Nash, Monmouthshire

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Welsh: Trefonnen
St Mary the Virgin Church at Nash - - 149039.jpg
St. Mary's Church, Nash
Location: 51°32’56"N, 2°56’46"W
Population: 281
Post town: Newport
Postcode: NP18
Dialling code: 01633
Local Government
Council: Newport
Newport East

Nash is a village and parish to the south of the city of Newport, Monmouthshire. The name is thought to originate from a contraction of "An Ash" (tree), meaning literally "place of the ash tree(s)". This is supported by its appearance in deeds as "De Fraxino" (fraxinus being the Latin name for the ash tree).[1] The Welsh language name is Trefonnen, given in older sources as Tre'r onnen, also meaning Town (tref) of the Ash (onnen).


Nash lies a mile or to the south of the built-up area of the city of Newport, on the Caldicot Level, a large area of land reclaimed from the sea and crossed by drainage channels and reens.[2] In addition to the village itself, the parish contains Uskmouth power station [3] and part of the Newport Wetlands Reserve,[4] including its Visitors Centre which was opened in 2008.[5]

Together with the neighbouring parishes of Goldcliff and Whitson, Nash is one of the "Three Parishes" which have long been treated as a unit - geographically, socially, economically and ecclesiastically.

The parish is bounded to the south by the sea (Bristol Channel) to the east by the lower reaches of the River Usk and to the north by Liswerry and the Llanwern Steelworks site. To the west lie Goldcliff and Whitson.


In 1901 the only four private residents are listed as Mrs Morgan at "Greenfield", Mrs Morgan at "The Elms", Rev. C. W. Triton (Baptist, but curiously no separate residence given) and Miss Ester Wilcox at "Decoy Pool". Some twenty nine commercial interests include mostly farmers (22) but also William German, blacksmith and wheelwright, at "Pye Corner", Mrs Sarah Jones, publican at "Waterloo Inn", John Skuse, shop-keeper at Broadstreet Common, Edward Tamplin butcher at "Box Cottage", David Thomas farm bailiff to Mr. James Thomas at "Pye Corner Farm", John Watkins, butcher and Lewis Williams, mason at "Ash Cottage".[6]

A large part of the village, including Farmfield House, was lost in the construction of the Uskmouth Power Station and the adjoining huge ash-pits in 1959. Although the main part of the village centres around the church in West Nash, much of the village is set along the wide Broadstreet Common, accessed via Pye Corner or Straits Lane, and which provides the more direct route to Whitson and Redwick. For many years the German family were the village blacksmiths at Pye Corner with the premises eventually becoming a petrol station. The site is now occupied by the offices of the Caldicot and Wentloog Levels Internal Drainage Board.[7] The village had its own small infant school, built in 1877 [6] on West Nash Road, until the 1970s.

The Church

The parish church of St. Mary the Virgin in West Nash, dating originally from the 12th century,[8] is an important Grade I listed church,[9] notable for its fine tower and spire and has been called "the Cathedral of the Moors". The church belonged to Goldcliff Priory in 1349 when Robert Arney was instituted to the benefice. The Arney family, in the time of Charles II, left a cottage and six acres of land, called "The Poor's Six Acres", for the support of the poor of the parish.[10]

The church was largely rebuilt during the 16th century.[11]

The only remains of the Norman church is the North Wall of the chancel and the Squint. An unusual feature, the Squint or Hagioscope was used to enable those with leprosy, smallpox or other such diseases, to see or participate in the service without endangering the rest of the congregation with infection. The tower is unusually located on the north side of the chancel. The church is thought to originally have been much larger, incorporating a North aisle.[10]

In the early years of the 20th century the floor of the bellringer's room was used as a temporary mortuary for the bodies of five sailors who had been drowned at sea, in a violent storm, near the East Usk Lighthouse. Four of the sailors had been found lashed to the mast. During World War II the church saw congregations of 400.[10] The interior, following restoration in 2004–2005, is notable for its complete set of 18th century furnishings, with box pews, a three-decker pulpit and a western gallery. In the fields to the south of the neighbouring Church Farm are ancient tumuli, the vestiges of some ancient, possibly mediæval, dwelling or chapel.

Baptist chapel

Former Baptist Chapel, Pye Corner

At Pye Corner the former Baptist chapel, with its small graveyard, still stands in good repair. The chapel opened in 1820 with seating for 125. Its congregation included residents of what was then the hamlet of Liswerry, a mile or so distant.

Some of the congregation found it more convenient to attend Liswerry Baptist Church when it opened in 1889, the same year that Liswerry was incorporated into Newport under the provisions of the Newport (Mon.) Corporation Act, 1889. A steady decline in attendances at Nash led to only five remaining members in 1988. The chapel closed soon afterwards.

The chapel contained a covered immersion baptismal font and a rare pedal organ built and played (well into his nineties) by the late Mr. A. W. Haime (Master Baker) of Earlswood, Shirenewton.[12] In 2006 a planning application was made to Newport City Council to convert the building into a dwelling house with vehicular access. It is now in private ownership, although unhindered access to the graveyard remains.[13][14]


Ophrys apifera at Newport Wetlands Reserve

To the north of church, at the end of St. Mary's Road, The Waterloo public house is a tenanted free-house notable for the fact it is owned by the parish council. A modern Community Hall has been built nearby.

Located at the edge of the Newport Wetlands Reserve,[15] East Usk Lighthouse [16] provides a notable landmark. Parts of Nash are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest SSSI.[17]

The village skyline has recently been transformed with the installation of two 2.5-megawatt wind turbines, on the site of chemical company Solutia UK Ltd, which will supply up to one-third of the facility's electricity needs.[18]

Entrance to Newport Wetlands Visitor Centre


This article contains public domain material from J. A. Bradney's History of Monmouthshire (1904).

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