Wales - Genealogy Help Pages - Not everyone knows this .... (7)


Glamorgan  county, towns and parishes

This site is a hotchpotch of  submissions by subscribers to the Glamorgan Mailing List supplemented by the site maintainer's mostly own source accredited  material.
Some of the original material is still shown in the index below but has been transferred to individual pages within Genuki

Back to Not everyone knows this ....(1)

Rhymni or Rumney ?

RHYMNI is the name of a river that rises near LLANGYNIDR and flows past the village of RHYMNI [Rhymni Ironworks (1836) taking its name from the river and the village name from the ironworks] and on to ABERBARGOED, PENGAM, HENGOED, YSTRAD MYNACH, BEDWAS, MACHEN, MICHAELSTON -Y-VEDW, LLANEDERN, and TREDELERCH [ RUMNEY] to the sea near SPLOT, CARDIFF.

This river was the border between the old counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire.

RHYMNI is one of the family of rivers that take their name from the action of boring or cutting through the land.

TREDELERCH [an old manor name near Cardiff] contains the elements 'TREF' [farm] and the pers. name TELERCH [ty + elerch (Eng. 'swan')].

RUMNEY [Tredelerch] is an anglicised form of RHYMNI.

The village of RHYMNI is near the river source, while the settlement of RUMNEY [TREDELERCH] is near the river mouth.

[Deric John 17.4.2000 G]

Ogmore Vale

Coal in Ogmore Vale

"The Wyndham Colliery was developed in the 2`9" seam. This was steam coal of the highest quality; rich in volatile (20 -25%), high in calorific value, an excellent steam coal and a rich coking coal. This seam was exclusively worked at the Wyndham Colliery and in later years also at Penllwyngwent Colliery and the Western Colliery. It was considered the best seam of coal in South Wales, if not the whole world. It became world renowned and was known by the following term : Wyndham 2`9", Penllwyngwent 2`9" and Dinam Large. During WWI, when the British Navy was steam powered, the 2`9" and the 6` coals were used by the Navy from this Valley, and the coals were then known as the "Best Admiralty Large."

Quoting from D.J. Llewellyn M.I.M.E. 1974.

[Huw Daniel 20.4.2000 G]


Dr Richard Price from Llangeinor parish

Richard Price D.D. F.R.S. etc. was born in a house called Ty'n Ton Llangeinor, in the Garw Valley,  near Bridgend on 23rd February 1723. In 1741 he walked, like Dick Whittington, to London where he continued his education and later became a renowned Mathematician and Actuary, becoming a friend of a number of influential worthies of the day.

In the period leading up to the American war of independence he wrote a number of articles condemning the British Government's attitude to the American colonies and it is said that he wrote and advised the City of Boston to "throw the taxed tea into the sea  rather than submit to taxation without representation" As a result of his stand, on the 6th October 1778 the American Congress  passed the following resolution:-

"Resolved, that the Honorable Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams Esqrs, or any one of them be directed forthwith to apply to Dr. Price, and inform him that it is the desire of Congress to consider him a citizen of the United States, and receive his assistance in regulating their finances. That if he shall think it expedient to remove with his family to America and afford such assistance a generous provision shall be made for requesting his services. The flattering offer was declined by the doctor. He died on the 19th. April 1791.

The above is extracted from an article entitled 'A Glamorgan Worthy of the XVIII th Century. by Mr. Howell Prosser, printed in 'Historical Sketches of Glamorgan' from the Glamorgan Society London and published by the Western Mail 1912.

[Bernard Mainwaring.28.4.2000 G]


Hen Wlad fy Nhadau

The Welsh National Anthem ,written by Evan James of Pontypridd and his son James James , is thought to have been sung in public for the first time in 1856 at a chapel in Maesteg. It was then sung at the 1865 National Eisteddfod in Aberystwyth and that in Bangor in 1874 when it began to be seen in a "national anthem" context.

 [Based on "A Helping Hand" by W J Jones 1996. Gareth Hicks 16.5.2000 G/D                                                                                                                                                                              

Port Talbot/Margam and district

The Copper Mill At Taibach:

"The year 1845 was a memorable one for some of the inhabitants of Taibach who were sprightly youths at the time, as it was the year when coin was first minted for the people of Singapore. After the copper sheets were rolled out and cut to the required size,a row of young lads would stamp out coins at great speed, using a small machine. Subsequently, they were taken to another department to be stamped with a cockerel on one side and Indian (Arabic) letters on the other."

According to the World Catalogue of Coins, these coins were minted in England[!] for Singapore merchants for use in Malacca and are illustrated as described.

I wonder if any of the lads kept some as souvenirs ?

["A History of Taibach to 1872" by Rev. Richard Morgan and translated from Welsh by A.Leslie Evans . Bernard Mainwaring 14.3.2000 G]

The book  itself is name indexed and available online at History of Taibach

Taibach revisited--- two observations.

1. Due to a strike at Morfa Colliery in 1869, all the miners left and 'strangers from Cornwall, Somerset and Devon were engaged'
2. Dealing with the explosions a Morfa colliery up to 1870, he states that;
'no employers in the country could have dealt more generously towards the bereaved as Messrs Vivian have done. They maintained the widows and  orphans of the miners who lost their lives in the above explosions and still continue to do so............They were allowed to live rent free and were given coal and a specific amount of money weekly.'

Messrs Vivian and Son owned Morfa Colliery and the copper works in Taibach.
They also owned about 282 houses in 14 streets.

