|Welsh: Y Drenewydd|
Newtown town centre
Newtown shown within Powys
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Mid and West Wales|
Newtown (Welsh: Y Drenewydd) is the largest town in the county of Powys, Wales. It had a population of 12,783 in 2001. Lying on the River Severn, within the historic boundaries of Montgomeryshire, the town is best known as the birthplace of Robert Owen in 1771 with his former house now being a museum. Newtown is also the home of Theatr Hafren and Oriel Davies Gallery, a major public gallery of Wales, which shows national and international contemporary art and craft.
Newtown was founded at the end of the 13th century when Edward I of England commissioned Roger de Montgomerie to construct a centre for the hamlet of Llanfair-yng-Nghedewain. It was situated near the ford on the River Severn, below the Long Bridge and around the church of St Mary in Bettws Cedewain. This gave Newtown its original Welsh name. The foundation is intimately connected to the fate of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, whose new administrative centre at Dolforwyn Castle near Abermule so alarmed Edward I that it was besieged. He seized Llywelyn's lands and granted them to the Mortimers. They transferred the administration of the cantref of Cedewain and the commote of Ceri from Dolforwyn Castle to the new settlement at Newtown.
The town grew in the 18th and 19th centuries around the textile and flannel industry, stimulated by the completion of the Montgomeryshire Canal. In 1838, the town saw Wales' first Chartist demonstration.
The town was designated as a "new town" in 1967. It has seen a large population growth as companies and people have settled, changing the rural market town character. Newtown hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1965.
The most populated central town in Wales, Newtown sits approximately 10 miles from the Wales-England border. It was built within a narrow valley, restricting development north and south of the town. Newtown is surrounded by small villages often referenced as the Newtown area.
Buildings and monuments
Bear Lanes, the town's main shopping centre, sports a Tudor-style entrance. The building was once a hotel, The Bear, which contributes to the mall's appearance today.
The Free Library building, designed by the architect Frank Shayler of Shrewsbury, was built in 1902.
The Baptist Chapel dating from 1881 is a prime example of non-conformist architecture of the period.
Newtown is twinned with:
Museums and Galleries
- Robert Owen Museum
- Textile Museum
- W H Smith Museum
- Oriel Davies Gallery, largest and most significant visual arts venue in the region. Free admission.
Newtown is currently served by Arriva Trains Wales at its station. The majority of the local bus services, both within the town and serving nearby locations, are operated by privately owned, local companies. Newtown is served by two National Express services per day; the Aberystwyth to London and its return counterpart. The major trunk roads which cross in Newtown town cetre are the A483 and A489 roads.
The Montgomery Canal originally terminated in Newtown. Following its closure in 1944, the section in Newtown was sold and subsequently built on. Canal Road and Lower Canal Road in Newtown are named after it.
- Geraint Goodwin (1903 - 1942), novelist and short story writer, born in Llanllwchaiarn, Newtown.
- Barry Hoban, cyclist
- George Latham, footballer
- Robert Owen (1771 – 1858), a social reformer and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement.
- Philip Parkin, golfer
- Pryce Pryce-Jones (1834 -1920), an entrepreneur born in Llanllwchaiarn, Newtown,
- Phil Mills, World Rally co-driver
- Robert James, cyclist
- Thomas Powell, Chartist and nineteenth-century radical
Theatr Hafren is one of the most popular theatres in Mid Wales. With a 555-seat capacity, the venue has attracted many big-name performers, including Lee Evans, Jools Holland, Phil Jupitus, Michael McIntyre and Bob Geldof. The theatre is part of the Coleg Powys complex, and allows drama students to use its facilities.
Newtown A.F.C. is Newtown's association football club, and was a founding member of the Welsh Premier League in 1992. The club was founded in 1875 as Newtown White Stars and won its only Welsh FA Cup in 1879. The club also entered the qualifying stages of the UEFA Cup on two occasions.
Newtown play at Latham Park, which has a capacity of 5,000 (1,750 seated). The stadium has a full UEFA licence, allowing under-21 international games and European games to be played there. Despite the facilities, the club struggles to attract a large fanbase, with attendances averaging around 300. In 2007, another 250 seat stand was built next to the media gantry, with future developments planned.
Newtown also has lawn bowls, cricket, and tennis clubs. A basketball club, the Newtown Titans was also established in 2005, before being reformed as Mid-Wales Basketball Club in 2009.
There are several schools in Newtown: Ysgol Cedewain (special needs school), Ladywell Green school (ages 4–7), Hafren Junior school (ages 7–11), Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd (ages 4–11), St Mary's (ages 4–11), Penygloddfa (ages 4–11), Maesyrhandir (4-11), Treowen (4-11) and Newtown High School and Sixth Form (ages 12–18). The High School recently received an outstanding ESTYN inspection report, with many outstanding features including the teacher-sixth form pupil relationship and the school's support for a wide range of Post-16 vocational and academic subjects. As of 2011, Newtown High School (along with several other schools in Powys) has been discussed to be merged with another county High School as part of Powys County Council's Secondary School and Post-16 Modernisation programme.
- Official website
- Newtownweather.co.uk - Newtown weather
- Newtown-MC.co.uk Newtown And District Automobile Club Ltd
- NewtownTitans.com Newtown Titans U15 basketball team
- Newtown High School website
- Treowen C P School
- Robert Owen Museum
- Newtown Textile Museum
- Oriel Davies Gallery