The Newport Rising Chartist Trail was created to celebrate and remember the Chartist
Uprising of 1839 (also known as the Newport Rising) which was the last large-scale armed
rebellion against authority in Great Britain and an important milestone on the road to modern democracy.
The Chartists fought for the right of the common people to have their voices heard and
had six key demands, also known as the six points of the Charter. The Newport Rising culminated in 1839 with more than five thousand ordinary working men gathering in the South Wales valleys and marching to Newport through a cold November night.
Some believe the Chartists were peacefully protesting about the injustices and asking for
the release of their fellow Chartists who had been arrested and taken prisoner. Others believe they were involved in an armed uprising. This trail and the information plaques along the route will tell you more about the Chartists and the terrible events that took place on Sunday 4th November in Newport in 1839.
Please note - the route below shows the Chartist Heritage Trail route. During Newport Rising Festival the annual torchlit march begins at Belle Vue Park (point 13 on the map) and ends at Westgate Square (point 3).
Use this map or download a copy using the link below to start your Chartist Trail and walk in the footsteps of the Chartist protestors that marched for democracy in 1839.
SHORT ROUTE Approx 30 minutes
LONG ROUTE Approx 90 minutes
NEWPORT MUSEUM & ART GALLERY
Newport Museum and Art Gallery has extensive
Chartist displays, bringing the subject to life and exploring characters on both sides. Contemporary guns and other weapons sit alongside artworks and written accounts showing the devastating impact that the events of the 4th November 1839 had on the area and the country as a whole.
THE PARROT INN
This is where Frost called the meeting of 30th October 1838 when an audience of 400-500 people adopted ‘ThePeople’s Charter’. Thomas Walker was landlord of the Parrot Inn and also a Special Constable; he was injured at High Cross during the Newport Rising.
THE WESTGATE INN
On 4 November 1839, thousands of Chartists massed in front of the Westgate Inn and tried to force entry through the main door. Shots were exchanged with soldiers hidden inside and a battle raged for more than 20 minutes. The Chartists dispersed, leaving behind more than 20 dead. This event became known as The
MULLOCK - A WITNESS
From an upstairs window of a building on this site, a young artist called James Flewitt Mullock witnessed the attack on the Westgate Inn. When a shot struck nearby, he fled down Skinner Street. A year later, he produced a lithograph of the scene, which has been printed many times since.
John Frost was one of the owners of this building which dates from 1533. His draper’s shop also stood on this side of High Street until the late 1870s. Once home to the High Sheriff of Monmouthshire, today the Murenger is a public house.
THE CARPENTER'S ARMS
On Saturday 2 November 1839, a young Chartist messenger from Bradford stayed in the Carpenters Arms before travelling home by stage-coach the following day. He had met Frost in Blackwood, where he tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to delay the march on Newport because the Yorkshire Chartists were not yet ready to rise in support.
This building stands on the site of the entrance to Thomas Street, where John Frost’s parents John and Sarah kept the Royal Oak public house. He became a magistrate and Mayor of Newport in 1836 before becoming involved in the Chartist movement.
THE SIX POINTS
The six points of The People’s Charter are inscribed alongside the steps leading to John Frost Square. The Charter was drawn up by William Lovett and sets out the changes Chartists wanted to see to the electoral system. The People’s Charter still provides the foundation of our modern democracy.
JOHN FROST SQUARE
John Frost Square, originally created in the 1970s and redeveloped in 2015, is named after one of the leaders of the South Wales Chartists. The tall building visible to the north of the Square is called Chartist Tower in commemoration of the Rising. Newport Museum and Art Gallery contains an extensive Chartist exhibition.
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH
St. Paul’s Church opened in 1836. In April 1839, the Rev. James Francis, the church’s first vicar, preached from Jeremiah 2:13, warning against ‘foolish allegiances’ with the Chartist Movement. The many Chartists in the congregation, including Henry Vincent, John Lovell and Charles Waters, sat in the pews in silent protest.
ST. PAUL'S WALK
Women contributed one in five of all signatures on the National Petition to Parliament in 1839, even though the Charter would not get them the vote. The seven mosaics at St. Paul’s Walk honour 100 years of women’s history and remember a number of significant Newport women including Mary Brewer and Joan Williams who supported the Chartists. For further information visit here.
At approximately 8am on Monday 4 November 1839, the Chartists paused at the Cwrt-y-bella weighing machine near this site, after walking through the night from the Valleys. They received news that troops had occupied the Westgate Inn. Led by Frost and Jack the Fifer, they marched in military formation towards the turnpike gate on Stow Hill.
BELLE VUE PARK PAVILLION
(ST WOOLOS HOSPITAL)
On 4th November 1839, the Chartists stopped to regroup at Cwrt-y-bella weighing machine which stood on Cardiff Road just below this site. After enjoying this beautiful park which opened in 1894, you can rejoin the Chartist Trail either at the car park gate, or at the bottom lodge gate.
Nearby stands the Friars which was built in the early 1840s for Octavius Morgan, magistrate, MP and eighth son of Sir Charles Morgan of Tredegar Park. He examined prisoners and witnesses after the Rising, served on the Grand Jury at Shire Hall, Monmouth and campaigned against pardons for the Chartist leaders
throughout the 1840s.
This was where Captain Stack and 70 infantrymen of the 45th Regiment were stationed in the new workhouse. As the Chartists passed the Stow Hill turnpike on the
morning of 4 November, they could see soldiers on guard at their makeshift barracks. Following the Rising, the workhouse acted as both prison camp and hospital.
ST. WOOLOS SQUARE
The Chartist force of more than 5000 men passed through here on the morning of November 4th before marching down Stow Hill and into the town
THE SIX BELLS
After the Newport Rising of 1839, 18 year-old Susan Stephens gave testimony to Newport Magistrates, saying that she ‘...saw the prisoner Lovell passing her house the Six Bells on Stow Hill with a mob with a gun in his hand.’
On 11 August 1839, a large group of Chartists attended a service at St. Woolos. During the night of Thursday 7 November 1839, the authorities moved the bodies of ten Chartists from the stables of the Westgate Inn. They buried them in four unmarked graves in St. Woolos Churchyard at the north side of St. Mary’s Chapel.
In 1839 Edward Hopkins, the Superintendent of the Newport Police who arrested Frost after the Rising, lived in a house on this site. It also served as the police station. Following the battle at the Westgate, more than 150 weapons abandoned by the Chartists were collected and brought to Hopkins’ home.
ST. MARY'S CHURCH
The church was under construction at the time and the marchers called on the workmen to join them. A carpenter slammed the church doors shut to prevent the Chartists from entering and it is rumoured that some Chartists hid behind the altar after the battle at the Westgate to avoid detection by the soldiers and special constables.
THE MAYOR'S HOUSE
Mayor Thomas Phillips’ House was at the bottom of Stow Hill facing the Westgate Hotel. Injured during the attack on the Westgate Hotel, Phillips received a knighthood for his defence of her majesty’s authority.