Pontypool is situated at the surprising altitude of 450 feet above sea level and it appears wedged into the bottom of a steep valley. Its history goes back much further than Blaenavon (World heritage site) for in Norman times it was known as Le Pool and no doubt takes its existing name from a bridge that was built in early times over the Afon.
Pontypool has a great history. Most notably, iron-making was first carried out here on a small scale in 1525 but the town became an important industrial centre in the 16th Century when Richard Hanbury came here from Worcestershire to exploit the mineral wealth of the area. The Hanbury family were the first major iron-masters in South Wales and they played a very important part in the history and development of this town. Capel Hanbury built Pontypool Park House in 1690 – 1720 and it was extended in 1779-1861. (The house is now a Comprehensive School)