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Newport is called in Welsh Cas-newydd ar Wysg (Newcastle on Usk) and by the early Normans Newburg, and thus appears in MSS in 1263 and 1314.1 From having been an inconsiderable sea-port town it is now the most important place in the county both as regards its population and the export trade in coal. It is divided into the parish of St Woolos and the borough of Newport, the acreage of which is, St Woolos 2,950 acres of land, 84 acres of water and 234 acres of tidal water and foreshore, Newport borough 208 acres of land, 2 acres of water and 45 acres of tidal water and foreshore. Under the municipal corporations act the borough area has been extended, and includes part of Christchurch (Maindy) and Nash with a total of 10,605 inhabited houses, a population of 54,707 and rateable value of £ 269,080. The population within the original boundaries has been as follows: Year Number of inhabitants St. Woolos Newport 1801 288 1,135 1811 679 2,346 1821 951 1831 7,062 1881 23,509 10,423 1891 31,516 10,387 In 1815 the rateable value was, St Woolos £ 4,055, Newport £ 7,935. Though the church of St Woolos and the parish go back to early times, the town of Newport owes its origin to Robert, earl of Gloucester, who commenced building the castle. He died in 1147. As a port it took the name of the New port because it supplanted Caerlleon which had hitherto been the port at which ships unloaded, Caerlleon then being the only town in this district. But the Welsh people preferred to call the new town Cas newydd (new castle), the strength and appearance of which served to remind them of their Norman conquerors. And so to this day in the Welsh language it remains Cas newydd. In Latin deeds and charters it is Novus Burgus, the new borough. With the granting of the charter to Newport in the year 1314 it became a prosperous town, while Caerlleon was reduced to Newport a village. Alexander Neckham, abbot of Cirencester, who died in 1217, says in his poem de Laudibus2 At Wigomia pontificum sublimis honore Urbs quoque Sabrinis Claudia gaudet aquis Intrat et auget aquas Sabrini fluminis Oska Princeps, testis erit vilia strata mihi. [But Worcester exalted by the honour of bishops, The city also of Claudia3 rejoices in the waters of Severn The Usk enters and increases the waters of the river Severn. The chief one to do so, the bad roads bear me witness.] It has been suggested that, instead of vilia, Julia should be read, making strata singular which it often is in late writers, this referring to the Via Julia, the Roman road from Caldicot to Caerlleon. And further on the poet has Inde vagos Vaga Cambrenses hinc respicit Angli Quos ad certamen provocat ira frequens [On one side the Wye views the wandering Welshmen, on the other the English, Whom constant anger provokes to contest] By the year 1265 Newport had become a place of some importance and was devastated by Simon de Montford in May 1265 who had then made a treaty with prince Llewelyn ap Gruffydd.4 At e contra Simon de Monte Forti castrum de Monemute, quod nuper comes Gloucestriae in suam receperat ditionem, obsedit iterum, cepit, atque prostravit. Exinde gressus suos dirigentes rex et ipse in interiorem Walliam versus Glamorgan ut navibus conductis usque Neweporte in hostio fluminis Oscae situm per mare Sabrinum Bristollas pertransirent terram contra ripam predictam et ultra ferro et flamma hostiliter fecit idem comes devastari, scilicet manu Lewelini principis, vi potitus auxiliari, nec muliebri nec aetati infantili differebatur, quin uterque sexus alicubi tarn in ecclesiis quam extra misere cruciaretur atque crudeliter captivaretur. [But on the other hand Simon de Montfort again besieged, took, and levelled the castle of Monmouth which the earl of Gloucester had lately got into his power. Then the king and he directing their steps to the inner part of Wales towards Glamorgan so that they might cross over to Bristol in hired ships from Newport situated at the mouth of the river Usk on Severn sea. the said earl devastated the land on the aforesaid bank and beyond with sword and fire, namely with the troops of Llewelyn, having gained auxiliary forces, he spared neither women or children but both in churches and outside cruelly tortured them and took them prisoners.] The town was attacked and taken in the year 1317 by Hugh le Despencer senior and Hugh junior.5 The younger one had married Eleanor,