Reginald Blewitt

Reginald James Blewitt (1799–1878) was a British MP. He built up the Monmouthshire Merlin newspaper and refurbished Llantarnam Abbey.

Reginald James Blewitt
Born(1799-05-26)26 May 1799
Died11 September 1878(1878-09-11) (aged 79)
Roehampton, Surrey, England
ResidenceLlantarnam Abbey
NationalityBritish
Known forCollieries, canals and railways
PredecessorBenjamin Hall
SuccessorCrawshay Bailey
Political partyWhig

Biography

Blewitt was born in 1799 to Edward and Amelia Blewitt. His father was descended from the powerful Morgan family of Newport.[1] In 1827 Blewitt published a satirical poem that was published as a 106-page book about the characters of the Chancery Court.[2]

Blewitt obtained ownership of Llantarnam Abbey which had historically been a Catholic home for centuries. Blewitt restored the abbey as his home in 1836.[3] In 1837, he was elected as an M.P. for the Monmouthshire Boroughs.

Newport Uprising

Blewitt played a minor role in the Newport Rising when three groups of Chartists descended onto Newport to release from custody a fellow chartist. Two of the groups arrived at the Hotel in Newport and they were turned back by armed soldiers who fired on the rioters. The third group from Pontypool led by William Jones was too late and it had been met on the road by Blewitt who cautioned the men against insurrection. Blewitt was a well known critic of Chartism via his Newport paper.[4] However the group continued and only scattered after they were told of the chartists shot dead and wounded in Newport. Meanwhile, Blewitt had travelled through Caerleon to the site of the riot where he took over the role of Mayor as he had been wounded.[5] Jones and two others were eventually transported for their part in the uprising.

Cwmbran iron works

The growth of the iron works at Cwmbran in the middle of the nineteenth century was due to Blewitt's ownership. In 1847 he was establishing a patent for a method of creating malleable iron.[6] This iron works continued as a major employer in the area until 1970.[7]

Politician, journalist and writer

Blewitt had financial trouble in 1851. His effort to have his seat taken over by a shipping entrepreneur named Schaw Lindsay was unsuccessful. Blewitt resigned from the House of Commons in March 1852[8] recommending Lindsay as his successor, but it was Crawshay Bailey who took the seat.[4] It was Blewitt who created the Monmouthshire Merlin which grew to have the largest circulation in Wales in 1854,[9] despite the Monmouthshire Beacon targeting him personally. The Beacon had been organised several years after the Merlin, started by Sir Joseph Bailey and other Monmouthshire conservatives, and it embarrassed other newspapers with the ferocity of its attacks on Blewitt.[10] However Blewitt described anonymously Octavius Morgan, who was a fellow M.P. and distant cousin, as flippant "in his youth", overbearing, arrogant, short, squeaky voiced and effeminate.[11]

References

  1. Burke, James and Bernard (1841). A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant baronetcies. p. 642.
  2. Blewitt, Reginald (1827). Chancery Court. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-58477-648-2.
  3. "Llantanam Abbey". tycroesocentre.
  4. Williams, Chris and Sian (15 June 2011). The Gwent County History Vol 4. p270-273. ISBN 978-0-7083-2365-6.
  5. Drayson, Alfred W. The Chartist riots at Newport : November, 1839 p.41.
  6. Patents for inventions. Abridgments of specifications. Patents Office. 1858. p. 84.
  7. "GKN - Guest Keen & Nettlefold". cwmbran.info. Archived from the original on 19 November 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  8. Department of Information Services (14 January 2010). "Appointments to the Chiltern Hundreds and Manor of Northstead Stewardships since 1850" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  9. Sam Adams (2011). Chris and Rhiannon Williams (ed.). The Gwent County History Volume 4. University of Wales. a circulation of 2,124 copies per week
  10. "South Wales and Monmouthshire newspapers under the stamp acts p315". Welsh History Review. 1. 1960. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  11. Blewitt., Reginald. Memories of Monmouthshire.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Benjamin Hall
Member of Parliament for Monmouth Boroughs
1837–1852
Succeeded by
Crawshay Bailey
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