"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).]
1841 census of Bettws - transcription by Rina Callingham
|St David, Betws (Church in Wales)|
|Bethesda Welsh Baptist Church, Glanaman, Betws|
|Calfaria Welsh Baptist Church, Garnant, Glanamman, Betws|
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
Parish entry for Bettws with Ammanford from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by (Archive CD Books).
Parish entry for Cwmamman from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by (Archive CD Books).
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
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
The parish Vestry Minutes for the period 1706-1894 are held at Carmarthen Archives.
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;
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.
- Kelly's Directory South Wales 1895 for Betws parish
- Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910. Here are Extracts relating to Brynamman, Cwmllynfell and Quarter Bach
- Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910. Here are Extracts relating to Betws, Garnant and Glanamman
- Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910. Here are Extracts relating to Ammanford
- Kelly's Directory South Wales 1923 Private Residents and Commercial for Ammanford
- Kelly's Directory South Wales 1923 for Betws parish
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.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Betws to another place.
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..........."
You can see the administrative areas in which Betws has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
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'............."
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:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- OpenStreetMap Cymru (Welsh counties only)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- Old Maps Online
- National Library of Scotland (Old Ordnance Survey maps)
- Vision of Britain (Click "Historical units & statistics" for administrative areas.)
- Magic (Geographic information) (Click + on map if it doesn't show)
- GeoHack (Links to on-line maps and location specific services.)
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.
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)
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
SPORTS AT CWMAMMAN
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.
The Cwmamman Silver Prize Band, under the leadership of Mr Ben Jones, were present, and played selections during the intervals.
"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.
Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;
- Betws Parish Council and Community Council Records 1825-1987 (accumulated 1894-1987)
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)