Solomon’s Bridge, Sebastopol
This bridge originally connected the farmland known as Tŷ William Ambrose (or Tyr William Ambrose), west of the canal, to a field and small woodland on the east bank. In 1866 a Solomon Jones occupied the farm. The bridge possibly got its name from him. When the canal was built in the 1790s, the canal company provided only numbers for the bridges.
Since February 1964, Solomon’s Bridge has marked a canal boundary. To the north the canal is owned by the Canal & River Trust (which replaced British Waterways in 2012). To the south it is owned by the local authority, now Torfaen County Borough Council.
The photo shows the bridge in the 1980s, when there was still a diamond-shaped sign above the parapet to warn of the bridge’s weight restriction for vehicles.
In 1904 police dug up the garden of “Ambrose Farm” in search of a baby’s body. Mary Stokes, aged 29, had become housekeeper to tenant Thomas Jones in 1901 and soon they were living “as man and wife” but unmarried. She was pregnant when he abandoned her and moved to another farm. Mary then told police that he had murdered their first baby in 1902 and buried it.
Thomas was sent to Usk jail but the murder charge was dropped after police failed to find a body. In the meantime, Mary gave birth at Pontypool workhouse. Thomas was ordered to make weekly child support payments until their son was 14.
An auction in 1864 included “Tyr William Ambrose Coppice Wood”, which covered c.11 acres and included 58 oak and five ash “timber trees”. Coppicing involved cutting trees frequently and harvesting the new growth for poles and other small or thin products. Timber trees were allowed to grow until large enough to produce materials such as planks and beams.
Sources include the National Library of Wales
Postcode: NP44 1FG View Location Map