President: RICHARD HANBURY TENISON Secretary: ARTHUR DAVIES 8 Pentonville, Newport, Gwent Editor: MRS. ANNA TUCKER 'Hadlow', Llanwenarth Citra, Abergavenny, Gwent NP7 7EY GWENT LOCAL HISTORY Formerly "Presenting Monmouthshire" No. 64 EDITORIAL The weather for the 1987 annual day school was as different from the balmy late summer's day chosen in 1986 as the venue. From the southern lowland flats bordering the Severn estuary, members of the Gwent Local History Society ventured into the northern mountainous regions of Gwent. The day school was hosted by the Brynmawr and District Local History Society who told us how Brynmawr and the Clydach valley (which was the subject of the day) had only recently joined Gwent or, as was amicably argued, vice versa. During the 1974 Local Government reorganisation the county's name and border changed, from 'Monmouthshire' to 'Gwent' and for Clydach which had formerly lain in the county of Brecknockshire a new address. On a very wet, cold and cloudy morning members arrived to be cheered by a very welcome cup of coffee accompanied by delicious Welsh cakes. Despite the inclement weather it was in fact a good time to visit the area, as the beech woods growing on the south side of the valley were bright with their glorious autumnal foliage. The morning began with a talk by Derek Parr (Treasurer of the Brynmawr Local History Society) on the geology of the area and the Clydach Gorge in particular. He said his talk would be as 'dry as dust' but it proved fascinating as the geology and geography have determined the future history of the gorge. The rocks of the area were laid down under various climatic conditions; sandstone (the surface stone) when the area was under the sea, coal measures when it was swampy and tropical (difficult to imagine on a cold Welsh day!), millstone grit and below this limestone and red standstone again laid down under the sea. The area has relatively thin seams of ironstone and coal mixed together (one particularly rich strata surfacing at Beaufort was known as the 'Black band' added considerably to the fortunes of the two Bailey brothers). There was no need for scouring before the raw materials went into the furnace. Originally the Clydach river cut the western valley of Ebbw but in a classic case of 'river capture' it turned off at right angles to flow into the Chairman: A. G. MEIN Spring 1988