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Usk, Monmouthshire

Historical Description

Usk, a market-town, a township, the head of a county court district, and a parish in Monmouthshire. The town stands on the river Usk and the Julian Way, 7 miles SE of Pontypool, 11 NE of Newport, 13 SW of Monmouth, and 157 by railway from London. It has a station on the Pontypool Road, Monmouth, and Ross branch of the G.W.R., and a post, money order, and telegraph office under Newport. Usk occupies the site of the Roman Burrium, was known to the ancient Britons as Brynbega, and acquired a castle and a Benedictine nunnery, founded by the Clares, in the first half of the 13th century. It was chartered by Roger Mortimer in 1398. The corporation was abolished by the Municipal Corporations Act of 1883, and the town is now governed by a district council. It unites with Monmouth and Newport in sending a member to Parliament. The town-hall is now used chiefly for public meetings, concerts, &c. The sessions house is a large handsome building, erected in 1877, and used for petty sessions, county courts, quarter sessions, and district council meetings. H.M. Prison has a capacity for 200 prisoners. The church is a large edifice, originally cruciform, and attached to the Benedictine nunnery. It now consists of chancel, nave, N aisle, and a large central embattled tower, which was restored in 1870. It contains some ancient brasses and memorial windows. There are Roman Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels, and an endowed grammar school, founded in 1621. A stone bridge of four arches crosses the river Usk. A weekly newspaper is published. There are two banks. Wood-turning and chair-making are carried on. Markets are held on Fridays, a cattle market on the first and third Monday in the month, and fairs on 20 April, Trinity Monday, 29 Oct, and 16 Dec. The castle passed from the Clares to the Mortimers and to the Crown, went after the time of Henry VII. to the Herberts, suffered much injury from Owen Glendower, and utter dismantling by the Parliamentarian troops in the Civil Wars of Charles I., and is now represented by ivy-clad ruins and a round tower, and belongs to the Beaufort family. The priory has been rebuilt, and was considerably enlarged in 1894. The township comprises 406 acres; population, 1417; of the parliamentary borough, 1447. The parish includes also Gwehelog and Glascoed hamlets for ecclesiastical purposes, and comprises 4963 acres; population, 1956. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Llandaff; net value, £113 with residence.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyMonmouthshire 
Ecclesiastical parishUsk St. Mary 
Poor Law unionPont-y-Pool 
Registration districtPontypool1837 - 1974

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

For births, marriages, and deaths in Usk from 1837 to 1974 you should search for the Pontypool Registration District.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Usk from the following:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers online: