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Chartism grew out of the discontent at the failure of the 1832 Parliamentary Reform Act. It was still only people of property who had the right to elect Members of Parliament. In May 1838 the London Working Men's Association published the "People's Charter".

Throughout 1838, support for the Charter spread rapidly throughout the industrial areas of South Wales. Chartist lodges were springing up everywhere, largely due to the missionary zeal of Henry Vincent, one of the most charismatic speakers of his day, and William Edwards, known as the Newport Baker. It seems likely that the earliest lodge in the Blaenau Gwent area was formed towards the end of 1838 at the Star Inn at Dukestown.

Sir Thomas Phillips

Almost hidden among the graves in the churchyard at Llanelen, near Abergavenny, stands a modest, white marble memorial surrounded by cast-iron railings. It commemorates a man whose achievements are widely ignored and whose name is all but forgotten in the village he made his home for over twenty years.

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The Blaenau Gwent Chartists

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