Out of interest I checked the entries in the 1881 Census for two of these streets( Constant ) with the following results;
Number of Houses 48 with 2 vacant.
Occupied by Widows 10
Occupied by Heads of households born in England ( mostly Somerset) 11
Occupations; Coal Mining 53. Tin Workers 16 of whom 6 were girls.

One of the conclusions I came to, if these figures are repeated in the rest of the industrialised area, is that the West of England must have been quickly depopulated, and on the evidence of the empty houses, there was still a labour shortage.

["A History of Taibach to 1872" by Rev. Richard Morgan and translated from Welsh by A.Leslie Evans . Bernard Mainwaring 30.3.2000 G]

The book  itself is name indexed and available online at History of Taibach

The  use of wooden tramways in the coal fields:

'As early as 1750 there were ironworks at Taibach, near Cwmavon, and coal was obtained from Cwmbychan, a little valley branching off from Cwmavon. A wooden tramway conveyed coal to the works from Mynydd Bychan, and both coal and ironstone were brought on the backs of mules from Wernlaes Level, near Merthyr'.

From 'A History of the Pioneers of the Welsh Coal-Field', by Elizabeth Phillips (1925)

[Stephen Keates 3.4.2000 G]

Register Offices in Glamorgan  and adjoining counties [clarification of queries]

Commentary submitted by Glamlisters to clarify which Register Offices  the birth, marriages and deaths records of  particular places are held


Mrs Green, the Superintendent  Registrar of Merthyr Tydfil, and Mrs G Long, the Superintendent  Registrar of Pontypridd, have each sent very helpful messages in response to my recent letters of enquiry about their holdings of ABERDARE records. I will endeavour to summarise them here:

Aberdare events appear in the GRO Indexes as MERTHYR TYDFIL references.


MOST Aberdare MARRIAGES are held at MERTHYR TYDFIL (Register Office & at least pre-1910 Chapel Marriages).

Aberdare MARRIAGES held at PONTYPRIDD are ONLY those which took place in CHURCH (and, FROM 1910 ONLY, SOME CHAPELS which did their own registering).

ALL Marriage entries at both MT & Pontypridd have been INDEXED.

[Anne Scales 17.5.2000 G]

Caerphilly - and East Glamorgan RD

Although I'd not come across it before East Glamorgan Registration District  *did* exist, between 1934 and 1974 it seems.

(Gareth -  Gla list 26 May 2006)

Crickhowell [Bre]

Crickhowell registrations are now held at either Brecon/Brecknock or Blaenau Gwent Register Offices.

Crickhowell Town registers are held at Brecon, but parts of Llanelly Sub-district 1837-1934 at BG (also parts of Brynmawr Sub-district, but only relatively recently, ie 1934-1974).

The area of Crickhowell held by BG was recently described to me by a member of staff there as SOME of the Llanelli Sub-district: Blackrock, Clydach, etc, either side of the A465 (ie the 'Heads of the Valleys' road). (I suppose that area is perhaps now part of Blaenau Gwent.)

If you know roughly where the family lived, you may be able to work out which Register Office to contact first. (But PLEASE, everybody, don't contact more than one Office simultaneously, seeking the same registration - that's just a complete waste of one Office's time, and they're already very, very busy. Anyway, if you write to two Offices simultaneously, and one request is passed to the other Office, you could end up with 2 copies of the same Cert, and no refund!)

The situation regarding MARRIAGES can be different from that of Births & Deaths. Register Offices don't necessarily hold INDEXES of their MARRIAGE HOLDINGS. I suppose Brecon MIGHT hold ALL Crickhowell's actual Register OFFICE & pre-1890s CHAPEL marriages - BUT I DON'T KNOW FOR SURE.

Blaenau Gwent Register Office in fact has its holdings of Marriages indexed from 1842

I do know that BG has an Index of GROOMS (but not BRIDES) of its Crickhowell Llanelly Marriage holdings. (I'm not sure whether that covers all dates or not, but it certainly includes 1857.)

I know some Register Offices don't accept enquiries by telephone; but a very kind gentleman Registrar at BG recently insisted on checking the Index for me while I remained on the phone. He even quickly checked the Registers themselves to see whether any of the entries with the right groom's name also named the right bride.

I'm not sure whether Brecon has an Index of its Crickhowell Marriages or not; but I do know that the Brecon Superintendent Registrar is only there at certain times of the week, because she is also Sup Reg of HAY Reg Dist. I do not know whether she has any staff or not; I think both Offices are only open part-time, so perhaps she has to attend to everything herself. Either way, she is kept very busy, and may not be able to respond promptly to family history requests.

Therefore if it is a Crickhowell Registration District MARRIAGE you're seeking, and if you DON'T know where the people lived, or where they worshipped, I would say there would be less disruption to the Registration system as a whole if you try PHONING BG. After that, hopefully you'll know which Office to write to, with your £6.50 cheque and sae.

I doubt either Office is e-mailable.

Follow on 13.6.2000 G];

I've just been told by a Blaenau Gwent Registrar that some Crickhowell Registration District Marriage records - of LLANELLY CHURCH - are held in ABERGAVENNY, ie at MONMOUTH Register Office.

I don't yet know whether it's ALL dates or just SOME. (I was specifically seeking an 1865 Marriage.)

So there are now THREE Reg Offices holding records of the former Crickhowell Reg Dist:; Blaenau Gwent, Brecknock & Monmouth.

[Anne Scales 20.5.2000 G]


Memories of Canton, Cardiff, around 1900

By Christopher James

My father was the landlord of the Cross Inn, Canton. It was open from 6 AM until 11 PM each week day. The first customers of the day were the stevedores who arrived with their very large and shiny shovels held on their shoulders by the string sling of their strong metal food tins. They would have glasses of tea and rum or rum and coffee for the cost of 2d a glass. The tea and coffee was kept hot on a tea urn, with three separate containers kept hot by a gas jet. There was no electrics lighting in those days. Gas was in general use and a great improvement in lighting took place when the gas mantle was invented.

