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By permission of Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru /
The National Library of Wales
Accession Number: PB01342
Museum, Caerleon, c.1850

Print of Caerleon's first museum by James Flewitt Mullock (1818-1892).

Until the mid 1800s many local finds were sold to visitors and collectors. In 1850 Caerleon's first museum was opened thanks to the efforts of several local antiquarians under the guidance of John Lee, an industrialist who moved to the area to work at the Dos Works, Newport. Finds were turning up fast and furious at this time - many being made by John Jenkins who was excavating/levelling the grounds inside the Mynde (for more details follow this link).

At first it was proposed that the museum be built in the 'square' near the Bull in High Street. The site was at that time occupied by Caerleon's market house. This had been in a ruinous state for many years. William Coxe described the building in his book An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire published in 1801 and marked its location on a plan of the town [ text ] [ plan ]. Residents and traders around the square protested and the position further along High Street was settled on. The market house was demolished and some of the reclaimed stone was used for the new museum. The old columns, thought to be of Roman origin, were employed in the basement to support the ground floor. (For a drawing of the Market Hall and a photo of the columns follow this link.)

In 1987 the new Roman Legionary Museum was opened on the same site. The only part of the old museum to survive was the façade. The old columns from the basement have since been tansported to the National Museum Collection Centre in Nantgarw for conservation and storage. It is hoped it will not be too long before they return to Caerleon to be used in an imaginitive way to match their age and interesting history.

Royal Worcester plate decorated with Mullock's print produced to commemorate the opening of the new museum in 1987.
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