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September 2017
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Diary Dates

Ongoing – WW1 Exhibition in the Museum

Saturday 9th SeptemberOpen Day at the museum - see page 3 of the Newsletter

Wednesday 27th SeptemberRalph Robinson Memorial Lecture  The 3rd Battalion the Monmouthshire Regiment in World War 1 by Frank Olding  3pm Entry £3

Saturday 14th OctoberCoffee Morning – the Story of Harvest Festival

Saturday 11th NovemberCoffee Morning – Remembering Remembrance Day

Saturday 18th NovemberAGM 10am

DecemberChristmas Fayre (to coincide with Winterfest)

August 100 Club

No. 14             Val Sykes                              £20
No. 78             Jen Tuck                                £10
No. 2               Dennis Osland                         £5

Fundraising August - £ 319

The Scenic Railway

Last month we featured an article by Sally Murphy which included her memories of the Scenic Railway at Barry.  Unfortunately I somehow didn’t include the paragraph below drawing your attention to a video clip accompanying the article which Sally was posting on the museum’s Facebook page.  It makes great viewing so I hope you will look at it.

Barry's Scenic Railway 1966 - note the brakeman in centre seat.

I have a 15 second video clip of Barry’s Scenic Railway in operation which was taken by my father, Tom Wayne, with his Super8 Cine Camera in 1966.  The photo above is a still shot extracted from that video.  My mother and I are on the ride, sitting one or two seats behind the brakeman. To see the video clip visit the museum’s Facebook page.
Sally Murphy

The Museum’s Facebook page

As well as Sally’s video clip, our Facebook page includes information about various events, photographs and more, including ‘Museum Object of the Month .  If you haven’t yet looked at our facebook page, now is the time to try.  Where can you find it? Perhaps the easiest way is to go on the Museum website, click on ‘contact us’ and in the middle of that page you will see a large ‘f’.  Click on the ‘f’ and it will take you to our facebook page.

The Leopard Cup

Recently I was reading Frank Olding’s book ‘Discovering Abergavenny Archaeology and History’ and was intrigued to read his reference to the Leopard Cup. I looked up a little more information on the internet and hope you will find it interesting.

In 2003 this small bronze Roman cup, about 4.5 inches high, was found on farmland near Abergavenny. It is now held by the National Museum in Cardiff and is considered one of the finest Roman vessels ever found in Wales.  It is known as the Leopard Cup because the handle is shaped like a leopard and features silver spots and amber eyes – clearly an object of great worth and one which would have been very expensive in its time.  The cup had been placed in the ground upside down within a small pit that contained a cremation. When found, the handle had separated from the body of the cup but the vessel was otherwise well preserved and is assumed to have belonged to someone of status.

The cup has been described as ‘exquisite’ and has been subject to discussion as to its manufacture. The cup and handle are made of leaded bronze, the lead having been added to improve the quality of the casting. Notwithstanding the high quality of the craftsmanship, the silver spots are inlaid in a relatively crude way which has led to speculation that they may have been added later.

Similar cups have been found at Pompeii which was destroyed in AD79 and it is thought that perhaps the cup, imported from Italy in the first century, had been handed down through the generations before it was interred in the cremation burial.

Leopard Cup

The leopard and other large cats were often portrayed as companions of Bacchus, the god of wine and whose worship included drinking and feasting.  It is quite appropriate therefore that the Abergavenny Cup should have a leopard for the handle.