Beer was cheap and much stronger than that brewed now. It was 11/2 d and 2d a pint. The only bottled beer was Bass, Worthington and Guinness at 3d per ½ pint; Whisky Rum and Gin sold for 3/6 a bottle. The best Walkers Black Label Whisky was 4/3 a bottle. Spirits were sold at 20 degrees under proof. Now it is 30 degrees under proof; that is 10 degrees weaker. About 100 of quarter bottles would be sold on a Saturday night for a shilling each. The bars were for men only, with a separate compartment for the women. Another room called the Bar Parlour was usually used by Husbands and Wives together.

Unskilled workers earned about 17/6 a week. The average landlord was fortunate if he reached 50 years of age.

Each week Canton Cattle Market took place when farmers and their wives from the Vale of Glamorgan arrived in their carts and their traps. The yard and stable would be full of them. The farmers went to the Market which now holds the buildings of the Cantonian High School. The market had lots of sheep and cattle pens and there was a slaughter house attached. Part of the wall of the slaughter house and yard is still there. It can be imagined the state of the stone and earth roads were in during the summer. It was dust and manure all over the place. Small boys with little trucks made from a box on pram wheels would quickly shovel up the manure for the garden, whilst each day large water carts would sprinkle the main roads to keep the dust down.

The trams were small and drawn by a horse. All the driver had to do was attend to the brakes and gee-up the horse . The tram depot and stable was next to Severn Road Council School. The other transport was cabs and handsoms for hire whilst Doctors and Professional Gentlemen had their own carriage and coachmen, usually in bottle green coat, cockade in top hat and yellow topped knee boots. The coach was usually enamelled as good as any motor car and usually lined with leather or Bedford Cord.

The stable would be in the lane at the rear of the owners large garden whilst the coachman, who was usually general handy man as well, slept in a room over the stable.

Shopkeepers, Tinkers and Characters

The district was well supplied with odd characters. Here are a few of them.

Langey the Slaughterman.

He had fair hair, a good complexion, and an athletic springy step. A likeable man, he would call and say to my mother "Have you a clean plate, Mrs James". When one was forthcoming he would take a sharp knife from his pocket then opening it up he would take from his side pocket some fine sweetbreads. Then with a sharp cut the contents of each sweetbread was fall on to the plate. How we all enjoyed our breakfast of bacon and sweetbreads. I believe that most glands are now removed from animals at the time of slaughter and put straight into deep freeze for medical purposes.

Uncle George the drover.

He was my uncle and was loved by all the family. When young he wanted to marry a good servant girl. I was told that her family would not approve of the union so George "opted out" as they say in this day and age.

He wore a thick morning coat, a shapeless bowler hat turning green, thick trousers and heavy boots. He had a very heavy blackthorn walking stick like a club which he took on his journeys to fairs. I remember that the day or so after the St Mary Hill fair Uncle George could be seen coming along Cowbridge Road with up to six horses tied head to tail. They were being delivered to buyers. Farmers would allow him to place the horses in a field for the night whilst George would sleep in the barn on sweet hay. He always smelt of sweet hay. We would not see him for months then here he would be walking along with hundreds of conkers strung round his neck in the autumn. Another time he would have a large red handkerchief full of mushroom buttons, that mother would pickle. Yet again he would have lots of blackberries. He would stay with us for a few days then be gone again. Each Christmas he spent with us. Then one day he arrived with severe stomach pains, was taken to what is now St David's Hospital where he died and was buried in the family grave at Llandaff Cathedral. He was a lovely character.

Opposite us was Gray Street. On the one corner in Cowbridge Road was Mr Grey the Butcher and on the other was Green's the Baker's and Confectioners. Mr Gray became Mayor of Cardiff. He was much respected and was an elder of The Hope Baptist Chapel which has now been rebuilt. The Green family had their bakery behind the shop and it is still there. The shop is now called Franklyn's and I believe are married into the Green family. The quality of their bread and pastries continues to be first class. I can recall a funny happening when my father bought a billy-goat without telling Mother. He had it tied to the wheel of a cart in the yard when mother returned home. As soon as she entered she wanted to know what the awful smell was. There was a soap factory at the other end of Gray Street which was bad enough when they were boiling up fats for soap, but this was worse and more pungent. She traced it to the goat, untied the animal and let it loose through the stable door. The goat was pleased smelling the lovely aroma coming from Greens. He rushed in, the customers rushed out, and my father had a nice bill to pay for the damage done by the goat. The goat was rounded up and taken to a field that we kept horses in at Leckwith. My father had a well dug in the field. One of the horses fell in and was brought out with a crane. More expense.

The War Office.

In Leckwith Road was the Canton Cross Vaults. In the entrance yard were three very fine chestnut trees. They grew so big that they had to be cut down. Now in the Smoke Room used to collect a lot of old joshers who used to argue about the way the Boer war was being conducted by Lord Roberts and General Buller. Hot arguments took place so the other customers named the room "The War Office". Later on the pub itself was called by the nickname. Albert Glaves was the landlord and was a popular man. Behind the counter was an unusual fitting. A room above the bar was called the Spirits Room. In it was a ¼ cask of whisky, one of rum and one of Gin. From this room thin pîpes joined the casks to taps in the Bar. A drips tray made of pewter was beneath the taps and a shutter could be locked across the taps to stop anyone helping themselves to a drink on the quiet. I can also remember a house that had a mahogany cabinet that had tins of ten shillings and tins containing twenty shillings in them. If a golden sovereign was tendered for a drink (there was no pound notes in those days) the sovereign was put into a slot and that allowed a tin with a pounds worth of silver to be removed. This idea seems to have been the forerunner of the vendor machine.

