Between 1834 and 1853, ten eisteddfodau were held in Abergavenny, organised by Cymreigyddion Y Fenni, the Welsh language society which still meets today. The eisteddfodau were sponsored by Augusta Hall, the famous Lady Llanover, also known by her bardic name Gwenynen Gwent. Lady Llanover is perhaps best known for creating the image of what came to be regarded as the traditional Welsh costume, as well as for her support of Welsh harp music and folk songs.
In her patronage of the Abergavenny eisteddfodau, Lady Llanover was supported by her husband, Sir Benjamin Hall (of Westminster`s "Big Ben" fame) and by Thomas Price, "Carnhuanawc," one of the greatest Welshmen of the nineteenth century. He, like Lady Llanover, was a fervent advocate for the Welsh language in an age where Britain`s minority languages were far from being a popular cause.
Lady Llanover and her husband offered very substantial prizes at the Abergavenny eisteddfodau, sometimes as much as eighty guineas. Competitors included some of the greatest European Celtic scholars, as well as major Welsh literary figures of the day.
In 2002, the Abergavenny eisteddfod was revived by a local group led by local town councillor Douglas Edwards and his wife Edna, together with head teacher of Abergavenny`s Welsh primary school Mrs Bronwen Green. In 2003 Ceri Thomas took over the chairmanship of the eisteddfod committee from Bronwen Green, and since 2012 the post has been held by Rosemary Williams.
Initially competitors were invited from local schools, with competitions being held at King Henry VIII Comprehensive School. From 2003 onwards, adult competitors have also been attracted, from all over Wales and beyond, and from 2004 onwards the evening competitions have been held at the town`s Borough Theatre.