Remains of Clydach Gorge Ironworks. David Lewis / Remains of Clydach Gorge Ironworks. / CC BY-SA 2.0
Remains of Clydach Gorge Ironworks.

Status: Ancient Parish

Parish church: St. Elliw / St. Ellwy

Alternative names: Llanelli, Bryn Mawr

Other places in the parish include: Blackrock, Llanelly Hisllside, Clydach, Darenfelen, Gilwern and Maesgwartha.

Parish registers begin: 1701

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Independents, Congregational, Calvinistic Methodist, Wesleyan Methodist and Primitive Methodists.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Aberystruth
  • Llanwenarth Citra
  • Penallt
  • Llanwenarth Ultra
  • Llangenny
  • Llanfoist

Historical Descriptions

Llanelly

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

St Elli's Church at Llanelly village, Llanelly
St Elli’s Church at Llanelly village, Llanelly. A Grade II* listed building by Robevans123. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

LLANELLY, a parish and a sub-district in Crickhowell district, Brecon. The parish lies on the rivers Clydach and Usk, on the Brecon and Newport canal, and on the Abergavenny and Merthyr-Tydvil railway, around Clydach r. station, and adjacent to Monmouthshire, 3 miles SSE of Crickhowell; comprises the parcels of Aberbaiden and Maesgwartha; and includes parts of Brynmaur and Clydach, the latter of which has a postoffice under Abergavenny. Acres, 5,183. Real property, £23,853; of which £237 are in quarries, £55 in mines, £5,023 in iron-works, and £1,399 in the canal. Pop. in 1801, 937; in 1831, 4,041; in 1851, 9,644; in 1861, 9,603. Houses, 2,043. The increase of pop., prior to 1851, arose from the flourishing condition of the Clydach iron-works. The surface includes much upland, some good scenery, and two waterfalls. Part of the upland rises so high as 1,200 feet above sea-level; and, though mainly bleak moor and barren morass, and though at the beginning of the present century all a sheep walk, without one human abode, is now occupied by a large population. The valley of the Clydach is partly a gorge; is flanked on both sides, for a considerable distance, by limestone rock about 500 feet thick; exhibits highly picturesque features, high cliffs springing up from the water’s edge, jutting out in bold relief, covered with brushwood, or fringed with delicate ferns; is worked, in the sides, with quarries of limestone, and with mines of iron and coal; and is occupied, at intervals, with large iron furnaces, forges, and rolling-mills, placed at such a depth below the road, that the traveller looks down upon the blackened roofs, and hears the groaning of engines and beating of hammers, while the steam is seen bursting out in white jets, and the smoke rolling forth in murky clouds. The chief of the two waterfalls is called Pwl-y-cwn, or “the pool of dogs;” has worn some remarkable hollows in the rock; and, though not very high, is very picturesque. An aqueduct of the canal crosses the Clydach at a height of 80 feet above the stream. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of St. David’s. Value, not reported. Patron, the Duke of Beaufort. The church is dedicated to St. Ellyw. There are chapels for Independents, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists, and charities £30.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Topographical Dictionary of Wales 1845

Gilwern Wharf
Gilwern Wharf. RAY JONES / Gilwern Wharf / CC BY-SA 2.0

LLANELLY, a parish, in the union and hundred of Crickhowel, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 5 miles (W. by N.) from Abergavenny, on the road to Merthyr-Tydvil; composed of the hamlets of Aberbaidon and Maesgwartha, and containing 7366 inhabitants. This parish which derives its name from the dedication of its church, is pleasantly situated on the river Usk, and consists of arable, pasture, wood, and mountain land, that portion which constitutes the Vale of Usk being the most fertile, and the mountainous and mineral districts very barren: it is divided into two nearly equal parts by the river Clydach, a mountain torrent, which, descending with impetuosity through a deep channel obstructed by rocks, forms many picturesque falls in its course through the parish. The surrounding scenery is strikingly and richly diversified, combining features of romantic grandeur and enchanting beauty; the Vale of the Clydach, which extends nearly the whole length of the parish, is deep, narrow, and winding; and the scenery on the banks of the Clydach, in particular, though seldom visited by the tourist, and consequently little known, is remarkably picturesque and beautiful. The banks of this rapid stream rise precipitously to an immense height, and are richly clothed with wood, and in some parts with timber of majestic growth, forming, in the luxuriance and variety of the foliage, a pleasingly striking contrast to the rugged and barren summits of the mountains that rise above them. The Clydach, in its progress through the narrow cwm, or vale, which they inclose, forms two interesting falls, and there was formerly a third, called Pistyll Mawr, which, however, has been destroyed by the sinking of a coal-mine, within the last few years, at the head of the rock from which the water was precipitated, when the channel of the river was bored some distance higher up, and the stream, carried through a tunnel, now emerges at the bottom of the rock. Of the two others, called respectively Pwll Crochan and Ptoll Cwn, the latter is by far the more picturesque, being formed by the precipitation of the river from a considerable height into a basin worn in the rock by the continual action of the water, from which it descends with great force from an elevation of thirty feet into a pool encircled with impending rocks and thick underwood, over which a few aged yew trees cast a sombre shade. The chief hills are those named the Gilwern, Disgwilva, Dinas, and Brynmawr, on which last is a considerable number of houses.

