Location, communications & amenities
Bassaleg is located two miles north west of Newport city centre. Bassaleg is roughly bounded by the A467 road (A4072) to the east, the railway spur to Lower Machen (the former Brecon and Merthyr Railway) to the north, the St Mellons Road (B4288) to the south and Rhiwderin to the east. The Ebbw River runs through the area. The A468 road passes through towards Caerphilly and junction 28 of the M4 motorway is less than a mile to the south.
As Bassaleg lies near the junction of the Brecon and Merthyr Railway and Great Western Railway it used to have two stations (Bassaleg and Bassaleg Junction), although they were both victims of the Beeching Axe in the 1960s. As the Ebbw Valley Railway is re-opened, there are plans for a station at Pye Corner on the former GWR line.
Bassaleg School is one of the most notable local educational institutions locally. Known for its sporting and academic prowess, past students include current Welsh/Lions rugby player Ryan Jones and Alix Popham former England/Lions rugby player and current Sky Sports rugby commentator Stuart Barnes and former Miss Wales beauty queen Kelly-Louise Pesticcio.
Bassaleg's earliest known inhabitant is Saint Gwladys, a hermit and wife of St. Gwynllyw or Woolos, who founded her own hermitage at Pencarnu, supposedly the site is at Pont Ebbw. While there she bathed in the Ebbw River and the Lady's Well at Tredegar may have been dedicated to her. It has been suggested that site of St. Basil's church in Bassaleg was originally dedicated to her. In the 14th century (fl. c. 1320 - 1360/1380), a Welsh lord, Ifor Hael (real name, Ifor ap Llywelyn) lived in Gwernyclepa manor near Bassaleg. He was a well known promoter of poetry, and he was a friend to the famous Welsh bard, Dafydd ap Gwilym. There have been many poems written about him, and for the sadness of the state of his manor now. One such poem is an englyn, written by Evan Evans (Ieuan Fardd)-
- Llys Ifor hael, gwael yw'r gwedd, - yn garnau
- mewn gwerni mae'n gorwedd;
- drain ac ysgall mall a'i medd,
- mieri lle bu mawredd.
A direct translation from the englyn form is unavailable as due to the differences between the English and Welsh languages. -
- The hall of Ivor the generous, poor it looks
- A cairn, it lies amongst alders
- Thorns and the blight of the thistle own it
- Briars, where once there was greatness
The englyn is a part of a longer poem, which was traditionally sung.
According to historians, Bassaleg is the only British place whose name derives from the word basilica, a term used in early Christianity for a church containing the body of a saint. Until the mid-19th century, a grave chapel for St. Gwladys survived close to the church.
Bassaleg contains several public houses, including The Tredegar Arms, The Ruperra, and The Friendly Fox The restaurant Junction 28 is also situated in Bassaleg.