Carmel chapel, Carmeltown
|Rassau shown within Blaenau Gwent|
|Population||3,234 (2011) |
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||EBBW VALE|
Rassau, sometimes The Rassau (Welsh: Rasa (Gwenhwyseg)), is a village located in the historic county of Brecknockshire (Breconshire) and the preserved county of Gwent. It currently lies on the northern edge of the county borough of Blaenau Gwent in Wales. According to the 2011 census, the population of Rassau is 3,234. Residents often refer to either Old Rassau and New Rassau or Bottom Rassau and Top Rassau to distinguish the different parts of the village.
Rassau was originally a part of Beaufort and therefore part of the historic county of Brecknockshire (Breconshire). In 1888 it was transferred, together with a number of other industrialized areas, to the historic county of Monmouthshire (not co-extensive with the modern county of the same name). The postal address of 6 Tramroad Side, for example, would then have been "6 Tramroad Side, Rassau, Beaufort, Monmouthshire". Note that Ebbw Vale was not part of the address as Rassau and Beaufort are on the other side of the river Ebbw – a distinction often ignored today.
According to the 1991 census, only 107 residents, or 2.7% of the population aged three and over, could speak Welsh. However, in the 2001 census, 281 residents, or 8.8% of the population aged three and over, were recorded as able to speak Welsh. It is likely that Welsh was still the everyday language of a number of residents throughout the early 1900s because in 1909, Theophilus Jones described the neighbouring village of Beaufort as bilingual, the language preference being English.
At one time the Mari Lwyd was widespread all over Gwent – especially in the Welsh-speaking areas of the north and west, but as the Welsh language lost ground so too did the Mari Lwyd. Its last recorded appearance in the borough was in The Rassau during the 1880s.
Circuit of Wales
An 830 acres (340 ha) site northwest of the village and beyond Rassau Industrial Estate is the proposed site of the Circuit of Wales, a 3.5 miles (5.6 km) motor racing circuit which is currently subject to planning permission. The proposed £250m development is claimed by backers to represent the most significant capital investment programme in automotive and motor sports infrastructure in the UK in 50 years. The development would also include: a karting track; a 4x4 circuit; a Motocross track; a racing academy including driver education; a low carbon technology park; an extension to the existing industrial estate; a retail park; a hotel and leisure facilities. The backers have proposed in their plans that up to 12,000 jobs could be created across the development, in an area which currently has one of the UK's highest unemployment rates. Located directly adjacent to the border of Brecon Beacons National Park, the development is opposed by organisations including the Gwent Wildlife Trust and the Open Spaces Society. If given planning permission, construction would be undertaken by FCC Construcción of Spain, and be built to Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile and Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme.
- Census 2011 Statistics Overview: Rassau Ward Profile. Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- A Geography of the Welsh Language, 1961-1991
- Spreading the Word: the Welsh Language 2001
- The History of Brecknockshire Volume 3, page 202
- Folklore of Blaenau Gwent
- "Circuit of Wales - where". Circuit of Wales. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "Circuit of Wales - plans". Circuit of Wales. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "12,000 jobs promised at Ebbw Vale's Circuit of Wales". South Wales Argus. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "Campaigns - Circuit of Wales". Gwent Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "Ebbw Vale racing circuit opposed by Open Spaces Society". BBC Wales. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- Tom Cary (31 October 2012). "Circuit of Wales threatening to challenge Silverstone for control of UK's motorsport". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 June 2013.