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Counties of Wales - Monmouthshire

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Serene, green Monmouthshire is many peoples’ introduction to Wales, as they drive across the border from England to South Wales. But it’s worth lingering a while to explore this scenic country, which is dotted with countless castles, enigmatic ruins and heritage waterways and walking trails, as well as some of the best restaurants in Wales.

Here for the castles? There’s no shortage of them in Monmouthshire. Kick things off in Chepstow, the Welsh town that butts up against the English border – you can even hop between countries on the Old Wye Bridge before exploring nearby Chepstow Castle, the oldest surviving post-Roman fortification in the whole of Britain. Dr Who fans might recognise the ruins from the 50th anniversary show.

 

Monmouthshire, Wales(c) Crown Copyright 

Next up: Caldicot Castle. This medieval fortress turned Victorian mansion is set within 55 acres of country park – complete with kids’ playground – and visitors can wander the gatehouse, climb one of the towers and marvel at the cannons in the courtyard. Heading north, the striking silhouette of Raglan Castle demands attention. Unlike many Welsh castles – built by English invaders – Raglan was built by Welshmen in 1435. Today only ruins remain, but wandering the moated towers and walls is enough to spark anyone’s imagination.

There’s not much left of Monmouth Castle, but the ruins are a reminder of a much grander past: this is the birthplace of Henry V, the king of England immortalised in Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Today the castle is one of just a handful of British castles in continuous military occupancy – in this case, as a regimental museum. While you’re here, wander the market town’s shops or stop for lunch at one of the pubs – The Gate House has a lovely beer garden overlooking the River Monnow.

In the county’s northernmost corner, in the verdant Vale of Ewyas, you’ll find Llanthony Priory, the imposing ruins of a 13th century Augustinian priory. There’s a charming historic hotel next door, which makes a great base if you want to view the ruins under a blanket of stars (photographers, you’ll want to bring your tripod).

Arguably even more impressive, the ruins of Tintern Abbey along the River Wye are much larger than Llanthony Priory, but far better known, so are usually more crowded. For a magnificent view of the abbey and its bucolic surrounds, take a short hike to the Devil’s Pulpit, a limestone rock shrouded by trees that complement the view like a picture frame.

To find out what local rural life was like in Monmouthshire over the centuries, save time for the volunteer-run Usk Rural Life Museum, which features exhibits on dairy farming, World War II, vintage tractors and more, plus a sweet little cafe. Usk is also home to another – you guessed it – castle ruin.

It’s worth spending some time on or along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, which is one of Britain’s prettiest waterways. Originally created to transport coal and iron around South Wales, today it’s all about leisure. Head to Goytre Wharf near Abergavenny to hire a canoe and hit the water, or walk or cycle along the canal. You can even hire a barge for the day if you’re feeling adventurous.

No trip to Monmouthshire is complete without experiencing the wonders of Abergavenny. The market town is a food lover’s dream, thanks to its abundant restaurants and regular markets. The Abergavenny Food Festival – one of the UK’s biggest and best-loved food festivals – is held here every September. Book a table at one of the region’s most lauded restaurants – such as The Gaff, The Hardwick or the Michelin-starred Walnut Tree – to sample the best of local cuisine. Need to work up an appetite first? Sugar Loaf hill, which sits within Brecon Beacons National Park, is just a short drive away and takes around an hour to summit.

101 Must-Do’ ways to live your regional connection.

Our 101 team have been working with local tourism, business, community and Council initiatives to bring you some of the best ways for you to live your connection to Monmouthshire.

Comments

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Birgit Blume

I am looking for Harris family members from London and Dublin. They were of jewish faith. I would appreciate any support/information, although I am not a relative. Joseph Harris (1793-1864, father Tsevi Hirsh) and Rachel Costa (about 1805-1866, father Benjamin Zeev Wolf) came from Poland, Breslau as I asume. They lived in London and had 9 children: Morris (Moses) (1823-1909), who moved to Dublin. Grandfather of William and Harry Sinclair, ... Lewis (1826-) Wolf (1829-) Deborah (1832-) Leah (1832-) Jane (1835-) Sarah (1840-) Catherine (1841-1908) married Robert Wade Probably at least one family member emigrated to America. Please help.
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Patricia Harris

I am looking for Harris coat of arms the one with a monkey on
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Rhonda Harris

I was born from the parents of Dennis Gerald Harris and Linda Diane Blair, I’m assuming we descend from Scotland and Ireland, I took a DNA test it showed I was Irish, Scottish and British can anyone help with the decency?
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Sherry Hathcoat

Trying to find the names of willis harris parents. He was born in 1814 virginia and married elizabeth ?. She was born 1812 north carolina. Willis had a son named charlie harris who married margaret tipton. Please help.
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Powell

Levi Powell born 1799 in North Carolina USA
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Margaret Herbert

My Ggrandfather Tom Price told his Daughter , when he got older, that his real surname was Powell. He changed his name when young , to go to sea as his Mother wouldn’t permit him to go. The family name has gone by Price all these years, I know he had Brothers, not sure of any Sisters, as 1 Brother came to visit from N.Wales on his motorcycle when my Mother, his GDaughter was around 13 yrs old. She lived with them for a while. On the census he said he was from Bodwrog, Anglesey. If there is anyone that has heard of him, Evan Tom Price , from relatives , I would love to hear from you. Cannot find out anything else except what’s on census,
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Powell

