the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Wales. It was established in April 1965 to execute government policy in Wales, and was headed by the Secretary of State for Wales, a post which had been created in October 1964...

 in 1965 and the Welsh Language Act 1967
Welsh Language Act 1967
The Welsh Language Act 1967 , is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which gave some rights to use the Welsh language in legal proceedings in Wales and gave the relevant Minister the right to authorise the production of a Welsh version of any documents required or allowed by the Act...

 did (although the latter had the paradoxical effect of reinforcing the legal connection of Monmouthshire with England: see next section.) Both the Welsh Intermediate Education Act 1889, and the Welsh Cemeteries Act 1908, also applied to Monmouthshire. The Sunday Closing Act was also extended to Monmouthshire in 1915 under wartime legislation. In considering the Sunday Closing Act in 1921, Monmouthshire County Council resolved, with only one vote against, to request that the county should be included in Wales for all legislative purposes.

Another typical example was the division of England and Wales into registration areas in the 19th century — one of which, the "Welsh Division", was defined as including "Monmouthshire, South Wales
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

 and North Wales
North Wales
North Wales is the northernmost unofficial region of Wales. It is bordered to the south by the counties of Ceredigion and Powys in Mid Wales and to the east by the counties of Shropshire in the West Midlands and Cheshire in North West England...

".

It has been suggested that the question of the status of Monmouthshire arose in earnest in the 19th century, when some of the local gentry such as the Dukes of Beaufort established family seats in England, and many industrialists and others moved into Monmouthshire, particularly in the eastern part of the county. Some of these, and others with "social aspirations", considered it essential to emphasise their "Englishness", and there were attempts to refine the notion that anomalies in the 16th century legislation had made the county non-Welsh. The distinction implied in the description "Wales and Monmouthshire" was nurtured by elements of the establishment, and became increasingly accepted on the English side of the border and in central government, until the local Welsh residents more fully asserted themselves in the 20th century.

Twentieth century debate


Following the Welsh Church Act 1914
Welsh Church Act 1914
The Welsh Church Act 1914 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom under which the Welsh part of the Church of England was separated and disestablished, leading to the creation of the Church in Wales...

, the Church in Wales
Church in Wales
The Church in Wales is the Anglican church in Wales, composed of six dioceses.As with the primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Wales serves concurrently as one of the six diocesan bishops. The current archbishop is Barry Morgan, the Bishop of Llandaff.In contrast to the...

 was set up in 1920, containing within it the Diocese of Llandaff which included almost all of Monmouthshire. The new Diocese of Monmouth
Diocese of Monmouth
The Diocese of Monmouth is a diocese of the Church in Wales. Despite the name, its cathedral is located not in Monmouth but in Newport — the Cathedral Church of St Woolos. Reasons for not choosing the title of Newport included the existence of a Catholic Bishop of Newport until 1916...

 was formed in 1921. In Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 terms, the area thus came to be treated as part of Wales.

The question of Monmouthshire's status continued to be a matter of discussion, especially as Welsh nationalism and devolution climbed the political agenda in the 20th century. This sometimes led to heated debates in parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

. In 1921 the Earl of Plymouth
Robert Windsor-Clive, 1st Earl of Plymouth
Robert George Windsor-Clive, 1st Earl of Plymouth GBE, CB, PC , known as The Lord Windsor between 1869 and 1905, was a British nobleman and Conservative politician.-Background:...

 objected strongly to the inclusion of the county in legislation forcing the closing of public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s in Wales on Sundays. "I stand as strongly as I can for the privileges of Monmouthshire, to say it is a county of England." He went on to complain that Welsh representatives were imposing the ban "against the will of the people of Monmouthshire". During a debate on the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill in 1938, Lord Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 objected to the stipulation that the chairman of the Monmouthshire quarter sessions
Quarter Sessions
The Courts of Quarter Sessions or Quarter Sessions were local courts traditionally held at four set times each year in the United Kingdom and other countries in the former British Empire...

 should be a Welsh-speaker. Raglan stated that "The County of Monmouth is an English county. I do not think that will be disputed.." and he claimed that Welsh Nationalists had attempted to convince the Lord Chief Justice to move Monmouthshire from the Oxford Circuit to the South Wales Circuit, thereby making it part of Wales in matters of court administration. He alleged that these "persons unconnected with Monmouthshire" had claimed incorrectly that the inhabitants of the county "spoke nothing but Welsh".

