Thursday, 30 October 2014



Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says these events in Welsh Working Class History are buried has are the events of 1935 in Blaina.
The History Commission of the Yr Aflondwwch Mawr will is working on a People's History of Wales to be published in June 2015 at the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress.

In 1822 matters in the Southern Iron and Coal Mining districts became such of much discontent, as rife as 1816 amongst the workers none more so than in Gwent where the Tarw Scotch had arisen again to organise a radical struggle in the interest of the Iron and Colliery workers and their familes. This struggle none so violent as in the early months of 1822 after Iron Masters reduced the price of cut coal, effectivelly an huge cut in wages, this began a thirteen week strike that was to conclude in defeat with leaders  imprisoned. But not with out a major confrontation in area of Llanhilleth referred to at the time as a battle between the striking workers and soldiers, Chepstow Yeomanry and Scotch Greys Dragoons sent to occupy the area between Crumlin and the Ebbw Valley Iron  Works. Obviously word of Tarw Scotch plans had been devulged to the authorities by informers, a plan where by militant workers would attempt to stop Coal reaching the Iron Works from the Crumlin Wharf of the Monmouth Canal, loaded on to horse drawn railway trams for the military escorted journey northward. A 10 mile route both ends of which had been occupied by the military whilst other military were ordered ahead along the rail track to prevent it's destruction, they were less than a mile into their advance when they were ambushed by workers throwing rocks down upon them. A bugle call signalled a short retreat untill the military vanguard was joined by acompany of Yeomanry guarding the trams arrived, another attempt was made to advance but before doing so a magistrate read the Riot Act. 

Who won? most certainly the workers did not entirely lose as that night up untill 9th May, the 'Herds' of the Tarw Scotch roamed this area and other localities of their 'Black Domain' carrying out what could be described as 'Guerrilla Warfare' with continued attacks on coal Trams, up to 30 in number were destroyed that night. Trams were pushed into the Monmouthshire Canal and others set alight, at Llanhilleth an huge bonfire was made of trams which still burned three days later. Other than this rail traks were rippped up, the Sirhowy Tramway was all but completly ripped up and thrown int the river. The Cambrian News of 8 May 1822 reported that the destruction through out the 'Black Domain' was with out parallel in the Southern Coal Fields, not least the struggle was far from over as the Scotch Cattle were to continue to rule in the Black Domain up to 1835. There after it appears this 'Workers Underground Resistence Movement' were to merge with the Chartist militants and no doubt marched with the Chartist Army in the Newport Rising of 4 November 1839. The Tarw Scotch were to reappear again in Welsh History in the 1850's but this time over in the Aberdare Valley of North Glamorgan, I shall research more in time.

What an inspirational story and fitting I include it in my I'r Gad Battlefield Campaign blog for two reasons; the one being fact that there is no marker or memorial to this battle which should and could be placed at Llanhilleth, why not? Neither is it annually commemorated and again why not? Perhaps this 2 May it could be launched in a small event at Llanhilleth to discuss my suggestions and place floral tributes in memory of this battle and possibility of workers having been killed? I am quite happy for a 'bona fide' left wing body/person or local Gwent History Group to adopt this Initiative. Something sound and sensible as 'Radical Wales', 'Everyones Favourite Comrade' maybe? or even 'My Little Republic' which is Gwent based, there is a great need to give the Tarw Scotch struggle more attention and promotion. 

They are as the Revolutionary workers leader and the Five Roads Radical Rebecites the forgotten heroes of Welsh History and history of popular struggle, forgotten for political and dare I say it Welsh pacifist reasons. I shall certainly return to LLanhilleth as this time around I was only on a flying visit of the 'Black Domain', to Blackwood, Tredegar and Mynydd Llangynider. The whole area is loaded with Workers/Peoples history and is quite a beautifull region, not a 'Post Industrial Wasteland, well deserves my other a weekend 'holiday' there.

Martyrs and militants - some background history : MerthyrRising

17 Oct 2005... I find it very interesting that Rebeccites could ... - Cached


Before Rebecca: Popular Protests in Wales, 1793-1835: ...

Before Rebecca: Popular Protests in Wales, 1793-1835 ... David J. V.Jones. Discover books, learn about writers, and more. ... › Books › History - Cached

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In Passing Web Searching the below will also interest you:

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