A Turbulent Time



North-west of Tredegar, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, our local walking group came across the famous Chartist Cave. In the autumn of 1839 this remote cave was reputedly used by Chartist rebels to plan, make and stockpile weapons in advance of their famous protest march on Newport in November of that year.

At that time, in stark contrast to the iron masters and coal owners, the wages, living and working conditions of industrial labourers were appalling. The aim of the Chartists was to gain reforms by securing political rights and influence. The Chartists presented three petitions to Parliament – in 1839, 1842 and 1848 – but each of these was rejected. The first in 1839 claimed to have some 1.3 million signatures but like the others contained many forgeries.



1. a vote for all men (over 21)

2. the secret ballot

3. no property qualification to become an MP

4. payment for MPs

5. electoral districts of equal size

6. annual elections for Parliament



Chartists attack the Westgate Hotel

The march on Newport took place on 4 November 1839. Chartists marching from Blackwood, Nantyglo and Pontypool were delayed by a storm, giving the authorities ample time to prepare an armed response. When the Chartists eventually converged on the Westgate Hotel, a bloody battle ensued. Within half an hour, 22 protesters lay dead or dying and upwards of 50 had been injured. An eyewitness report spoke of one man, wounded with gunshot, lying on the ground, pleading for help until he died an hour later. Bullet holes remain in the masonry of the hotel entrance porch to this day. The Chartist leaders John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones were found guilty of high treason, becoming the last men in Britain to be sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. However, following a huge public outcry the sentences were commuted to transportation for life.


Some historians doubt that the cave was ever used by the Chartists. Many a local iron works would have been far more accessible and suitable for forging weapons and it seems unlikely that such an out of the way place would have been chosen to store them. Even so, for many the cave still has symbolic significance. A plaque at the entrance commemorates the role of the Chartists in helping to secure democratic rights. Five of the six Chartist demands were realised, with only annual elections for Parliament not eventually adopted.

We are often reminded of the events of the Newport Rising. In the recent ITV series Victoria, Queen Victoria is depicted as ordering the drawing and quartering of the ringleaders to be commuted to deportation, after learning that one of the men is the nephew of a member of her household staff.







December Updates


The December Council meeting was held after the magazine was printed this month.

Planning updates.

Culverhouse Cross Retail Park.

Unit 1B, (Previously PC World site) An application for three internally LED illuminated flex face box signs complete with bird spikes and digitally printed flex face skins for B&M. Approved.

Unit 2A, -New Aldi Store .Three freestanding banners. Refused. The size, design, and position formed a visual intrusive form of advertising

Footpath 21 and 22 through The Grange, the Redrow construction site. In November the Welsh Ministers confirmed the new routes of the diverted paths through the estate. Path 21 will commence from the end of Clos Llanfair, use Burdons Close to exit in the top north west corner. Path 22 will follow the eastern edge of the site to join Goldsland Walk Both paths will remain closed until construction work is completed.

A meeting with the public is planned for Thursday 9th February in the Community Centre to discuss the future of the Church Hall. The Council is interested to hear the views of the community before any decision over its possible future is made. More details will be printed in next month’s magazine.



The Muse by Jessie Burton

The Muse

by Jessie Burton

The Muse is a follow up novel to Jessie Burton’s very successful first novel The Miniaturist, which has previously been reviewed by the Page Turners.

The story is told in two timelines and centres on two creatively gifted young women, Olive Schloss an artist in Spain in the l930’s at the time of the Civil War and Odelle Bastien, a writer and immigrant from Trinidad in London in the l960’s. The timelines are linked by, and woven around, an intriguing painting of a lion and a girl holding the severed head of another girl. It incorporates elements of a love story, a drama, a historical fiction and a mystery.

The majority of the Page Turners agreed that this was a most enjoyable read, well written with strong characters the portrayal of who brought them clearly into the imagination. The transition between the two timelines worked well and the story is gripping but has plenty of twists and turns which keep the reader guessing right to the end.

The author has researched the effects of the Spanish Civil War on the population with care and accuracy and paints a clear picture of the hardships suffered, which proved both interesting and informative.

Several of the Page Turners agreed that the book was more enjoyable when read over a short period of time rather than in small sections, which could make the story appear disjointed. Also one Page Turner who listened to the audio book found this appeared disjointed and would not recommend it.

The overall opinion was that The Muse is a definite Page Turner to be recommended with the scores ranging from 6 to 8.5 and averaging a final 7.5.

Our hostess, Lynne, treated us to festive Mulled Wine, Bucks Fizz , delicious homemade mince pies and other lovely goodies. We raised a toast to a Happy Christmas and the Page Turners wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year.



Prepare for Spring


Happy new year everyone.

I hope you're enjoying all the gardening goodies you were given at Christmas as, once people know that you're interested in horticulture, it's guaranteed that future presents will include items connected to the garden.

