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Part one

Cwmbran History
Saturday, 18 March 2017
Chartists at the Lower Cock Inn
The Lower Cock Inn was situated on the Highway in Croesyceiliog where the Tewdric Court bungalows are now. It is unclear when it was built but it did play a part in the Chartist uprising of 4th November 1839.

It has been generally accepted in local lore that it was the nearby Upper Cock Inn that played host to the Chartists however an article in the South Wales Daily News from 21 April 1877, which reproduced letters written by one of the leaders, Zephaniah Williams, tells another story.

At the time of the Chartists march on Newport, the Lower Cock Inn was kept by Mrs Glazebrook. For three days previous the inn had been exhibiting a boy from Carmarthenshire. He was thirteen and known as the 'Porcupine Boy' due to him being covered in wart-like scales all over his body. After his departure the village of Croesyceiliog returned to normal, blissfully unaware of the events that were about to unfold.

The night of the march was 'wet, dark and miserable'. The only customer in the Lower Cock was a man named Absalom from Pembrokeshire. The landlady's son had gone to bed allowing his mother to close up the house.

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Part two

The night of the march was 'wet, dark and miserable'. The only customer in the Lower Cock was a man named Absalom from Pembrokeshire. The landlady's son had gone to bed allowing his mother to close up the house.

Not long afterwards, a man named Barnabus, a brewer from Pontypool arrived along with another man, Thomas Watkins, also from Pontypool. They knocked and asked where 'Glazebrook' was, explaining that their horses were 'completely knocked up', but as Glazebrook was in bed they decided they would try to carry on a bit further with their journey. They next arrived at the Upper Cock Inn and called to the landlord, Joe Davis and left their horses there. After a few drinks they left and walked to Pontypool.

The first group of Chartists marched through Croesyceiliog without stopping. Mrs Glazebrook was now in her bedroom, unaware of anything happening outside. She was undressed and ready for sleep until someone knocked on the door. The person shouted 'Glazebrook!' a couple of times and she in return shouted from her window 'Who is there?' It was so dark though and the rain so heavy, she could barely see. Her son heard her shouting and decided it was probably 'some old customer from the hills'


Part Three

Eventually though, Mrs Glazebrook received a reply. The voice said 'A friend from the Varteg who wants a quart of beer'. Mrs Glazebrook replied 'Well if you will drink it quickly, you shall have a quart of beer'. She put on a gown, went downstairs, opened the door and handed the man a jug.
'Let me come in a minute out of the rain' he continued but as soon as he had set foot inside it was obvious he was not alone as a number of other men rushed in with him.

Hearing the commotion, the son jumped out of bed, hurriedly got dressed and ran downstairs to find the inn full of rain drenched men.
'Hello' he said 'What is up my lads? Where are you all going to?'
'To Newport' they told him.
He observed a man named Parry held a stable pike in his hand.
'What are you going to do with that?' he asked
'This is to turn them over' was the reply.
The Chartists then insisted fires should be lit in all the rooms. Mr Glazebrook needed to get coal for this and on going out through the back door to get some, observed an array of pikes, scythes and knives fastened to the end of long sticks. He eventually learned of the Chartist rising and realised his house was full of them.


Part four

After warming themselves, drinking freely, the Chartists quietly went on their way. Not long after, another group arrived demanding drink. Mr Glazebrook thought it was wise to be civil and be as obliging as possible and in return the Chartists acted the same. Some of them sought refuge at the inn.
'They took me as I was going to chapel' said one 'And I, as I was eating my super' said another. Some hid themselves in the cellar, others in the bedrooms until it was safe to escape and return to their homes.

At six o clock the following morning, Jones the Watchmaker, dressed in a suit of black, walked into the Lower Cock. He asked for a glass of brandy and sat down. Mr Glazebrook approached him and confronted him.
'It appears to me that you are one of the leaders of this Chartist affair; depend upon it if so, you will either be hanged or transported'.
'Do you think so?' asked Jones
'Yes' was the reply 'for this going to Newport is a wrong idea altogether'.
At that point some more men arrived and on seeing Jones exclaimed, while holing a blunderbuss to his ear
'Jones! Damn me if he hasn't turned traitor! You should have been in Newport hours ago! If you don't come at once I'll blow your brains out!'
So Jones jumped up and went. As the gang left one of them grabbed Mr Glazebrook and tried dragging him along with them, only releasing him after his protests that he needed to look after his mother


Part five

On their return from Newport the Chartists again called at the Lower Cock, they were wet, tired and had their spirits broken. A tragedy would have occurred here then, had it not been for Mr Glazebrook who thwarted the attempts of the Chartists to dry their wet gunpowder by the fire!

By the 20th century the Lower Cock Inn was no longer run by the Glazebrook family. At the brewster sessions in March 1904 its license was refused as it was no longer deemed necessary. The Lower Cock ceased to exist as an inn and the building fell into disrepair. In February 1905 a Mr Corner submitted plans in court for the rebuilding of the inn but after deliberation the justices disapproved. The Lower Cock was inhabited as a dwelling until 1949 until swept away by the Cwmbran new town plan

I live about half a mile from where The Lower Cock was.

Never realised it had existed until recently.
+2 votes
I did not know it. 

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