writing pen


A Hafodyrynys Family


My name is Barry Jenkins. I was born in Hafodyrynys in 1935. My parents were Doreen and Towyn  Jenkins. Towyn was the eldest son of Elizabeth and Henry Jenkins of 5 Herbert Street. When I was five years old we moved to Twmpath Gardens, Pontypool. Returning every Sunday to Chapel at Hafodyrynys  where I became a Sunday School Teacher alongside Mr and Mrs Lovell, Mr Knight. and Mr Tovey.

I have very fond memories of Sunday School Anniversaries with my Uncle Melvin Lewis conducting the Choir with all the rest of the family dressed in their new clothes taking part in the three Services and walking around the village singing. On Monday we would meet again for the Anniversary Tea.

I worked at Pilkingtons Glass Works, Pontypool as a Fitter &Turner before doing my National Service with the South Wales Borderers in Malaya.

In 1960 I started my training to become a Minister at the Congregational College in Swansea and was ordained at Ivor Congregational Church, Dowlais in 1964, later moving to St Helens where I still live with my Wife, Son, Daughter & three wonderful Grandchildren.


I retired aged seventy from Warrington Hospital were I was a Chaplain for many years.

Hafodyrynys will always have a very special place in my heart and I am very proud of the fact along with my late friend Alan Tovey that I was able to train for the Ministry with the love & support of the Members and Friends of Hafodyrynys Chapel.

Over the years my Family and I have returned many times to the Village taking services in the Chapel, visiting Family and Friends and going up to the Cefn to pay our respects to those who have gone before us.


Both my Wife and I have enjoyed looking at the Website especially the information about my Grandparents, Elizabeth and Henry Jenkins who I am very proud of.

Best wishes.   


Barry Jenkins

More Memories


I discovered the Hafodyrynys website by chance. My brother is Brian Page, who wrote "Hafodyrynys Village Memories" on your letters page.  I was very interested in the letter from Glyndwr Jones from New Zealand. He mentions his uncle, Will Morgan, who owned a farm at or near the Cefn. Would Will have been married to Gwen and did they have a son, Leslie? If so, Gwen was my great aunt. I can just remember visiting the farm and have a photo of me, aged about two or three, sitting on a tractor. They had sheep dogs; one was named Moss. Gwen and Will later moved to Cwmffrwdoer. As I write this I have an album open at a page of black and white photographs, one showing the view from the farm 

Gwen's maiden name was Jones. She was the second of three daughters of Mrs Sarah Jones (nee Edmunds). Mrs Sarah Jones was number one on the church roll at Cefn-y-Crib Congregational Church. She was a member for 77 years. Sarah was the sub postmistress for 29 years and she was succeeded by her youngest daughter, Alice Davies. At the time of her death Sarah was the oldest inhabitant of the district and the last resident for whom Welsh was the first language. I have a Sunday School prize presented to Sarah Edmunds, as she was then, for faithful attendance as a teacher at Cefn-y-Crib Sunday School. This is dated July 7th 1895 and the book is written in Welsh.
My grandmother, Elizabeth Mary Rogers, was the eldest of Sarah's daughters. She was the Women's Guild Secretary for over 50 years. I believe it was one of her cousins who was known to us as "Uncle John Henry" and he was the organist at Cefn-y-Crib.
I remember the butcher bringing a tray of meat and the baker carrying a basket of bread to the back door of 16 Herbert Terrace and greengrocery was brought in a van. I held my brother's hand when we crossed the road to either play on the swings in what was called "The Welfare" or go to Challenger's shop. We travelled by bus to Pontypool and I remember my uncle asking the driver to wait if we not ready in time. When I was older, I walked over the mountain to Cwmffrwdoer. We also walked up the mountain behind Herbert Terrace. "Helping" my aunt in the post office kept me occupied.
We still visit the area once a year to see my mother's brother and sister in law, Norman and Thelma Rogers.

Best wishes


Sandra Ward      


Dear Sandra,


Thank you for your history on Cefn-y-Crib and your family connections to the chapel.

You wrote a lovely story.

Just out of interest, I have the full history of Capel-Yr-Ynys  (Cefn-Y-Crib) from 1832  to  the 1932 Centenary celebrations,and a lot of your family and other people are mentioned in it.

You mentioned uncle John Henry (Owen).  John Henry was a real gentleman, the best you could get and I have very fond memories of him.

Also of Alice and Bill Davies, who ran the Post office at 11 Herbert terrace, my father used say her mother Sarah used
to sell sweets from the post office, and to get the weight right on the scales, she used to bite a sweet in half, to get the
weight right,   Happy memories.   Also of Norman Rogers, he was a very good pianist, and he taught me for a while how
to play,   he was very good.

Sandra, the next time you are down here let us know, and give us a visit.  We've got a good collection of old photos in the Village
Hall,  and if you got any old photos you would like to be displayed on the website, or in the Hall, email them, or bring them with you.
it would be a real pleasure to see them.


Dave Webb


Family History


I am writing in response to the request on your website for stories
about Hafodrynys.

My Grandmother used to live at Hillside Bungalow in Hafodrynys and my
Father used to tell me that he used to walk to school in Crumlin
across the Crumlin Viaduct using the walkway under the train tracks.

I have tried to find out where Hillside Bungalow is but with no luck.
Could you add this comment to your website please and maybe someone
will be able to help.

I really enjoy the website by the way.

Best Regards,

Colin Watkins


Dear Colin.


Thank you for your email.


 We are glad that you like our website and we are always pleased to add new material.
If you have any more information on Hafodyrynys then, please let us know.

About the information you have requested on “Hillside”, or “Hillside Bungalow”.
There may have been two “Hillsides”


The one for sure is at “Hillside”,  Pontbren Rd. Hafodyrynys, Crumlin, Newport NP11 5BG and can be viewed at Google maps (street view).


The other, I believe, was up a path and into the woods behind the chapel. This one was demolished many years ago. I'm not sure it was called Hillside, but my wife thinks it was, and she is usually right,   If I can find out more about the second "Hillside" I will let you know.


               Dave Webb



Dear Dave,

Thanks for your reply. I seem to recall that the bungalow was painted
green and looked like it had wooden sides. I am not sure if that helps.

Best Regards,




Look at the photo of the village in 1930, (I wasn't around then) but you will see the bungalow in the trees, over the farm and shops.


This may trigger your memory.  You are right about it being all wood. 

The bungalow also didn't have mains water.  The water mains stopped, half way up the path, you see in the picture.

I know, because I used to carry the water up to the bungalow, in the mid 1950's, when I used to work on the farm, for the farmers son, who used to live there.

On the other  "Hillside"  That was also all wood at one time,  built out of, (don't laugh) orange box's originally,
(I don't think you could get away with that one today).  Of course, it has been completely rebuilt since then.

Hope this is of some help.



Dear Dave,

Amazing! It is just like I remember!

I am really grateful that you took the time to do this for me. On the
picture dated 1930 I zoomed in and I can actually make out the
vertical boards on the house. The colour that I remember was dark
green and that must have been around 1970 ish. My Father was born in
1920 so I am assuming that they must have lived here about the time
the picture was taken.

Again, thanks very much.

Kind Regards,





I had a bit of luck today. I spoke to an old resident of the village at a funeral that we both attended.


I asked her if she remembered the bungalow up in the wood and she did. I asked her if she remembered the name of the bungalow and she did – she said it was “Hillside”.  I asked her if she remembered the colour of the bungalow and she said “green”.  


She also asked who was asking about the bungalow and I gave her your name.
She told me that she knew your family (not you personally) but she mentioned your father who I think she called Billy. I asked what year and she said about the mid 1930's.


So that seems to be confirmation of our combined memories.


I was glad to be of service to you.







Family Tree




I was wondering if you would be able to help.


On my family tree I have a William and Mary Davies who are listed on the 1871 census as owning a pub and a farm of 30 acres and their residence is Cefn y Crib Tyr Ton.


Would you have any idea which pub they owned?


Thank you for your time.    


Yours faithfully,


Anna-Leigh Hollingsworth (nee Davies)



Dear Anna-Leigh,


The most likely pub for Cefn-y-Crib would be “The Star Inn” which is still in existence today.
The Inn was awarded it’s Charter in the reign of Queen Anne in 1410.


However, I have read that the Landlord of the Star in 1871 was a certain Thomas Edwards who was also a Colliery Manager locally. You may be able to check directly with the current Landlord of “The Star”.


Our local historian, Mr Dave Webb, has suggested a few other pubs or inns that could possibly also match your requirements.


“After “The Star” the road between Pontypool and Crumlin” then went past a pub at Hafodyrynys.  It was called the "Sun" or the "Moon" in the 1800s.  It is now 3 houses and is known as 1, 2 & 3 Pont Bren Cottages and was built originally by monks (date unknown).  

Of course, you also have the “Hafodyrynys Hotel” (now Inn) built in 1878 or before.
In the other direction from “The Star”, at Pantygasseg, you have the "Mason Arms""  which closed down many years ago. It is now a residential property.

There was also a pub on the Hafodyrynys to Pontypool road, opposite the Hafodyrynys Colliery, so travellers could refresh themselves as well as their horses (date unknown but could be in the late 1800s).  This was named  as the "Sun" or the "Moon" (whichever the previous pub wasn’t called).
All of these pubs are approximately one mile from Cefn-y-Crib”.

Anna-Leigh, we wish you great good luck with tracing your family tree.


Please keep us informed of any progress you make.


Kind regards,


John Scourfield



Hafodyrynys Village Memories


I found the Hafodyrynys village website by chance and it brought back fond memories of part of my family in the village. My mother's name before her marriage was Glynes Rogers and her family lived at Herbert Terrace (at the end house next to the road that goes over the former railway tunnel and up the mountain to the south of the village. Keith Bayliss would remember my mother if he is still alive. I think it was 16 Herbert Terrace but I may be wrong in this. I recall the neighbours were Mr and Mrs Drew.


We used to enjoy a couple of weeks each summer at my grandmother's house and went for mountain walks. I can remember seeing coal trains appearing from the Glyn Tunnel amid considerable smoke from the double headed train (we did not worry too much about health and safety in those days!).


I can also recall crossing the main road to Challenger's shop for an ice cream treat. I think Luba and her mother made the ice cream which was unique.


My mother's family attended Cefn-y-Crib Church where I believe David Cook is minister. I now occasionally visit to attend to family graves.


My great unce and aunt (Bill and Alice Davies) ran the village post office that used to be located in Herbert Terrace (it has now been converted back into a house). 


I can vividly remember the infamous Crumlin Viaduct although it was demolished when I was 12 years old. I would have liked to travel across it in a train. My mother often spoke that when she was younger and her family caught the train to Barry Island from Hafodyrynys Halt the viaduct would creak as the train travelled across (and she would not look down).


I am pleased to see that the village now has a new hall which must be good for the social life of the village. I live in North London but hope to visit the area later this year. My only surviving relative in the area now is my mother's brother Norman Rogers.