Pub Entertainers etc.

Charlie Mc Cann

Charlie had a banjo. He was middle aged, round of feature, with a straw hat and would regail the customers with popular songs like "Riding on top of the tram". One verse went like this :-

"The seats are so small and there's not much to pay

You sit close together and spoon all the way

For many a Miss became Mrs they say

Through riding on top of the tram."

Claude the Artist.

He was a tall man with a very simple nature. In the summer he would be seen in Llandaff Fields by the drinking fountain where there was a good view of Llandaff Cathedral. This he could draw well on a plain postcard which he would sell for a copper or two. In the winter he would draw the outside of shops around Canton and would sometimes de likenesses which he often sold. He was simple and likeable.

Deaf & Dumb Piddy-Widdy

I can remember when a prank was played upon him. He was given a pint of beer with a live frog in it. He took a deep drink when, to his dismay, the frog jumped out. The poor chap's squeals were pityful to hear.

Fitzgerald who sold china from a two wheeled cart.

He would bring china for sale in the Bar and had a knack of banging the plates on the counter, hard. Nothing happened but if a customer tried the plate would smash. His cart was always full and he could just jump up and sit on the china with his legs dangling over the side of the cart. He never seemed to break anything even when the cart went over pot holes in the road. He also sold chamber pots. One day he was asked to show a chamber pot in the bar. Then a customer told Langey that he could make up a drink that (although everything was wholesome) Langey would not drink. A bet was made and the drink was produced and consisted of a pint of beer, 4 shelled oysters, 2 sausages, cooked, 1 black pudding. Langey won his bet.

The "try-your-strength" machine.

One day when Langey was in the bar a man arrived with a "Try your strength" machine on his shoulder. Strongly made of brass and wood, a person stood on the platform and for a penny could pull the handle up so that the needle showed how many pounds were registered. A penny a go, Langey stood on the platform, spat on his hands and pulled. The customers egged him on, then the veins stood out on his neck, the needle went round to danger, a funny spring breaking noise was heard and the owner was out of business. Weeping quietly he took the remains home.

Another chap used to turn up with a long plank on his shoulder. On it was a row of pudding basins. He would tune them by putting water in some of them, then play tunes on them.

Mathews the Sweep and the Canton Poet.

Mathews was a good man. On each side of his truck he had the brass plate with his name and trade on it, nicely polished. Well, one day it was piled up for Mathews and the Poet would push the truck with the brushes aboard, all the way to London from The Cross Inn. They posed outside the Inn whilst the photo was taken with a large stand camera.. Off they went with most of the Canton children following as far as the Castle. The next day they were back in Canton. They managed to get as far as Newport then felt tired and returned by train. A gold watch was going to be presented to them but it was returned to the Watch Maker. Who intended to wear it I have no idea.

There was a mystery about the Canton Poet. He was once, apparently, in the legal profession and could write in a good copper plate script. He was in much demand for writing Births, Marriages and deaths in family bibles. I never heard that he had ever written a poem/ He wore a morning coat with striped trousers, rather greasy, and was always cheerful.

Mr Phillips the Pork Butcher.

He had a first class business and was the first man in Canton to own a car. How we children used to hang around until it started. Out would come Mr & Mrs Phillips dressed for the part, long dust coats and caps, goggles, whilst Mrs Phillips would wear a veil over her hat and face. The car had plenty of polished brass upon it and on the dash board was a row of valves like the stops on a cornet. Each of these valves controlled the supply of oil to different parts of the engine. On the dash board floor was a a large battery. Turning the large handle on the front was some job but eventually it started at about four miles an hour in a cloud of smoke; Hours later on one occasion I saw it being pulled home by a farm horse.

Mr Benger the Greengrocer.

It seems strange to know that the only business I know that is being run in the same manner as when I was a boy belongs to Mr Benger. The son, who went to Severn Road School, is now in charge. The layout of vegetables seems to be the same as seventy years ago.

Harris the Grocers were a good family business noted for the quality of the smoked bacon. A large metal chamber behind the shop was filled with hanging sides of bacon; then oak sawdust would be set smouldering in the bottom of the chamber and the iron door clamped shut. Many hours later the smoking process was completed and the cabinet cooled off, the bacon was ready for sale.

Mr Spicer the Sadler

How interesting it was to see a sadler at work. The leather to be stitched would be held in a giant clamp held between the legs. The sewing twine was waxed and the two ends were joined to a hogs hair. A hole was then bored through the two pieces of leather and the two hairs passed through each side then pulled taut

The Blacksmith had his smithy in a lane off Leckwith Road. He was an artist shoeing horses, repairing cart wheels, farm machinery and ploughs, and also beautiful ornamental gates. Welding was unknown at that time. He wouldmake children's hoops out of round iron rods. We enjoyed watching him work with all the sparks flying and the steam hissing when the horse shoes were being cooled off in the water tank.

Street traders etc.

The first in the morning would be selling hot rolls at ½ d each from a tray covered with a clean cloth on the head. He would call at the pubs. Then there was the Cockle Girl dressed in Welsh shawl and apron. The cockles were in a wooden tub and was sold by the saucerful. Vinegar and pepper was provided.

Butcher's boys carried joints in a four handled wooden tray on the shoulder.

Butchers themselves wore striped aprons upon which a knife steel hanging from a leather belt. They also wore straw hats. As there was no deep freeze the Hotels were supplied with fresh meat every day.

