"BETTWS, a parish, in the union of LLANELLY, hundred of ISKENNEN, . . . 8 mile (S.) from Llandilo-Vawr; comprising the upper and lower divisions, and containing 1109 inhabitants. . . situated within a short distance of the turnpike-road leading from Llandilo-Vawr to Swansea . . . A considerable part of the surface is mountainous and barren, and the level portion contains some tracts of woodland . . . a small quantity of grain is grown, but the chief produce is cheese and butter. The river Amman runs through the parish, and two brooks called Cathan and Nantyfin. Slate is quarried, and coal and iron-mines are in operation, a rail-road having recently been made. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Llandebie , , . The church, dedicated to St. David . . . contains 250 sittings, of which 40 are free. A Sunday school affords instruction gratuitously in the Welsh language to about 110 children of both sexes." [From A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (S. Lewis, 1844).]


Business & Commerce Records

The history of Osbourne House in Garnant illustrates the way many small businesses struggled into existence and eventually faded away; the owner Mrs Margaret Evans was known as Mrs Evans Siop y Lamb. Now included here



1841 census of Bettws - transcription by Rina Callingham


Church History

Some church and chapel data from The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. Ed. by I.G Jones, & D. Williams. UWP, Cardiff, 1976. The names are those of the informants

  • Bettws Parish Church Richard Bowcott, Perpetual Curate
  • Wesleyan Methodist, Pontamman Erected about 1840 N Morris, Steward, Pontamman Works, Nr Llandilo
  • Sion Welsh CM Erected before 1800 William Evans, Elder, Weaver, Bettws, Nr Cross Inn
  • Bethesda, Cwmamman Particular Baptist Erected 1843 David Jones, Manager
  • Latter Day Saints, Cwmamman John Griffith, Elder, Nr Prince Albert Inn, Cwm Amman

Parish entry for Bettws with Ammanford from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by (Archive CD Books).

  • St David & St Michael's, Ammanford & All Saints
  • Incumbent and Curates; R H Roberts (W C Lewis)
  • Rural Deanery of Llandilo
  • Acreage 6,511 ; Population 7,964

Parish entry for Cwmamman from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by (Archive CD Books).

  • Christ Church & Llanfair & St Margaret & St David
  • Incumbent and Curates; W A Jones (B Davies, A O J Thomas)
  • Rural Deanery of Llandilo
  • Acreage --- ; Population 11,810

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data re St David's Church, Betws

    See the Cwmgors/Waun site for a history database of local chapels and churches

    Cwmamman Auxiliary of the British & Foreign Bible Society. Subscribers' List from the 1931-1932 report, compiled by Rina Callingham


      Church Records

      Dyfed FHS have photographs and data relating to various churches and chapels on their site

      Parish registers prior to 1706 were lost when the place they were kept caught fire.

      Parish registers: Christenings and Marriages (1706-1973), Banns (1823-1964) and Burials (1706-1909) are at the Carmarthenshire Record Office.

      Bishops' Transcripts, covering the period (1702, 1707-8, 1716-22, 1728-84, 1786-7, 1789-90, 1793-6, 1798, 1800, 1802-3, 1805-65) are at the National Library of Wales, and have been microfilmed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      Marriage index for this parish - see Dyfed Marriages, 1813-1837, Vol. 18 - Iscennin Hundred (Dyfed Family History Society, c1989)

      See Bap/Mar/Bur data on FreeReg

      Nonconformist Chapels:

