Twyn y Waun
WAUN FAIR ( Ffair y Waun or Marchad y Waun)
To the north of Fochriw and above the hamlet of Pant-y-Waun, on the western side of Rhas Las pond, was situated the historic Waun Fair, or Marchard -y-Waun and constituted one of the largest and most active marketing centres in south Wales.. The location is called Twyn-y-Waun.
For some time prior to A.D. 1140 there had been a market situated at Twyn y Waun and it was granted its charter in 1140 by Iestyn ap Grwgant, King of Glamorgan, and it quickly developed into a marketing hive of activity serving the three counties of Glamorganshire, Brecknockshire and Monmouthshire, within who's borders it was situated.
Its reputation for size and importance could be attested by the fact that it not only attracted local traders but also those from west Wales who sold seafood. As with all fairs, gypsies would be in evidence selling their wares and telling fortunes. Gambling, dog and cock fighting and bare knuckled boxing would all have taken place on the day, with the wares of the two public houses, the Cross Keys Inn and Crown Inn being in great demand.
The fair was also known as the "Apples and Pears Fair" and “Horse Fair” which, until quite recently, was the only remaining commodity traded there, and I can well remember people from America and Canada attending the fair during the 1950’s to obtain Welsh mountain ponies for their riding schools. It appears that a fair was held once a month from April to September.
The nearby Twyn-y-Waun farm, which had all of its four rooms situated in different parishes, was owned by the Saunders family, and the old Roman road passed just by its door. In the 1800's a popular racecourse was also situated there.
This was also the location of a great Parliamentary Reform and Trade Union rights rally which was held on the same day as the fair on 30 May 1831.
However, over the years, the fair greatly diminished in importance and size and it was in September 1906 that the Cross Keys Inn was closed as reported in the following newspaper article.