The Brickworks of Wales - Monmouthshire
The Brickworks of Monmouthshire
To Tredegar, Rhymney, Newport, Abergavenny and Chepstow
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The Round the World Brick Trip

I've tripped over dozens of bricks from the UK, India, New Zealand and elsewhere, have a look at them all
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The Sirhowy Valley

Quick links to :-     The Sirhowy Valley     The Rhymney Valley
    The Star Brick and Tile Co     Newport City     Rural Monmouthshire

Ynysddu - ST 1803 9172

The brickworks at Ynysddu was one of Christopher Pond's ventures, opened after 1901 and had been demolished by 1948, possibly closing with Wentloog Colliery. It was closely connected with Wentloog Colliery and both operations were for sale in 1924. There's lots of foundations of the kilns and the loading bank in the undergrowth and the site is littered with bricks, many mis-shapes and other brands as well. The brickworks was at the end of the tramway down from Wentloog Colliery and the colliery had a tipping dock to the East of it. The 'Ruby' brand is possibly named after Mr Pond's daughter or a clay seam but a more interesting rumour is that it was named after a lady friend of his.

Tredegar Iron Co - SO 1435 0940

The Tredegar Iron Co was one of the very first ironworks in Monmouthshire and had its own brickworks up and running by 1877. Some time between 1900 and 1915 the old kilns were replaced a large rectangular kiln which itself seems to have been quickly rebuilt to a Hoffman-type kiln. This brickworks appears to be reduced in size in 1948 when the Tredegar Iron Co was nationalised into the NCB and the works closed in the 1960s. It appears that at some time it was owned (or produced bricks for) the British Anthracite Co (BAC), a company formed in 1946 to take over the non-mining activities of various collieries to avoid nationalisation.

Mount Pleasant, Tredegar - SO 1508 0872

this brickworks is on the 1877 OS map but had disappeared by 1899. On 10th April 1874, a newspaper report names a Mr Thomas Davies of Crown Brickworks, Bedwellty and Tredegar, which may be this brickworks.

Sirhowy Ironworks - SO 1430 1010

The brickworks at Sirhowy Ironworks is recorded the accounts in 1818 about the time the works was taken over by the Ebbw Vale Co .It is shown on the 1879 OS map next to the blast furnaces which closed in 1882 but the brickworks kept going. The brickworks was advertised for sale in 1893 does not seem to have been successful as the works had gone by 1901.

Sirhowy - SO 1455 1000

A new brickworks was built by the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron & Coal Co in 1911 further to the East of the old ironworks. It had a 'Manchester' continuous kiln and became the largest of Richard Thamas & Baldwins brickworks by 1955 but by 1962 it had closed. Many of the bricks made there were for use in the steelwoks only and had an ingredient that, on inspection would show it to be the property of RTB. This was intended to prevent or at least track down theft.

Tafarnau-bach - SO 1215 1040
Nant-y-bwch - SO 1326 1054

Two small brickworks in the Brynoer area in existence by 1875-80 but both had gone by 1898. Both had access to the tramroad network that existed around Brynoer so either could be the 'Brynoer Brick & Pipe Co' of which I can't find out anything at all. Of course there could be a third brickworks in the area....

The Rhymney Valley

From Machen through Caerphilly to Rhymney

Quick links to :-     The Sirhowy Valley     The Rhymney Valley
    The Star Brick and Tile Co     Newport City     Rural Monmouthshire


Bovil, Machen - ST 2177 8912

John Brewer (1811 - 1888) lived at Bovil Farm, in Machen, between Caerphilly and Newport, where, in 1851, he was agent of the Rumney Railway before it was taken over in 1863 by the Brecon and Merthyr railway. He acquired the nearby Bovil Colliery and developed its adjacent brickworks on a 99 year lease from 21 January 1852. The brickworks seems to have been a 3-kiln operation, the remnants of which were obliterated by post-war housing development.

The brickworks was advertised for sale by auction on 21 July 1868. Certainly by 1877, John Brewer and his son Samuel sold out to their partners, the Beddoe family, after which his name was presumably discontinued from the bricks in favour of 'Machen'. Brewer bricks have the same design of frog as some earlier Machen ones. The colliery closed in 1894 and the site is labelled 'disused' on the 1898 map.

