SKENFRITH, or Skenfreth, is a parish and village, on the river Monnow, over which there is a stone bridge of 3 arches, on the road from Ross to Abergaveuny. It is 7 miles north-north-west from Monmouth, the nearest railway station, in the Northern division of the county, in the hundred and petty sessional division of Skenfrith, in the union and county court district of Monmouth, in the Monmouth and Skenfrith highway district of the Monmouth District Council, in the rural deanery and archdeaconry of Monmouth, and in the diocese of Llandaff.
The church of St. Bridget is a building of stone in the Early English and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and a low western tower, with an open wood lantern containing 6 bells. There is one stained window and an ancient tomb with Elizabethan figures dated 1557. A pre-Reformation cope is preserved here. There are 200 sittings.
The register dates from the year 1662, but is very imperfect. The living is a vicarage, net income £130, with 2½ acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of Robert Newton Jackson esq. and held since 1889 by the Rev. Christopher Leonard Garde M.A. of Trinity College, Dublin.
The Wesleyan chapel was erected in 1883, and the Baptist chapel in 1830. The Catholic chapel at Coedangred, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, was erected in 1847, and has a cemetery attached.
A Public Reading Room was established in 1888.
From Graig Hill, about 1,600 feet in height, ten counties may be seen.
Skenfrith Castle, built anterior to the Norman invasion, stood on the west side of the Monnow river, but of this fortress nothing now remains except a part of the keep and outer wall. Leland describes it as being nearly perfect in his time (1506-52). This is probably one of the oldest of the border castles, and, with Grosmont and White Castles, was given by King John to William de Braose in return for three steeds and ten greyhounds. The tower was massive and the walls of great thickness and strength. It was probably in the first instance of British origin, and intended for the defence of the river, or to render more secure the passes of the adjacent mountains. The castle was seized by King Henry III, who visited it several times during the years 1220 and 1222.
The principal seats are Blackbrooke, now (1900) unoccupied, and Glen Monnow, the residence of Robert Newton Jackson esq. JP.
The Duke of Beaufort, ADC, is lord of the manor. The principal landowners are James Graham esq. of Hilston Park, St. Maughan's, Robert Newton Jackson esq. who is lord of Blackbrooke manor, and Edward Kendal Edmonds Mardon esq. of Grosmont, Herefordshire.
There are quarries of good paving stone. The soil is stiff and light loam, subsoil, clay. The chief crops are wheat and barley and oats, with some beans and roots. The area is 4,858 acres of land and 27 acres of water; rateable value, £3,422. The population in 1891 was 501 in the civil parish and 491 in the ecclesiastical parish.
By Local Government Board Order No.14,632, dated March 25, 1883, a detached part of Rockfield was added to this parish.
Parish Clerk, William Pritchard.
Board School, erected in 1877, at a cost of £1,200, for 120 children; average attendance, 50; Williani J. Millham, master
PRIVATE & COMMERCIAL RESIDENTS
(Marked * receive their letters through Pontrilas R.S.O. Herefordshire.)