In 1949, Monmouthshire was included within the remit of the Council for Wales and Monmouthshire, an appointed body established by the Government to advise on Welsh affairs and a precursor of the Welsh Office.

The Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) for Abertillery
Abertillery (UK Parliament constituency)
Abertillery was a county constituency centred on the town of Abertillery in Monmouthshire. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post system of election...

, Llywelyn Williams
Llywelyn Williams
Llywelyn Williams was a Welsh Labour Party politician.In November 1950 he was elected as Member of Parliament for the safe Labour seat of Abertillery in a by-election after the death of sitting MP George Daggar...

, campaigned to have Monmouthshire unambiguously placed in Wales. Speaking in the House of Commons in February 1957 he said "I think that it is about time we dropped this Wales and Monmouthshire business. Apart from a few cranks who search the files of the distant past for some very flimsy tokens of evidence to suggest that Monmouthshire belongs to England, no person acquainted with the county — its history, customs, place names, culture and way of life — would dream of regarding Monmouthshire people as anything but Welsh." Later in the year he asked Henry Brooke
Henry Brooke, Baron Brooke of Cumnor
Henry Brooke, Baron Brooke of Cumnor CH, PC was a British Conservative Party politician.-Political career:...

, Minister of Housing and Local Government and Welsh Affairs, "whether he will now remove from official documents and records relating to Wales the additional words 'and Monmouthshire', since Monmouthshire is included in the term Wales.". Brooke replied in the negative, as he did not think "such a course would be consistent with various statutory provisions relating to Monmouthshire."

The Local Government Commission for Wales
Local Government Commission for Wales
The Local Government Commission for Wales was established by the Local Government Act 1958 to review the organisation of local government in Wales and to make recommendations for its reform. It delivered its report in 1963 and was dissolved in 1967...

 established in 1958
Local Government Act 1958
The Local Government Act 1958 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom affecting local government in England and Wales outside London...

 included Monmouthshire within its review area, and in 1961 proposed merging the area into a new "South East Wales" county. The proposed inclusion of Monmouthshire in Wales infuriated Lord Raglan, by now Lord Lieutenant
Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire
This is a list of people who served as Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire. Before the English Civil War, the lieutenancy of Monmouthshire was held by the Lord Lieutenant of Wales, except for the period from 1602 to 1629, when it formed a separate lieutenancy in conjunction with Glamorgan...

 of the county. In reaction, a "Make Monmouthshire Welsh" campaign was launched in August 1961 to gain parliamentary recognition that the county was in Wales. In November 1961 it was announced that a branch of the Royal Society of St George
Royal Society of St George
The Royal Society of St George is an English patriotic society established in 1894 to encourage interest in the English way of life, and English customs and traditions. It operates from offices in Folkestone, Kent.-History:In 1415 St...

 was to be formed, emphasising the county's English identity. Two years later Monmouth Borough Council made representations to the Minister of Housing and Local Government seeking the transfer of the town to Herefordshire in the event that the reforms were carried out. Signs erected by Monmouthshire County Council welcoming motorists to Wales were defaced or removed. The County Council placed a revised sign at Monmouth stating "Welcome to Wales and Monmouthshire"; first, the words "..and Monmouthshire" were painted over, and then the words "..to Wales" were also obliterated.

The Welsh Office
Welsh Office
The Welsh Office was a department in the Government of the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Wales. It was established in April 1965 to execute government policy in Wales, and was headed by the Secretary of State for Wales, a post which had been created in October 1964...

, established in 1965, included Monmouthshire within its remit. The Wales and Berwick Act was repealed in regard to Wales in 1967 by the Welsh Language Act 1967
Welsh Language Act 1967
The Welsh Language Act 1967 , is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which gave some rights to use the Welsh language in legal proceedings in Wales and gave the relevant Minister the right to authorise the production of a Welsh version of any documents required or allowed by the Act...

, which however also continued to use the phrase "Wales and Monmouthshire". The Interpretation Act 1978
Interpretation Act 1978
The Interpretation Act 1978 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act makes provision for the interpretation of Acts of Parliament, Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England, Measures of the Church Assembly, subordinate legislation, "deeds and other instruments and...

 hence provides that in legislation passed between 1967 and 1974, "a reference to England includes Berwick upon Tweed and Monmouthshire".

Clarification of position in Wales


In 1969 George Thomas
George Thomas, 1st Viscount Tonypandy
Thomas George Thomas, 1st Viscount Tonypandy PC was a British Labour Party politician and Speaker of the House of Commons. Born in Port Talbot, Wales, he initially worked as a teacher in both London and Cardiff...

