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Caerleon, Monmouthshire

Historical Description

Caerleon, a township in Monmouthshire, in the parish of Llangattock, and on the river Usk, 2½ miles NE of Newport, under which it has a post, money order, and telegraph office, and has a station on the G.W.R. Acreage, 526; population, 1411. Caerleon was an important Roman town under the name of Isca Silurum, and was the headquarters of the 2nd Augustan legion, and the capital of the province of Britannia Secunda. Akeman Street went from it to Cirencester, the maritime Julian Way passed through it from Bath to Neath and St David's, and the mountain Julian Way to Abergavenny, with a branch to Monmouth. The Roman city included a great fortress, and is said to have been superbly built, and about 9 miles in circuit. It is the traditional capital of King Arthur. A castle was built at the Conquest, and captured by Edward I. Christianity also made a figure here, both in pristine struggles with Paganism and in erecting establishments. Martyrs were slain, a monastery was founded at an early period and succeeded by an abbey before the time of King John, and a bishop's see was constituted by Dubricius, the opponent of the Arians, and removed by his successor David to Menevia, which then took the name of St David's.

The buildings have now nearly all perished, but very numerous small relics have been preserved, and some great substructions and mounds remain. A local museum, erected by the Caerleon Antiquarian Association, has a rich collection of the relics. The chief large remaining works are fragments of the walls of the Roman fortress, 12 feet thick and 1800 yards in circuit, an oval bank of earth, the vestige of the Roman amphitheatre, 16 feet high and 222 feet by 192, an artificial mound of doubtful character, 90 feet high and 300 yards round at the base, remains of the castle overhanging the Usk, ruins near the bridge, and a round tower near the old-fashioned inn, the Hanbury Arms. An old tradition regards the amphitheatre as the festival scene of King Arthur and his knights; popular nomenclature calls it King Arthur's Round Table.

Caerleon was formerly incorporated, and was governed by a mayor and burgesses; it is now governed by a local board. Most of the houses are old, and many of them are partly constructed with Roman bricks. The bridge is a handsome modern structure, in room of a curious old wooden one. There is a suburb on the other side of the bridge called Caerleon-ultra-Pontem. The church, which was restored in 1867, is partly Norman, chiefly Perpendicular, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch, and tower. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Llandaff; value, £302 with residence. Patron, the Dean and Chapter of Llandaff. There are Roman Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan chapels. A reading-room and library was opened in 1875. Caerleon is a seat of petty sessions. Fairs are held on the third Wednesday of Feb., 1 May, 20 July, and 21 Sept. There are malthouses and old established tin works in the neighbourhood.

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 
Civil parishHlangattock 
Poor Law unionNewport 
Registration districtNewport1837 - 1936
Registration districtCaerleon1936 - 1974

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

Directories & Gazetteers

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Newspapers and Periodicals

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