      • Bethesda Baptist Chapel Cwmaman Rd, Glanaman - built in 1843 and rebuilt in 1882 by architect Joseph Tracey of Glanaman.  Coflein
      • Calfaria Baptish Church DYNEVOR ROAD, GARNANT, GLANAMMAN-  built in 1844 and rebuilt in 1882  Coflein
      • Bethel Newydd Ind chapel, Garnant See Hen Fethel under Llandeilofawr parish.  Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)
      • Bryn Seion Welsh Independent chapel, High St, Glanaman SN67551358 Built 1909-10 Still open 1998 Coflein
      • Brynlloi Independent Sunday School, Glanaman SN683134 Built 1864 Coflein
      • Stepney Hall Independent Chapel, Garnant -  built in 1898 Coflein
      • Cwmgrenig Independent Sunday School, Abergrenig  - was built before 1901 in the Simple Round-Headed style with a gable-entry plan. By 1997 the building was disused. coflein
      • Tynywern Independent Sunday School, Cwmamman -  was a branch of Bryn Seion Chapel, Glanamman and was built in 1893. It was stone built in the Simple Round-Headed style with a gable entry plan and basement. By 1997 this school stood disused and sold. coflein
      • Bethania  CM Chapel, BRYNLLOI RD. AND BETHANIA ROAD, Glanaman - built 1906 by architect David Williams of Swansea  Coflein
      • Capel Newydd CM chapel Betws Rd, Betws - still open in 2006 SN6328011847 Built 1898 Status (2000): in chapel use. Coflein
      • Siloam Welsh CM, Maesyquarre Rd SN64151170 Built 1905. Status (1997): disused. Coflein
      • Sion, Betws Rd, Betws (Calvinistic Methodist, c1740) (New Sion) SN63091135 Built 1795 and rebuilt 1829. Status (1998): demolished Coflein
      • Hen Gapel CM (Sion/Seion), Pontaman (Old Sion) Births and baptisms, 1812-37, PRO RG4/3831, LDS 828108, IGI SN6423812403 First chapel built before 1800; alterations & rebuilding of 1829 & 1895. It survived until ca.1940-5. Status (1997):demolished. Coflein
      • [There was an old and a new Sion on different sites, the Rawlins book has photographs of both]
      • PENLLECH SCHOOLROOM, CALVINISTIC METHODIST, PANTYFFYNNON - built in 1795 and rebuilt in 1829 and 1904. coflein
      • Pontaman (Wesleyan Methodist, c1840) Listed in Rawlins and the Religious Census 1851 (under Betws parish)  but not found on Coflein or Dyfed FHS
      • Ramah Apostolic Church  DYNEVOR ROAD, GARNANT- brick built in 1923 in the Vernacular style with a gable entry plan and gothic small pane windows. By 1997 this chapel had been converted for use as a storeroom. Coflein

      The parish Vestry Minutes for the period 1706-1894 are held at Carmarthen Archives.


      Description & Travel

      The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales., byJones, I.G. & Williams, D. UWP, Cardiff, 1976. These statistics for this parish are extracted from this book which in turn got them from the 1851 census itself;

      • Area 6465 acres; Population 824 males, 755 females, total 1579

      Dave Michael's Amman Valley site

      Betws - on Wikipedia

        Gittins, R & Spencer Davies, D. The Illustrated Heart of Wales Line. Llandysul, 1985, 143 pp. Its 110 mile route from Swansea to Shrewsbury takes it through the heartland of Wales inc. the towns and hamlets of Pantyfynnon, Ffairfach, Llandeilo, Llangadog, Llandovery, Cynghordy etc, and describes each halt and station in detail.

        You can see pictures of Betws which are provided by:




        Emigration & Immigration

        From the Amman Valley to Kansas By Rina Callingham "Daniel Thomas Morgan was born on Tuesday 28th April 1835. He was the 5th known child of David and Mary Morgan (nee Griffiths) of Brynhynydd farm in the Carmarthenshire parish of Betws.............................."



        The transcription of the section for Betws from The National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.



        Carmarthenshire Families

        A database of Hicks Names names found in the BTs/IGI and censuses for Llandeilo fawr, Betws and [some] Llangadog parishes which have been collated into specific (probable) family groups.

        David Henry Rees.'

        ".............. or 'D.H as he was often known was born in 1895. From 1917-1918 he was colliery checkweigher at Bettws Colliery. During the 1920s and 1930s he was politically active and in 1936 he was imprisoned in Swansea Gaol following disturbances in Crynant when the Anthracite Combine used blackleg labour to defeat the strike. His health began to declined dramatically from 1937 due to emphesema and he died in 1940 aged just 45.
        The archive includes David Henry Rees' diary which records a Miners' Delegation visit to Russia in November 1934. Visits during the trip included factories, schools, hospitals and rest homes, sanatoria, collective farms, workers' flats and a colliery. The delegation visited Leningrad and Moscow and they were in Red Square for the 17th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution"   [From  Archives Network Wales]

        Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

        • Amanwy, papurau (papers) 1909-1975 "`Amanwy', David Rees Griffiths (1882-1953) of Betws, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, was a poet, writer and broadcaster. An elder brother of James Griffiths (1897-1975), Labour MP for Llanelli and Secretary of State for Wales, he was born in Betws on 6 November 1882 ........"
        • Griffiths, James, papers 1897-1975 (accumulated 1912-1975) "James Griffiths (1890-1975), trade union leader and MP, became the first Secretary of State for Wales. He was born in Betws, Carmarthenshire, on 19 September 1890..........."


        See Not everyone knows this.. and the Cwmgors/Waun site for random snippets about this parish

        Evans DA & Walters H. Dyffryn Aman 'Slawer Dydd [The Amman Valley Long Ago: A Collection of Photographs];Gomer 1987. Bilingual. Here is the book's introduction and an index by Gareth Hicks

        Lewis, Brian The Amman Valley: A Photographic Portrait. 1996. Here is an index by Gareth Hicks.

        Lloyd, Sir John E., (Ed.). A History of Carmarthenshire (2 vols.), Cardiff, London Carmarthenshire Society (1935, 1939). Extracts from this book can be accessed on some parish pages

        Locksmith, W T H. Ammanford: Origin of Street Names and Notable Historical Records. Cultural Services Department, County Hall, Carmarthen, 2000 ?.

        Murphy, Carol/Dixon,Chris. Betws Mas o'r Byd. Betws History Group, 2000 . Here is a contents listing and index by Gareth Hicks.
        Here also is a brief Betws related extract from this book re the Llyfrau Gleision (The Report of the Commission of Enquiry into State Education in Wales, 1847)

        Trumor Thomas, D. Old Characters of Bettws. Glanamman, 1894. (Translated from the original Welsh by Ivor Griffiths, Gorseinon.) Here is an Index by Gareth Hicks. See here also for an extensive summary of the book .

        Walters, Huw [Dr]. Canu'r Pwll a'r Pulpud. Cyhoeddiadau Barddas, Swansea; 1987, 397 pp. A study of the Welsh culture of the anthracite coalfield before 1914 - particularly Brynaman, and the Aman Valley areas. There are chapters on folk-lore, growth of industry and population, nonconformity, the eisteddfod etc. It brought the author the Welsh Arts Council Prize for the best work of literary criticism in 1988, the Board of Celtic Studies Prize and the Sir Ellis Jones Ellis-Griffith Prize in 1989.
        Here is a translation of the Preface by Professor Caerwyn William, list of Contents and brief Introduction.

        Cwmamman snippets from The Centenary History of Amman United Rugby Football Club, 1903-2003

        • "At the WWI reunion parade on the 20th September 1919, all discharged volunteers from Cwmamman attended, and it is recorded that 400 men from the villages did volunteer for service, of whom 54 paid the supreme sacrifice.
        • There was one Military Cross, five Military Medals, and one Distinguished Service Cross Medal, and one Cross of Saint Stanislau awarded during this period to men of Cwmamman."
        • " Moving pictures were being developed and  December 1930 saw them introduced in the Workman's Hall and in January 1931 in the Palace."
        • "(1933)...was the year that Cwmamman Silver Band became West Wales Champions....."
        • "In the 1950s, three people closely associated with the (Amman United) club were killed in the Llandow Air Disaster where the plane returning supporters from the international match in Ireland crashed on landing, killing over 80 people, at the time the world's worst air disaster. The three local men were; Gomer Griffiths, Freddie Schofield, and Elwyn Davies. "

