A ghost story

Beaufort Iron Works

Edward (1750–1807) and Jonathan Kendall
or Cendl of Dan-y-Parc Crickhowell
established these works in 1779
on a 99-year lease. In 1833,

by which time there were four furnaces,
the works were taken over
as an extension of their Nantyglo operations
by the Bailey brothers, Joseph and Crawshay,

who put their sister’s son, William Partridge (1800–1862),
in charge. Unmarried Agents (senior managers)
of the local iron works companies
lodged at the Rhyd-y-Blew, a drover’s inn,

properly the hunting lodge of the Duke of Beaufort
who carried out an annual rough-shoot of the area.
The inn was at the end of the toll road from Merthyr Tydfil
and for the rest of the year provided the drovers’ animals

very good pasture and water in the Ebbw river.
Suffolk-born Partridge married Charlotte Bevan,
daughter of the Rhyd-y-Blew’s innkeeper,
and remained in charge of the Beaufort iron works

until his early death in 1862. The works soon closed.
In conjunction with the then well-known Needham family
of Beaufort mining engineers, Partridge sons
became involved in local collieries

and established the substantial business
later known as Partridge Jones.
Grandson, rugby international and Barbarian,
“Birdie” Partridge founded the Army Rugby Union.

The Beaufort works house eventually became a fever hospital
in 1902 and has since been demolished. The ground,
just south of Beaufort Hill, and close to a Chapel of Rest
in the area known as Glanyafon,

once occupied by the iron works,
has long been cleared and covered with houses.
Giant pieces of slag remained in place
until the most recent developments.

No one remembers poor Charlotte,
the way she cared for the horses,
watered them and fed them mash,
her tasty rabbit stew.

About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
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