The parish abounds with mineral wealth of various kinds, in procuring and manufacturing which the inhabitants are principally employed; and its rateable annual value is returned at £6987. In the mountains that inclose the small but picturesque Vale of Clydach, coal, iron-ore, limestone, sandstone, and fire-clay are found in great profusion. The Clydach collieries, which are very extensive, and employ about a hundred hands, belong to the Brecknock Boat Company, and supply the town of Brecknock and the surrounding country to a great distance with bituminons coal. An immense quantity of coal is also raised here by the Clydach Iron Company, for the supply of their extensive works; it is all worked by levels, brought down the mountain steeps by means of inclined planes, and conveyed in trams by the railroad belonging to the canal company, either for the supply of the iron-works, or to the Brecknock and Abergavenny canal, for conveyance to Brecknock and its vicinity. The Clydach iron works, originally established about two hundred years ago, by a member of the family of Hanbury, of Pontypool, in the county of Monmouth, are conducted upon a very large scale, affording employment to upwards of a thousand hands; and comprise four blast furnaces for smelting the ore, worked by a steam-engine of seventy horse power, and by a water-wheel forty feet in diameter: the forges, in which charcoal is employed, are supplied with air by a steam engine of smaller power, and by a water-wheel of the same diameter; and the rolling-mills for converting the pig iron into bars are set in motion by the water-wheel alone. Great facilities of communication between the mineral and manufacturing districts of this parish and other parts of the kingdom are afforded by the road from Abergavenny to Merthyr-Tydvil, by the Brecknock and Abergavenny canal, and by a railroad from the aqueduct below Aberclydach to the Beaufort iron-works, in the parish of Llangattock. This railway, which is the property of the canal company, and about eight miles in length, winds up Cwm Clydach, and communicates along its whole course with tram-roads from the different works in the neighbourhood. The Brecknock and Abergavenny canal, after traversing a distance of sixteen miles from the town of Brecknock, with a fall of sixty-eight feet, by means of six locks, is here conveyed over the valley and stream of the Clydach, at an elevation of little less than a hundred feet above the bed of the river, by a strong aqueduct of stone, supported by a prodigious embankment raised upon an arch, twenty-two feet in the span, built over the Clydach in 1799; the whole forming a prominent feature in the scenery of the vale. Clydach House, the residence of the manager of the iron-works, is a handsome building; and of the other mansions in the parish may be named Ty-Mawr, Aberbaidan, Glaslyn, and Dyfryn Mawr. The living is a perpetual curacy, united, with that of Llangeney, to the rectory of Llangattock; and the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £423. The church, dedicated to St. Elliw, a small ancient structure, in the early style of English architecture, with a low massive tower, consists of a nave and one aisle, the one much older than the other, separated by a series of pointed arches, and contains about three hundred sittings: it is situated on an exposed eminence, about a mile south of the Usk, and a little westward of the Clydach; and the churchyard is inclosed by yew trees of ancient growth, and commands a charming prospect over the Vale of Usk, which abounds with richly varied and highly picturesque scenery. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Calvinistic Methodists, and English and Welsh Wesleyans. About 150 children are instructed in five day schools, at the expense of their parents; a school-room has lately been erected by the National Society for the education of the poor; and there are five Sunday schools, supported by public collections among the various denominations of dissenters, aided by gratuitous teachers. Edward Lewis, of Aberclydach, Esq., in 1713, bequeathed a rent-charge of £3, payable out of the produce of his estate of Pant Dreiniog, for six Welsh sermons to be preached annually in the church of Llanelly, by some clergyman other than the incumbent or his curate, “as long as the Church of England shall continue in this country;” Mr. William Lewis, of Llanelly, in 1760, left £2 per annum, charged on a tenement called Llandewi Ysgyryd, in the county of Monmouth, and which his sister Anne afterwards extended to £4, to such poor persons not receiving parochial relief as may be thought most deserving. Harry William, or Harry William Jenkin, of Llanelly, in 1687, bequeathed to the poor certain lands, called Tir yr Hooper, containing from 10 to 12 acres of arable and pasture, let at £25 per annum; and a tram-road has been recently cut through the upper part of the property, for which a rent of £1. 4. 5. is pajd in addition to the above: after an expenditure for repairs, the surplus is distributed, first among the poor relatives of the testator in sums varying from 5s. to £1. 10. On a hill called the Gaer, overlooking the Vale of Clydach, are the remains of an ancient encampment, supposed to be of British construction; and on a rock opposite to it are some vestiges of another military post, called Dinas. Mr. Edward Llwyd, who examined the coal and iron mines throughout the county of Brecknock, more than a century since, discovered near the mines in this parish, a singular fossil production, consisting of a cylindrical piece of limestone, about eight inches in length and three inches in diameter, having the surface ornamented with narrow and equidistant circular cavities, in each of which was a circle of small diameter, with a small Stud in the centre: various spars are also frequently found among the iron-ores in the neighbourhood.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Wales by Samuel Lewis Third Edition Published London; by S. Lewis and Co., 13, Finsbury Place, South. M. DCCC. XLV.