        Extracts from A History of Carmarthenshire Lloyd, Sir John E., (Ed.). 2 vols., Cardiff, London Carmarthenshire Society (1935, 1939)

        • The Later Middle Ages; Iscennen---The Commote
          • "Near the castle of Carregcennen were the demesne lands of the maerdref of its former arglwydd.........the commote west and south of the demesne and forest lands was divided into maenors. Maenors Vouwen and Gryngar, bordering on Kidwelly commote, corresponded roughly to the ancient ecclesiastical parishes of Llanarthney and Llanddarog;  Maenors Llys and Methennich to Llanfihangel Aberbythych and Llandybie; and, 'between Amman River and the lordship of Gower, bounded by Cathau brook and Lle'r Castell' was Maenor Bettws or Stryveland."
          • "............the gwestfa paying areas were peopled by descendents of the Welsh freemen. They also paid dofraeth; this was regarded as an imposition ' against the liberty of the men of Iscennen'..............there was also the tribute of the equivalent of forty cows paid triennially..............and the freemen 'beyond Amman' (that is of Maenor Bettws) paid a separate 'rent of assize'............."

        Land & Property

        Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

        • Llwynyronnen estates 1753-1961 "The Llwynyronnen estate, formerly known as Tyr yr Inn, was situated in the parishes of Bettws and Llangadog, Carmarthenshire. During the early 19th century the estate was owned by the Lewis family of Tynywain. In 1819, the property was sold to Richard Jones, of Cwmllynfell, Glamorgan ........"
        • Betws (Ammanford), papers "Deeds and papers relating to lands of the Hopkin family and others in the parish of Betws, Carmarthenshire, 1594-1748; papers relating to the Hopkin family, 1719-1898; and a poor rate account for the parish of Betws, 1818."


        Parish map (Kain/Oliver)

        You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SN663115 (Lat/Lon: 51.785838, -3.939629), Betws which are provided by:


        Military History

        A notable local entry from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site;

        • HERMAS LLEWELLYN MM Lance Corporal 2136378 275 Field Coy., Royal Engineers who died on Monday 15 February 1943 . Age 29 . Son of John and Martha Llewellyn, of Garnant.  
          Cemetery: TRIPOLI WAR CEMETERY Libya. Grave or Reference Panel Number: 11. E. 18.

        Names, Geographical

        Place names from the C19th Tithe Apportionment schedules. Contributed by Darris Williams

        Places, villages, farms etc within Betws parish as shown on the online parish map from the CD of Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. (Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R.). (Extracted by Rina Callingham)

        • Betws [26] - Bancbryn, Banc Cwm-Helen, Bettws, Blaerdy, Bodyst, Foel, Garnant, Gellifawr, Glanamman, Hafod, Henrhyd, Inn, Llwch-is-awel, Maes-llech, Nant Garenig, Nant Rickett, Tir-lan, Ty'n-domen, Waun hir, Wernolau


        There are many references to the area in the 15 million Welsh and English language articles from Welsh newspapers transcribed by the NLW and viewable on Welsh Newspapers Online

        Below are English language articles that have been re-transcribed and extracted randomly to illustrate what is available, there are many that are not extracted here that include names of local people

        These are not in any date or subject order

        • From the Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser - 24 September 1909


        Under the auspices of the Cwmamman Recreation Ground Committee successful sports were held on the ground on Saturday last. The weather proved most favourable, and there was a very satisfactory attendance, although not quite up to the expectation. There were a large number ot entries received, but the acceptances for the chief events were not what was expected considering that the first prize for the l20 yards open was one of ten guineas. The following were the officials: - Judges of carnival  Mrs. Fisher, Ammanford: Mrs Price, Ammanford: Mrs Vaughan, Brynamman. Judges of foot events: Dr T. Morgan, Garnant; Dr. E. C. Byrne, Brynamman;  Dr. C. T. Hawkins, Garnant. Starter; Mr. Daniel Jones, Glanamman. Starter of Marathon race, Mr D. Davies, Brynamman; starters of carnival, Messrs. J. Rees and Naunton Evans; clerk of course, Mr E. J. Jones; official handicapper,  Mr Ted Lewis, Pontypridd; chairman of committee. Mr Morgan; treasurer. Mr J. Rees; secretary, Mr E. Thomas.

