Briton Ferry


"BRITON FERRY, in the Cwmwd of Rhwng Nedd ac Afan, Cantref of Cron Nedd (now called the Hundred of Neath), County of GLAMORGAN, South Wales: a Curacy, not in charge: Patron, Lord Vernon: Church dedicated to St. Mary. The Resident Population of this Parish, in 1801, was 188. The Money raised by the Parish Rates, in 1803, was £72..12..2, at 8s. in the pound. It is 2 1/2 m. S. from Neath. It is beautifully situate at the upper part of the Bay of Swansea, from whence there is a Ferry to that Town. Here is a Free School. According to the Diocesan Report, in 1809, the yearly value of this Benefice, arising from Stipends, and Augmentation, was £72..16..8. Here is the fine Seat of The Right Honourable Lord Vernon. The Sea breezes from the Bristol Channel, according to Mr. Wyndham, have no influence over the verdure of the Trees on this Southern Coast, which flourish as well here as in the more inland parts. This Parish contains about 700 acres of inclosed land, and 300 acres which are not inclosed; the whole of which belongs to Lord Vernon. The greatest part of this Parish formerly belonged to the Abbey of Neath, and the remainder to the Earl of Pembroke." From: A Topographical Dictionary of The Dominion of Wales by Nicholas Carlisle, London, 1811.


Archives & Libraries



Here is a substantial reading list of books which relate to Glamorgan, either county or parish.

References to the parish of Briton Ferry at

An on-line index to the book Old Neath & District in Pictures, volumes 1, 2 & 3 has been provided by Brian Wagstaffe.


Business & Commerce Records

  • Bankart & Sons, copper works
    Correspondents, agreements etc
    [West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea - Reference: 1215-27]
  • Briton Ferry Dock & Railway Company
    • 1850-73: minutes, ledger, journal, cash book, statements, vouchers
      [Public Record Office, Kew, London - Reference: RAIL 82]
    • 1855-1867: share register (Briton Ferry Docks Company)
      [West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea - Reference: D/D PRO/BRB 1]
  • Briton Ferry Gas & Coke Consumers Company Limited
    1866-1949: correspondents, reports, acts of parliament etc
    [West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea - Reference: D/D Ga/N]
  • Gwalia Fertilisers (Briton Ferry) Ltd, artificial fertiliser merchants
    1934-72: minutes, accounts, liquidation records
    [Enquiries to Business Archives Council, The Clove Building, 4 Maguire Street, Butler's Wharf, London SE1 2NQ - Reference: BAC]
  • John Lewis & Sons, drapers
    1912-71: account, cash and wages books
    [University of Swansea Library - Reference: p298]
  • John Lewis & Co, general merchants
    1915-22: account book
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]
  • Taylor & Sons Limited, ferrous and non-ferrous castings manufacturers
    1882-1941: correspondents, patents and sketch books
    [West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea - Reference: D/D Ta]
  • Villiers Tinplate Company Limited
    1887-1909: shareholders minute book
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/D Xgu]
  • Whitford Steel Sheet & Galvanising Company Limited
    1909-1939: minutes, etc
    [British Steel Records Centre, Shotton, Shotton Works, Deeside CH5 2NH - Reference: HMC list]
  • Llandarcy Oil Refinery  1919-1958        "......... The oil refinery was sited at Llandarcy near Skewen [Sgiwen] by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited in 1921, opening in 1922. It was built in order to treat imported mineral crude oil. It was the first large commercial oil refinery to be established in Britain, although large scale operation did not occur until after 1945. Llandarcy was actually built as a model village in which to house a number of the refinery workers and for a number of years the refinery was also known as Skewen refinery................................"

Church History

Chapels Database - a list of all known non-conformist chapels or other non-Anglican religions in the parish

Parish of Briton Ferry, St Mary's - Brian Wagstaffe's site

See Welsh Chapels and Churches for photographs of various churches/chapels in this parish


Church Records

For full and up-to-date details of their holdings see the sites of Glamorgan Record Office and/or West Glamorgan Archives

See Bap/Mar/Bur data on  FreeReg

St Clement built in 1866, and replaced St. Mary as the parish church.

