This is a passage from Fred Hando’s work which is published courtesy of Chris Barber. In this edition, Hando talks of his travels, including passing various inns and taverns.

OLD inhabitants aver that there was once a peal of bells in the church tower. On the present couple, one, inscribed Lewis Llewllyn: John Phillip Edward.

Anna 1662 was recast in 1922 and hangs above the older bell which is inscribed R 0 lenkin Richard William Watkins Smith 16 - two further examples of the insistence on immortality of the churchwardens at the end of Cromwell's regime and the beginning of the new reign.

These bells have been housed for the last thirty years in an extraordinary spirelet which with its pinnacles and crockets has impressed some writers as elegant, but is actually out of scale and harmony with this simple village church. Strolling around the church, I noted the projection which contains the stairs to the vanished rood-loft, some ancient windows retained during the rebuilding, and everywhere signs of loving care which showed that St. Helen's church still holds a warm place in the hearts of the village folk. Within the church the same care was evident and among ancient relics preserved is the original font which at some time must have been used outside as a sun-dial.

Down in the village, under the spreading chestnut tree, I met the village blacksmith - a mighty man, with a halo of silver curly hair. As we stood watching the cars flashing past towards Abergavenny or Llanover, he commented, 'I wonder if they realise that the road here is hollow. The cellars of the old Hanbury still exist under the road.' Llanelen, I gathered, had three inns - the Ilanbury,' the 'Lion' and the 'Butchers' Arms.' Lady Llanover converted the Hanbury into a temperance house which she named "Y Seren Gobaith" - 'The Star of Hope' - and closed the other two taverns.

Long before the days of her ladyship there were 'great doings' at Llanelen 'up in the Punchbowl,' and he pointed to the mountain.

Cromwell's men were encamped, and when the Royalists came a great battle took place, and do you know?' - in a low voice - 'when we were digging a grave in the churchyard some years back we found, 18 inches beneath the surface, ten skulls - four here, three here, two here, and one there, in the form of a square - all reminders of that battle.'

At Llanelen House adjoining the churchyard, lived from 1840 onwards Sir Thomas Phillips*, who had been mayor of Newport in 1939 and was knighted for the part he played in repelling the Chartists. In later years he wrote the charming biography of James Davies, the saintly schoolmaster of Devauden, and attended on Sundays the services in Welsh, at Llanelen church.

`From his house,' said the blacksmith, 'a secret passage leads to Caste11 Pridydd Abergavenny Castle, and another to Llanover and Coldbrook' - which seemed some Lat an extended, even in this country where secret passages are of abnormal length! F.J.H. omitted to mention that is in the corner of the churchyardt the grave of Sir Thomas Phillip Editor. It is surrounded by iron railings.

Continue along the A4042 to reach Llanover• spite of the injunction to go slow, the motorist travels through Llanover at too great a In s speed to spare a glance right or left. Yet Llanover, either the 'model village' on the main road or p the ancient secluded hamlet on the river bank, is well worthy of a visit. Surely no more delectable countryside could be imagined. Against a background of mountains the colours of which change from moment to moment like shot silk, embossed among the noblest trees in the country, and threaded by one of the fairest reaches of the Usk, this en's best efforts in converting it into a site for a village. green land called for m

The Old Duke' inn, now the "Gwesty Dirwestol' temperance house,

Llanover How pleasant - how unusually pleasant - it is to record that in the riverside hamlet, the park.and the model village, the church and the chapel, the great houses and the cottages reach a standard in their design and materials rivalling the best in Cotswold architecture. What is equally important, the interior planning of Llanover homes displays knowledge of the needs of the housewife, and provides the spaciousness and comfort to gracious living.

To find this tavern you must journey upwards for nearly two miles above the village. As far as I can determine, the seven inns were the Nag's Head, now the post office, the Old Duke, The Goose and Cuckoo, the Oak and the Seren Gobiath.