View across the Teifi valley towards Newcastle Emlyn
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||NEWCASTLE EMLYN|
|Fire||Mid and West Wales|
Newcastle Emlyn (Welsh: Castellnewydd Emlyn) is a town straddling the border of the counties of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire in west Wales and lying on the River Teifi; it is also a community entirely within Carmarthenshire. The community is bordered by the communities of Llangeler and Cenarth, both being in Carmarthenshire; and by Llandyfriog in Ceredigion.
Notable buildings in the town include a ruined 13th-century castle, first mentioned in Brut y Tywysogion in 1215, when it was seized by Llewelyn the Great (Welsh: Llywelyn Fawr). The castle was captured by the Welsh during the revolt of 1287-8 and also by Owain Glyndŵr in 1403.
Newcastle Emlyn has a town hall and secondary school, Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn. Attractions around the area include an art gallery, the Attic Theatre company, the National Woollen Museum. The Teifi Valley Railway is nearby, although the town has not had a passenger train service since 1952.
In 1932, the former Co-operative Group creamery was reopened by Dried Milk Products to make cheese. After new parent Unigate decided to sell-off its non-milk related dairies, it was then bought by the Milk Marketing Board in 1979, and closed again in 1983. Reopened by Saputo, it today manufactures mozzarella cheese using locally sourced dairy produce, and is the town's largest employer.
In 1895, the Teifi Valley Railway of the Great Western Railway (GWR) reached Newcastle Emlyn railway station. Originally conceived as a 7 ft 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm) broad-gauge line between Carmarthen and Cardigan by the Carmarthen and Cardigan Railway, it was absorbed into the GWR, which developed the line only as far as Newcastle Emlyn.
Passenger services ceased in 1952, but goods services continued until 1973, due in part to milk train services to the Co-op later Dried Milk Products creamery co-located at the station, which produced cheese. After the closure of goods services, the lines were removed and the station demolished.
According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, 69% of the 950 people who lived within Newcastle Emlyn spoke fluent Welsh, although the percentage fell rapidly in the following decade to 53.7% as the town's population increased to 1,138 residents aged 3 or over by 2011. The drop that occurred in Newcastle Emlyn between 2001 and 2011 was among the biggest in Wales, although not uncommon across Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, indicating that language shift is occurring in West Wales.
The latest Estyn inspection report on the town's English-medium secondary school, done in 2012 notes that only 12% of pupils came from homes where Welsh is spoken, with 31% considered fluent in the language. Parents have the option of sending their children to a designated Welsh-medium secondary school, Ysgol Dyffryn Teifi in Llandysul, Ceredigion. Only 64.8% of the town's residents were born in Wales.
Taken together with Adpar on the Ceredigion side of the river Teifi, the area's total population was 1,883 people according to the United Kingdom Census 2011.
The legend of the Emlyn Wyvern
The legend of the Wyvern of Newcastle Emlyn (Gwiber Castell Newydd Emlyn) is a local tale. It tells how, on one of the fair days when the town was full of people, a fierce winged viper called a wyvern breathing fire and smoke alighted on the castle walls and, having cast threatening glances around, settled down to sleep. Its appearance on the castle at first brought terror to all but, after the fear had died down, a few brave townsfolk sought to destroy the fearsome monster.
A soldier devised the plan of wading the river Teifi to a point of vantage on the castle side and letting a red cloak float in the river and shooting the wyvern in a vulnerable under-part of the body. The creature, so violently startled from its slumber, caught sight of the cloak and fell upon it with horrible shrieks and tore it to shreds. The assailant meanwhile, escaped to a place of safety.
The wyvern, in its death throes, turned onto its back and floated down the river. From its wound gushed forth a most loathsome venom which polluted the water and killed all the fish. The legend tells of the great joy of the townsfolk when they saw the monster dead.
People associated with Newcastle Emlyn in birth order:
- Evan Herber Evans (1836–96), Congregational minister
- Allen Raine (1836–1908), novelist
- Peter Rees Jones (1843–1905), founder of Peter Jones department store
- Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981), prominent Evangelical leader, buried in the town
- Dill Jones (1923–84), jazz stride pianist
- Helen Thomas (1966–1989), peace campaigner at Greenham Common
- Josh Turnbull (born 1988) Welsh rugby union international, product of Newcastle Emlyn RFC
- Scott Williams (born 1990), Welsh rugby union international, product of Newcastle Emlyn RFC
- "Community population 2011". Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg609 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
- "Dairies in Ceredigion". Ceredigion.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
- "Newcastle Emlyn railway station". disused-stations.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
- "About the Railway". Teifi Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "2011 Census results by Community". Welsh Language Commissioner. 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.[permanent dead link]
- Newcastle Emlyn Millennium Edition Historical Notes About Our Town p.10, Pamela Jenkins (1999) Castle Publications
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