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.
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.
I am writing in response to the request on your website for stories
Thank you for your email.
We are glad that you like our website and we are always pleased to add new material.
About the information you have requested on “Hillside”, or “Hillside Bungalow”.
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.
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.
So that seems to be confirmation of our combined memories.
I was glad to be of service to you.
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.
Anna-Leigh Hollingsworth (nee Davies)
The most likely pub for Cefn-y-Crib would be “The Star Inn” which is still in existence today.
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.
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).
Please keep us informed of any progress you make.
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
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.
Express trains were regular through the tunnel at all unearthly hours of the early mornings waking everyone with their hooters.
Greetings from Aotearoa New Zealand
Glyndwr Jones (wg)