Hafod People


Colwyn Tovey

(1918 - 2002)


Colwyn was the son of William and Lillian Tovey of 14 Herbert Street. He married Olive and had two daughters and one son. He lived all his life at the above address.


Colwyn was a devout Christian and devoted his whole life to the services of Christianity. Colwyn attended chapel from an early age, three times every Sunday. He passed through the primary, junior, senior and teacher stages and was finally appointed a Deacon and Trustee of the Chapel.


Colwyn also played a big part in the Young Peoples Guild, meeting every Thursday evening and never missed the Chapel prayer meeting every Wednesday evening.


Colwyn was a good Lay Preacher and took the pulpit many times at the Chapel and also preaching at other local churches. Colwyn was inducted as Chapel Secretary in 1945 and held the position for the next 47 years.


I feel I must mention the funeral service for Colwyn's son Alan, the chapel was packed with many people outside. The service was full of joy and thanks - giving with spontaneous hymn singing breaking out prior, during and after the service. A truly remarkable service. One of the notable mourners was Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.


Apart from his religious activities Colwyn was deeply involved in all village activities and was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Colwyn was an admirable person and a good example to us all.


Colwyn passed ino the arms of his Redeemer in his 82nd year and was interred at Capel-yr-Ynys, Cefn-y-Crib.


(by Mostyn Jenkins)



Colwyn & Ada


(Photo taken 1996 supplied by Dave Webb)





Every Christmas Mrs Ada Lovell

would display this illuminated

Chapel in the window of her

cottage and after her death

it was donated to the

Hafodyrynys Community






Ada May Lovell

(1904 - 2000)


Ada was one of several children born to James and Sarah Brown of 8 Herbert Terrace. She married George Lovell, a local lad, and had one daughter Dorrel. Ada lived all her married life at 4 Herbert Terrace.

Ada was brought up in a Christian manner and spent her whole life in the service of the Christian faith.


From an early age Ada attended Chapel three times every Sunday progressing from primary to junior to senior to teacher of the Sunday school. Ada then became a member of the Chapel, finally being appointed Deaconess.


Ada had a particular interest in the Sisterhood which met every Monday evening. Ada was secretary for a number of years organising the annual Anniversary Services and inviting other local Sisterhoods to share the celebrations.


Ada played a big part in the running of the Sunday School, helping with the annual outing to Barry or Porthcawl and at the annual tea party she was in charge of the cakes and sandwiches.


Ada was a verty active member of the Young Peoples Guild which met every Thursday evening and never missed the Church Prayer meeting every Wednesday evening.


But Ada's great love was as a Primary School Leader, she taught the younger children all aspects of the Bible, giving them their first insight into Christianity. Over the decades through Ada's leadership, hundreds of young children passed through her classes, having received their first introduction into the Christian faith.


Apart from her Christian endeavours, Ada actively supported any activity taking place in the village, lending a helping hand to anyone who needed it. A truly remarkable woman who is sadly missed.


Ada passed to her Heavonly Father in her 96th year and was interred at Capel-yr-Ynys, Cefn-y-Crib.


(by Mostyn Jenkins)


Henry Jenkins

Henry was born in 1870, the fourth child of ten born to John and Elizabeth Jenkins at Tunnel Bank Cottage, Hafodyrynys. He lived there until his marriage to Elizabeth Carter in 1901 when they moved into 5 Herbert Street. This was where he remained living until his passing in 1951.


The marriage produced eleven children, six girls and five boys namely, Ceinwen, Towyn, Clarice, Hadyn, Margaret, Emlyn, Lynda, Olwen, Arthur, Dorothy and Mostyn.


Henry started work at the age of nine years at the Navigation Colliery, Crumlin. He was employed as a "Door Boy". This entailed opening and closing the brattice (tarred) cloth "door" to allow the journeys of coal trams to pass through. He spent most of his working life in the mining industry, finally ending up as a "Fireman" or overseer of a distict at Llanhilleth Colliery. In later years he accepted the position of caretaker of the Welfare Grounds in the village.


