Llanwenarth Bridge, near Govilon

button-theme-canalLlanwenarth Bridge, near Govilon

abergavenny_llanwenarth_canal_drawbridgeBridge number 100 on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal provides road access to Llanwenarth House.

The bridge was originally No. 15 Wooden Bridge numbered from Brecon. In 1849 it was known as Great House Bridge and later as Humphrey's Bridge (after the Humfrey family which occupied the house).

The flat bridge deck you see here today was installed in the 1960s to replace the wooden drawbridge shown in the photograph (courtesy of the MBACT archive).

Llanwenarth House, up the slope to the south, was built for Sir Morgan Lloyd, who became the local rector in the 1530s. It was enlarged many times in the succeeding centuries.

It’s said that Cecil Frances Alexander (1823-1895) wrote the words of the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful while staying at the house in the 1840s, in which case the “purple-headed mountain” mentioned in the words could be the Sugar Loaf – visible across the valley. Purple heather flowers characterise Welsh uplands in late summer.

Llanwenarth House belonged to barrister and magistrate Frederic Morgan Humfrey in the early 20th century. In early 1918, the parish council asked him for the use of the Church Meadow for allotments (Britain needed to produce more food because German submarines had reduced wartime imports). He eventually offered them an inferior field by the canal aqueduct (east of here). The council accepted but continued to demand the Church Meadow.

Mr Humfrey, aged 66, shot himself dead in one of his fields in May 1918, telling his widow in a note that he’d lost his mind and memory. The jury at his inquest donated their fees to the Red Cross.

The navigable section of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is looked after by the charity Glandwr Cymru the Canal & River Trust in Wales.

With thanks to the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust

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Canal & River Trust website – Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

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