The Crown Inn.
Mr John and Magdalen Jones.
On the 1841 census Mr John Michael Jones born 1775 at Aberystruth was a farmer on Clynmawr, he lived in the farm which would become the original Crown Inn with his wife Mrs Magdalen Jones from Cardiganshire and their children, Masters John, Richard, Daniel, Michael John, Anthony and Miss Elizabeth Jones.
Mr John Michael Jones occupied 11 parcels of land, over 30 acres owned by Mr Thomas Brown Esq owner of the Blaina & Cwmcelyn Iron Works and Cwmtillery Colliery. The land in Mr Jones’ tenancy encompassed most of Blaenau Gwent from Gwern Berthi to the Clynmawr to the Clynmawr Canol.
The Original Crown Inn.
The Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent was an early public house in the area. The old inn (as seen left) was originally situated at an angle to the main road and behind a small cottage. Its exact location is where the beer-gardens are today. The small cottage was also owned by John Michael Jones and his family.
A building in this place was featured on the 1840 land map and occupied by the Jones family as mentioned and on the 1861 census it was occupied by Mr Michael Jones a master tailor and his wife Stinah Jones and family.
Mrs Stinah Jones.
Mrs Stinah Jones nee Jones later landlady of the Crown Inn was born in 1835, was the daughter of Mr David Jones a gardener from Cardiganshire and Mrs Elizabeth Jones nee Mason of the same place. Mrs Stinah Jones came to Blaenau Gwent sometime in the 1850’s.
While living at Blaenau Gwent, Mrs Stinah Jones married Mr Michael John Jones, the son of John and Magdalen Jones, a master tailor by trade, earlier he had been apprentice tailor under Mr Joshua Davies, a master tailor himself, of Blaenau Gwent.
Michael and Stinah were married at the Nebo Baptist Chapel, Abergavenny on the 20th January 1860. They set up home at Blaenau Gwent and had three children together, Masters John, Anthony and Richard Jones, born 1860, 1862 and 1863 respectively. Her husband Mr Michael John Jones sadly passed away in 1865 and was buried at Blaenau Gwent Baptist Church graveyard.
Mr Francis Wise.
Mr Francis Wise, the original landlord born 1825, was a Blacksmith from Wells, Somerset, he came to Blaenau Gwent sometime in the 1860’s. He later met Mrs Stinah Jones who had just lost her husband and they got married in 1866 and became the first known landlord and landlady of the Crown Inn. Francis and Stinah Wise had two children together, Misses Esther and Rosanna Wise.
I don’t believe there was a Crown Inn earlier as it did not appear named as such before 1870. The name Crown Inn appeared on the 1871 census when Mr Francis Wise was registered as Publican and Blacksmith with his wife Mrs Stinah Wise as Inn Keeper’s wife, with their children Rosanna and Esther with their stepsons John Michael, Anthony and Richard Wise from her first marriage.
The Crown Estate.
The land at Blaenau Gwent was owned by Mr Thomas Brown Esq and was occupied by Mr John Michael Jones as a Farmer from at least the 1830’s maybe longer as mentioned above. Sometime after this date portions of the land were acquired by the Crown Estate and later land sales were transacted by the estate’s trustees. The term Crown Estate in relation to the Monarch in this case is a bit unclear, I have personally been in communication with the Crown Estate, I sent scans of and information relating to the sale of land by the trustees and a representative informed me the following – It’s unlikely these refer to The Crown Estate as we know it today, because the organisation was known in the 1900’s as the Commissioners of Woods Forests & Land Revenues. The term ‘Crown Estate’ only became in common use from The Crown Estate Act of 1956, when the name was officially changed to ‘The Crown Estate Commissioners’. There were many estates where the monarch was the “lord of the manor” and it may refer to one of those, although most were dispersed during enclosure acts and copyholds. Enquiries into the exact land ownership are ongoing.
