Pontardawe in the Parish of Llangiwg


"PONTARDAWE, a small town in the parishes of Rhyndwyely Docks [? probably the hamlet of Rhyndwy-Clydach which is in Llangyfelach parish], Cilybebyll and Llanguicke, Glamorgan, is very prettily seated in the valley of the Swansea, 7 1/2 miles north-east from the town of Swansea, and is the head of a union formed in 1875, and also of a petty sessional division, in the Neath division of the county of Glamorgan, and in the rural deanery of East Gower, archdeaconry of Carmarthen and diocese of St. David's. The Swansea canal runs through, and the London, Midland and Scottish railway has a station here. The village is lighted by gas by the Pontardawe Gas Co. Limited. ...More"  [From  Kelly's South Wales Directory 1923  (ArchiveCDBooks)  - transcribed by Gareth Hicks]

"RHYDYFRO is a hamlet 1 mile north from Pontardawe; it has a Congregational chapel, first erected in 1844, seating 550 persons; a new chapel was erected in 1905, at a cost of £1100.  Post Office.--David Phillips, sub-postmaster. Letters through Pontardawe, Swansea, which is the nearest money order & telegraph office, 1 mile distant Public Elementary School, erected 1876, for 150 children; G. J. Terry, master" [From  Kelly's South Wales Directory 1923  (ArchiveCDBooks)  - transcribed by Gareth Hicks]


Archives & Libraries



References to the town of Pontardawe at


Business & Commerce Records

Business and Commerce Records

  • Bryn Works Ltd, tinplate manufacturers
    1901-1939: minutes, etc
    [British Steel Records Centre, Shotton, Shotton Works, Deeside CH5 2NH - Reference: HMC list]
  • William Gilbertson & Company Limited, tin plate manufacturers
    • 1861-1927: financial and accounting records
      [West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea - Reference: D/D X 259]
    • 1909-1948: minutes, etc
      [British Steel Records Centre, Shotton, Shotton Works, Deeside CH5 2NH - Reference: HMC list]
  • R & CB Jenkins & Lloyd, solicitors
    1913-22: letter books
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]
  • Pontardawe Savings Bank
    1907-61: ledger, declaration book
    [West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea - Reference: D/D TSB Lly, Pd]
  • Tawe Valley Gas Co Ltd
    1908-49: shareholders' register, minutes, accounts, wages book, plans
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]
  • DR Williams, building contractors
    1913-1933: ledgers
    [West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea - Reference: D/D Z 135]

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

  • Pontardawe Chemical Works     " ........ was founded c1849 by Jacob Lewis, a Swansea draper. His son Lewis Lewis was also involved in the works and he lived at 'Brynheulog House' to which many of the deeds in this archive relate. The works supplied the local tinplate industry with vitriol or sulphoric acid which was used in the pickling process. Pontardawe Chemical Works was in severe decline by the 1940s and the site was eventually closed in the 1970s    
    "Deeds relating to the Pontardawe Chemical Works site and other property belonging to the Lewis family, manufacturing chemists at the works, including: Pontardawe Chemical Works title deeds 1851-1933; Brynheulog title deeds 1809-1968; James Street title deeds 1858-1955"
  • Evan Evans Bevan Ltd (Brewers) of Cadoxton and Pontardawe records   1919-1972        "Evan Evans (1794-1871) of Briton Ferry bought the Vale of Neath Brewery at Cadoxton in 1850 and subsequently the Swansea Vale Brewery at Pontardawe. ..................."

Church History

See the Cwmgors/Waun site for a database of local chapels and churches   Now included here


Church Records

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

The church is dedicated to St. Peter, is in the Benefice of Llangiwg (Pontardawe), and Diocese of Swansea and Brecon. Details of the present incumbent of this benefice can be found at the Church in Wales website. The church can be located at grid reference SN694014.