Ice was delivered dayly in large slabs and placed on the pavement outside the hotel butchers. It was then broken up and placed in the top tray of the cold box where it slowly melted around the sides and dripped into the bottom tray. On Saturday nights all meat and unsold fish was sold off cheaply. Each night buns cake and bread left over was also sold off. How much easier it is for Hotels to cater with turkeys chicken and lamb always in deep freeze to meet any catering occasion.

Lighting in the homes and businesses was by gas. Bedrooms were usually lit by candles. Each night men with long metal torches would go to each lamp, turn on the gas then push up a large glass marble in the bottom of the lantern and light the lamp gas mantle. When the torch was withdrawn, the glass marble sealed the hole so that the wind could not blow out the light or break the delicate mantle. Later on, when Electricity came into use, arc lighting was used. Carbon Rods were used, arcing taking place between the ends of the rods. It gave off a fierce light similar to the modern arc-welding light. For outdoor stalls napthalene flares were used. A strong smell similar to paraffin was given off in clouds of smoke.

Cabs had well made candle lamps, one on each side. A small red glass window was sometimes built into the back of them. Policemen carried lanterns at night with a bullseye lens in front and a shutter to seal off the light when it was not required.

News was cheap for the Western Mail was a penny and the Echo an halfpenny.

[Peter Meazey]

Bridgend and Cowbridge

Bridgend and Cowbridge Union Workhouse

The Bridgend and Cowbridge Union commenced in 1836. There was a representative from each of the fifty two parishes within the Union. The Union was then divided into three districts with a Relieving Officer and Medical Officer for each district. These districts were named Cowbridge, Bridgend and Maesteg.

William Edmondes was appointed as Clerk to the Guardians, a very important role that included writing to the poor law commissioners, resolving any problems, and responsibility for the accounts of the workhouse. In 1837 when births, marriages and deaths became registrable, the Clerk was made Superintendant Registrar.

The poorhouses were located at Coity Lower, St Bride's Major, Newton Nottage, Llantwit Major, Cowbridge and St Athan. However, in 1837 land was purchased for the building of a new Union Workhouse in Bridgend. Mr Wilkinson was appointed as Architect by the Board of Guardians. A loan was taken for £4,100 from the Royal Exchange Assurance Company payable in installments over 10 years. The new Union workhouse was completed in 1839 and could accommodate 200 inmates.

John and Mary Tussell from Carmarthen were the first Master and Matron. A school was built in Nolton Road which the workhouse children attended, and were taught reading, writing, arithmetic and Religious Knowledge in English. It has to be remembered that the majority of people were Welsh speaking. In 1855 the girls' dormitory was split in half and part became the schoolroom. A schoolmistress was appointed so that education could be continued on site. From 1883 a Nurse was employed at the Workhouse, who also acted as Assistant Matron.

The Workhouse building is now closed and has been redeveloped as Residential Housing. The building had been modified and developed into Bridgend Infirmary. This formed an integral part of Bridgend General Hospital until 1985 when the building was sold.

[Jan 16.6.2000 G]

Iron Works technicalities

Stamping; The stamping of iron according to quality to prevent abuses in manufacture was made compulsory in England and wales  in 1636 with the appointment of 2 Surveyors of Ironworks to mark all iron in sows or pigs with a stamp.

Braize ; broken charcoal

Rabbet ; an elastic beam arranged to give rebound to a hammer striking it in ascent.

Cord ; A cord of wood consisted if 175 cubic  feet[ 9 ft 4 1/2 4 1/2]on the Welsh standard. The Statute cord of wood was equivalent to 128 cu feet.

Way ; or waye of coal was 5 1/2 tons at Neath, amounts varied.

Reverberatory Furnace ; a furnace divided into two sections, designed to supply the heat for the reduction of ore without mixing with the coal fuel. Came into use in Britain in the 1670 s.

Kentledge ; pig iron used as permanent ballast.

Keebles [kibbles]; Large buckets, normally made of iron , and used for hoisting ore, coal, etc from mines.

[Based on  "Accounting, Costing and Cost Estimation[Welsh Industry 1700-1830]" by Haydn Jones 1985, Gareth Hicks ]


Forenames in the 1851 census

I have done a snapshot study of the use of forenames in Margam in 1851 using the Glam FHS census index. I looked at the following surnames - DAVID, DAVIES, EVANS, HOPKIN/S, JAMES, JONES, THOMAS, WILLIAMS (chosen because theyare names I am researching myself).

There were approximately 5500 people in Margam bearing these surnames. I did not count spelling variants such as Ann and Anne, Catherine and Catharine as separate names, though I did count Mary Ann and Maria as separate names to Mary.

Note the lack of 'Welsh' names for girls - Gwenllian is the only one. There are more for boys, probably because of the patronymic naming system.

The most popular male names were:

  • John (525 examples)
  • William (453)
  • Thomas (437)
  • David (362)
  • Evan (139)
  • Richard (86)
  • Edward (72)
  • Rees (68)
  • Daniel (66)
  • Benjamin (60)
  • Jenkin (56)
  • James (55)
  • Henry (49)
  • Lewis (42)
  • Samuel (42)
  • George (41)
  • Morgan (38)
  • Robert (33)
  • Hopkin (24)
  • Leyson (20)

(For England and Wales as a whole in 1850, the 10 most common names were William, John, George, Thomas, James, Henry, Charles, Joseph, Robert and Samuel. From Leslie Dunkling, Guinness Book of Names. Unfortunately Mr Dunkling does not give figures or say where this information came from.)