        The programme of events was as follows: - 

        Carnival. - This proved a great attraction, and the characters represented were all well done. Headed by the Cwmamman Silver Prize Band, the carnival started from Glanamman Council School and proceeded along the main road at Garnant, hence through Stepney-road and Garnant-road returning via Station-road to field.
        First prize, John Bevan and party, representing a Welsh party (Cymru Fu); second prize, Blanche Davies and party, representing "The Midgets'' third prize, Alcwyn Morgan, representing "Dick Whittington" Marathon race from Post Office, Upper Brynamman, via Gwauncaegurwen to the Glanamman-square, hence via Horny-road to field, with six laps round course; total distance about seven miles - 1, D. T. Lewis, Burry Port; 2, H. Cullum, Cardiff; 3, T. James, Glanamman. A feature of this race was that a young boy named Willie Lewis, Glanamman, aged 12 years, competed, and although not winning a prize covered the whole distance in very good time. The spectators, in appreciation of the young lad's pluck, made up a collection for him.
        100 Yards Foot Race Handicap, for boys under 15: First heat, 1, J. R. Davies, Tirydail: 2, Martin L. Cox, Llanelly.
        Second heat: 1, Tom Davies, Gwauncaegurwen; 2, Maldwyn Jones, Glanamman.
        Third heat, 1, Emrys Hopkin, Cwmtwrch 2, Glyndwr Roberts, Glanamman.
        Final heat, 1. Emrvs Hopkin, Cwmtwrch 2, J. Rees Davies, Tirydail; 3, Tom Davies, Gwauncaegurwen.
        300 Yards Foot Race Open Handicap: First heat, 1. Joseph L. Davies, Ammanford. Second beat: 1, E. J. Price, Gwauncaegurwen: 2. J. Thomas, Newcastle-Emlyn. Third heat, 1, J. Daniel. Ystalyfera. Fourth heat: 1, Gwyn R. Griffiths, Clydach. Final heat, 1. J. Daniel, Ystalyfera 2, J. Thomas, Newcastle-Emlyn: 3; E. J. Price, Gwauncaegurwen. Gwyn R. Griffiths, Clydach, came in first in the final, but he was disqualified.
        Half-mile Foot Race Open Handicap - 1, J. Thomas, Newcastle-Emlyn; 2, R. T. Rees, Llandebie; 3 H. Callum, Cardiff.
        120 Yards Foot Race Open Handicap,  R. O. Rees, Glanamman: second heat, B. Morgan, Penrhiwceiber: third heat, E. J. Price. Gwauncaegurwen: fourth heat, T. M. Jones, Ammanford; fifth heat, James Ingram. Mountain Ash; sixth heat, W. Thomas, Tirydail; final heat, 1, W. Thomas. Tirydail (14yds),  2. James Ingram, Mountain Ash (14 1.2 yds.): 3. R. O. Rees, Glanamman (8 yds.).

        The Cwmamman Silver Prize Band, under the leadership of Mr Ben Jones, were present, and played selections during the intervals.

        • From the Herald of Wales and Monmouthshire Recorder dated 17th June 1916

        "BLAZE AT BETWS. A fire occurred at Ammanford on Wednesday evening, part of the goods premises of Mr. J. Williams, oil and general merchant, Bettws, being completely burnt down. The alarm was given about 7.30 p.m. by neighbours. Mr. Williams, who is an attested married man, was at the time appearing before the Ammanford Tribunal in support of an appeal for exemption. The fire had gained a strong hold on the structure, which was soon transformed into a raging furnace, with the result that when the fire brigade arrived, under Captain J. P. Davies, nothing could be done beyond preventing the flames from spreading to adjoining buildings. P.S. Britten and P.C. Edwards were also early on the scene, and civilians alike with firemen worked hard to control the flames. The heat was so intense that green crops in the gardens around were singed and withered. Damage is estimated at close on £1000 which is not  covered by insurance. "



        Gwaith Y Lamb mine - named after the adjoining Lamb pub in Garnant.

