A Brief History
The name Llangattock signifies the site of an early church dedicated to the 6th century Celtic saint Cattwg, or Cadoc. More strictly, the site was an enclosed piece of land where one or two monks lived a hermitic life and devoted themselves to evangelizing in their particular district. In most cases they obtained the good will of a local chieftain, who gave them a grant of land.
In the late 11th century native rule in this area was replaced by the Norman lordship of Abergavenny, with Llangattock as part of its eastern boundary. One of the lords, Hamelin de Ballon, granted to the abbey of St Vincent of Le Mans the churches of St Mary in Abergavenny and, under it, the church of sancti Cadoci de Machalevin (identified as Llangattock Lingoed). The manor was held in demesne by the lords of Abergavenny, which suggests that it had also been the seat of a native chieftain. Probably in a similar way, the western part of the parish was made part of the lord Abergavenny's hunting park, referred to as “the park of Lyncoyt” in the Reeve's return for the manor in 1257. However, it seems likely that the eastern part remained in the hands of native tenantry.
The present-day church was begun some time in the 13th century. It is also around this time that the need was felt to distinguish this Llangattock from the other former llans in the area with the same dedication. In the early 12th century it appears as Lancaddoc Kellenny, the second part of the name coming from the area where there were later three farms: Upper, Lower and Little Celliau. Bradney says that Celliau is the plural of Celli (a grove). Osborne and Hobbs suggest more plausibly that the derivation is from Welsh celyn ‘holly trees’ (celenyg being an adjective meaning ‘abounding in holly trees’). This form persisted into the 18th century, occurring as Langottage-Gleming in 1763.
However, the alternative name – Lancadok Lyncoyd in 1348, Llancaddock by [iuxta] Llincoed in 1397 and Llan Cattoge Iuxta Lyncoyd in 1434 – became more common. As well as the park of Lyncoyt already referred to, there was a grange of the Cistercian Dore Abbey called Llyncoed, located just north of the parish. It seems most likely that the name refers to an extensive woodland area, its name perhaps deriving from the Welsh word 'llingoed', which is a collective noun for tall, straight trees, as well as for fine-grained wood. (More about Lyncoed.)
After the ending of the border lordships and the formal absorption of Wales into the realm of England under Henry VIII the parish became part of the new county of Monmouthshire. Law-making and authority was increasingly centralised, but there had also grown up a source of local authority in the gentry. Blome's Gentry of 1763 names three significant persons whose origins were in the parish: Sir Thomas Morgan of Langattog, Bar., Charles Morgan of Langattog, Gent., and Thomas Powell of Poole-hale, Gent. Thomas Morgan was by far the most illustrious of these, but despite the fact that he later bought the property that had belonged to his father and in which he was born, it is unlikely that he spent any of his adult life in the parish. As a youth he spoke only Welsh and there is evidence that the Welsh language survived quite late even in this eastern part of Monmouthshire, but the county increasingly came to be seen as English rather than Welsh. It was the only one of the new Welsh counties that was tied into an English court system, the Oxford circuit, and both of the other persons that Blome refers to, Charles Morgan (no relation) and Thomas Powell, were lawyers who were admitted to the London Inns of Court.
Apart from Sir Thomas Morgan, then, the parish could boast only minor gentry. Note that Blome describes the other two simply as Gentleman, not as Esquire, the next rung up in the hierarchy. There are other indications that the parish was a small and poor one. In 1801 the entire population was only 191 and the numbers of births and deaths from the parish registers suggest that this figure is a result of a steady increase through the preceding century. Without very wealthy gentry and with a small population it is hardly surprising that the income to the church was low. In the middle of the nineteenth century the parish was without resident gentry or a resident clergyman. It was visited in summer 1847 by James Davies, then a school master at Devauden, with the purpose of distributing bibles and religious tracts. He was shocked by the lack of literacy in the area and the consequent failure to learn Christian morality, to the extent, even, of "carrying guns and killing game on the Lord's day". The chief result of this visit was the founding of a village school in 1848.
The general state of the parish in the early twentieth century is well illustrated by a comment from Bradney. He tells how Richard Tudor inherited the estate of Charles Morgan and his eldest son, James, assumed the name of Morgan in around 1730 and settled in Great House. He was said,according to Bradney, to have been the first to introduce a carriage into the parish but, he points out "considering that even now the roads are hardly fit for a carriage, the task of dragging it with four or six carthorses at a foot's pace must have been a trying one". The photographs in Bradney and even those of Fox and Raglan in the mid-twentieth century show the state of dilapidation of many of the old houses. Mains water only came to the village in 19??, the telephone, to the school and the pub, in 19?? and electricity in 19??.
Sir Joseph Bradney, A History
of Monmouthshire, Volume 1, Part 2.
Graham Osborne and Graham Hobbs, The Place-Names of Eastern Gwent