The great love of Henry's life was the Gospels, emanating from a Christian Home. He attended the Welsh Church at Cefn-y-Crib from an early age, walking the mile or so uphill two or three times on a Sunday irrespective of the weather conditions.


In 1894 agreement was reached to build a church in the village. Henry was elected to the committee to achieve this. The church was officially opened in 1895. Henry was appointed as one of the first Deacons and he remained Deacon for the rest of his life.


At the age of twenty-five Henry was appointed Secretary and he held this position for the next 50 years.

For a number of years he was also Superintendant of the Sunday School and a Teacher for most of his life.

Henry was also Choir-Master for several years and led the singing at church services for most of his active life.

Henry was an eloquent speaker and preached many sermons in the village church and was in demand to take services in chapels in the surrounding areas. He preached for most of his adult life.


Henry was always willing to help other people, whether it was to offer advice, write a letter or in any other way possible. His achievements relect this attitude and he applied himself to manage many successful causes.


For example, in 1907 Henry commenced negotiations with the Great Western Railway to establish rail facilities in the village and in 1913 "Hafodyrynys Halt" was brought into use. [The Halt, unfortunately, went out of service in 1964.]


In 1924 after many meetings with the Electricity Authority every house in the village was connected to the electricity supply.


In 1936 after many years of effort mains sewage was supplied to the village.


During World War II Henry was Senior Air Raid Warden for the village ( on July 8th 1940 fourteen bombs were dropped in the neighbourhood by German aircraft).


Henry had many other public spirited interests - far too many to mention in this brief profile of a very good man.


Henry, due to his public spirited feelings, his willingness to help people worse off than himself and his achievements in bringing improvement and amenities to the village, was acclaimed by the villagers as the unofficial "Mayor" of Hafodyrynys.


On January 2nd, 1958, a stained glass window was installed in the Church by the Jenkins family with the inscription:-




[This information was gratefully obtained from the biography researched and compiled by Henry's son Mostyn Jenkins with the valuable assistance of Mostyn's daughters Lynne and Alyson.]



Henry Jenkins

1870 - 1951



Hafodyrynys Congregational



Civil Defence


Hafodyrynys Civil Defence 1940

Henry is bottom left together

with ( from the top left)

Melvin Lewis, Bill Poole,

Bill Davies, George Dillaway

and Cliff Webb






Thomas Emlyn Jenkins


Emlyn was the son of Henry and Elizabeth Jenkins of 5 Herbert Street.

Emlyn married Anne Pullin of Abertillery and had two daughters. He lived at hafodyrynys until his marriage when he moved to Pontypool.


He was a bright scholar at Hafodyrynys Junior School and passed for West Mon Boys School, Pontypool.

From there he was accepted at Exeter College.


After teaching at many schools he was granted the Headship of Pantygasseg School and after a stint there became Headmaster at Cwmbran Town Centre School.


During his teaching career Emlyn won the Walter Hines Page Scholarship to America and became known as "The Page Scholar". Emlyn was made an honorary citizen of New Orleans, Louisville, Charleston and Williamsburg. Whilst there he met Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at a garden party.


Emlyn was founder of the Welsh National Physical Association and organiser of the Welsh Amateur Bodybuilders Association. Emlyn organised the "Mr Monmouthshire" and "Mr Wales" competitions. He was also a judge at the "Mr Universe" contest.

Emlyn Jenkins


Emlyn passed away in his

50th. year and was interred

in Panteg Cemetery.




(by Mostyn Jenkins)

1958 Emlyn was treasurer of the Empire Games Council and was Chief Organiser of the Weight Lifting Section at the Commonwealth Games.


On Emlyn's passing, the Weight Lifting Association of Wales presented the Chapel with a solid oak Deacon's Pew, suitably inscribed in his memory.


Emlyn attended the Chapel all his life becoming a teacher and member, but his main love was the Young People's Guild where he was very active organising concerts, debates etc. He also formed a drama group producing plays and farces in the Chapel. He developed his drama activities to a wider field, with a much larger drama group. He produced a London play "Tilly of Bloomsbury" and took over the Empire Cinema, Crumlin for a week, playing to full houses each evening.