Twyn-sych, Machen - ST 2065 8890

It's not labelled as a brickworks on the OS map but with one kiln in 1898 and two in 1915/20 it certainly appears to be there at the end of the tramway from the collieries at Coed Cefn-pwll-du. There are no kilns shown on the 1948 map. This is probably the works of the Machen Brick Co Ltd and then The Machen Brick, Stone, Lime and Coal Co. which was a colliery owner at 'Coedycefn, Machen' in 1908 with 7 men below ground and one surface worker.


Rudry Brickworks - ST 1931 8728

Rudry Colliery was opened in the 1860s and owned by Nicholas and Johnson by 1878. By 1895 the Rudry Merthyr Steam and House Coal Colliery and Fire Brick Co Ltd was in receivership but the company was still managed by A Johnson. The colliery and brickworks appear to have closed about 1899 but the colliery was re-opened on and off until the 1930s. Nicholas and Johnson also owned Risca Brickworks at the Darren until the early 1890s.
Stephen Parry remembers this story about Rudry Brickworks "I was always told that a lorry load of bricks from there had overturned on the hill going up to the Maenllwyd. When they came back (some time later because of the weather) to retrieve them they found that the Church had assumed that they were 'available' and so taken them to start building the vicarage across the road! I don't know if this is true, but I would love to think it was!"

Garth Rudry - ST 1910 8800

On the 1915 OS map 'Old Brick Kilns' are shown here. Earlier maps show the left-hand building without a label but not the right-hand building. The foundations of the left-hand building exist and on the right are what appears to be an engine base and a kiln. The engine base consists of two parallel walls c3ft apart along with substantial holding down bolts to one side. The kiln has an arched entrance and a circular flue c2ft on top. None of the bricks have any imprint.


Wern-ddu, Caerphilly - ST 1677 8632

Wernddu brickworks wa built some time after 1875 as part of the Black Vein Colliery. The Caerphilly Coal Co was subject of a winding-up order in 28th November 1895 and became the Wernddu Coal and Brick Co. Ltd, even though they stamped their bricks as 'W B & C Co' In February 1920 the brickworks were purchased by Powell Duffryn. The brickworks closed in 1951 but between 1952 and 1959 the site owners were describing themselves as the 'Cardiff Brick Co Ltd', Wernddu Brickworks.

Furnace Blwm, Caerphilly - SO 1426 8524

Furnace Blwm brickworks was started after 1875 by Morgan and Jones but they defaulted on their lease in 1886. There is a half-brick with what appears to be 'Morgan Jones' on one side and 'Furnace Blwm Caerphilly' on the other and one marked 'M & J F B Caerphilly'.
Thomas Rees of Merthyr Vale re-started the works in 1890 and was advertising for a 'bricksetter in 1892. On the 1898 map the brickworks is shown as disused. Some of the 'Thos Rees Furnace Blwm' bricks have 'Caerphilly' on the reverse and some are unmarked. it Looks like The site later became the Blackbrook Colliery.

Hengoed and Maesycymmer

Hengoed - ST 1430 9595

The Cambrian Brick and Stone Co Ltd was registered in 1913 becoming the Hengoed Coal, Brick and Stone Co Ltd in 1919. The company went into receivership in 1921, stopped work in 1924 and was dissolved in 1929. There was a Hengoed Coal and Quarry Co in the late 1920s which may have been connected too. The works is shown on the 1916 and 1938 maps but gone by 1948.

Maesycwmmer - ST 1614 9474

Maesycwmmer Brickworks or Gellideg Brickworks seems to have been short-lived, the opening date is unknown but it is shown on the 1916 OS map. It was owned by the 'Maesycymmer Brick, Stone and Coal Co' but by 1938 the site, at the end of the tramway from one of the Gellideg Collieries, was empty. The works were owned by Edward Harvey, who also used his initials 'EH' and 'E Harvey' on his bricks. Bricks apparently marked 'HARV' are just a poor version of the 'E Harvey' imprint.


New Tredegar - SO 1445 0286

A block of 5 kilns are shown on the 1898 OS map close to West Elliot Colliery

Twyn-carno, Rhymney - SO 1085 0825

Quite a long-lived brick and tile works was at work from before 1875 to 1938 but had disappeared by 1948. In 1901 it was reported that, after some years out-of-use, the kilns would be re-started.

The 'Star' brickworks empire

The Star Brick and Tile Co Ltd - a brickmaking empire

Quick links to :-     The Sirhowy Valley     The Rhymney Valley
    The Star Brick and Tile Co     Newport City     Rural Monmouthshire

A brief History

The Star Brick and Tile Co Ltd began life in 1881 at Llantarnam Road, Cwmbran and by the end of the 1930s the new site at Penrhos, Ponthir (Caerleon), on the outskirts of Newport, had been built and they had acquired Russells brickworks, Waunfawr, Risca and the Allt-yr-yn brickworks in Newport. A more distant acquisition was the Bolgoed brickworks at Pontardulais, West Glam, in the 1930s. Tunnadine's brickworks, Malpas Road, Newport and Graig brickworks, Morriston, Swansea had joined the empire in the late 1950s. Star had also acquired the Jones' Risca brickworks but only to close it as they had a better site in Risca at Waunfawr.

Meanwhile in England, Neal and Co. Ltd were producing bricks at Heather, Leics and by 1903 they had changed the company name to the National Brick Co. Seemingly in the 1950s they amalgamated with the Star Brick and Tile Co. Ltd to form the National Star Co. In 1971 the National Star Co was acquired by Butterley Brick / Hanson Plc 1973 seems to be the end of the Star Brick and Tile Co, although National Star Ltd, Newport continues to be mentioned up until 1978.

Towards the end of the Star group in the 1960-70s, bricks were being produced with the generic die "National Star Newport" and small letters to the lower left or right of the stamp to indicate the works of origin. The letter "G" denoted bricks from the Graig Brickworks in Morriston, Swansea, "RC" for Waunfawr, Risca, "L" for Llantarnam, Cwmbran, "M" for Malpas, Newport and "C" for Ponthir, Caerleon which had become the group's HQ on the present day Star Trading Estate.

Not surprisingly, there are a great many variations of empire's imprints and these are just the 'STAR' varieties that I know about up to now. The Morriston and Pontardulais brickworks are listed under 'West Glamorgan'.


... though other 'Star' brick companies are available as they say, at least one in Middlesborough and one in Peterborough, but I believe types 1-5 are from the 'Empire'. I'm not at all sure about type 6, it looks more like a Middlesborough product, but it was found in South Wales.

'Star Brick Co'

...just a couple more words on theirs bricks.

'Star Brick Co Newport Mon'

...getting really descriptive now.

'Star Caerleon'

... from the Penrhos works, Ponthir.

'Star Cwmbran'
'Gower a STAR product'

... 'Star Cwmbran' is from the Llantarnam works, not sure of the origins of 'STAR ENG' and I would assume that 'Gower a STAR product' is from Morriston, being the closest to the Gower.

'Star Newport'

... You pay your money and take your pick, but probably Malpas or Ponthir rather that Allt-yr-yn

'National Star Newport'

A generic imprint sometimes with 'secret' small letters in the corners of the imprint to indicate the works of origin. The letter 'A' is for Allt-yr-yn brickworks, Newport; 'G' for Graig, Morriston, Swansea; 'L' for Llantarnam, Cwmbran; 'M' for Malpas, Newport , 'P' for Penrhos, Ponthir and 'RC' for Waunfawr, Risca. 'R' and 'C' on their own seem to be misprints of 'RC'.

Newport City

The City of Newport and its Suburbs

Quick links to :-     The Sirhowy Valley     The Rhymney Valley
    The Star Brick and Tile Co     Newport City     Rural Monmouthshire

Allt-yr-yn, Newport - ST 2900 8861

Unfortunately the Allt-yr-yn brickworks site has been completely cleared but here are some notes on its history :-
Kelly’s for 1895 lists the 'Alteryn Brick Co; works Alteryn, Newport'. In the 1906 Kelly’s, it had become the “Alteryn Brick, Tile & Terracotta Co Ltd” and the Directory of Quarries (DOQ) for 1937 and 1941-2 lists the 'New Alteryn Brick Co, Alteryn, Newport', the last reference to this company. Post war, it was absorbed into the Star Brick & Tile empire. According to the 'Star' records it was previously Davies and Co, acquired c1931. The London Gazette records that the 'New Alteryn Company' was put into voluntary liquidation in 1931, presumably as a result of the acquisition of the works by the Star Group. I assume that, in 'Star' days, their bricks were just stamped 'Star Newport' and its variations.

Bishpool, Newport - ST 3438 8844

There was a 'Bishpool' brick in our garden in Morden Road, Newport, built in 1897. I'd not heard of this brickworks so... This obscure brickworks, the Bishpool Brick & Tile Co Ltd, seems to have started up in the mid 1880s and was liquidated in 1909. It seems to have missed all the OS maps but on the 1920 map there is an 'old clay pit' marked beside what is now 'Ringwood Hill' which could just be the site of this brickworks.

A report in the London Gazette, 3 November 1905, issue 27850, pages 7372-3 orders the brickworks to be sold, the second page continues :- '... (if any) of the business heretofore carried on by the Bishpool Brick and Tile Company Limited. Plans, particulars, and conditions of sale may be obtained gratis of Messrs. Minet, Harvie, May, and Co., of 4, King William-street, London, E.C, Solicitors; and of Messrs. C E Parsons and Jolliffe.of Central-chambers, Newport, Monmouth, the Auctioneers, and at the place of sale.—Dated this 1st day of November, 1905. 089 SPENCER WHITEHEAD, Master.

Malpas, Newport - ST 3060 8980

Henry Tunnadine of the Malpas Road Brick Works, Newport. Thomas Tunnadine appears in the 1871 Kelly's Directory as making bricks at the Waterloo Brick Works, Pillgwenlly, Newport. In 1875, Worrall's Directory of South Wales lists the same manufacturer at the Waterloo works. The 1884 Kelly's lists both Thomas at Pillgwenlly, and Henry Tunnadine at the Malpas Road works. By the 1891 Kelly's, Thomas Tunnadine has disappeared. Henry Tunnadine appeared in the 1906 Kelly's, but is absent by the 1926 edition which now lists the Star Brick & Tile Co at Cwmbran, Newport and Caerleon. It is known that the Malpas Road works was absorbed into the Star Brick & Tile Group, and its bricks were distinguished from the subsequent generic "National Star Newport" die of the 1960s by an unobtrusive letter "M" to one side. It was shown as disused on the 1968 map.

Rhiwderin, Newport - ST 2630 8785

It appears that Rhiwderin brickworks was owned by the Garth Sheet Iron Co of the Garth ironworks, Rhiwderin, which went into liquidation in 1878. The 1882 OS map shows 'old brick kilns' and 'old claypits' here. The brick kiln doesn't appear again but the clay pits are still there.

St Julians, Newport - ST 3180 9000

St Julians brickworks was operating and supplying bricks by the 1870s on a site close to the riverbank but moved a few hundred yards by 1899. Kelly’s for 1881 has an entry for 'G Howard, St Julian’s, Christchurch, Newport' which may be connected. Kelly’s of 1895 has 'St Julians Brick & Tile Co, Newport'. The last entry held is in Kelly’s for 1926. An newspaper reports on 28th July 1892 that a new engine house and kilns contract had been signed with J T Morris.
Chris Jones supplied the excellent drawing of the brickworks and says "My grandfathers name, Jack Jones, is next to the cottage he lived in on Brickyard Road."

Small 19th century brickworks and kilns

There were quite a number of small brickworks or kilns around Newport in the 1800s. Few, if any, made it into the 20th century and no identifiable bricks or photos have been found.

Barnardtown, Newport - ST 3155 8885
Barnardtown, Newport - ST 3205 8855

The home of the 'Newport Patent Brick Works' in Barnardtown (or 'East Usk') was in existence by 1883 but had been built over by 1920.
Another brickworks is shown in Barnardtown near the present-day Manchester Street by 1883 but this too had been built over, by 1901, perhaps using its own bricks !

Crindau, Newport - ST 3125 8945
Dos Nail Works, Newport - ST 3095 8880
Liswerry, Newport - ST 3385 8765

In Crindau, the Albany Street Brick Works is shown on the 1899 OS map North of Alderney Street but has disappeared by the 1917 edition.
A pair of kilns is shown on the 1883 OS map at the back of the Dos Nail Works. They are not shown on the 1901 map.
In 1871 the Aberthaw Lime, Cement and Brickworks, Liswerry. were for sale as a going concern but in 1883 the OS map shows 'old brickkilns' and they had gone by 1901.

Maindee, Newport - ST 3240 8805
Malpas Court, Newport - ST 2955 9130

Maindee had a brick kiln in 1883 that had gone by 1901. However the adjacent pottery is by then labelled 'Alexandra Pottery' so it would appear to have transferred here from Pill. The pottery survived until 1937.
Malpas Court brickworks was surveyed in the 1872-78 and 1899 OS surveys but is not marked as a brickworks on the 1917 survey. It may well be connected with Malpas Court itself, earlier owned by Thomas Protheroe, a prominent Monmouthshire coalowner.

Pill, Newport - ST 3130 8640
Rodney Parade, Newport - ST 316880
Somerton, Newport - ST 3360 8765

Thomas Tunnadine appears in the 1871 Kelly's Directory as making bricks at the Waterloo Brick Works, Pillgwenlly, Newport but appears to have ceased business by 1891. The maps of 1883/4 show brick kilns at the Alexandra Pottery. Kilns and pottery had gone by 1901.
A brick kiln on the East bank of the River Usk near Rodney Parade is shown on an 1831 map proposing new boundaries for the town of Newport.
A brick kiln and brick field appear at Somerton on the 1881 25" OS map but the area is shown as an 'old quarry' by 1899.

Rural Monmouthshire

Between the River Usk and the River Wye

Quick links to :-     The Sirhowy Valley     The Rhymney Valley
    The Star Brick and Tile Co     Newport City     Rural Monmouthshire


Penpergwm, Abergavenny - SO 3290 1025

A 'Brick Works' is also shown on the 1881 OS map but only shows 'Brickyard Cottage' by 1901. Michael Kilner found this site and explored it in September 2019. Here's his report, with notes on each photo :-
'Penpergwm brickworks is a small and rather obscure site in Monmouthshire, about which little is known. This weekend I managed to visit the site and photograph what little remains to be seen. Basically this consists of overgrown banks and hollows, probably shallow clay pits, and channels between them. No brick, metal, or other manmade artefacts remain on the site, at least as far as my two visits have found.'

Crowfield, Abergavenny - SO 3255 1620

The 'Crowfield Brick Works' is also shown on the 1881 OS map but to the South of Ysgyryd Fawr. It was shown as 'disused' in 1920.

Skirrid, Abergavenny - SO 3140 1430

The 'Skirrid Brick Works' is shown on the 1881 OS map to the North of Ysgyryd Fach but it's gone by 1901.

A little bit of history from Guy Rogers :- "My grandmas' birth place was at Dingestow and the roof tiles on the barn were all marked on the back with the name of the farm. When I asked why and how, I was told that at least 4 teams of horse drawn wagons brought the clay and mobile furnaces and a team of men would fire the clay to make the bricks and roof tiles for you, I'm sure she said that they were local company"

Govilon, Abergavenny - SO 2602 1351

A brick kiln is shown only on the 1881 OS map in the grounds of Wilden Wireworks. However there is no claypit and local knowledge suggests it may have been a puddling furnace for the forge and wireworks rather than a brick kiln.


Elm Vale, Chepstow - ST 5336 9434

On the far side of the River Wye, Elm Vale Brickyard ( or Elm Dale) began c1815, possibly by Thomas Briggs, who may have had a brickyard at 'The Back', Chepstow, but he died in 1839. In the 1860s James Chappel and family appear to be in charge of this brickworks, until 1896/7 when efforts to sell it failed.

The Meads, Chepstow

The Meads, Chepstow, was the site of William Knowles brickworks c1770 . By 1784 the works was in the hands of William and Mary Brown and their family but the works closed and the site sold in 1865.

Talland's Marsh, Chepstow - ST 5402 9345

Also on the far side of the River Wye, Talland's Marsh Brickworks was another 1784 enterprise of William Brown, along with William Tamplin. The Tamplin family appear to be the main proprietors by 1841. They were shown in census records up to 1901 but the works is belived to have closed around that time.

Around Monmouthshire

Clydach - SO 2320 1365

A brickworks was in production in 1802 when it was drawn by Amelia de Suffren, a French lady touring Wales. It's marked on the 1843 Tithe Map as occupied by the Clydach Iron and Coal Co. By the 1880 OS map it has gone but nearby buildings remain.

Monmouth - SO 5140 1245
Osbaston - SO 5030 1416

Monmouth Brick and Lime Works first appears on the 1881 OS map on the left side of the road to Wyesham village. The clay pits were to the Southeast and linked by a tramway, possibly a branch of the Monmouth Railway, the original tramroad to Coleford, open from 1812 - 1870s. By 1901 it is on the right of the road and further South. Also in 1901, "Mayhill Wharf, house and outbuildings including brick & lime works" were part of a sale of the Duke of Beaufort's estate. It is not shown on the 1920 edition.

From 1899 to 1903 a brick kiln and clay pit are shown in Osbaston, Monmouth, but by 1918 the site is labelled 'old clay pit'.

Raglan (Scybor Newydd) - SO 4063 0690
Raglan (Lodge Farm) - SO 4213 0741

The Scybor Newydd brickworks in Raglan appears on the 1882 and 1901 OS maps but had disappeared by the 1920 edition. The Lodge Farm brickworks only appears on the 1882 map. One, other or both were owned by John Jones, Raglan's chemist and grocer, 1815 - 1887, and his son Edward, 1842 - 1900. A 'Jones Raglan' brick is on display at the Usk Rural History Museum.

Sudbrook - ST 5015 8748

A brickworks was established at Sudbrook for the construction of the Severn Tunnel between 1872 and 1887 at the 5m 4ch mark which seems to be at the West end of the village by the pumping station there. The number of bricks used in the construction of the tunnel was 76,400,100. The quantities from each supplier were :-
19,125,440 from the Cattybrook Brickworks
7,229,100 from the Fishponds Brickworks
21,944,460 from seven suppliers in Staffordshire
28,101,100 made onsite at 5 miles 4 chains.

Usk - SO 3805 0150

Shown as a brick and tile works in 1882 and the 'Castle Brick and Tile Works' in 1901, by 1920 it was disused. Mr Day was the proprietor. The brick is on display at the Usk Rural History Museum.

Wilcrick - SO 3805 0150

A brickworks is shown on the 1882 OS map only. The works was close to Wilcrick House and may well have been solely to re-build the house itself.

Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

A great many people have supplied information and photos of Monmouthshire's brickworks and their bricks, so many thanks to (alphabetically) David Barber, Graham Bennett, Lee Brown, Ian Cooke, Ben Cottam, Steve Davies, Bill Duff, Ebbw Vale Museum, John Elliott, Andrew Harvard, Mike Hopkins, Tracey Hucker, Christopher Jones, Karl Jones, Mike Kilner, Ivor Lapham, Norman Lowe, ‘Maesycwmmer, The Hidden Landscape, 1826 – 1939’ by W R D Jones, Jeremy Markiw, Stephen Parry, Richard Paterson, Ian Pickford, Howard Robinson, Guy Rogers, Dave Sallery, Lawrence Skuse, Mike Stokes, Gareth Thomas,,

The Great Western Archive for details of Sudbrook :- The Severn Tunnel

The Brocross/Penmorfa website is the best source of info on bricks and brickworks in the UK :- Old Bricks - history at your feet

For very good coverage of Scottish bricks and quite a bit about other places too :-

Martyn Feltwell has two very good sites here :- East Midlands Named Bricks and UK Named Bricks

There is a specialist society for brick history :- British Brick Society

There's also a 'Facebook' group for bricks and brickworks :- 'UK Bricks and Brickworks Past'

A Guide to the Website

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