" CADOXTON, or LLAN-CATWG, a parish in the hundred of NEATH, County of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 1 mile (N.) from Neath, comprising the hamlets of Blaenhonddan, Coed-frank, Dyfryn-Clydach, Lower Dylas, Upper Dylas, Neath-Genol (or Middle), Lower Neath, Upper Neath, and Ynisymond, each of which separately maintains its own poor, and containing 4536 inhabitants.
This extensive parish, which derives its name from St. Catwg, to whom the church is dedicated, is beautifully situated on the north-western bank of the river Neath, along which it extends for a distance of fifteen miles, from its entrance into the county at Pont Neath Vaughan to its influx into the sea below Briton Ferry. It is not less distinguished for its mineral wealth, valuable manufactures, and extensive public works, than for richness and variety of scenery, and the number and elegance of the gentlemen's seats with which it abounds, exclusively of the highly respectable residences of the proprietors of the different works, or their agents. Numerous collieries, besides iron and copper works on a large scale, are carried on within its limits, affording employment to a considerable proportion of the inhabitants.
The Neath canal, and the Swansea and Neath junction canal, which unites with the former by means of a handsome stone aqueduct at the village of Dylas, afford every facility for the conveyance of the produce of the mines, and of the various extensive works in the parish, to the shipping-places at Briton Ferry and Swansea: the latter canal is the private property of George Tennant, Esq., of Cadoxton Lodge.
Rheola, the seat of John Edwards Vaughan, Esq., is a splendid modern mansion, occupying a delightful situation on the banks of the Neath, and commanding a view of the most admired scenery in the beautiful vale through which that river flows. Dyfryn, the seat of the ancient family of Williams, whose pedigree in the church is noticed below, is situated at the base of a precipitous mountain, near the road leading to Llandilo-Vawr : the family having become extinct in the male line, the property has descended to two females. Cadoxton Lodge, the summer residence of George Tennant, Esq. ; Cadoxton Place, the seat of William Powell, Esq. ; Court Herbert, the property of the Rev. Mr. Gronow ; and Aberpergwm, an ancient seat belonging to William Williams, Esq., are also among the principal residences which are profusely scattered throughout this extensive and highly picturesque portion of the county.
The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Llandaf, rated in the king's books at £5.11.10 1/2., endowed with £200 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of Capel Hanbury Leigh, Esq. The church is a spacious edifice, but not remarkable for any architectural features : it contains several handsome mural tablets, of which two are commemorative of the ancient family of Williams of Dyfryn, one inscribed with a curious acrostic on Mrs. Rose Williams, who died March 24th, 1680, and the other containing the entire pedigree of the family, from Iestyn ab Gwrgan, the last native prince of Glamorgan, in the reign of William Rufus, engraved on several sheets of copper, and concluding with Philip Williams, Esq., who died in 1717. There are two chapels of ease, called Crynant and Aberpergwm chapels. There are various places of worship for dissenters in the parish.
The abbey of Neath, a magnificent structure, was founded about the year 1111, by Richard de Granville (who assisted Fitz-Hamon in his conquest of Glamorganshire), for Grey friars, who were afterwards superseded by monks of the Cistercian order. In this monastery Edward of Carnarvon, after his escape from Caerphilly castle, took refuge, and remained for some time in security ; but the house being threatened with a siege, he was induced to retire, under the conduct of one of the monks, in the hope of reaching his partisans : in this attempt he was, however, frustrated by the treachery of his guide, by whom he was betrayed at Llantrisaint castle. Leland describes this house " as the fairest Abbey in all Wales," and the present remains still afford interesting specimens of ancient ecclesiastical architecture. It is situated on the western bank of the river Neath, about a mile from the town of that name, and appears to have been the work of successive periods, and a pile of very great extent, stretching far beyond its present limits. The ruins present a venerable and interesting appearance, but their beauty is greatly disfigured by the smoke of the various works which have been erected near the site : the white stone, from Sutton near Margam in this county, of which the cornices and other ornamental parts are constructed, is perfectly free from the ivy and other parasitical plants by which other portions of the structure are covered. The walls of the Priory house are still in tolerable preservation, and the hall, the refectory, and some of the apartments, may be traced : the remains of the chapel and of the chapter-house are also considerable, and the ruins convey a striking and impressive idea of the grandeur and extent of this once magnificent pile : the revenue at the dissolution was £ 150. 4. 9.
On the summit of the Drymmeu mountain, to the north of Neath abbey, was formerly a kistvaen, five feet long and four feet wide, in which, on its being opened a few years since, were found a heap of bones, and an ancient colt, very much corroded, which is now in the possession of Mrs. Williams, of Dyfryn, to whom, under the late enclosure act, this portion of the waste land was allotted. To the east of this mountain, and just above the village of Dylas, is the Long Mountain, over which is carried the Via Helena, commonly called the Sarn Helen : this ancient road diverges from the Strata Julia Maritima, and crosses the river Neath a little above the present bridge, where it enters the parish ; and, taking a north-eastern direction across the mountain towards Crynant, enters the county of Brecknock.