O what can you give me?
Say the sad bells of Rhymney

Is there hope for the future?
Cry the brown bells of Merthyr

Who made the mineowner?
Say the black bells of Rhondda

And who robbed the miner?
Cry the grim bells of Blaina

They will plunder will-nilly
Say the bells of Caerphilly

They have fangs, they have teeth
Shout the loud bells of Neath

To the south, things are sullen
Say the pink bells of Brecon

Even God is uneasy
Say the moist bells of Swansea

Put the vandals in court
Cry the bells of Newport

All would be well if-if-if
Say the green bells of Cardiff

Why so worried, sisters, why
Sing the silver bells of Wye.
Idris Davies

Peter Seegers, Bob Dylan and The Byrds are among the singers and bands who have used this poem of Idris Davies in their songs.  Idris Davies was born in Rhymney 1905 and died in 1953 .  His poems often speak of the Depression and the hardships felt by valley mining communities with whom he clearly felt a connection. He left school at fourteen to follow his father down the pits but some years later he left to train as a teacher and for much of his working life he taught in London, returning to teach in the Rhymney Valley after the Second World War.  He is credited with being one of a very few poets to cover significant events of the early twentieth century in the South Wales Valleys and coalfield.
Idris Davies initially wrote his poetry in Welsh and then changed to English in order to reach a wider audience.  The popularity of his poetry with singers has done much to make his verse more widely known than might otherwise be the case.

Open Day 9th September

We thought it would be a good idea to hold an open day at the museum as a way of attracting more visitors and reminding the local community about our work, and also to give people a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes.  Visitors will have the opportunity to visit the archive store, see a little of what is involved in conserving some of the museum items, and how we record items and photographs.  We will be serving tea or coffee and cake for £1.  Can you spare a little of your time that Saturday to help man the museum? Donations of cakes would also be appreciated. Perhaps most importantly, can you please help to spread the word about this event. We will have posters up in the town and will be contacting local schools and the local paper, but word of mouth is a good way of spreading information.  Let’s make this a day to remember.

Ralph Robinson Lecture

Frank Olding will be giving this year’s Memorial Lecture and, fittingly, it is set in the First World War.  Tickets cost £3 and we hope you will support this event which takes place at 3pm at the museum on Wednesday 27th September.  Please bring along a friend as the talk is open to the public, space permitting.

Used Stamps

There are a number of charities which welcome donations of used stamps and I am happy to send them off if you bring them into the museum but can you please remember that the charities need a 1cm border around each stamp in order to be able to sell them on to dealers.

Christmas Fayre

We know it is only September but given our need to raise £8,000 annually to cover the museum’s running costs, we need to try and ensure a successful event.  Once again it will be an all-day event, held on the same day as Winterfest in early December.  The reason for mentioning this now is to ask you to start putting together items which we can use on the stalls – all the usual items – chocolate bars for crackers, good quality bric a brac, toys, bathroom items, craft goods.  You can bring them into the museum whenever you find it convenient.


Our AGM this year will take place on the morning of Saturday 18th November, in the office in the museum.  Please come along.  It is usually over quite quickly but we have to have enough people to vote in the committee and discuss the future direction of the museum.

Drink up

Drinking hours have changed a great deal over the years.  Until 1869 pubs could stay open all day from 5am, except Sundays when hours of worship had to be avoided. Beerhouses had to close at 10pm and other premises at midnight.  That changed in 1869 with the Wine and Beerhouse Act which brought pubs under the control of local magistrates who could specify opening hours. A few years later, in 1881, the Sunday Closing (Wales) Act meant that all pubs in Wales had to close on Sundays, although clubs could continue to open.

The problem, real or perceived, of pub drinking on national production with the start of the First World War, led to the Defence of the Realm Act in 1914; its provisions included a restriction on opening hours with precise times being set locally. This meant 12-2.30 and 6-9 in Newport and Cardiff. Pubs were still closed on Sundays.

Hours were relaxed somewhat in 1921, the Licensing Act requiring pubs to open eight hours a day with a two hour break in the afternoon and exact times being set by local magistrates.  Wales was still dry on Sundays but that started to change in 1961 when a new act allowed local referendums to decide whether pubs should open or stay closed on Sundays. The referendums were held every seven years with more and more areas voting for Sunday opening; Welsh Sunday closing finally ended in 1996.
In the intervening years there were changes which meant variations in the opening hours and a change from ‘prescribed hours’ to ‘permitted hours’ so that a landlord could close early if he so wished.  Gradually more and more areas moved from 10.30 to 11pm closing. By 1987 only Cardiff and Nottingham pubs still had to close at 10.30 but that was the last year – by the following year they too could open until 11pm.