For female names:

  • Mary (463)
  • Ann/e (391)
  • Margaret (302)
  • Elizabeth (294)
  • Catherine (195)
  • Sarah (128)
  • Jane (112)
  • Hannah (102)
  • Jennet (68)
  • Martha (52)
  • Rachel (52)
  • Mary Ann (44)
  • Gwenllian/Gwenny (41)
  • Eleanor/Elinor (20)
  • Harriet (15)
  • Alice (14)
  • Maria (13)
  • Charlotte (11)
  • Esther (11)
  • Phoebe (10)

(In England and Wales in 1850 the top ten female names were: Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, Anne, Eliza, Jane, Emma, Hannah, Ellen and Martha.)

So...when you start looking for your John Jones or Mary Davies....be warned...there are an awful lot of them. This is just one parish!

[Helen Jones 16 Oct 2000 G]

Parish Poor Law records

Very few actual settlement papers survive.

It's all in a book called 'On the Parish' by Raymond Grant published by Glamorgan Archive Service in 1988.
A fascinating read, and well worth the purchase price if it is still in  print.
Appendix 2 at the back lists pre 1834 Glamorgan parish poor law records.

Vestry minute books are apparently held in Glamorgan Archives in Cardiff [unless followed by S, in which case in West Glamorgan Archives in Swansea)  for the following parishes: (reference numbers are also given in the book ]

  • Aberavon 1776-1823 S
  • Aberdare 1819-1843
  • Cardiff St.John 1776-1830
  • Colwinston 1825-1876
  • Cowbridge 1814-1893
  • Llancarfan 1821-1894
  • Llandeilo Talybont 1782-1823 S
  • Llangan 1820-1835
  • Llangiwg 1799-1815 S
  • Llangyfelach 1784-1802 S  .  
    • Minutes of parish meetings incl rules of workhouse & list of inmates.
    • Parcel Mawr Hamlet 1816-1830 S
  • Llangynwyd (1 paper) 1800
  • Llanishen 1821-1833
  • Llanrhidian 1833 - 1894 S
  • Llansamlet 1818-1876 S
  • Llantrisant Vestry minutes and accounts 1759-1772 ; Vestry minute books 1771-1815
  • Merthyr Tydfil 1799-1896
  • Newton Nottage 1818-1883
  • St.Brides Major 1774-1817 (includes charity accounts 1785-1794)
  • Swansea St.Mary 1761-1831 S
  • Wenvoe 1829-1858
  • Ystradyfodwg (copy extracts) 1750-1777

Vestry minute books for Llangwnwyd 1826-1890 and Llansannor 1757, 1785-1789, including the parish register for 1727-1786, are held at the NLW  in Aberystwyth

Overseers account books survive ( dates and references in the book) for ;

Baglan, Bettws, Cardiff St.John, Cardiff St.Mary, Cogan, Coity, Eglwysilan, Glyncorrwg, Llandaff (inc Ely) Llandeilo Talybont, Llangan, Llangeinor (1 paper), Llangiwg, Llangyfelach (Rhyndwyclydach hamlet), Llangynwyd (Cwndu hamlet), Llanharan, Llanilltern, Llanishen, Llanmaes (2 papers), Llansannor, Llantrisant, Llantwit Fardre, Llysworney, Merthyr Mawr, Neath, Penmark, Pentyrch, Peterston super Ely, Radyr, St.Athan, St.Brides Major, St. Georges super Ely, St.Hilary, St.Mary Hill, St.Nicholas, Swansea St.Mary (17 vols 1821-1833 inc House of Industry and outdoor and casual relief, held in Swansea), Wenvoe, Ystradowen and Ystradyfodwg.

Other Poor Law documents at Glamorgan Archives;

  • Bishopston Apprentice Indenture 1764 S
  • Colwinston (1 paper) Settlement Certificate 1751
  • Ewenny (1 paper) Settlement Order 1699
  • Leckwith (2 papers) Bastardy Bonds 1794
  • Llancarfan (1 paper) Bastardy Bond 1745
    • (1 paper) Justices Order to apprehend father of bastard child 1780
    • (2 papers) Removal Orders 1801,1815
    • (1 paper) Pauper's Deposition 1799
    • (1 paper) Apprenticeship Indenture 1790
    • (13 papers) Settlement papers 1767-1808
  • Llangynwyd (72 papers, photocopied) Bastardy Bonds, Removal Orders and Settlement Certificates 1737-1842
  • Llantrisant (1 paper) workhouse rules 1784. (1 paper) Warrant to apprehend father of a bastard child
  • Merthyr Mawr (11 papers) correspondence re payment of relief to pauper and his wife 1830-1835
  • Neath (11 papers) Settlement papers and bonds 1689-1696. (3 papers) Apprenticeship Indentures 1721, 1738, 1758
  • Peterston super Ely Bastardy Bond 1810
  • St.Brides Major Removal Order 1828
  • St.Georges super Ely Bastardy Deposition 1806
  • Whitchurch (2 parchments) Poor Rate Assessments 1778,1809. (1 paper) Apprenticeship Indenture 1822
  • Wick (5 papers) Depositions and Removal Order 1788-1830
    • (1 paper) Apprenticeship Indenture 1822
    • (5 papers) Bastardy Bonds 1780-1809
  • Ystradowen (5 papers) Bastardy Bonds 1793 -1813
  • Ystradyfodwg (1 paper) Bastardy Bond 1805

[Sue Mackay 26 Oct 2000 G]


Melingriffith Tinplate Works.