The name Crown Inn, along with Royal Lane, Crown Street, Royal Exchange and the Crown School all named over a period of time seemed to have reference to the Crown Estate in whatever context it referred to, more than probably originated from the land it was situated on, known as the Crown Estate. In 1902 it was reported in the South Wales Gazette that the Abertillery Council agreed to purchase land belonging to the Crown Estate to construct the Blaenau Gwent Infants School, locally known as the “Crown Infants”. In April 1911 it was reported in the same newspaper that “an important series of valuable property being part of the Crown Estate at Blaenau Gwent was being sold at auction by Mr W. H. Hiley at the Station Hotel, Abertillery”. It stated it was “the most important sales which had been conducted in this district for some time past”, the sales of this property was at Spring Bank, Clynmawr and Royal Lane.
On the 1881 census the Crown Inn was listed as being owned by Mr Francis Wise, at this time was also a farmer of 8 acres with his wife Mrs Stinah Wise and children Rosanna and Esther with their stepsons John Michael, Anthony and Richard Wise from her first marriage.
In 1888 Mr Francis Wise sadly passed away and was buried at Blaenau Gwent Baptist Church graveyard.
Mr John Jones.
In January 1889 Mrs Stinah Wise transfered the licence of the Crown Inn over to Mr John Jones. Mr John Jones was her eldest son from her first marriage.
Mrs Stinah Wise sadly passed away in early 1889 and was buried at Blaenau Gwent Baptist Church graveyard.
Mr Richard Jones.
On the 1891 census Mr Richard Jones youngest son of the late Stinah Wise was the licensee along with his wife Dianah Jones nee Jones, and children Gladys, Magdalen and John Michael Jones. The address was officially 5 Blaenau Gwent. Richard and Dianah were married in 1886.
Mrs Dianah Jones.
Mrs Dianah Jones was born in 1866 at Club Row, Blaina, Monmouthshire. The daughter of the widow Mrs Mary Jones. Dianah was the sister of Miss Sarah Ann, Rachel and Master Thomas Jones. Dianah’s mother Mrs Mary Jones later married Mr William Beard of Gloucestershire and the family came to live at Blaenau Gwent, Abertillery. Richard and Dianah had married in 1886.
Throughout the 1890’s Mr Richard Jones and his wife Dianah were the licensees with their children at this time being, Master John Michael and Misses Gladys Rose, Stinah and Mary Jones.
Mr Richard Jones passed away in September 1898.
After the death of her husband, Mrs Dianah Jones had to apply for the transfer of the licence to herself. The Crown Inn’s address at this time was 16 Victoria Street, Blaenau Gwent.
At some point in time the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent became tied to Webb’s Brewery, Aberbeeg and its shareholders.
The New Crown Inn.
In the early 1900’s the landlady Mrs Dianah Jones with the backing of Webb’s Brewers wanted to have a new inn built on land in a more prominent position adjacent to the old inn, though she had fell out of favour with the constabulary and the licensing association as during her sole tenure there she had provoked a lot of trouble by being drunk and disorderly on many occasions following the death of her husband. The licensing association along with the police rejected the plans.
There was a desperate need for a new inn to be constructed, as the area of Blaenau Gwent was growing in population rapidly and in September 1901 certain conditions had to be met with for the new Crown Inn to be constructed, Mrs Dianah Jones came to an agreement with the licensing association that she would forfeit the transfer of her then present license for a new inn to be built, Mrs Jones’ licence and the new inn would then be transferred to Mr Ernest Henry Martin as the new landlord of the new Crown Inn.
In 1901 Miss Annie Huton and later Miss Augusta Wookey were servants working at the Crown Inn for Mrs Dianah Jones.
Mr Ernest Henry Martin.
Mr Martin was an engine driver from Cinderford, living with Thomas and Mary Purnell at 33 Victoria Street, Blaenau Gwent, though he was listed as landlord of the Crown Inn from the time the license was transferred from Mrs Jones until the new inn was built, though the license for the inn was officially in the name of Mr Isaac Jones, as seen below. Mr Ernest Martin was later married to Esther ? and in 1911 was listed as living at 38 Victoria Street, Blaenau Gwent.
