Revisited Preface

In 1989, a group of friends published a collection of historical and descriptive pieces under the title “Penallt – a Village Miscellany.” It was well received and is still selling. Its appearance prompted a spasmodic flow of new information and of course there have been changes and developments in the village since it first appeared. We might have attempted a revised and extended edition of that ‘Miscellany’ but it became clear that a new book would offer more freedom in selecting and presenting material.

“Penallt Revisited” is a collection of information about the past, distant and recent, and about the activities and views of villagers keen to maintain that valuable sense of belonging which is a strong, if subtle, feature of Penallt. Our successors will be grateful for this, we hope, for without a school, post office or shop, it is as well for us – among many other villages – to remember that fruitful community life depends now almost entirely on positive personal neighbourliness. Fortunately, of this there is no shortage in Penallt. Moreover, we still have two major physical assets – one spiritual and the other temporal (though neither exclusively so) – in the Old Church and the Pelham Hall. Both deserve the support they need to survive. What follows seeks to celebrate the village and its people as well as to inform and entertain.

My sincere thanks are due to those whose contributions make up much of this book and to those under-pinning its story by providing over the years the results of their research and scholarship. I am happy also to acknowledge that without the patient help of Lyn Harper, Maureen Tanner and Christopher Cooper it is doubtful if what follows would ever have seen the light of day. My hope is that it does them and the contributors justice. Where there is no attribution in the text, the words are my own. Responsibility for any errors which have crept in and for any comment is entirely mine. Not looking for trouble, I have done my best to keep both to a minimum.

The list of illustrations includes details of the sources wherever possible. Any appearing without attribution are either my own work or have been among the many papers garnered during the last twenty years. The late Ron Oakeley was a gifted photographer who took much time and trouble producing pictures of Penallt Old Church, particularly the roof bosses, and who generously agreed to his work being reproduced here, giving us not only pleasure but an historical record of unusual interest.

Finally, it should be noted that the sketch-maps are largely schematic and not strictly to scale and that three abbreviations are used in several sections. They are “the Miscellany” which refers to “Penallt – A Village Miscellany,” published by Penallt Parochial Church Council, “Bradney” short for Sir Joseph Bradney’s “History of Monmouthshire,” Vol.II, The Hundred of Trellech, 1913, and CADW – Wales’ Historic Environment Service.

V.F. (Kim) Kimber – The Editor (2009)