President: Sir Richard Hanbury Tenison Chairman: Peter Strong 8 Pentonville, Newport, South Wales (01633) 213229 County Hall, Cwmbran, Torfaen NP44 2XH Email: GWENT LOCAL HISTORY Formerly Presenting Monmouthshire Number 93 Richard Blome's map of Monmouthshire, published in 1673 (and reproduced in this journal), reminds us of what a richly diverse history the county can boast and how its history has been shaped by its geography. The county's maritime southern zone is conspicuous in Blome as is its upland (mineral-bearing) north-western region and, noting the superabundance of its Welsh placenames, we are ever conscious of Monmouthshire's proximity to England. The contents of this issue of the journal, it is hoped, reflect something of this diversity. Nonconformity in Bristol had an early influence in the nearby Welsh county and the dissenting tradition remained a feature of Monmouthshire's character from the Seventeenth Century on. The influence of both river and sea has always been a powerful one and two articles throw further light on this aspect while the poignant social cost of the county's industrial past is captured in the account of the Milfraen Pit Explosion. Finally Peter Morgan Jones takes a fresh look at the Chartist attack on Newport to remind us that historical events ought to be revisited and rethought from time to time. History, is, after all, an ongoing 'process' of interpretation rather than a body of unchallengeable statements. We hope that the contents of this journal play a positive role in this process. Secretary: Jenny Render Editor: Tony Hopkins Gwent Record Office Autumn 2002