Mid Wales

Newtown pub name change to be decided by locals

The Black Boy public house in Newtown
Image caption The renamed pub will open in May

Newspaper readers are to decide the name of a Newtown pub after locals reacted angrily to a move to rename it after the last prince of an independent Wales

Pub chain J D Wetherspoon had decided to change the name of the Black Boy Hotel to the Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.

This led to an outcry by some in the town who wanted a famous local person to provide the name instead.

The company has now asked readers of The County Times to choose the name.

JD Wetherspoon bought the 17th Century Grade II-listed pub last December and is carrying out a £1.5m refurbishment before reopening it in May.

But the decision to rename the pub after Llywelyn ap Gruffydd upset locals, according to Newtown county councillor Joy Jones.

Very traditional

She said: "I'm very pleased that such a big company has listened to the people of Newtown who weren't happy about the original decision.

"Llywelyn ap Gruffydd has strong connections with Montgomeryshire, but locals want the pub name to be associated with Newtown."

"The people of Newtown are very traditional and many constituents have contacted me to tell me they want the old name to be kept."

The County Times will ask people to vote from the original short-list of seven names compiled by JD Wetherspoon by sending in vouchers that will appear in the paper's next two editions.

The winning name is expected to be announced by the middle of March.

Llywelyn ap Gruffydd built Dolforwyn Castle above Abermule near Newtown between 1273 and 1277 after capturing the Cedewain and Ceri areas.

Image copyright National Portrait Gallery
Image caption Robert Owen is widely regarded as Newtown's most famous son

This included the site where Newtown was founded in 1279 after Llywelyn lost his land to the royal forces of Edward I.

The short-list also includes social reformer and one of the founders of the co-operative movement, Robert Owen, who left Newtown aged ten to become a draper's assistant in Lincolnshire.

Other names considered include references to local Kerry Hill sheep whose wool made Newtown famous in the 19th Century, and Thomas Penson, who designed the town's Longbridge over the River Severn and the former flannel exchange.

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