Anglican Parish Registers Held at the Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff
Baptisms Marriages Burials Banns Bishops Transcripts
1862-1915 1863-1934 - - -

See under Chapels and Churches on the Cwmgors/Waun site

Non Conformist Registers Deposited
Chapel Baptisms Marriages Burials OS Map Ref Deposited
English, Wesleyan - 1924-1977 - SN 72440405 WGRO
Horeb, Wesleyan 1929-1965 - - SN 72030415 NLW

NLW - National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
WGRO - West Glamorgan Record Office, Swansea


Description & Travel

Pontardawe - on Wikipedia

Pontardawe Historians. Around Pontardawe, [The Archive Photographic Series],1996. Index by Gareth Hicks.

Pontardawe Historians. Around Pontardawe - The second selection, 1999. Index by Gareth Hicks

Various items - on the People's Collection Wales site

  • Various landscapes
You can see pictures of Pontardawe in the Parish of Llangiwg which are provided by:





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



 Cwmgors/Waun site   A collection of links and genealogical material relating to the district surrounding these adjoining villages in the parish of Llangiwg - including some material on Pontardawe

The CLATWORTHY Family of Glamorgan  - on John Ball's site.  Photographs and details provided by Anna Brueton

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

  • Gilbertson family of Pontardawe papers      "Joseph Moore was the father of Ellen Moore (d. 1900) who married Howell Gwyn (d. 1888) of Dyffryn, and also the grandfather of Joseph Edward Moore of Longford Court (d. 1922) who inherited the Dyffryn Estate and took the name Moore-Gwyn. Francis Edwardes Leach of Plâs Cilybell, Glamorgan (1805-1865) assumed the surname Lloyd on inheriting Cilybebyll on the death of his mother. He was married to Harriet Goodwin Page (1810-1862) and one of their daughters Ellen Lloyd (1850-1894) married Arthur Gilbertson (1842-1912), the third son of William Gilbertson. William Gilbertson (1810-1882) of Cwmavon, Glamorgan married Eliza (nee Bramah, 1816-1868). William Gilbertson was a leading citizen in Pontardawe and the founder of Messrs. William Gilbertson & Company Limited. Arthur Gilbertson was High Sheriff of Glamorgan in 1892. He also built the Glanryd House of Pontardawe. ..........."
    "personal correspondence, 1779-1925; diaries and ship's logs, 1817-1936; game books, 1919-1988; certificates, 1918-1952; cricket score book, 1908-1931; ephemera, 1919-1936; scrap books, 1890-1950s; files of genealogical notes; c. 1870-2001; files relating to houses and local history connected with the Gilbertson, Lloyd and Moore-Gwyn families, 1908-2001; photograph albums, 1880s-1980s; loose photographs"
    "Records concerning industrial activities of the Gilbertson family of Pontardawe, steel and tinplate manufacturers, 1883-1932, including letter books, 1890-1929; correspondence, 1883-1932; memorandum of agreement, 1888; plans, 1870-1909; Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress, 1909, and roll of Honour, 1920"
  • William Parsons Papers  1836-1898                 William Parsons was born in 1795 in the parish of Cadoxton-juxta-Neath, Glamorgan, the youngest son of Richard Parsons......................William Parsons leased land for the Pontardawe and Pheasant Bush Tinplate Works in 1835. In 1842 he suffered financial difficulties and his elder brother, John Parsons, carried on the works for the next seven years. When William took over once again, the business was in healthy profit and in 1861 he sold the works to William Gilbertson. William Parsons died in 1864."

Historical Geography

Both from History of Pontardawe & District by John Henry Davies, 1967

You can see the administrative areas in which Pontardawe in the Parish of Llangiwg has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



Davies, John Henry. Pontardawe and district, 1967. Index by Gareth Hicks

Healy, Kathleen. Growing up in a Welsh Valley (based on Pontardawe 1920-1940), 1999. Index by Jill Smith

Morgan, J E. The History of Pontardawe, 1911. Index by Gareth Hicks. Also includes the introduction to the book and a list of subject headings

Phillips, W J.  Iolo Morganwg and the Rees family of Gelligron. National Library of Wales journal. 1965, Winter Volume XIV/2

Reed, Clive.Two Centuries of Pontardawe 1794-1994, 1994. Index by Phil Vaughan

Mrs. M. Jenkins' memories of Thomas Street, Pontardawe   Lots of names mentioned.   Now included here