In 1988 all day (11-11) opening arrived on weekdays and in 1995 Sunday opening was extended Also that year, drinking up time was extended from 10 to 20 minutes.

The next big change was 2003 when publicans were allowed to apply for opening hours to suit their own particular businesses. Thanks to ‘Beer Necessities’ for the above details.

Editor’s note: I can remember in the late 60s, when I lived in Cardiff, people regularly drove those few miles out to St Mellons, then in Monmouthshire, for a little extra pub time.

I can also remember going to the island of Arran on a field trip (1967ish). Closing time in Scotland was 10pm and we would see men rush into the pub just before closing and line up several pints on the counter before stop tap.

Museum Maters

Obituary Sir Richard Hanbury-Tenison 1925 -2017

During the period 1996 when the museum had lost its home in the library Peggy and I were also members of Abergavenny History society. They were very kind to us allowing us to sell our bricks (£1 a brick) and our books helping us to raise more money for our new museum.

At that time we were also looking for a new President and Mr Gwyn Jones the chairman of the Abergavenny History society suggested that we ask Sir Richard Hanbury-Tenison, at that time the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent. He told us that Sir Richard was interested in local history and that when he got involved with anything he would not be just a figure head but would also actively help the organisation.  A letter was sent to Sir Richard and he agreed to become our president.

I did not know what the duties of Lord Lieutenant Duties were.  I found out that he was the Monarchs representative in the county and originally was responsible for raising the Militia and organising events for the Sovereign in his County. The role now was mainly for the latter.

Sir Richard supported us in many ways. He attended many of our lectures and other events, including a slide talk that I gave on Egypt after which he complimented me on saying that it was both factual and humorous, he also told me that he had spent some time in Egypt. Sir Richard had a great sense of humour asking me once did I know what B. A. stood for? I answered but his version was; Born in Abertillery. This was at a time when a lot of people from Abertillery held office in the Monmouthshire County Council.
Members of our society were invited to visit Clytha Park where we had tea on the lawn. Sir Richard was ill at the time but Peggy and I were allowed to see him in his study, we did not stay long so as not to tire him out.
On another occasion Peggy and I were invited to a Christmas party at Clytha Park, we were seated and Sir Richard came and stood by us; his grandchildren were sat around him. As we talked his sense of humour once again shone through.

Sir Richard was respected by both Peggy and myself. Over the years he was regarded not only as President of our society but also as a personal friend to both of us.

The Park Estate was left to John Hanbury’s daughter, Ruth Hanbury-Tenison who was married to General Gerald Tenison.  They had a son, Richard Hanbury-Tenison, in 1925.

Clytha Park

Sir Richard Hanbury-Tenison was the son of Major Gerald Evan Farquhar Tenison and Ruth Julia Margarette Hanbury. Sir Richard who lived on the family’s estate at Clytha Park married Euphan Mary Wardlaw-Ramsay, daughter of MajorArthur Balcarres Wardlaw-Ramsay, 21st  of Whitehill and of Tillicoultry and Hon. Mary Alexandra Fraser, on 12 May 1955.

The couple had five children, Jack, William, Capel, Sarah and Laura. Lady Hanbury-Tenison died in 2012.

Sir Richard joined the Army in 1943 and later joined the diplomatic service where he served until 1975. 

He was appointed Knight Commander; Royal Victorian Order (K.C.V.O.) on 28 September 1951 his name was legally changed to Richard Hanbury-Tenison by Royal Licence and he was appointed High Sherriff of Gwent in 1977, made Lord Lieutenant in 1979, a role he carried out until 2001, representing the Queen in the County. In 1995 he received a knighthood in recognition of his services.

bearlogoHe died 14th August 2017 at the age of 92.
Don Bearcroft




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