Aberbaidan

Aberbaidan Leonards Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Aberbaidan, in Llanelly, 5 miles W. Abergavenny. P. 5707.

Source: Leonards Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.

Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Wales 1845

Aberbaidon (Aber-Baiden), a hamlet, in the parish of Llanelly, hundred of Crickhowel, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 3½ miles (W. by N.) from Abergavenny; containing 5707 inhabitants. This place derives its name from being situated at the junction of a small river, called the Baiden, with the Usk. It is intersected by the river Clydach, which passes through a deep valley to its confluence with the Usk, and in its course forms several cascades, the most remarkable of which was called Pwll-y-Cwn, or “The Dog’s Pool,” now converted to manufacturing purposes. The Brecknock canal is carried over this river by means of an embanked aqueduct, eighty-four feet above the bed of the river, and communicates with different rail-roads, formed in connexion with some lime and coal works situated within the limits of the hamlet, which, together with the Clydach iron works, afford employment to a large proportion of the inhabitants, and the produce of which is distributed, by means of the canal, throughout the adjacent district. On the south side of a hill, at the base of which flows the Clydach, there are the remains of an ancient British fortress, called the Gaer.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Wales by Samuel Lewis Third Edition Published London; by S. Lewis and Co., 13, Finsbury Place, South. M. DCCC. XLV.

Topographical Dictionary of Wales 1842

ABERBAIDON (ABER-BAIDEN), a hamlet, in the parish of Llanelly, hundred of Crickhowel, county of Brecknock, South Wales, 3 1/2 miles (W. by N.) from Abergavenny: the population is returned with the parish. This place derives its name from being situated at the junction of a small river, called the Baiden, with the Usk. It is intersected by the river Clydach, which passes through a deep valley to its confluence with the Usk, and in its course forms several cascades, the most remarkable of which was called Pwll y Cwn, or “The Dog’s Pool,” now converted to manufacturing purposes. The Brecknock canal is carried over this river by means of an embanked aqueduct, eighty-four feet above the bed of the river, and communicates with different rail-roads, formed in connection with some lime and coal works situated within the limits of the hamlet, which, together with the Clydach iron works, afford employment to a large proportion of the inhabitants, and the produce of which is distributed, by means of the canal, throughout the adjacent district. On the south side of a hill, at the base of which flows the Clydach, there are the remains of an ancient British fortress, called the Gaer. The expenditure for the support of the poor is included in the amount stated for the hamlet of Maesgwartha.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Wales by Samuel Lewis Third Edition Published London; by S. Lewis and Co., 87, Hatton Garden. MDCCCXLII.

Aberbaidan The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1840

Aberbaidan, a hamlet in the parish of Llanelly, Breconshire, 5 miles west from Abergavenny. Pop, in 1801, 608; in 1831, 1,781; returned with the parish in 1831. A. P. £1,804.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1840.

Aberbaidan A Topographical Dictionary of The Dominion of Wales 1811

Aber Baidon, in the Cwmwd of Crug Hywel, Cantref Mawr (now called the Hundred of Crickhowel), Co. of Brecknock, South Wales; in the Parish of Llan Elly. The Resident Population of this Hamlet, in 1801, and the Money raised by the Parish Rates, in 1803, are included in the Returns made from Llan Elly. It is situate at the confluence of the brook Baidon with the river Usk, and which separates the counties of Brecknock and Monmouth.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of The Dominion of Wales by Nicholas Carlisle, London, 1811.

Directories

Kelly’s directory of Monmouthshire and South Wales, 1920

Administration

County: Breconshire
Civil Registration District:
Diocese: St Davis’s
Rural Deanery: Crickhowell
Poor Law Union: Crickhowell
Hundred: Crickhowell
County Court District: Tredegar
Area: South Wales