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Program 114
Newport, WalesHighlightsLocation

Situated on the Usk River in southeast Wales, Newport is widely known throughout the UK as the gateway between England and Wales.

And like so many places in Britain, Newport is a town where history comes at you from all sides. Around A.D. 75, the Romans set up a fortress at nearby Caerleon—as far inland as they could bring supplies by ship—and used the site as a legionary outpost for over 200 years. When the Romans left, sometime around the year 290, they destroyed most of the main buildings at Caerleon.

But Newport itself was just a small fishing and market town until the coming of the industrial age at the beginning of the 19th century. The town began to grow rapidly, and flourished. The canal system was used to bring down coal and iron from the valleys for shipment, and soon Newport's docks were doing more business than almost any other port in the United Kingdom.

Newport was also the dramatic scene of labor uprisings in the early 19th century by iron workers and coal miners—now remembered as the Chartists—who were agitating to gain the charter, or the right to vote. In the early hours of November 1839, 5,000 men who worked in the valleys of Monmouthshire mounted an advance on Newport. They were met near the Westgate Hotel by a group of 30 soldiers of the 45th Regiment, who fired on the crowd. The Chartists suffered the loss of some 22 men, but although they were not successful that day, they eventually won their cause.

Two miles from the center of Newport stands Tredegar House, one of the architectural wonders of Wales. It was the home of the Morgan family, who played an important part in developing the fortunes of the Newport area. They lived magnificently at Tredegar House for over 500 years, their estates stretching through Monmouth, Glamorgan , and the Brecon Beacons. The town's favorite member of the Morgan family was Godfrey. He donated land generously to establish Newport's health and education facilities. Godfrey Morgan was a survivor of the horrors of war, having taken part in the ill-fated charge of the Light Brigade on October 25, 1854, during the Crimean War. The bloody battle was made famous by Lord Tennyson's poem soon after. Godfrey was so grateful to have survived the carnage that when his horse, named Sir Briggs, finally died, he had him buried in the garden at Tredegar House.

In 1974 a bright new chapter began for the former home of the Morgans when Newport Borough Council bought Tredegar House and 90 acres of parkland. Great Britain's grandest council house was recently voted one of the top tourist attractions in the country. But for all its historic interest, Newport is today also widely known for its lively and diverse artistic, leisure, sporting, and cultural scenes, with appeal to people of all ages and tastes.

To learn more about Newport, visit:


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