ELEVEN streets in the Gwent region were found to be named after people with definite personal culpability in relation to the slave trade or the British Empire, according to the findings of report into public monuments, street and building names in Wales associated with the slave trade and the British Empire.

The report was commissioned by First Minister Mark Drakeford in July in response to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests.

Published today, the audit was led by Gaynor Legall, and shows the slave trade was embedded in the Welsh economy and society and reflected in many statues, street and building names today.


It identified 209 monuments, buildings or street names, located in all parts of Wales, which commemorate people who were directly involved with the slavery and the slave trade or opposed its abolition.

Of the streets in the Gwent region, Clarence Road and Clarence Street in Pontypool were found to be likely named after King William IV (Duke of Clarence), who spoke out strongly and on many occasions in favour of plantation owners and against abolition of the slave trade.

Drake Close in Ringland was named after Sir Francis Drake. His first transatlantic voyages were as a slaver, under the command of his cousin John Hawkins, who Hawkins Crescent in Newport is named after.

South Wales Argus:

Sir Francis Drake.

Jervis Walk in Ringland is named after John Jervis, Earl St Vincent, who spoke against the slave trade abolition bill of 1807 on the grounds that the nation would lose revenue.

Kitchener Street in Pontypool was named after Horatio Herbert Kitchener, who the audit found was heavily criticised for his actions as Chief of Staff in South Africa during the Second Boer War.

Henry Morgan Close by Tredegar Park was named after Henry Morgan, who owned three plantations at the time his death and was a cousin of the Morgans of Tredegar.

Picton Street in Rhymney, Picton Road in Abersychan, Picton Street in Griffithstown, and Picton Place in Beaufort were found to be named after Thomas Picton, who was a plantation owner and drew up a slave code that was designed to control the enslaved population through torture and exemplary executions.

And with further 33 streets, it was either uncertain if the street name was commentating a particular person or the person's culpability was uncertain.

These included 10 named after William Ewart Gladstone, Jim Crow Square in Croesyceiliog - which has been claimed to be named after an English seaman Jim Crow, rather than the racist stereotype - five streets and the community of Nelson, named after Lord Nelson, and several streets named after Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington as well as others possibly named after Henry Charles Somerset, Marquess of Worcester, 6th Duke of Beaufort, who voted against the abolition of the slave trade in 1796.

Four buildings named after people with definite personal culpability. These were King William IV pub in Brynmawr and the former King William IV pub in Newport, Columbus House, the Ministry of Justice building in Langstone - named after Christopher Columbus, and The Picton Arms in Newport, named after Thomas Picton.

South Wales Argus:

The Picton Arms in Newport, named after Thomas Picton. Picture: Google Street View.

The audit findings highlighted four more Gwent buildings where it's either uncertain if its commentating a 'person of interest' or the person's culpability was uncertain.

These were Lord Nelson Inn in Nelson and Lord Nelson Hotel in Pontlottyn, both in Caerphilly, as well as Nelson Museum in Monmouth and the former pub The Wellington Inn in Monmouthshire.

Two monuments in Gwent were found to be named after or dedicated to people with uncertain culpability - Lord Nelson’s Seat and Nelson’s Garden in Monmouth and The Naval Temple at The Kymin.

Speaking after the publication of the report, Mr Drakeford said: “While the tragic killing of George Floyd happened almost 4000 miles away, it sparked global action that shone a light on racial inequality in society today.

“That inequality exists in Welsh society too and we must work towards a Wales which is more equal. To help us do this, we need a clear understanding of the legacies of the slave trade and the British Empire. This audit provides important evidence which helps us establish an honest picture of our history.

“This is not about rewriting our past or naming and shaming. It is about learning from the events of the past. It is an opportunity for us to establish a mature relationship with our history and find a heritage which can be shared by us all.

“This is the first stage of a much bigger piece of work which will consider how we move forward with this information as we seek to honour and celebrate our diverse communities.”

