The fascinating stories of how Newport’s pubs got their name
If there’s one thing Newport doesn’t miss out on, this is a great place to grab a drink.
From medieval inns to innovative 21st-century breweries, you don’t have to walk very far to find a place to quench your thirst in the city.
From the oldest to the youngest, these places are familiar to everyone in Newport.
Read more: The huge projects planned for Gwent that never happened
While some have been around for so long that we’ve forgotten how they ended up with their name, others are so bizarre that it’s not clear how they got their name in the first place.
From The Hanbury Arms to Tiny Rebel, here are the stories that explain how some of Newport’s most famous bars got their name:
Ye Olde Murenger House
One of the most distinctive buildings in downtown Newport, this pub has a history stretching back hundreds of years.
Built in the 19th century, the current incarnation of the pub replaced a former 17th century pub, which began life as the home of the Herbert family of St Julians Manor.
Its unique name gives a clue to the physical location of the pub in the city, near the ancient medieval walls.
In the Middle Ages, the job of a murenger was to collect tolls for the construction or repair of the city walls, in this case the walls of Newport Castle.
Today, although nothing remains of the medieval walls except for the castle itself, the Ye Olde Murenger House provides a clue to this long lost part of the city.
Tom Toya Lewis
Although currently on sale with question marks surrounding its future, The Tom Toya Lewis has arguably one of Newport’s most compelling pub names.
The pub commemorates Tom Lewis, a then 14-year-old newspaper delivery boy who jumped to the rescue on July 2, 1909, when support beams collapsed into the Newport docks and buried more than 40 workers below.
Tom volunteered to descend through a narrow opening in the collapsed beams to try and free a worker called Fred Bardill. He worked for two hours, 10 meters underground, with only hand tools.
Despite another landslide, Fred was released the next day and Tom Lewis was awarded the Albert Medal, Britain’s highest peacetime honor.
The high school tavern
The Lyceum Tavern, on Malpas Road, takes its name from one of Newport’s most iconic buildings that has sadly been lost in time.
The Lyceum Theater opened in 1897 and could accommodate up to 1,250 people.
His most famous performance is that of Harry Houdini in 1913, when the iconic artist gathered a crowd outside a nearby police station as he escaped from one of his cells.
The last performance of the Lyceum was in 1961, and soon after the building was demolished to make way for the ABC Cinema Today, the former theater site, on Bridge Street, houses a Travelodge and parking lot.
It may be one of the new names in the Newport drinking scene, but Tiny Rebel is already such an iconic name in the city that it’s almost impossible to imagine an era before it. it does not exist.
But where does the Rogerstone brewery get its name? According to founders Brad and Gazz, inspiration came to them early in their journey when Brad’s brother was visiting for Christmas.
He had just quit a job at a game development studio in California and started his own business with his wife – Tiny Rebel Studios.
The couple liked the name so much that they asked Brad’s brother if they could share it, and luckily he said yes, which means the two brothers each have their own (albeit very different) incarnations of “Tiny Rebel”.
The Hanbury Arms is a serious contender for the pub with the longest and most compelling history in all of Newport.
A 16th-century coaching inn, this popular pub on the banks of the Usk dates back to the 13th century in its oldest parts and is famous for being one of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s favorite haunts.
Originally built by the influential Morgan family as a townhouse known as Tŷ Glyndŵr, most of the current building dates back to the 1560s.
The Hanbury family became their owners in 1720, establishing a streetcar between their steelworks in Pontypool and their riverside quay outside the building. The building became a pub around 1750 and adopted the family crest, then brewed its own beer in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Hanburys were instrumental in establishing Pontypool as one of the centers of the Industrial Revolution in the South Wales valleys.
The first of the Hanbury family to come to Pontypool was Richard Hanbury, a banker from London. He arrived in the rural landscape of Trevethin in 1577 to install iron kilns in the area due to its vast wealth of natural resources, although he never lived in Wales.
His grandson, Major John Hanbury, was the first of the family to settle in the area, completing construction of Pontypool Park House in 1694.
Caerleon Priory has one of the longest histories of any building in Newport.
Legend has it that the site dates back to a 6th century monastery, hence its name.
However, the first part of the current structure dates back to the 1500s.
At that time, the building belonged to a branch of the Morgan family. In the 18th century, Mary Morgan renovated the building and gave it the Gothic look it has today.
The Newport Docks opened in 1842 to transport resources from the surrounding valleys to the rest of the world. In the decades to come, commerce via the docks increased to the point that there was no alternative but to expand, and the Alexandra Docks were opened in 1875.
The owners of the new wharf, the Alexandra Docks and Railway Company, already owned the Blaina Wharf on the west side of Usk, which was used to ship iron and coal from the Gwent valleys to the rest of the world.
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