The average annual expenditure of the whole of this parish, for the support of the poor, amounts to £ 1603. 16.
NEATH-GENOL, or MIDDLE (NEDD-GENOL, or GANOL), a hamlet separately maintaining its own poor, in the parish of CADOXTON, hundred of NEATH, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 10 miles (N. E.) from Neath, containing 271 inhabitants.
This hamlet is finely situated in the richly fertile and highly picturesque Vale of Neath : the surrounding scenery is beautifully diversified, and from the higher grounds are some pleasing and interesting views. The Neath canal terminates within its limits, and a short railroad proceeds thence to the coal-pits in the neighbourhood : the roads from Brecknock and Merthyr-Tydvil to Neath unite here, the line then proceeding along the vale between the canal and the right bank of the river.
Aberpergwm, the ancient seat of the family of Williams, and now the residence of William Williams, Esq., is a fine old mansion, pleasantly situated in grounds tastefully disposed, and comprehending much interesting and pleasing scenery. Oliver Cromwell, who was in some degree related to the ancestor of the present proprietor, is said to have halted at this place on his way to Milford Haven (where he was going to embark for Ireland), and to have despatched messengers to acquaint the family with his arrival, and to demand their good offices in forwarding his expedition, informing them at the same time of the degree of affinity which subsisted between them. Receiving no encouragement from the family, who were zealously attached to the royal cause, he fired a few shots over the mansion by way of intimidation, and departed without offering any further violence. This account, which has hitherto been supported by tradition only, derives corroborative testimony from the discovery of some cannon balls, in turning up the ground near the house, in the year 1831. In the grounds of this mansion stands a chapel of ease to the parish church.
On a hill above the house are traces of the Via Julia Montana, or Roman road leading from Brecknock to Nidum (Neath). Near the side of this road was a stone with a Roman inscription, which Mr. Llwyd, in his communications for Bishop Gibson's edition of Camden, reads Marci Caritini filii Berici : it has been removed, and is now placed in a grotto within the grounds of Gnoll Castle. On the same eminence, and near the site of the above stone, are two barrows surrounded by circular intrenchments.
In this hamlet is also the seat of John Edwards Vaughan, Esq., a splendid mansion, situated in a beautifully picturesque portion of the vale, of which it commands an interesting view, and surrounded with thriving and luxuriant plantations. Among the various features of natural beauty by which the scenery of the vale is distinguished are the frequent cascades formed by the collected waters after excessive rains upon the mountains, which are precipitated thence into the valley.
The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £ 147. 1.
NEATH (NEDD) LOWER, a hamlet in the parish of CADOXTON, hundred of NEATH, County Of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 3 miles (N. E.) from Neath, containing 185 inhabitants.
This place is beautifully situated in the Vale of Neath, which abounds with strikingly picturesque and richly varied scenery : from the hills in this part of the vale descend numerous mountain streams, forming small but beautiful cascades, which enliven the scene, and add beauty and variety to the landscape. The whole of this district is exceedingly rich in mineral treasure : iron-stone and coal are found in great abundance and of excellent quality ; and at Ynys y Gerwyn, in this hamlet, some works have been established, on a moderate scale, for extracting the metal from the copper slag, which afford employment to a portion of the inhabitants. The Neath canal, which commences near Briton-Ferry, and extends for thirteen miles to Abernant, crosses the vale and river of Neath near this place. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is £ 110. 15.
NEATH (NEDD) UPPER, a hamlet in the parish of CADOXTON, hundred of NEATH, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 12 miles (N. E.) from Neath, containing 617 inhabitants.
This place is pleasantly situated in one of the finest portions of the Vale of Neath, and in the midst of an extensive district abounding with mineral wealth : the surrounding scenery, like that which prevails throughout this part of the country, abounds with variety and beauty.
Within the limits of the hamlet is the small but pleasant village of Glyn Neath, a convenient resting-place between Neath and Merthyr-Tydvil, where an excellent inn and posting-house has been established for the accommodation of persons travelling on that line of road.
About two miles higher up the vale is the little village of Pont Neath Vaughan, so called from a bridge at this place over the Lesser Neath, which river here separates the counties of Brecknock and Glamorgan. The vicinity abounds with iron-stone and coal, which are worked upon a very extensive scale, affording employment to many of the inhabitants. In the veins of coal are frequently discovered beautiful specimens of the British diamond, which are found at a great depth in the mines.
The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £100. 17."