Abergavenny

Abergavenny Market

Rother House

First published in Town guides

Abergavenny today is perhaps most famous for its markets. Each Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, the retail market is held in the centre of town. The spacious 19th century Market Hall is used for a variety of markets, craft fairs and antique and collector's markets.

Amongst the festivals held here are the Abergavenny Arts Festival at the end of July and the Abergavenny Food Festival in September.

The town is a gateway to the Brecon Beacons, and combined with the Sugar Loaf, Blorenge and Skirrid Fawr hills, give Abergavenny spectacular surroundings.

In Abergavenny itself, there are many buildings rich in history. St Mary's church on Monk Street is no exception. Established in 1090 by Hamelin de Ballon as a priory, it became Abergavenny's parish church after the reformation. St Mary's holds the second most important collection of medieval monuments of any parish church in Britain.

Although many of the buildings in the town seem to be 18/19th century, many are much older. This is particularly true of Nevill Street and Market Street. On Nevill Street, lies what was formerly a pub called the Cow Inn. Built in the 15th or 16th century, it was the town house of the Vaughans of Tretower, whose arms can be seen carved on the window sills. It was extended in the 18th century, when it became the Cow Inn. The distinctive cow's heads were carved at this time. Market Street, meanwhile is an example of a 16th century street with raised pavements and jettied (overhanging) first floor.

On Cross Street, the Gunter House can be seen. Here, secret Catholic services were held in the 17th century when such practices were illegal. Two priests, David Lewis and Philip Evans who were hidden here by the owner, Thomas Gunter J.P., were executed in 1678. A fresco depicting the nativity was uncovered here in 1907, and now resides in Abergavenny Museum.

The town's museum in Castle Street also has recreations of a Victorian Welsh farmhouse, and a Saddler's workshop. Whilst much of the castle is in ruins, the keep was restored in the 19th century.

Acknowledgements: Hando's Gwent, Chris Barber ed. Blorenge Books Shire County Guide - Anna Tucker Abergavenny in the Twentieth Century - Abergavenny Civic Society

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