        Betws Drift on the Welsh Coal Mines site

        Various Betws Mine items  - on the People's Collection Wales site

        Davies, Ifor. History of Coal Mining in the Amman Valley . Bi-lingual. Published by the author, 2001. Here is a list of chapter headings and photographs, also on the same page is an ode written to commemorate the Pwll Perkins disaster of 1884

        Evans, William John. Pit Memories [Up and Under] 1989. Dinefwr Press, Llandybie. Or in Welsh "Atgofion y Pwll " [ Lan a Lawr]. The book is bi-lingual although the 2 sections are not identical. Here is an index by Gareth Hicks. with a list of contents. There is coverage of Betws[Ammanford] Colliery but also some on the villages and mines of Brynamman in Carmarthenshire and Tairgwaith, Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and Cwmgors in Glamorgan.

        The Raven Tinplate Works, Glanamman. Paul Jenkins book "Twenty Four by Fourteen" (ISBN 1-85902-203-0) makes only a few references to The Raven Works at Glanamman.

        • It was in operation from 1881 to 1940.(pp 245) By the middle of 1939 the Raven Works, along with The Amman and the Glynbeudy Works, were requisitioned by the Government (Ministry of Supply?) for the storage of War materials.(pp. 221).
        • At about this time the Llangenech Works was taken over by the Admiralty for use as a storage depot.It would appear however, that The Raven Works didn't actually produce tinplate. It, along with the Whitford Works at Briton Ferry, are described as Steel Sheet Works, not tinplate works.
        • The Grovesend Steel & Tinplate Works purchased the Raven Works in 1913. (pp. 47). The Raven Works figures in none of the tinplate production statistics in the book, again pointing to the fact it produced only steel sheet.

        Raven Tin Plate Works - Glanamman. Extract from " Chronology of Tinplate Works of Great Britain"

        • Proprietors :- The Grovesend Steel Tinplate Company Ltd.
          Plant :- 5 sheet mills and a Galvanising Plant. Weekly capacity 350 tons.
        • Feb 1881 Concern started by Messrs. H Rees, D Morris and others as the Glanamman Tin Plate Co. The works having been erected by a Mr David Richards (who, in partnership with Mr James Jones, purchased the Dynevor Tinplate Works in August 1881)
        • They ceased  trading in August 1895 at which time the plant comprised four mills.
        • Oct 1895 Raven Tin Plate Company Ltd registered with £20,000 Capital and converted into a galvanised sheet works.1913 Share capital purchased by Messrs. The Grovesend Steel & Tinplate Co Ltd.
        • June 1939 Raven Tinplate Co Ltd ceased trading as a separate company and the assets were transferred to The Grovesend Steel & Tinplate Co Ltd.
        • 1941 Premises requisitioned by Ministry of Supply for storage purposes.
        • May 1948 Buildings and freehold site offered for sale. the machinery and  plant having been removed previously.

        Public Records

        Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

        • Betws Parish Council and Community Council Records 1825-1987 (accumulated 1894-1987)

        Social Life & Customs

        Davies, Howard G. The Centenary History of Amman United Rugby Football Club, 1903 - 2003. (Roll Along, Amman United, Roll Along) 2003. Here is a Contents listing and a listing of the photographs - by Gareth Hicks

        Walters, Huw. Cynnwrf Canrif : Agweddau Ar Ddiwylliant Gwern. Cyhoeddiadau Barddas, Abertawe, 2004. ISBN: 1900437678. Paperback, 372p.
        A comprehensive collection of eight interesting and informative essays reflecting various aspects of the rich folk culture of the Aman and other south Wales valleys in the 19th century, written by a thorough researcher. Here is a review of the book by Tegwyn Jones (in Welsh)