In August 1901 advertisements were posted in newspapers for the tenancy of the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent, all applications were to be sent to Mr L. E. Webb, Solicitor, Pontypool.
Mr Isaac Jones.
Mr Isaac Jones was born at Crickhowell, Breconshire in 1867. He later lived at 26 Cromwell Street with his wife Rachel and children Misses Gertie, Maud, Doty? and Lillian with Masters Robert and Issac Jones.
October 1901 the Licensing Sessions for the County of Monmouthshire, held at Sessions House, Usk accepted the application of Mr Isaac Jones of 26 Cromwell Street, Abertillery for the license for the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent. The application was not objected to subject to certain alterations to be carried out.
In June 1903 Mr Le Brasseur submitted plans for the alterations to the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent.
In late 1903 the small cottage owned by the Jones family though now occupied by Mr John Cox, his wife Jane and children – Misses Mary, Emily, Margaret and Annie Cox and Master Montague Cox was demolished to make way for the new Crown Inn which was planned to be built at right angles to and on the junction of the main road through Blaenau Gwent (its present position).
In August 1903 the surveyors report was completed on the new Crown Inn but subject to the alterations of a projecting window over the Jug and Bottle being dispensed with as to allow a 15′ foot footway right through.
In 1904 Webb’s Brewery official records (as seen left) shows the Crown Inn was to be built and that the present old inn adjoining the new building was to be converted into stables and a coach house for the new Crown Inn.
Mr James Harvey.
In 1906 it was reported that Mr James Harvey was the landlord of the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent.
Mr William Lloyd.
In 1909 Mr William Lloyd was the landlord of the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent.
Mr Richard Edgar.
In 1909 Mr Richard Edgar was the landlord of the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent.
Mr Richard Lloyd Hedges.
On the 1911 census Mr Richard Lloyd Hedges (of Whitchurch Cardiff) and his wife Hannah from Cwm was the licensee. The Crown Inn’s address was officially No15 Victoria Street, Blaenau Gwent.
Mr William Morgan Jones.
In 1915 Mr William Morgan Jones, landlord of the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent.
Mr Thomas George Morgan.
In 1915 Mr Thomas George Morgan, landlord of the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent.
Mr Sidney Watkins.
In 1924 Abertillery Building Contractor Mr Sidney Watkins became landlord. In 1920 Mr Watkins had built the Gaiety Hall, Bridge Street Abertillery and had also constructed the Olympia Picture House at Newport. Mr Watkins sadly passed away just seven months into his tenure at just 51 years of age.
Mr C. Matthews.
In the 1930’s Mr Matthews was landlord of the Crown Inn.
It was reported on many occasions that throughout the 1930’s the Blaenau Gwent Rugby Football Club had its headquarters at the Crown Inn.
In December 1937 there was a report in the South Wales Gazette on the death of Mr Charles Williams, Abertillery’s oldest Tin Worker. Mr Williams aged 72 was living at 31 Victoria Street, Blaenau Gwent, Abertillery and was the oldest employee at the Abertillery Tin Works at the time of his death. Mr Charles Williams was married to Mrs Esther Williams nee Wise, the daughter of Stinah and Francis Wise, of the old Crown Inn.
In 1937 the Crown Inn entered into the Dart League and was placed into the Northern Section (as seen below) with the following teams – The Tillery Fountain Inn, South Wales Inn, High Street Social Club, Bell Inn, Royal Oak, the Glasgow House, Six Bells Colts, Goodfellows Club, Penybont Workmens Club and the Kingshead.
In 1938 the Crown Inn had two teams “A” and “B” both were entered into the Dart League with the “A” team playing in the Southern Section with the following teams – The British Legion, Bell Inn, Aberbeeg Social Club, Royal Oak, Six Bells Hotel, Coach and Horses, High Street Social Club, Ivorites and the Goodfellows Club. The Crown “B” played in the Northern Section with the following teams – The Kings Head, Celtic Sports Club, Cwmtillery S.S.C. Club, Mount Pleasant, Royal Exchange, South Wales Inn, Blaentillery Workmens Club, Cwmtillery Workmens Club, Six Bells Hotel Colts, Penybont Workmens Club and the Red Lion, Blaina.
