A Victorian View

An extract from The Book of South Wales, The Wye and The Coast by Mr And Mrs S C Hall, Printed in 1861, when boat journeys on the Wye were a favourite Victorian tour.

“From Monmouth, we resume our Voyage down the river. Passing the tree-clad hill “Gibraltar”, we arrive at its junction with the Monnow, which we leave to the right. Before us is Levock’s Wood: and here the little River Trothy, (having just passed beside the ducal mansion of Troy, where resides the excellent agent of the Duke of Beaufort), becomes a tributary of the Wye. On the summit of a wooded height we see the pretty church of Penalt. It is charmingly situate, looking down on the rich vale it seems at once to bless and to protect. Soon we reach a very different scene, affording all the advantages of contrast; for rising above a mass of thick foliage, is the dense column of smoke that tells the whereabouts of a manufactory. It is the village of Redbrook. There are quays here: we note the bustle of commerce, – other life than that of the stream and the forest. The masts of many barges rise from the river: they are loading or unloading. It is the manufactory of tin – or, rather, of tin in combination with iron – that gathers a population here, and breaks, pleasantly or unpleasantly, according to the mood of the wanderer, the sameness and solitude of the banks of the Wye. Whitebrook is next reached. Both villages derive their names from streamlets which here find their way into the river, – the one passing over stones that are slightly tinged with red, the other being pure from any taint of colour.”

[from: Penallt – A Village Miscellany]