“This a piece of work that I am immensely proud of because it gives a very thorough, factual account of Wales’ involvement in the Slave Trade and expands our knowledge of the history of Wales," said Ms Legall. "It will hopefully lead to children learning the complete history, warts and all.”

The audit found that one family with connections to Gwent took an active role in the slave trade.

William Morgan (c.1640-1680), who had links to Newport and New Tregear, and his sons, Thomas and John Morgan, invested in the Royal African Company.

However, none of the family are listed on the database of plantation owners at the time of emancipation, so the family presumably were no longer plantation owners at that time.

It appears the family's attitudes to slavery did change after several generations, as Charles Morgan Robinson Morgan, 1st Baron Tredegar, presented antislavery petitions while MP for Brecon in 1830, as did Sir Charles Morgan of Tredegar (1760-1846) in 1826.

The audit found another 15 people with connections to Gwent who owned or directly benefitted from plantations or mines worked by the enslaved.

Colthurst Bateman (1771-1859), of Llantrisant Fawr, Monmouthshire, acquired Jamaican plantations through marriage to the daughter of John Kemeys Gardner Kemeys of Bertholey and was compensated at emancipation.

He was living at Bertholey in the 1840s and was sheriff of Monmouthshire at the trial of the Chartists in Newport in 1839.

Samuel Bosanquet II (unknown-1806) was Governor of the Bank of England, apparently with estates on Nevis for which his son Samuel Bosanquet III (1768-1843) was compensated.After an inheritance from his brother he bought Dingestow Court, Monmouthshire, in 1786.

Rebecca Byrde (née Mais) (1809-1893) was a beneficiary of a trust in an estate in Jamaica. Her second husband was Henry C. Byrde and they lived at Goytrey House, Abergavenny and she was latterly at Pentre House, Abergavenny Road, Goetre.

James Jenkins (c.1750 -1786) is said to be of Gelli, Llanvetherine, Monmouthshire. His property in Jamaica included enslaved people he had named Cardiff, Monmouth, Pembroke and Newport and an estate called Llanblethian Hill.

John Kemeys Gardner Kemeys (1757-1830) inherited slaves in Jamaica from his father. He was High Sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1809 and owned Bertholey house, Llantrisant Fawr

Valentine Morris (c.1768-1743) owned sugar plantations in Antigua. He was descended from a Monmouthshire family, the Walters and bought Piercefield near Chepstow in 1740. His son, Valentine Morris II (1727-1789) inherited Piercefield as a teenager after the death of his father. He bought an estate at Usk, then returned to the Caribbean and was Governor of St Vincent 1772-79. On returning to London, he was imprisoned for debt and had to surrender his Antigua estates and sell Piercefield.

Thomas Oakley (1773-1861) was compensated for 69 enslaved people in Jamaica. His family home was Lydart House, Mitchel Troy, Monmouthshire.

Thomas Phillpotts (1785-862) was born in Gloucester and went to Jamaica where he developed a large number of estates for which he was a claimant on emancipation. He was identified with many different addresses including at 3 Mount Pleasant, Chepstow.

William Thompson (1793-1854) married the daughter of Samuel Homfray and became an ironmaster of Penydarren and Tredegar. By 1831 he was chief partner and the owner of Bedwellty House. He was head of the Santiago Company, which supplied copper to Swansea and used enslaved labour at its mines.

Joseph Tyndall (1840-1899) was an absentee co-owner compensated in 1863 by the Dutch for enslaved people in Surinam. He lived for a short time at 44 Blewitt Street in the centre of Newport.

Latimer Whittle (1813-1891) was a beneficiary of a trust fund from Jamaican estates, and around 1861-62 was living at Castle Street, Abergavenny.

Henry Barnes (1784-1837) unsuccessfully claimed compensation as executor of his father-in-law'’s estate on Antigua. He had links to Rockfield, Monmouth, and Wonastow.

George Wilson (unknown) was an unsuccessful claimant for enslaved people on an estate in Barbados, he was then at an address in St John Street, Monmouth, 1838.