, Secretary of State for Wales
Secretary of State for Wales
The Secretary of State for Wales is the head of the Wales Office within the British cabinet. He or she is responsible for ensuring Welsh interests are taken into account by the government, representing the government within Wales and overseeing the passing of legislation which is only for Wales...

 proposed to fully incorporate Monmouthshire into Wales. Lord Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 5th Baron Raglan
FitzRoy John Somerset, 5th Baron Raglan .The 5th Baron Raglan was the son of FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan and the Hon. Julia Hamilton. He married Alice Baily, daughter of Peter Baily, in 1973. He and Alice were divorced in 1981. They had no children.The family seat is Cefntilla Court...

 (son of the former lord lieutenant), asked the following question in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

: "To ask Her Majesty's Government why they propose to incorporate Monmouthshire into Wales without consulting Monmouthshire's inhabitants." Replying for the government, Baroness Phillips
Norah Phillips, Baroness Phillips
Norah Phillips, Baroness Phillips, JP was a British Labour politician.Born Norah Mary Lusher, she was educated at Hampton Training College as a teacher...

 stated that "The purpose of the change is to remove the anomaly arising from the present need to refer to Monmouthshire separately from Wales in Statutes. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State believes that the proposal commands wide support in the county." In April of the following year Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

 MP Gwynfor Evans
Gwynfor Evans
Dr Richard Gwynfor Evans , was a Welsh politician, lawyer and author. President of Plaid Cymru for thirty six years, he was the first Member of Parliament to represent Plaid Cymru at Westminster ....

 asked Thomas "when he proposes to implement his undertaking that the phrase 'Wales and Monmouthshire' " will be dropped." The Secretary of State indicated that it would be after the passing of legislation to reform local government in Wales.

The issue was finally clarified in law by the Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972
The Local Government Act 1972 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales on 1 April 1974....

, which provided that "in every act passed on or after 1 April 1974, and in every instrument made on or after that date under any enactment (whether before, on or after that date) "Wales", subject to any alterations of boundaries..." included "the administrative county of Monmouthshire and the county borough of Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

"
.

Events since 1974


The English Democrats Party
English Democrats Party
The English Democrats are an English federalist political party, committed to the formation of a devolved English Parliament with at least the same powers as those granted to the Scottish Parliament. Whilst not supporting English Independence, the English Democrats consider themselves the English...

 nominated candidates for the 2007 Welsh Assembly elections
National Assembly for Wales election, 2007
The 2007 National Assembly election was held on Thursday 3 May 2007 to elect members to the National Assembly for Wales. It was the third general election. On the same day local elections in England and Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament election took place...

 in the South East Wales region, and three of six constituencies in the area of the historic county with a view to promoting a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 on 'Letting Monmouthshire Decide' whether it wished to be part of Wales or England. The party received 0.9% of the vote on the regional list, and between 2.2% and 2.7% of the vote in the constituencies and failed to have any members elected.

The Monmouthshire Association, a local society which promotes the county's identity, led a successful campaign to register a Flag of Monmouthshire
Flag of Monmouthshire
The Monmouthshire flag is the flag of the County of Monmouth. It was registered with the Flag Institute as the official flag of the county in 2011 although its origins date back to the 6th century.-History:...

 with the Flag Institute
Flag Institute
The Flag Institute is a research and documentation centre for flags and flag information, founded on St George's Day, 23 April 1971 by William Crampton and Captain EMC Barraclough CBE RN. Although not an official body, it is the principal advisor and designer of flags to the government of the...

 in September 2011.

See also

  • List of Lord Lieutenants of Monmouthshire
    Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire
    This is a list of people who served as Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire. Before the English Civil War, the lieutenancy of Monmouthshire was held by the Lord Lieutenant of Wales, except for the period from 1602 to 1629, when it formed a separate lieutenancy in conjunction with Glamorgan...

  • List of High Sheriffs of Monmouthshire
    High Sheriff of Monmouthshire
    This is a list of High Sheriffs of Monmouthshire, which was created in 1536 but not fully settled until 1540. The shrievalty was finally abolished in 1974 when the county and shrievalty of Gwent was created.-List of Sheriffs:Served under Henry VIII:...


Further reading

  • Bradney, Joseph History of Monmouthshire, 4 vols, 1904–1933; Pt 5, Aberystwyth 1993

External links