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Hanbury Arms Inn

David Phillips Esquire a wealthy Llanhilleth property owner commissioned the building of the Inn in late 1830 or early 1831. It appears in an edition of the Monmouthshire Merlin dated 02 April 1831 as David Phillips advertises several of his properties for sale at auction, the Inn was Lot 6 and the majority of the properties were in Llanhilleth Parish. It was described as recently built, with William Davies as the current tenant and receiving a rental of 30.00 per annum. Davies had died previously and was buried on 26 March 1831 at St. Peters in Blaina. The CD of burials at St. Peters listed him as 24 years of age, of the Hanbury Arms, Llanhilleth, buried in grave 1/129.
On 18 June 1839 David Phillips leased the Hanbury Arms Inn, together with the malthouse, stable, outbuildings and land to the Webb brothers on two separate 63 year leases, (Gwent Archives D886/406). The leases are available to view at the archives in Ebbw Vale.
On Sunday 03 November 1839 the Chartists rapped on the door of the inn, initially innkeeper Simon Leonard ignored them, but after they fired off a shot he allowed them in. Leonard served them beer some of which was paid for, before they put out the lights behind the bar and served themselves. Leonard testified at the trial of Zephaniah Williams that Williams had told his followers to put the lights, (candle) back on following a plea from him, (Monmouthshire Merlin 30 November 1839). Williams and his followers left shortly afterwards and journeyed to the Coach and Horses another public house in Llanhilleth Parish looking for horses to speed their journey to the Westgate.
Simon Leonard still had the Hanbury Arms Inn when the 1841 census was issued, he was 25 years of age, his wife Elizabeth 20, son James was aged 2, and the infant Joseph just 3 months.
Tenants came and went over the next 5 decades and some were relatives of both the Webb and Bevan families, the latter being the in laws.
By 1897 the Webb family had purchased both leases and they advertised in the Western Mail for the demolition and complete rebuild of the then known Hanbury Arms Hotel, together with new buildings and an office block at the brewery, (Western Mail 13 March 1897). David Lewis a local contractor won the tender and it is thought the rebuild was completed around 1900. Most of the publicity at this time concerned the feuding between the Webb and Bevan families, it continued for fourteen years (1890 - 1904) and involved four separate court cases, before a financial settlement and debenture scheme proved amicable.
The Collings family took over the tenancy at the Hanbury Hotel in the early 1900's and they would hold it for over six decades.
The hotel closed in the late 1890's and was demolished in the name of progress in 1990.

Hanbury Arms Inn

The other public house mentioned in the Monmouthshire Merlin advertisement of 02 April 1831 was the Coach and Horses, which was listed as Lot 8. James Samuel a local farmer and haulier was the tenant at the time and it received an annual rental of 10.00. The adjoining smith shop was tenanted by John Anthony with a rental of 8.10.00d.
On Sunday 03 November 1839, the Chartists also visited the Coach and Horses, James Samuel was still the innkeeper and he testified at the trial of Zephaniah Williams (Monmouthshire Merlin 18 January 1840) that Williams looked bedraggled from the incessant rain that evening. He said that Williams wanted horses because he was late, but he fobbed him off by saying he kept his horses at Pant-y-Arril and only one was in the stable. Williams said he wanted the horse so Samuel agreed to let his servant Henry Smith drive Williams and a couple of his followers to the Westgate. Henry Smith would testify that they got less than half way because the roads were full of people.
The exact location of the Coach and Horses remains unknown but when giving evidence James Samuel said it lay on the tram road, fifteen and one quarter miles from Newport.
It was possibly on the Nantyglo tram road, but could have been the Ebbw Vale tram road depending on the parish boundary.

Further Information

Out of the Blue Artifacts - Abertillery History
Welsh Newspapers Online - Monmouthshire Merlin
Rise and Fall of Chartism in Monmouthshire - Pontaberbeeg, pages 45 and 46.
Clearly the Best - History of Webbs by Ray Morris (1997)
Webbs Files - Gwent Archives, Ebbw Vale, - GB0218.D886

The Chartist paper the Western Vindicator was published weekly from February 1839 to February 1842, all copies are held at Newport Central Library.


Hanbury Arms Inn

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