The Meligriffith Tinplate works at Whitchurch, Cardiff grew out of a forge, first established on the site in 1750 , and at the end of the eighteenth century the works was using bars of puddle iron from the Pentyrch Ironworks, which was also near the river Taff, about three miles upstream. During this period the rolling mills at Meligriffith were driven by water from the river Taff , which was also a source of supply for the Glamorganshire Canal.

One of the clauses of the Glamorganshire Canal Navigation Act was directed towards safeguarding the water rights of the Meligriffith Works, but the Canal Company's disregard of this clause resulted in a number of court actions between the two parties. At one of earliest of the actions, in 1806, the Canal Company agreed to take less water from the upper reaches of the Taff and to pay the Meligriffith Company (Harford, Partridge and Company) £700 for the making of a pump which would return the water used in the works to the canal.

  • From The Glamorgan Historian Vol V. Industrial Archaeology in Glamorgan, D.Morgan Rees. p197 (Cowbridge 1968)
  • Chappell, E L, Historic Meligriffith (Cardiff 1940) p 30
  • ibid, p33

[Steve Keates 10 Jan 2001 G]

Follow on;

An extra detail on the foundation of Melingriffith:

In the Ewenny Priory Document of May 1749 Rees Powell of Llanharan agreed to lease for 21 years to Richard Jordan and Francis Homfray, both of Staffs, "a water corn grist mill called Velin Griffith and a forge in the parish of Whitchurch" [See Old Whitchurch by Edgar L. Chappell, p. 102]. I think further leases of various sorts followed. The Jordans disposed of their interest in the property in 1765.

[Rebecca Davies 10 Jan 2001 G]


Iolo Morganwg [ Edward Williams 1747-1826]

He was born in Llancarfan parish in the Vale of Glamorgan. His parents moved to Flemingston and Iolo spent most of his life in that locality. His father was a stone mason and Iolo learned this craft at an early age. From his mother, a well educated woman, he acquired an interest in literature.

His education followed the early Welsh tradition, he learned the rules of grammar and poetic art from some of the bards and literary men of Glamorgan. Whilst still a young man he wrote odes which showed the influence of Dafydd ap Gwilym.

About 1772, his work took him to London, and later Kent. He met Owain Myfyr, William Owen Pughe and other ardent students of Welsh literature, history and antiquity and was himself fired with the same zeal. He read old Welsh manuscripts, copied all the poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym, contributed to Welsh and English periodicals and wrote and published many English poems.

In 1777, he returned home to practice his craft but returned to London in 1791, the period if the French revolution , of which he became an ardent supporter. He was involved with the Gwyneddigion Society where he was constantly hearing the praises of the bards of Gwynedd and the literary tradition of North Wales.The effect of all this was that his love of Glamorgan became an obsession and he deliberately set himself the task of extolling his own county and proving it to be the home of bardic traditions which had persisted with unbroken continuity from the time of the Druids, and thus far older than the traditions of Gwynedd.

To "prove " this,  he fabricated old tales, genealogies and records, he composed triads and poems, he developed a whole body of theory about early Eisteddfodau and bardic ceremonies, declaring that he had found all this material in old manuscripts. Glamorgan was thus transformed into a most romantic and interesting county, with a bardic society which had kept alive these traditions throughout the centuries. Most famous of all Iolo's fabrications were odes he wrote himself but attributed to Dafydd ap Gwilym.

His theories were too readily accepted by Welsh C19 historians who were led completely astray as to the origins of such ceremonies as the the Gorsedd of the Bards of Britain., which originated purely in Iolo's imagination.

Recent research by G J Williams has thrown penetrating light on Iolo's work and motives. It was his great love of Glamorgan and his poetic dreams about it  that drove him to such labour on its behalf. No less than 75 volumes of his work are to be found in the Llanover collection of manuscripts.

He died in 1826 in poor circumstances and was buried in Flemingston church in the Vale which he loved so well. A commemorative plaque has been placed on the house in Cowbridge where , for some time, he lived and conducted business as a bookseller.

[ From Famous Welshmen , UWP 1944. Gareth 24 Jan 2001 G]

Iolo applies for a job

Here in an article about Aberthaw by Moelyn I. Williams is a reference to Iolo Morganwg applying for the job of Custom-house Officer:-

<There was .....another officer whose official designation was that of "tide-waiter", an office which , in 1781, carried with it an annual income of about £30. In a letter, dated 28th February 1781, and addressed to the Rev.Gervaise Powell, Iolo wrote :

'Dear Sir,

I have presumed to trouble you with this address and humbly hope you will pardon me for it. Mr Bassett, the Custom-house Officer or tide-waiter at the Port of Aberthaw lies ill of a putrid fever and deem'd by his physicians past all hopes of recovery. This place is worth about thirty pounds per annum : could I hope to obtain it, neither my few wants, or humble wishes would require or aspire to more - May I beg the favour of your interfering for me for this place, with Mr Edwin or any other...........'

A similar letter was sent to Sir Humphrey Mackworth. Mr Bassett recovered from the "putrid fever" and carried on for another six years before death intervened. Then "it was thought absolutely necessary.....to put a person at Aberthaw immediately : for if that place had been left open it would have been fill'd with Smugglers". But it was not Iolo Morganwg who was appointed.