All best wishes


Brian Page  




Hafodyrynys - before the new road


This is a rough plan of village a few years after end of WW2, shows Luba's first small shop with her mam, shed with counter, on top of old Crumlin hill.  The then main road was the present bypass behind the existing bus stop, old bus stop was on corner by local grocers shop. On the end towards the chapel was Mr & Mrs Haydn Jenkins's shop/cafe.  Opposite the barn at the end of Herbert terrace was a small wooden support pedestal where the village's daily milk was supplied in churns and distributed as ordered. 


village plan


Express trains were regular through the tunnel at all unearthly hours of the early mornings waking everyone with their hooters.
The Hafodyrynys new mine was way off in the future and the old mine was still well into production, as a young lad I would finish my Sunday paper round delivering to the managers and undermanagers large houses close to the then, pithouse bathes, and after, if I had any spares left, to the workmen at pit top, boilermen, fitters, general wk/end maintenance staff etc.  Tamper Webb, Dai's dad drove the steam crane and was an occasional customer.  Did not think then, that a few years later, I would be mucking in with them


Clive Goff



Greetings from Aotearoa New Zealand

It’s a wet winters evening so I decided to write to the people of the ‘Hafod’ where I started out more than 60 years ago.

My earliest memories of the village are in 1947, the year we moved from the Pant – Pantygasseg. We moved to our house at 2 Sunnyside Villas just above the Bompren. And we came in the middle of the worst winter for decades. The snow was deep for months. The roads were blocked, nothing moved. I can remember the snow drifts blocking the road but it was great fun for kids. It seemed to go on for months – it would have been January 1947 and it lasted through until March. But my dad still went to work at Tirpentwys Pit, below Pantygasseg. How did he get there? He walked! It must have been 4-5 miles one way, twice a day and then underground.

Sunnyside Villas was a two story stone semi-attached house. I lived there with my father – Wyndham Llewelyn Jones, my mother Ceinwen and my sister Sonia. And it was a wonderful place to grow up, winter and summer. In front was the ‘brook’ that never dried up in summer and roared in winter with the water that ran off the hills up the valley. Behind was the wood in which we ran and played. Outside the house at that was our ‘green’ a small flat area on which we played. In the 1960s/70s a bungalow was built on it. The Young family built it and came to live, from Llnahilleth I think. Further up the valley were four stone house or cottages of similar design but smaller than our house.

At the Bompren there were the four cottages and of course the school which is where I and my sister went. There were two classes. It was a Primary School so we stayed until 11 when we faced the dreaded 11-Plus exam. I failed!
I am trying to recall the name of the teacher – ah got it, Ms Maidment - when I went there and the headmaster... but it has gone! I can, however, remember many of the pupils who went there with me and it would be nice to know if they are still around and even more, if they can remember wg: Clive Gough from the Brompren Cottages, Ira and Barry Price from the Bompren, Alan Tovey ( I know he is dead). David Jones from the farm further up from our house, Judith (Taylor?) – I remember she had ginger curly hair – apologies if this is not a good description, Eric Pritchard from the long row, Anthea Durbin, and of course the Webbs from the houses that faced the welfare ground. I also remember the Pearce boys – one was Dennis. I am not sure if I am proud of myself for remembering these or for sad for forgetting so many.

I remember the Gough family at the top of the Rhiw – they were a large family - a lovely family – whose mother we referred to as Aunty Nancy – and her husband who we called ‘Sonny’ . Then there was Anthony, Gwyn and lots of sisters! Then there was the James family at the Cefn; Eryl– I think that was the spelling, but maybe not – but I do remember her because we share the same birthday – 27 November. And her sister Cherith and brother Richard. And the Rees family – Dawn. And Johnny Griffiths who lived at the cottages at the Cefn. He went north to play rugby league but came back, I think. Then there were the Hills at the Cefn farm. My uncle Will Morgan owned the farm at the Cefn – or just below it. My grandparents – George and my grandmother, Charlotte lived at the cottages with their two unmarried dons, Emrys and Harry. They like many men then worked at Tirpentwys.

I have many more memories. I have a good memory, maybe related to my ‘craft’ – I am a teacher, still. I teach at a university here, the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

I used to return on a regular basis when my parents were alive but now that they are gone, I travel mostly in Asia, and particularly China where I go two or three times a year.

I am however thinking of returning to Wales maybe next year and should I do this would like to come to the little village that I never forget.

I send my best regards to you and your family and the people of the village of Hafodyryrynys.


Glyndwr Jones (wg)