Owain Glyndŵr’s entry point, Abergavenny

Owain Glyndŵr’s entry point, Market Street  

This modern building, now home to K'aties Coffee Shop, stands roughly on the site of a postern gate in Abergavenny’s medieval town walls. A postern gate is a small, almost hidden, subsidiary entrance to a walled town.

In 1404 the forces of Welsh rebel Owain Glyndŵr besieged Abergavenny town. It is said that they were let into the town here, through the postern gate, by a woman sympathiser. This was a fateful moment, because Glyndŵr’s men burnt most of the town to the ground.

In Glyndŵr’s time, a small lane – precursor to Market Street – led out through the postern gate to the meadows beyond, where the Cibi Brook was used by the women for washing clothes and drawing water for the houses.

Glyndŵr was descended from the princes of Wales. He was a well-educated lawyer in London, with land in the Welsh Marches. When he was insulted by the English Parliament and was unable to obtain justice over some family lands which Lord Grey of Ruthin had taken, he withdrew to Wales, raised an army and declared Welsh independence. His attacks on Anglo-Norman strongholds across Wales were successful, as the Welsh resented taxation by England and harsh anti-Welsh laws. Glyndŵr also enjoyed support from Ireland, Scotland and France, but his campaign eventually failed and Glyndŵr vanished mysteriously.

The area now occupied by the car park outside the coffee shop was the yard of Facey’s brewery from 1873. Facey’s was taken over in 1950 by the Roberts brewery of Trefechan, Aberystwyth, and closed in 1960.

One of the most prominent buildings in Market Street today is Market Street Chambers. It was built as the estate office of Crawshay Bailey, whose fortune came from the iron and coal industries of South Wales. The chambers were owned by surveyor James Straker from 1891, and since 1914 by the successor practice, Straker & Chadwick. There was a bowling green at the rear of the stables between the Market Chambers and the Market Tavern.

With thanks to Gill Wakley, of Abergavenny Local History Society,and to K'aties Coffee Shop for hosting the QR codes

Postcode: NP7 5SD    View Location Map

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