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 Caerleonas far inland as they could
bring supplies by shipand 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 minersnow remembered as the
Chartistswho 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: www.newport.gov.uk.