  • St. Mary, Llansawel   - parish formed in 1913 from Briton Ferry
  • St Thomas  - parish formed from Briton Ferry

The parish church is dedicated to St. Clement, and is in the Benefice of Llansawel with Briton Ferry. Details of the present incumbent of this benefice can be found at the Church in Wales website. The church can be found at grid reference SS743947.

Anglican Parish Registers Held at the Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff
BaptismsMarriagesBurialsBannsBishops Transcripts
1668-19691668-19441686-19241867-19541696, 1721, 1723-1818, 1820-1837

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

  • Briton Ferry Ecclesiastical Parish records     " ...... including registers of baptism, 1668-1969; marriages, 1668-1944; burials, 1686-1924; banns, 1867-1965; services, 1905-1972; marriage licences, 1927-1944; correspondence, 1945-1946; churchwardens records, 1903-1961; parochial church council minute book, 1920-1925"  
  • Llansawel Ecclesiastical Parish records     "Llansawel was an ancient parish within the western division of the rural deanery of Upper groneath in the diocese of Llandaff until 1866. The church of St. Mary then became a chapel of ease to St. Clement's Church, Briton Ferry parish between 1866 and 1913. In 1913 it was made into a parish of its own once again. St. Mary's Church was rebuilt in 1891-2."        ".........records including registers of baptisms, 1913-1951; marriages, 1913-1940; burials, 1913-1965; preachers book, 1934-1951; parochial church council minute books, 1920-1956"

The following Religious Institutions are covered in the Mormon International Genealogical Index (IGI) :-

  • Briton Ferry - Christenings (BT's), 1813-1867
Non Conformist Registers Deposited at the West Glamorgan Archive Service (WGAS)
ChapelBaptismsMarriagesBurialsOS Map Ref
Salem, Baptist*
*not on WGAS online list
-*1922-1971-SS 74279457

Jerusalem Baptist Church, Briton Ferry, register of members, 1863-1893  - on the People's Collection Wales site


Description & Travel

"In continuing their journey from Neath to Swansea, our travellers directed their course by the sea-coast to the river Avon, which they forded, and, continuing their road along the sands, were probably ferried over the river Neath, at a place now known by the name of Breton Ferry, leaving the monastery of Neath at some distance to the right....."
The Itinerary Through Wales and The Description of Wales by Giraldus Cambrensis (1188),The text is that of Sir Richard Colt Hoare who published an English translation in 1806, chiefly from the texts of Camden and Wharton . This extract is from the foot-notes in the Everyman's Library edition, (ed. Ernest Rhys) 1908.
".................. This place, called in the Welsh language Llansawyl, derives its name from an ancient ferry over the river Neath................"

Briton Ferry - on Wikipedia

    Various landscapes - on the People's Collection Wales site

    You can see pictures of Briton Ferry which are provided by:



    Transcript of name listing for Neath and district, from Commercial and Trade Directories, for the years:-


    1822-1823Pigot's Directory 1858-1859Slater's Directory




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

    Description of parish from A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833) by Samuel Lewis.


    Historical Geography

    Some of the hamlets, towns and villages within this parish

    • Giants Grave
    • Jersey Marine
    • Llandarcy
    • Ynysmaerdy


     Briton Ferry gas-powered tram, early 20th century - on the People's Collection Wales site