Arthur Graham Owens (later known as Arthur Graham White)    -    born in Grove Rd, Ponterdawe in 1899  See Mail Online

"Revealed: The extraordinary life of Britain's first double agent... and how his Hollywood movie star daughter hushed it up for years.
Given the codename Johnny O'Brien by his Nazi paymasters, to MI5 he was known as Agent Snow.
Helped crack Germany's Enigma military codes.
Seen by Nazis as a master spy, he enabled MI5 to capture numerous agents sent by Berlin to Britain.
Daughter became Hollywood actress Patricia Owens who starred in sci-fi classic The Fly. ........................"

And Wales Online
"A new book about a Welsh spy and double agent who played a major role in winning World War Two is published today by Cardiff author Madoc Roberts and the renowned espionage writer Nigel West. For the first time, the full story is told about how Pontardawe-born Arthur Owens – known as Snow – became Britain’s most significant spy.
"In the autumn of 1935 a Welsh inventor named Arthur Graham Owens walked into the German Embassy in Belgium and offered his services.
He had put everything he owned into selling his new system for improving batteries but no-one in Britain was interested. Having spent every penny he had, he was now running up huge debts, so he turned to the Germans in the hope that they might be interested. He walked into the German Embassy as an inventor but he came out as the German spy “Johnny O’Brien”. ................."



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SN724043 (Lat/Lon: 51.72286, -3.848723), Pontardawe in the Parish of Llangiwg which are provided by:


Military History

Pontardawe War Memorial. Contributed by Bernard Garland, 2001

Nisien Jones who lived in Brecon Road Pontardawe passed away in Nov 2004 and his son Rhodri and daughter Sarah have kindly agreed to allow this letter, first published in the South Wales Voice on 10th April 1943, to be published. Driver Nisien Jones RASC, Middle East Forces was writing during WW2 to his father, Mr. Ben Jones, headteacher of Ystalyfera Grammar (Intermediate) School. See Pontardawe 11 in the Picture Gallery for the letter, a photograph and memorial card

Various items - on the People's Collection Wales site

  • Pontardawe War Memorial
  • WW1 items contributed by various people
  • WW1 Roadshow - Pontardawe
  • Pontardawe Man Killed - Cambrian Daily Leader 25-5-1917
  • Harold Jones from Pontardawe was a Captain with the Tank Corps during World War One. He is pictured here, holding a stick, with the members of his crew in front of their tank "Harlech".
  • Certificate that Harold Jones was Mentioned in Despatches, 16 March 1919
  • Various WWI postcards

Names, Personal

Llysenwau Pontardawe a'r Cylch   (Nicknames of the Pontardawe area) Contributed by Steve Williams of  Pontardawe.  Now included here





See under Coal Mining on the Cwmgors/Waun site

Various items .- on the People's Collection Wales site

  • Photographic survey of Ynyscedwyn Colliery, by Iain Wright, 20/11/2006
  • Ynysmeudwy pottery - various items

THE LETTER-BOOKS OF W. GILBERTSON & CO. LTD, PONTARDAWE, 1890-1929, Edited by Peter Jackson. South Wales Record Society, Cardiff, and Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea, 2001.
Here a review of this book which appeared in the Morgannwg journal, volume 46 in 2002

"This publication, the sixteenth in the SWRS series, is based on the ten surviving Company copy letter-books which record day to day issues confronting the Gilbertson family, owner-managers in the steel, tin­plate and galvanising industries. They cover four decades of technical development, home and foreign trade, an increasingly organised labour force and a world war with its debilitating aftermath. As well as capturing the perceptions of Arthur Gilbertson and his sons of these events, the letters also provide an insight into the Gilbertsons' opinions, values and prejudices and their reactions to the many problems of managing a competitive industry. The letters reveal much about the community of Pontardawe, whose inhabitants were largely dependent upon the works for their employment and financial security, and also illustrate the nature of a management which was essentially paternalistic and firmly rooted in traditional values and hierarchical relationships at a time of considerable social change. In his introduction, the editor outlines the history of the Gilbertson family, setting William Gilbertson and his descendants in a broad social, industrial and business context. A judicious and representative selection of letters from the 5,000 or so contained in the surviving ten volumes have been arranged under headings (A Family Business, Trade and Expansion, Growth and Decline, Financial Performance, Man Management, Labour Relations, Health and Safety, A Company Village, Organised Religion and Leisure Pursuits ) and each section is prefaced by a useful background 'summary' . These letters provide an invaluable reference tool for a wide range of studies relating to industrial south Wales in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries."


