Introduction to Flannel Street
GENERAL BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION TO FLANNEL STREET
This information is based on the original Abergavenny Local History Society Survey 1980.
The street once linked Cross Street (the main thoroughfare of the walled medieval town) to Castle Street, which was probably the centre of the prehistoric settlement and later (11th and 12th centuries), one of the main streets in the first planted Norman town of Bergevensis.
In the early 1960s, the western end (along with most of Castle Street and Tudor Street) was demolished to make way for the building of the main Post Office. Before rebuilding began, the Abergavenny Archaeology Group carried out a rescue excavation and found pottery and a flint arrow head of the Bronze Age, which confirmed the site of a prehistoric settlement. In the final weeks of the excavation, the north-west gateway and ditch of the Roman Fort of Gobannium were discovered. The line of Flannel Street almost exactly followed the line of the Roman ditch. See Excavation Report in Monmouthshire Antiquary Volume III,Part II, 1972-73 and Discovering Abergavenny: Archaeology and History by Frank Olding published by the Abergavenny Local History Society.
The name “Flannel Street” comes from the flannel making which stood on the site of the present nos. 1 and 2 Cross Street. Part of one of the looms was still in place in 1960 before the 1970 demolition of the building that housed it, for an extension to the ironmongery store on the site. A ceramic plaque has been placed on the wall by the Abergavenny Local History Society to mark the spot. When flannel weaving declined in the town and Newton (Powys) became the main centre of the Welsh wool weaving industry, “Abergavenny” flannel, of a particularly fine weave and light weight, continued to be made there.
On the 1834 map, the street is named Flannel, but on the 1800 map, it is named Butcher’s Row. Medieval streets often contained tradesmen of one kind. The name Butcher’s Row, and not Flannel Street, appears in the early St Mary’s Parish Registers from the 1650s onwards.
In the 19th century, it contained a large number of eating houses, five butcher’s shops and a slaughter house.
Only the odd numbers 1-7 remain on the north side of the street. The even numbers on the south side were all demolished in 1968.