For many years Emlyn went to school at midnight on New Year's Eve to ring the Old Year out and the New Year in. A tradition sadly passed.


At the time of his passing Emlyn was breaking into Radio and television and died mid way through a sports series,

co-hosting with Danny Blanchflower, a famous Irish soccer player.



Dorothy (Doll) Davies




Doll's cake


Doll Davies was a famous and longstanding resident of Hafodyrynys.

She lived at No. 12 Herbert Street.

She had been a school cook at the Hafodyrynys school for 15 years before her career expanded as a teacher.

She became a teacher of Handicrafts, including embroidery, artificial flowers, woodwork and copperwork.

For nine years she was a craft teacher for North Monmouthshire and for a number of years she worked at Oakdale college teaching both men and women.


Doll also started and was the leader of a Girl's Youth Club in the village for a number of years. The Club was very adventurous and their many adventures included a camping trip to the Gower for a month every Summer.


Doll was also a reporter in the area for the Argus from 1934 until after the war.

In 1996 the Argus wrote an article about her and quoted her as saying, "In those days we didn't have computers and the like, so I had to make sure the stories were taken down to Newport on the bus which stopped in Crumlin".


Doll was also a raconteur and she was once interviewed on Radio Gwent when she told the Nation the legend of Pwca'r Trwyn ( see the Hafod Blog page ).


As you can see from the photos Doll happily celebrated her 100th birthday.

Around this time she demonstrated her wicked sense of humour by telling Dai Hassell the following joke.

Dai said, "It was about an old dear who was a hundred years old, and was excitedly waiting for the postman to deliver a telegram from the Queen the morning of her birthday. When the Postman finally arrived, she asked him would he please sing the telegram to her, the postman although thinking the request unusual agreed, he opened the telegram and began ' one two, a one two three, oooooo your sisters dead , she died in bed. - What a laugh I had."


What a wonderful lady !



Luba Challenger




Many local residents remember this well known villager fondly.


Luba owned and ran a shop in the village for many years.


Luba's great grandfather, Thomas Watkins, went to Russia to open an iron works and he married a Russian lady. Hence Luba's Russian name.


Luba's grandmother came back to Wales at the turn of the century and married into the Herbert family.

The Herberts opened a shop in the village in 1914. The shop was left to Luba's mother, Mrs Bertha Challenger.


Because of road development a new shop was built in 1950 and called L.I. Challengers.

Luba ran the shop until her retirement in 1995.


Luba Retirement


LI Challenger



Some Village Worthies of the Past [ by Mostyn Jenkins ]
James Close
Jim was headmaster of the village school and formed a close bond with the villagers. As an army officer in the 1914-18 war he escourted the Irish Prime Minister De Valera to this country for his trial in the High Court.
George Dillaway
The village policeman for many years, applied the law vigorously and clipped many a boy's ear, for being naughty. George was the South Wales Police shot putt champion.
Leslie Drew
Les was secretary of the Welfare Association and organised Gymkhanas, Carnivals, Pony Racing etc. at the Welfare Grounds. An "all round", capable person.
Thomas Hall
Owned the village farm for many years. Was treasurer of the Chapel. A good solid citizen.
John Jenkins
A fluent Welsh speaker was secretary of Capel-yr-yn-ys for 34 years and initial trustee of the Chapel in Hafodyrynys. He was an immigrant from Carmarthenshire.
Edmund Jones
Owner of the shoe shop and temperance bar. was well knon and a popular village character.
Melvin Lewis
Melvin had a fine baritone singing voice and won many competiions. He also built his own bungalow, an extension to the Chapel and oversaw the building of the old Ambulance Hall. He named his bungalow "Thistle dome" - This'll do me.
James Long
The village cobbler for a number of years. Although losing a leg it didn't stop him earning a living. His workshop became a focal point.
William Tovey
Church member, organist and Deacon of the Chapel. He also installed electric lighting in the Chapel.
Cliff Webb
"Tamper" put in a tremendous amount of effort and labour in the construction of the Welfare ground and the building of the old Ambulance Hall. He always played his part in carnivals etc. with a brilliant sense of humour.