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Workhouse - on the Cwmgors/Waun site    Now included here

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

  • Pontardawe  Union Board of Guardians Records      "Until the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, relief of the poor was the responsibility of the parish. Following the Act, parishes were grouped into Unions that were charged to provide a workhouse for the relief of the able-bodied poor. Pontardawe Poor Law Union was formed in 1875 from the parishes that formed the north-west part of the Neath Poor Law Union, consisting of Cilybebyll, Llangiwg, Mawr, Rhyndwyglydach, Ynysymwn, Ystradgynlais Higher and Ystradgynlais Lower in Glamorgan. The Union workhouse was situated in Pontardawe and was opened in 1879. The Board of Guardians responsible for the Union had other duties from time to time, including the registration of births, marriages and deaths, vaccinations, assessments of rates, sanitation, school attendance and infant life protection. By the time of the Local Government Act 1929 unions were abolished and their duties transferred to County Councils, with responsibility for the poor being transferred to the Public Assistance Committee until 1948. The workhouse became Pontardawe Public Assistance Institution in 1930 when the functions of the Poor Law Union were transferred to the Glamorgan County Council. In 1948, it became the Danybryn Hostel which finally closed in 1988. The building was demolished shortly afterwards and sheltered housing now occupies the site"
    "......... including minutes, 1875-1936; financial records, 1875-1958; inmate registers and records, 1902-1979; workhouse administration records, 1901-1953; valuation lists, 1898-1927; photographs, c.1880-1988; Pontardawe Union Rural Sanitary Authority records, 1883-1898"

Public Records

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

  • Llangiwg Parish Council and Pontardawe Community Council Records         " ....... including minute books, 1894-1897; poor rate books, 1849-1914; vestry minutes, 1855-1887; tithe plan and apportionment, 1842; Pontardawe Community Council videos, 1995"
  • Pontardawe Rural District Council Records     1838-1985           " ....... comprising Clerk's Department records, 1877-1976, including minutes, 1893-1974, miscellaneous registers, 1877-1976, and byelaws, 1914-1952; Treasurer's Department records, including ledgers, 1896-1974, accounts, 1910-1974, records of employees' earnings, 1945-1972, valuation lists, 1928-1950, and rate books, 1922-1958; Medical Officer of Health reports, 1898-1938; marriage notice books, 1882-1923; yearbooks, magazines and other publications, 1954-1973; articles, [1959x1967]; Public Health Department registers, 1925-1985, and press cuttings, 1938-1973; deeds, 1838-1950; photographs, [c. 1960]-[1960s]; planning register, 1932-1948; Engineer and Surveyor's Department records, 1899-1966, including plans of new buildings, 1932-1946, and papers relating to sewerage schemes, 1933-1966"


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

  • Banwen School log books    "Banwen School was situated in the parish of Llangiwg, on the Brecon Road, north of Pontardawe....................." 
    "Log books of Banwen School, 1896-1940"
  • Penclyn School in Pontardawe  (closed in 1930)           " ........ including log books, 1880-1930; admission registers, 1880-1930."  
  • Pontardawe School, records1863-1964        " ....established in 1863 as a mixed school. Separate boys' and girls' departments were created in 1885"           
    " ...........including log books, 1863-1964; punishment books, 1900-1943; attendance summary register, 1898-1904; stock and inventory books, 1903-1946; correspondence, 1926-1939."

St Peter's Schoolhouse, Pontardawe with terracotta architectural features by Ynysmeudwy Pottery - on the People's Collection Wales site


Social Life & Customs

Pontardawe & District Operatic Society   Newspaper report from the late 1930s.  Also Saron (Rhydyfro) Operatic Society report.    Now included here