It is only right and fitting that I should start my pages on towns with the one from which the ' Park ' takes its name and where the Headquarters for the National Park Authority is situated: Brecon.
First evidence of occupiers of the area in which Brecon developed from can be traced back to the Iron Age, and despite a Roman encampment being situated to the north of Brecon it was the Norman after 1066 who saw the potential of the area during his push west into Wales.His building of a church and castle above the confluence of the rivers Usk and Honddu ensured that the occupiers, should they survive, had the chance to develop the area further as time progressed.
Indeed by the time the fourteenth century began the population had expanded beyond the castle walls on the west bank to the east bank of the river Honddu.
With the passing of years into history such had been the expansion of the population within the confines of the walled town that by Tudor times there were more souls living outside its walls than were actually living within it. As the period came to an end present day street names such as Glamorgan Str, High Street Superior, High Street Inferior had already appeared.
Whilst the town was not highly involved in the English civil war, in 1645 King Charles himself accompanied by the brigades of Sir Marmaduke Langdale and Sir William Vaughan, the horse regiment of Colonel Charles Gerard, and the foot regiment of Life Guards of Sir Thomas Glenham arrived in the town after the disastrous encounter with the Parliamentarian forces outside Cardiff in South Wales. Charles himself spent the night in the Priory before he and his army left the next morning and headed north east for York.
But enough of the military history of Brecon for I have covered it in another section.
In 1974 boundary changes meant that Wales lost most of its thirteen shire counties and Breconshire became amalgamated with Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire to become the new county of Powys., so therefore with industrial enterprises already established the town became the main commercial centre for the southern part. of the new county. However its remained as it does today a Mid Wales market town, Despite a bypass having been built around the town and the cattle market having moved to a new complex on the west side there is still a 'buzz' on a friday, the traditonal market day, and it remains for many farmers wives their shopping day.
Despite the fact that Brecon still contains many narrow streets and passageways lined with Georgian and Jacobean shop fronts where a visitor can wonder at will, the town is changing and is facing the challenge of the rwenty-first century, New super markets have appeared and the town centre has changed dramatically but there still remains a sense of timelessness about the place, a sort of link between the past and present. A link that I for one hope will somehow remain, for Brecon has its roots firmly anchored in the past and should be respected for such for there are very few towns left in Wales who have such.