History of Beaufort
(Welsh: Cendl or Y Cendl) is a village and community located in the historic county of Brecknockshire (Breconshire) 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 2011 census, the population of the ward of Beaufort is 3,866 with the community of Beaufort being 10,210.
The settlement arose on the boundary of two parishes, Llangattock in Brecknockshire and Aberystruth in Monmouthshire on the 1779 establishment of the Beaufort Iron Works by Edward and Jonathan Kendall (Cendl) after whom the new settlement was first named. NB The photograph is of the 'New Rassau estate'. Built late fifties-seventies. The information above, pertains to the village commonly known as 'The Old Rassau', but recognised by the local Authority as one community called 'Rassau'.
The village's name derives from the fact that much of the local land was originally owned by the Duke of Beaufort. The border between Beaufort and Ebbw Vale itself is generally considered to be the Ebbw River which passes close to St David's Church (Church in Wales).
Presumably so-called because of the presence of Carmel Chapel, lies between the Rassau and the rest of Beaufort. Confusingly, the 'rest of Beaufort' (i.e. geographically the eastern part of Beaufort) is frequently simply referred to as 'Beaufort' or 'Beaufort Hill'.
The Rhyd Y Blew
The name means 'Ford of the Hairs' where 'blew' is used as a metaphor for small areas of grass found either side of the ford, i.e. the hair of the earth not that of animals. This was an old coaching inn and a changing stop for horses on the long run from Fishguard to London. Dowlais stop was the previous halt while the next was the Beaufort Inn (now Cendl Inn) which at 1350ft was the highest point on the road. Unmarried Agents (senior managers) of the local iron works companies lodged at the Rhyd-y-Blew, a drovers' inn, probably the hunting lodge of the Duke of Beaufort who carried out an annual rough-shoot of the area. The inn was at the end of the toll road from Merthyr Tydfil and for the rest of the year provided the drovers’ animals very good pasture and water in the Ebbw river. Suffolk-born William Partridge, a senior manager at Beaufort Iron Works married Charlotte Bevan, daughter of the Rhyd-y-Blew’s innkeeper, and remained in charge of the Beaufort iron works until his early death in 1862.
The eastern end of Beaufort is more densely populated than Carmeltown or the border areas of Rassau or Brynmawr. Beaufort was administratively part of Brecknockshire, but was transferred to the administrative county of Monmouthshire as part of the urban district of Ebbw Vale in 1888. However, even in the 1920s, 'Beaufort Breconshire' was still widely used in postal correspondence. Subsequent local government changes incorporated it into the Blaenau Gwent district of Gwent in 1974 and the unitary authority of Blaenau Gwent in 1996.
Beaufort and parts of nearby Badminton and Rassau are widely seen as being some of the most affluent areas in the County. House prices in these areas are some of the most expensive in the area, with a new housing development at the top of Beaufort Hill being developed with house starting around £200,000 - £300,000.
The village also has a theatre with a ballroom where many famous people played at the start of their careers. One of the most famous was Tommy Scott who later went on to become known worldwide as Sir Tom Jones.
Up until 1958 the village was served by Beaufort railway station, a station on the LNWR railway line from Abergavenny - Merthyr.
In 2010 the Beaufort community (civil parish) was replaced by three smaller communities, named Beaufort (including the village and the area to the north), Badminton (to the south) and Rassau (to the west).
For a more detailed history of the village of Beaufort, please click on the link to its Wikipedia page.
History of the Hall
Beaufort Hill Welfare Community Hall (BHWCH) was established in 1933, built by the miners who had one penny deducted from their weekly salary. It officially opened in 1934 and since then, it has become a social and community hub with groups of all ages from toddlers to the elderly using the hall.
There is an official car park adjacent to the centre and a school opposite which has used the changing rooms within the centre. BHWCH manages and maintains the Community Hall for the benefit of all residents within the Beaufort Hill district.
The Programme of the Official Opening of the
New Hall and Institute on Saturday 28th July 1934
The Management Committee 1948
Back Row (L to R)
Mr Bowen, William Priddy, Bert Roberts, Eddie Thomas, Elwyn Price, William Davies
Front Row (L to R)
Ivor Jones, Haydn Thomas, Joe Davies (Secretary), William John Davies (Chairman), Bryn Evans, Phil Huish (Treasurer), Boffy Thomas