    Land & Property

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

    • Briton Ferry estate, records  1627-1879      "The Briton Ferry estate formed part of the lands of the Margam Abbey and passed successively to the Mansel, Villiers, and Vernon families (Earls of Jersey)............................. The estate was owned by the Price family of Briton Ferry until Jane Price, daughter and heiress of William Price of Briton Ferry (will dated 1627), married Arthur, third son of Thomas Mansel of Margam .............................."  
    • Briton Ferry Estate, papers  1623-1923      "Deeds and leases of properties (including minerals) in the Neath area, 1689-1889, legal papers 1623-1878, papers relating to industry in Briton Ferry and Neath 1801-1884, estate plans 1793-1923"  
    • Briton Ferry estate  1679-1960        "Briton Ferry estate papers including title deeds, 1679-1954; rentals, 1823-1960; accounts, 1822-1937; .............................. A large proportion of the papers relate to industrial developments, and include papers relating to the Briton Ferry Floating Dock, 1805-1930, including plans; Neath Harbour, 1782-1886; Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway Company, 1890-1908, including plans; the Cwmavon Building Estate, 1897-1931, including underleases; and papers relating to Neath Harbour Acts, 1874-1886"


    This diagram shows the position of this parish within the county of Glamorgan - click on this to see a full size diagram of the county



    Parish map (Kain/Oliver)

    You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SS750949 (Lat/Lon: 51.639008, -3.807106), Briton Ferry which are provided by:


    Military History

    Britton Ferry War Memorial   - on People's Collection Wales


    Names, Geographical

    Places, villages, farms etc within Briton Ferry 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 Gareth Hicks)

    • Briton Ferry (50); Briton Ferry; Cemy; Colliery (disused); Court (or Cwrt) Sart Fm.; Giant's Grave; Goytre; Hosp.; Mynydd Gaer; Pont-Howell-ddu; Reservoir; Ynysmaerdy




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

    • Mathias Manuscripts 1890-1910 "Briton Ferry Copper Works was established in 1853 and operated by Sweetland, Tuttle and Company until at least 1874. Mr Barclay operated them at some point between 1874 and 1880. .........."

    Portrait of Rees the cowman at Briton Ferry, by George O. Delamotte - on the People's Collection Wales site


    Politics & Government

    • Briton Ferry Labour Party
      1939-1988: financial records, minutes, attendance book
      [National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records - Reference: Minor Lists and Summaries 1996]

    Public Records

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

    • Lunatic Asylums       "The earliest lunatic asylums were private, or charitable institutions. An Act of 1828, empowered Justices of the Peace to erect and maintain asylums from the county rates, and an Act of 1845 made this a requirement. From the 1840s, the Glamorgan Quarter Sessions paid for some patients to be accommodated at a private asylum at Vernon House, Briton Ferry............................. A further asylum was built at Vernon House, Briton Ferry."  
    • Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway Co. Records 1883-1898     "The Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway (RSBR) was incorporated on 10 August 1882 for the purpose of connecting Swansea with the Rhondda Valley. This extension provided an alternative route for bringing coal from the Rhondda valley to the Swansea Bay ports. The route stretched from Treherbert to Briton Ferry........"
    • Briton Ferry parish records    "Solicitor's opinion on the legality of Briton Ferry Vestry raising a special rate to pay expenses incurred in opposing an attempt by Briton Ferry Local Board to take on highway powers, 1865"  
    • Briton Ferry Urban District Council, records  1872-1999 (mainly 1872-1966)


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

    • Brynhyfryd School, Briton Ferry,Records      "Brynhyfryd School mixed and infants log book, 1909-1936."  
    • Cwrt Sart School, Briton Ferry, records    "........ comprising log books, 1920-1965; admission registers, 1920-1965"  
    • Giant's Grave School, Briton Ferry, records             "........ log book, 1875-1904"  
    • Hengwrt School, Briton Ferry, records              "........, log book, 1958-1983; Governors' minutes (Brynhyfryd and Hengwrt primary schools), 1981-1988; admission registers, 1958-1993; newspaper cuttings, 1958"  
    • Neath Road School, Briton Ferry,records        "Records of Neath Road School and Ynysmaerdy County Primary, 1876-1988, comprising log books, 1876-1985; admission registers, 1876-1971; attendance register, 1902-1903; payments to teachers books, 1924-1947; school diary, 1988."  
    • Vernon Place School, Briton Ferry, records    "....... log books, 1892-1947."