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Main A-road junction in the town centre - - 1395444.jpg
Crickhowell Market Hall and Monument
Crickhowell is located in Powys
Location within Powys
Population2,063 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSO217186
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtNP8
Dialling code01873
FireMid and West Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
51°51′35″N 3°08′14″W / 51.8597°N 3.1372°W / 51.8597; -3.1372Coordinates: 51°51′35″N 3°08′14″W / 51.8597°N 3.1372°W / 51.8597; -3.1372

Crickhowell (/krɪkˈhəl/; Welsh: Crucywel pronounced [krɨkːəu̯ɛl], non-standard spelling Crughywel) is a town and community in southeastern Powys, Wales, near Abergavenny, and is in the historic county of Brecknockshire.


General view of the town, c. 1860
Porthmawr Gate c. 1800

The town lies on the River Usk, on the southern edge of the Black Mountains and in the eastern part of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Significant parts of the surrounding countryside, over 20,000 acres (81 km2), form part of the Glanusk Park estate.

Etymology and language[edit]

The name Crickhowell is an anglicised spelling that corresponds to the Welsh Crucywel. The name is derived from Crug Hywel, meaning 'Hywel's mound'. This is usually identified with the Iron Age hill fort on nearby Table Mountain, although this has the local name of Mynydd y Begwn. It may be that Crug Hywel refers to the castle mound in the town itself.[2] The language of Crickhowell (and Llangynidr) was originally Welsh. In his 1893 book Wales and her language, John. E Southall, reports that over 60% of the population of Crickhowell spoke Welsh, although the town was only a few miles from more anglicised Abergavenny.

The town[edit]

Crickhowell Castle. From a Survey in the beginning of the 6th Cent by James Basire 1730–1802
Crickhowell Castle. From a survey in the beginning of the 6th century by James Basire

Public services in Crickhowell are provided by Powys County Council and to a lesser extent by Crickhowell Town Council. Planning matters fall to the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. There is a primary school and a secondary school; both act as a central point for a large catchment area. There is some light industry on the outskirts of Crickhowell at the Elvicta Industrial Estate. The town centre[3] includes a variety of traditional businesses, many of which are family owned. Other facilities in Crickhowell include a library, two play areas, public toilets and the CRiC building, which houses a tourist information centre, an internet cafe, an art gallery and a local history archive. There are pubs, cafes, restaurants and two hotels: "The Bear" and "The Dragon".

The churches in Crickhowell include St Edmund's Church which holds a service every Sunday, Crickhowell Evangelical Church,[4] a Baptist church and a Catholic church.

In 2015, Crickhowell appeared in a TV documentary, claiming it as the first British settlement to purposely use similar tax avoidance tactics used by multinational businesses to avoid paying taxes themselves, in protest at the way large corporations use legal loopholes to avoid paying UK corporation tax.[5]

A market and fair have been recorded since 1281.[6]


An electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward includes The Vale of Grwyney community and has a total population of 2,801 as of the 2011 census.[7] The current councillor is John Morris, a Liberal Democrat.[8]


Today, Crickhowell is a popular tourist destination. In 2005 a tourist information centre was built in the centre of town and during summer the town is notably busier. Many people visit Crickhowell to see the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, and perhaps to enjoy some mountain-biking, camping, hillwalking, rock climbing, fly-fishing, hang-gliding or caravanning, or simply to tour the area by car, staying in bed-and-breakfast accommodation. The Green Man Festival takes place annually in mid-August at nearby Glanusk Park.

Notable buildings[edit]

Notable features in Crickhowell include the seventeenth-century stone bridge over the River Usk with its odd arches (twelve on one side, thirteen on the other) and its seat built into the walls, the 14th-century parish church of St Edmund, and the ruins of Crickhowell Castle on the green "tump" set back from the A40 Brecon to Abergavenny road.

Market Hall[edit]

Crickhowell's Market Hall (originally the Town Hall) on The Square dates from 1834, nowadays with market stalls on the ground floor and a cafe in the first floor old courtroom. In 2007 Powys County Council handed over responsibility of the hall to a charity, the Market Hall Trust.[9] The stone building, raised on twin doric columns, is Grade II* listed.[10] The market hall has been changed over the years, with the addition and removal of decorative glass frontage and the addition of a lift for disabled access to the courtroom chambers above.


Crickhowell has two schools: Crickhowell Community Primary School and a secondary school, Crickhowell High School, which has approximately 700 pupils.

Notable people[edit]

George Everest, after whom Mount Everest is named, may have been born near Crickhowell. His father had an estate there called "Gwernvale Manor".[11] This is now a hotel, known simply as 'The Manor'.)[12] There is also a street in Crickhowell named after him (Everest Drive). The current Lord and Lady of the Manor of Gwernvale are Stephen and Ruth Berrow who still reside in the town of Crickhowell.[citation needed]

Admiral John Gell died here in 1806 after serving over 30 years in the Royal Navy.[13]

The Glanusk Park estate was the childhood home of the former royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke, who still lives near the town as proprietor of Tŷ'r Chanter bed and breakfast lodgings.

Golf course[edit]

The former Crickhowell & Penmyarth Golf Club was founded in 1897 and played on a course at Glanusk Park. The club and course disappeared in the late 1960s.[14]

Surrounding villages[edit]

Cwrt y Gollen, a British Army training base, is near Crickhowell.


  1. ^ "Town population 2011". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  2. ^ Hywel Wyn Owen and Richard Morgan, Dictionary of the Place-Names of Wales (Llandysul: Gomer Press, 2007), p. 102.
  3. ^ "Crickhowell High Street (C) George Tod".
  4. ^ "Crickhowell Evangelical Church".
  5. ^ "The town that took itself offshore to expose tax avoiders".
  6. ^ "Wales - British History Online".
  7. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Your Councillors". (in Welsh). 22 July 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  9. ^ Martin Shipton (7 August 2008) "Cafe war breaks out over market hall", Wales Online. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  10. ^ Town Hall, British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  11. ^ "George Everest was born on 4 July 1790 but the location is open to doubt. This uncertainty as to his birthplace arises because his father William Tristram Everest had an estate near Crickhowell in South Wales and some reference works suggest he was born there. [...] George's baptismal certificate certainly indicates that he was baptized in Greenwich but although the certificate also bears his date of birth it does not indicate the locality."
    Smith, James R. (2015). "Sir George Everest". In Martin, Geoffrey (ed.). Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies, Volume 15. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781474226653.
  12. ^ "The Manor".
  13. ^ The Literary Panorama. Cox, Son and Baylis. 1807. p. 1385. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Crickhowell & Penmyarth Golf Club, Glanusk Park, Powys". Golf's Missing Links.
  15. ^ "Church of the Archangel Michael, Cwmdu (C) Jonathan Billinger".
  16. ^ "The Blue Bell Inn (C) Jennifer Luther Thomas".
  17. ^ Ian Rushin. "Llanbedr Church and Table Mountain".
  18. ^ Ian Rushin. "Llanbedr below Sugar Loaf".
  19. ^ "Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal,... (C) George Tod".
  20. ^ "Llangattock (C) Jonathan Billinger".
  21. ^ "Descending the Sugar Loaf towards... (C) John Thorn".
  22. ^ "Llangynidr Bridge in spring (C) Alan Bowring".
  23. ^ "Mynydd Llangynidr (C) Peter Wasp".
  24. ^ "Tretower Court (C) andy dolman".

External links[edit]