And So To End

And so to end…

The Argoed has changed hands several times since Major Probert’s day. The Coach House also has new owners, as indeed have many of the other Penallt farms, houses and cottages. The Methodist chapel has closed; the school is now empty; the blackcurrants have gone; the shop is no more (we had three in the early 1900s); and the post office has gone – but only to Lone Lane, and is still with a friendly welcome, as it was when run by Mrs Parker. Then it was in the village, letters were delivered by motorbike, and the telephone exchange at Trellech would take messages for you!

The farmers have had a difficult time with milk quotas – there now seem to be more sheep in our fields – and at least one farming family has started a small and very successful diversification of ‘Bed and Breakfast’; horse riding has become almost an industry; ‘Jack-the –Milk’ has a trout fishing consortium, some of the newer Penallters are evolving ‘small is beautiful’ farms and we have a vineyard down Lone Lane.

We have two new small housing-estates with well-built houses and bungalows, some in-filling and rumours of further farm-land sales for housing. Strange to have street lighting and pavements, and what was the hamlet of Pentwyn becoming the village of Penallt – a great contrast to the days before the first World War when application for Council housing produced the reply that apart from the workers at Redbrook Tin Works earning £2 or so a week, the inhabitants of Penallt earned under 10 shillings and could not afford the £10 a year rent!

An unavailing opposition in the early 1980s to the closing of the school means that only St Mary’s, the Bush Inn and the Pelham Hall provide some heart to the village. In their successful opposition in 1987 to a proposed large quarry with its attendant road traffic problems in the narrow lanes, parishioners found a common interest and perhaps a modern crusade, led with great spirit by the Hingstons at Warren Fields Farm – shades of the Wysewood riots! Now in 1989 a further planning application for development of the quarry has been lodged with the authorities…

Our well-loved Parish ‘Old Church’, thanks to various benefactions and support, and with the help of the Manpower Services Commission, has undergone restoration and St Mary’s, Penallt’s chapel of ease and once the school chapel – is also due for repair, though no plans for the communicating and adjacent empty school have yet emerged. These churches, we hope, provide a core of interest and a feeling of continuity. They help to link us with our neighbours in Trellech, Catbrook and the Convent, who share the good offices of our Vicar, Keith Denerley and his wife Jane; this has played a tremendous part in drawing us closer to them in a wider community without any loss of our vital identity.

Our intention has been to present an affectionate survey of our village’s long and varied history; we could not have attempted the task without ready and generous help from all those we approached. For this we are most grateful. We hope that we have in some degree informed and entertained our readers. To those who detect errors or omissions we offer our apologies and ask forbearance.

[from: Penallt – A Village Miscellany]