Taken and adapted from Aberthaw Port of the Vale by Moelyn I. Williams in Saints and Sailing Ships, Ed Stewart Williams, Brown and Sons Cowbridge, 1962

[Steve Keates 24 Jan 2001 G]

Coroner's Inquest deaths in West Glamorgan 1838-1841

"A list of deaths of working people within the district of Swansea which have come under my jurisdiction as Coroner for the Western Divisin of the county of Glamorgan during the past three years. Signed Thomas THOMAS 2.10.1841"

Date Name Residence Cause of Death


  • Dec 15 John LOVECOTE Bryn Coch Accidental death in colliery


  • April 8 Nicholas PENTREATH Parish of Margam Accidental death, drowned
  • April 8 Joseph HOWELLS Parish of Margam Accidental death
  • April 8 Mary RICHARDS Velin Vach Suicide, temporary insanity
  • April 26 William WILLIAMS Try-y-Cwm By the visitation of God
  • July 30 Thomas MORGAN Neath By visitation of God
  • Oct 25 Morgan THOMAS Duffryn Clydach Accidental death in colliery
  • Oct 26 Llewellyn LLEWELLYN Killebeill Accidental death. Killed by tramwagon


  • Feb 15 Isaac WILLIAM Neath Ultra Accidental death
  • Feb 20 John JOHNSON Britton Ferry Accidental death, drowned
  • May 11 Thomas JOHNSON Neath Accidental death
  • May 15 Ann DAVIES Cwm Avon Temporary insanity, suicide


  • Mar 15 James JOHNSON Neath Visitation of God
  • April 20 Thomas MORGAN Neath Manslaughter
  • April 20 Edward YOUNG Neath Accidental death
  • May 24 David MORGAN Briton Ferry Accidental death, drowned

[Sonia 12 March 2001 G]



While looking at Leslie Evans` " Cwmavon then and Now " for the dates of Copper Works, I came across this extract which describes the houses of the Copper , Iron & Tinplate workers of Cwmavon in the late 19th early 20th century. Similar conditions were described to me by my Mother, Aunts & Uncles as prevailing around about the time of the First World war in Neath. ;

"The Rev J H Howard, who was minister of Tabernacle Chapel, in his autobiography called "Winding Lanes", wrote perceptive passages relating to social life in Cwmavon, these reflecting similar facets of life in many industrial areas of Wales. He says, "The place was a hive of industry; employment was plentiful and wages high ...Houses there were in long monotonous rows containing four rooms each, and no bathroom within; sanitary conditions proved primitive, but every house was spotlessly clean within; the women are houseproud; kitchens glisten; hearths are bright; the mantlepiece displays its dozen brass candlesticks with a copper kettle in the middle. Then a shining brass sheet adorns the whole front above the fire- place, and to this is suspended a long brass rod; every home has at least one heavy brass stand aside the fender. The stone floor of the kitchen is sprinkled with clean sand twice a week, and a kettle is usually on the boil for the inevitable cup of tea that awaits a visitor." Tinned salmon and strong tea formed the staple diet, being supplemented with "cawl" (broth) and laver bread and bacon on Saturday nights."

[Brian Wagstaffe 9 Apr 2001 G]


Q.The records I have show that some of my ancestors were born in Herwain, Glamorganshire. In looking on GENUKI I can find no town or parish with this name. The closest I can find is Hirwuan. Are these one and the same or can someone point me in the right direction if they are not.

>A.The place you want is called Hirwaun though often spelt Hirwain in the C19th . It's near to the town of Aberdare and is in the upper Cynon Valley.

Hirwaun is a bit of a genealogical nightmare in the 19th C as the village was split in half along the river Cynon by the county boundaries of Breconshire and Glamorganshire.

Thus the village was in two parishes, St Cynog's, Penderyn, Breconshire and St John's, Aberdare. As the village grew in the mid C19th onwards, a new Anglican parish church was built in Hirwaun to compliment that of St John. This was dedicated to St. Lleurwg and opened in 1858. You'll also find there were numerous chapels in the village and at some date a Roman Catholic Chapel was also opened. I would suspect most people went to the Non Conformist Chapels. One or two of these can be found in the IGI.

[Paul Young 5 Sept 2001 G]

Sussex Ironmasters in Glamorganshire

To check the destruction of wood near London, an Act was passed in 1581 prohibiting its conversion into fuel for the making of iron within fourteen miles of the Thames, forbidding the erection of new ironworks within twenty-two miles of London, and restricting the number of works in Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, beyond the above limits.

Similar enactments were made in future Parliaments with the same object, which had the effect of checking the trade, and several of the Sussex ironmasters were under the necessity of removing their works elsewhere.  Some of them migrated to Glamorganshire, in South Wales, because of the abundance of timber as well as ironstone in that quarter, and there set up their forges, more particularly at Aberdare and Merthyr Tydvil.  Mr. Llewellin has recently published an interesting account of their proceedings, with descriptions of their works, remains of which still exist at Llwydcoed, Pontyryns, and other places in the Aberdare valley.  Among the Sussex masters who settled in Glamorganshire for the purpose of carrying on the iron manufacture, were Walter Burrell, the friend of John Ray, the naturalist, one of the Morleys of Glynde in Sussex, the Relfes from Mayfield, and the Cheneys from Crawley.

[ footnote ... Archaeologia Cambrensis, 3rd Series, No. 34, April, 1863.  Art."Sussex Ironmasters in Glamorganshire."...]

Notwithstanding these migrations of enterprising manufacturers, the iron trade of Sussex continued to exist until the middle of the seventeenth century, when the waste of timber was again urged upon the attention of Parliament, and the penalties for infringing the statutes seem to have been more rigorously enforced.  The trade then suffered a more serious check; and during the civil wars, a heavy blow was given to it by the destruction of the works belonging to all royalists, which was accomplished by a division of the army under Sir William Waller.  Most of the Welsh ironworks were razed to the ground about the same time, and were not again rebuilt.

From 'Industrial Biography' by Samuel Smiles, chapter 2: "Early English Iron Manufacture"

(David Pike 20 Nov 2002)