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Brecon - Overview

This small market town and former capital of the historic county of Brecknockshire is situated on the confluence of the rivers Honddu and Usk. The Romans established a cavalry base here during their occupation of Britain for their onward conquest of Wales. In the eleventh century, the Normans built a castle here, again due to the town’s favourable strategic location on one of the few fords on the river. In the mid thirteenth century a circuit of town walls were built. Little survives of these as they were destroyed in the English Civil War. Brecon Cathedral originated in the eleventh century as a church dedicated to Saint John. It is the newest cathedral in Wales, having become the seat of the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon in 1923 following the disestablishment of the Church in Wales three years earlier.

Brecon’s favourable location to the north of the Brecon Beacons has made it a long-time favourite with tourists. With the gradual improvement of the major roads in Wales during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, it also served as a central stopping point for post coaches. Thanks to this development, many tourists came to visit. In 1844, Carl Carus and Friedrich August II, the King of Saxony, shortly stopped here to change horses and enjoyed the bustling life of the market and beautiful surrounding countryside on their day’s journey from Merthyr Tydfil to Aberystwyth.

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