(See below for more information of the Dart League).
Mr David James Tucker.
In 1960 Mr David James Tucker became landlord of the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent. Mr Tucker left in 1964.
Mr Richard Kelly.
In the 1960’s Mr Richard (Dick) Kelly was the landlord, Mr Kelly left to be the publican at the Six Bells Hotel.
Mr Gordon Cooksley.
In the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s Mr Gordon Cooksley and his wife Lottie was landlord and landlady of the Crown Inn, Blaenau Gwent.
Mr Nigel Phillips.
In about 1980 Mr Nigel Phillips became landlord of the Crown Inn.
Mr Brian Preece.
In the early 1980’s Mr Brian Preece and his wife Georgina were landlord and landlady.
In the early 1980’s there were beer gardens at the rear of the inn, though towards the late 1980’s early 1990’s these gardens were built over when its then landlord erected a large extension to house a dining area kitchens and toilets.
Mr David Coulstock.
In the mid to late 1990’s Mr David Coulstock was the landlord.
In about 2010 the Crown Inn was sold and closed for major refurbishment. It was internally restructured and re-opened a few months later under new management.
(Later information to come).
Points of Interest – Abertillery and District Dart League.
On Wednesday 20th January 1937 Mr Edgar Richards presided over a general meeting which took place at the Six Bells Hotel to discuss the formation of a Dart League. It was said that the game was all the rage throughout the country and in places like Newport, Cardiff and Bargoed have their own leagues. Pubs had their players and teams but were desperate for some organised league. At this meeting the Abertillery and District Dart League was formed. Mr Edgar Richards was elected chairman, Mr Tom Bayliss was elected secretary.
Members of the committee were as follows – Mr Arthur Edwards of Crumlin; Mr W. Sailes of Abertillery; Mr A. Rudge of Llanhilleth; Mr W. Morgan of Abertillery; Mr V. Harris of Abertillery and Mr E. Richards of Six Bells: The Blaina representative was Mr Gerner of the National Darts Association and Mr P. Lewis the secretary of the Cardiff League. Meetings were to be held at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth.
At the following meeting of the league there was a good attendance with delegates from Pontypool and Blaenavon, though these were advised to form their own Eastern Valley League and was given advice on the formation by Mr Edgar Richards. At this meeting the officers of the Abertillery and District Dart League were elected and were as follows – Mr Kenneth Webb (President); Mr Edgar Richards (Chairman); Mr W. Morgan (Vice-Chairman); Mr Ivor Pearce (Treasurer) and Mr Tom Bayliss of 41 Marlborough Road, Six Bells (Secretary). Mr Kenneth Webb put up for competition a Challenge Cup to be played for by the league clubs.
The Executive Council of the League were as follows – Mr W. Sailes; Mr I. Pearce; Mr T. Bayliss; Mr W. Morgan all of Abertillery; Mr A. Rudge of Llanhilleth and Mr A. Edwards of Crumlin:
The First Darts Teams.
In January 1937 the first teams to feature in the Abertillery and District Dart League were as follows – Six Bells Hotel; Central Hotel Llanhilleth; Kings Head, Abertillery; The Drill Hall, Abertillery; The Mitre Inn, Abertillery and The Navigation, Crumlin:
In April 1938 the Abertillery and District Dart League had become very popular and many more teams applied to join the league as seen as follows – Southern Division, The Ivorites Inn; The Six Bells Hotel; The Bell Inn; The Central Hotel, Llanhilleth; The Coach & Horses; The Royal Oak; The Crown “A”; The British Legion; The High Street Social Club and Aberbeeg Social Club: Northern Division, The Kings Head; Cwmtillery S.S.C.; Cwmtillery Workmen’s Club; The Celtic Social Club; The Penybont Workmen’s Club; The Red Lion (Blaina); The Mount Pleasant; The South Wales Inn; The Royal Exchange; Blaentillery Workmen’s Club; The Crown “B” and the Six Bells Colts: