Church Street, Bedwas
Bedwas is a small town and ancient parish in the far west of Monmouthshire forming part of the Wentloog Hundred. The town lies two miles north-east of Caerphilly, Glamorgan, whereas the parish extends across the Rhymney River into Glamorgan swallowing up Caerphilly's eastern suburbs. The total population of the ancient parish is 13,742, 4,867 of which are in Glamorgan. Bedwas neighbours Trethomas, Graig-y-Rhacca and Machen.
The parish church, within the Church in Wales, is dedicated to St Barrwg, who was a disciple of St Cadoc, and had a hermitage on what is now Barry Island.
The church has a saddle-back tower, and dates back at least to the 12th Century, first appearing in historical records in 1102.
The ancient parish is split into three townships: Bedwas Lower and Bedwas Upper in Monmouthshire; and Van in Glamorgan. Traditionally a farming community, what is known today as the village of Bedwas was originally called Lower Bedwas. Maesycwmmer, at the opposite end of the parish, was called Upper Bedwas. The two villages became known as what we know them today in the 19th century. Bedwas owes much of its own development to the development of the coalfield in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire and of the coal mining industry.
This development is depicted in the early Census records. According to the 1811 census, Lower Bedwas consisted of 47 occupied houses and 65 families. 59 of these families were engaged in agriculture and 6 in trade, manufacture and handicraft. There were 254 residents in Lower Bedwas in 1811, 130 males and 124 females. By 1911, the population had risen to 3,231 according to the census. In the late 19th century it was home to four coal pits and the construction of a large-scale colliery, Bedwas Navigation Colliery, had been completed by 1913. The colliery had an explosion in 1912.
Bedwas Navigation Colliery, along with other collieries, closed in the Miners' Strike of 1984-85, and did not re-open. Light industry replaced mining as the main local employer. Bedwas House Industrial Estate houses the home of the nationwide brand Peter's Pies, a local depot for Stagecoach Buses, DAS Motor Claims Centre, and formerly a warehouse for General Electric.
- Rugby: Bedwas RFC
- Junior Football: BTM FC
George Borrow passed through Bedwas in November 1854. He recorded it in his later book of his travels 'Wild Wales' as Pentref Bettws which he said meant village of the bead-house.