David and Phyllis Powell, of New York circa 1820-30? Came from England? I cannot find any other info.
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Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The Powell name has a long history in Wales, but now DNA and some recorded history says their origin is from the Emerald Island. The Powell story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup B2] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The Powell surname origin is from Clan Domnaill [DNA Tribe R1b-L513, Subgroup B1] and relations who remain in Ireland take the modern surname (O’)Donnelly, McDonald and Donohue in Ireland.
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Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) According to research, the Domnaill name is also found in Brittany, France. It is a very old name which appears in the 5th century Roman inscriptions as Dumnovellaunos in Brittany meaning “Deep Valour” equivalent to Irish Domhnaill. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Powell story begins in pre-history Ireland then moves to Wales where the family can be traced back to their Welsh tribe Cydifor Fawr. Many of his kin will then move to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.
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Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401207
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Billy M Mueller (Daniel)

My Paternal line is Daniel my Father was born Robert Ellis Daniel, my Grandfather was born Roscoe R Daniel and Great Grandfather was born John H Daniel would like to know if anyone has information on the original British or US Immigrant.
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Beverly Mcdaniel Collier

The only family history I have is questionable at best. The tree I have didn't list sources so I have to question it. But my great grandfather was James McDaniel from Hunt county Texas.
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Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The McDaniel name can be found in the British Isles, but its origin according to DNA is from the north-west coast of the Emerald Island. The McDaniel story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup A1] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The McDaniel surname origin is from a Northern Ui Neill [R1b-L513] tribe. The Cenél Eoghan and the tribes of Donegal conquered much of Ulster (Derry and Tyrone).
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Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) Cenél Eoghan will expand across northern Ireland with their cousins Cenél Conaill and the Northern Ui Neill between 500-800 BCE. The clans of Finn Valley have the same DNA as people from Gwened in Brittany. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The McDaniel story begins in pre-history Ireland then moves to Scotland as they form part of the Dalriada. Descendants of their tribe will then travel to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.
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Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401207
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Waters, Moss, Halloran, D

Hi my name is Kat, from Australia. I have several ancestors from Ireland from different countys. Im starting my ancesrty trail with my 2nd great grandfather, John Waters.

John Waters est dob 1820 from Killbeggan Westmeath?.
I cannot trace anything, this info was obtained from a birth cert. He came to Australia prior to 1846, as he had a child that year. He then married in 1851 to Margaret Halloran (daughter of Patrick Halloran dob1805 Tulla, Co.Clare & Mary Duggan dob 1815 Tulla, Co.Clare)
I ?cant find any details of him entering Australia (if he was a free settler or convict?) On a childs birth cert x marked his spot.

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Waters

Hi there, looking for any Waters family prior to Nicholas married Elizabeth Wiseman in 1728 Kilshannig by Mallow - Cork, Ireland. Family story the Waters came from France- any information welcome - thank you
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Derek Waters

Looking for the father of Patrick Joseph Waters, born 1817 in Wexford married Anne Ferry moved to Birkenhead, Died 1885, but I think some of his family emigrated to the United States. I've found a John Waters from Wexford born 1790 married Mary Wood as a possibility.
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Jane

Not known if James waters was born in Ireland or US. Born 1835
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Kathleen Wigley

Ancestry known back to Joseph Waters married to Agnes Marie Daly. Emigrated to U.S. shortly after marriage 1888/89 in Dublin. Cannot locate any ancestors prior.
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Daniel Vaughan

Daniel Vaughan, from Cork, Ireland. Now living in Vancouver, Canada. Father Donal Vaughan, Grandfather William Vaughan, and Great Grandfather Denis Vaughan (all from Tipperary, Ireland)
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Ashley Vaughan-Redwine

I’m married so my last name now Redwine but my maiden name was Vaughan. My Pawpaw was Albert Clarence Vaughan Jr. We are Texans and we were the only Vaughan’s that had an a. My entire life until now everyone said it wasn’t spelled incorrectly. Only other Vaughan with an A was Stevie Ray Vaughan also a Texan.
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Christopher

This is wild, yet not surprising... My name is Vaughan and I live in the US. I don't know if I'm going to like what I'll find but I want to know. ????
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Summer Vaughn-Littledave

Hello my maiden name is Summer Vaughn ( somewhere in recent history we lost the a at the end, my great grandpa spelled it vaughan). My dad is James T Vaughn, son of James Thomas Vaughn, my great grandpa was Tom "Tommie" Vaughn who married Suson Redbird, my great great grandpa I believe was Joe Douglas Vaughn. I would like to learn as much as possible about our family history. My great grandpa Tom Vaughn passed away due to Huntingtons on Christmas day when my grandpa was a young man and we don't know much about that family.
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Brooke Vaughan

My name is Brooke Allen Vaughan, my Father is John Victor Vaughan, Grandfather Clarence Vaughan, Great Grandfather Victor Vaughan. I was born in Edmonton Alberta Canada.
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Mary Lee

Hi, I was adopted but I did ancestry DNA and found out I come from Ireland and Wales and England and Scotland. My father's last name is Vaughn. I would love to know more family history from you and even get to know you and other family history.
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Vaughan

My name is Kerry Richard Vaughan, son of Cyril Dovaston Vaughan (deceased), grandson of Charles Vaughan and Laura Harding. I live in Saskatchewan Canada and I am interested in finding out more about my family tree. Can anyone help?
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William Anthony Cassell

I am interested in coming to Monmouth with a coach party of older people for a day trip and I would be grateful if you would send me details of what there is to see and do in the town. You can contact me via e-mail or by post to my home address:- W.A.Cassell 33 Clements Court Green Lane Hounslow TW4 6EB
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Top 9 Surnames from Monmouthshire

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Isle of Anglesey Gwynedd Conwy Denbighshire Flintshire Wrexham Ceredigion Powys Pembrokeshire Carmarthenshire Monmouthshire Blaenau Gwent Swansea Neath Port Talbot Torfaen Caerphilly Merthyr Tydfil Rhondda Cynon Taff Bridgend Vale of Glamorgan Cardiff Visit England 101