PENALLT is a village in Monmouthshire, standing on high ground to the west of the River Wye about 1½ miles south-east of Monmouth town as the crow flies but 4½ by the road which climbs some 800 feet from the plain through which the rivers Monnow and Trothy flow. Its name translates from the Welsh as ‘top of the (wooded) hill’, the woods bordering the agricultural land on the plateau. The village boundaries enclose an area about 3 miles by 2 miles, with dwellings scattered widely and concentrated only in the west (Pentwyn) and the south (Tregagle). Population has fluctuated around 500 for many years, seemingly affected only marginally by social changes in south-east Wales.
Penallt is a quiet place. There is no way across the Wye except by footbridge to Redbrook in Gloucestershire and therefore no through traffic. Since agriculture is no longer labour intensive, most villagers travel to work (and school), leaving behind a growing population of the retired and those who work at home. The days when families occupied the same ground for generations are long gone and it is not uncommon for young couples and their families to live in the village for a few years before moving on. Happily, this shifting pattern of population has not inhibited communal pride and cooperative activities, or only to a limited degree. The articles in this book are designed to satisfy interest in local history and to record changes during the twenty years since the Miscellany was published.