It might be difficult to get motivated when you're still fighting your way through sweets and the extras you bought or baked just in case a bus stopped outside your house over the New Year. As we know time waits for no one and there is plenty to be getting on with. The R H S has a top ten of things to do in January:-

1. Recycle your old xmas tree by shredding it to use as mulch

2. Clean pots and greenhouse ready for spring.

3. Dig over any vacant plots.

4. Disperse worm casts on lawn.

5. Inspect stored dahlia and begonia tubers for drying out and rot.

6. prune apple and pear trees.

7. Start forcing rhubarb, covering with a large upturned pot.

8. Plan your vegetable crop rotation for the coming season.

9. Keep putting out food and water for the birds.

10. If you have a peach or nectarine plant now is is the time to cover it with polythene to protect against peach leaf curl.

Broad beans can be sown now in pots and put in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.

Sow lettuce, brassicas, spinach and salad onions indoors for extra early crops. Onion seed can be planted if you have a heated propagator.

Trees and shrubs can still be moved now as long as the ground is not frozen. Bare root plants can still be put in now. With the weather so changeable please make sure that any stakes and ties are as they should be. Wind rock can ruin shrubs and trees. If we have snow we must not let it build up on shrubs if we can help it as branches can break which will invariably spoil the shape of the plant. Wisteria can be trimmed now, cut back to 2 or 3 buds but avoid cutting any flower buds. January is the last chance to sow seeds of native trees and shrubs that need frost to germinate.

Summer bulbs and seed potatoes will be available to purchase from the middle of the month, just be careful and keep them safe from frosts. Cut some of the old leaves off hellebores to expose the flowers.

Having watched Blue Planet 2 and seen the devastation caused by plastic on marine life, I will be making it my duty to always have a bag on me when I visit a garden centre as we do when supermarket shopping. It’s just a pity that all pots and trays are plastic. It comes down to economics and unless governments pass legislation this will continue, but anything we can do will help.

Have a happy New Year. Happy gardening.



On Saturday 2nd December we held our first "Pop-up" sale of used books outside the Springfield Stores which was good for reducing our stock of surplus books as well as meeting plenty of people. Keep an eye out for future Pop-ups on a Saturday morning and thanks to the Stores for hosting us.

We are always grateful for donated books but in particular for recent crime and thrillers. Some have been in really good condition and relatively new that we have taken them into our lending stock rather than selling them, so if you have any "read-once" or recent books which you would like to either share or be sold to top-up our funds, we would be grateful for your donation.

Adult Fiction

The Woods – Harlan Coben

A Game of Ghosts – John Connolly

The Nightingale Christmas Show – Donna Douglas

The Cold Christmas – Alistair Gunn

The Dry – Jane Harper (Great thriller)

The Perfect Victim – Corrie Jackson

The Gift – Louise Jensen

End of Watch – Stephen King

Palace of Treason – Jason Matthews

Childrens Books

A winter love song – Rita Bradshaw

Zog and the Flying Doctors – Julia Donaldson

Magic Animal Friends – Daisy Meadows

The Giant's Necklace – Michael Morpurgo

Wish upon a snowflake – Alison Edgson

Bedtime stories for 6 yr olds – Helen Paiba

Scary stories for 7 yr olds – Helen Paiba

Brig- Ddyn – Julia Donaldson

Sali Mali – S4C

This is a selection of children's titles, we have lots more new ones in the library.

Happy reading

December Meeting Report


At our December meeting members were delighted by the return of Betty and to see Maureen. A reminder was given of the carol service at St. Mary’s and of the Link carol service at Dinas Powys.

Work on our banner is ongoing and we hope it will be completed by our 25th celebration on 1st March when we meet.

Madeleine was honoured to have placed a wreath on our behalf at the village Cenotaph on Armistice Sunday.

We received a letter from Patricia Coulthard, thanking the branch for our donation to the local branch of the National Autistic Society. Our charity for 2018 is Wales Air Ambulance.

The latter part of the evening was in party mood with Madeleine and Janet providing entertainment and we heard “Whatever happened to Christmas, (printed in What’s On some years ago.) And we once again related and agreed with its contents. Pam supplied a quiz and we enjoyed searching for the answers while enjoying our party buffet

Our first meeting of the New Year is on January 4th in the church hall when we will be voting on our resolutions and subs of £41,00 for the calendar year are due. It would be an advantage to our treasurer if members could put money or cheques payable to Wenvoe. The subject is to be “How will I fold my scarf” and members are asked to bring along a scarf to join in. Visitors will be welcome.


The president and committee wish all members and their families good health for the coming year



Pre-Christmas Events


On November 22nd we held a quiz with a Christmas theme ,followed on the 29th by retired actress Debra John, who dressed for the part of the lady of the manor in the 1800’s. All the traditions of making mince pies, which were made with different meats in those days and cakes puddings to serve with mulled wine to the poor She also had a nosy neighbour who counted the Christmas cards through the window to be sure she had the most.

Thanks to Mavis and her husband we had Christmas music to enjoy while we tucked into mince pies on December 6th, our last meeting for this year

Wishing all our members a Happy New Year.



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