Place:Pontardawe, Glamorgan, Wales

Alt namesCwmtawesource: Wikipedia
Coordinates51.717°N 3.85°W
Located inGlamorgan, Wales     ( - 1974)
Also located inWest Glamorgan, Wales     (1974 - 1996)
Neath Port Talbot, Wales     (1996 - )
See alsoCilybebyll, Glamorgan, Walesparish in which it was a hamlet
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Pontardawe from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"PONT-AR-DAWE, a hamlet in Killybebill parish, in Glamorgan; on the river Tawe, and on the Swansea Vale railway, 8 miles N N E of Swansea. It has a station on the railway, a post-office under Swansea, a one-arched-bridge of 80 feet in span over the Tawe, and a church in the decorated English style, with tower and spire 200 feet high, erected in 1860, by J Parsons, Esq."
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Pontardawe first came into existence as a small settlement on the northwestern bank of the Tawe at the point where the drovers' road from Neath to Llandeilo crossed first the river and then the road running up the valley from Swansea towards Brecon. Its best known landmark today is the tall spire of St Peter's church which dominates the centre of the town from its site on a high point of the valley floor close to the Swansea Canal.

Pontardawe is now a town of some 5,000 inhabitants in the Swansea Valley (Welsh: Cwmtawe) in south Wales. The community (or civil parish) of Pontardawe forms part of the County Borough of Neath Port Talbot.


The name first appears on a map in 1729, as "Pont-ar-Dawye", in Emmanuel Bowen's New and Accurate Map of South Wales. By 1796, the Swansea Canal had connected Pontardawe with Swansea Docks. The accessibility by canal enabled the industrial development of the area, which started with the Ynysderw ironworks in 1835. Close to the ironworks, tinplate and steel works became the basis of the town's development during the latter part of the 19th century, with exports all over the world. The industrialist William Parsons of Neath developed the town's early industry, but from 1861 onwards the Gilbertson family became the most important proprietors of the town. As well as metal work, there were also significant coal mines in the area, and pottery works at Ynysmeudwy.

These industries declined in the middle of the 20th century. None of the heavy industry remains.

Research Tips

  • GENUKI on Glamorgan Lots of leads to other sources and descriptions of former parishes.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki on Glamorgan has recently been updated (early 2016) and looks remarkably like Wikipedia. Their map "Glamorgan Parish Map.jpg" enlarges to show all the original parishes. The sub-section "Parishes of Historic Glamorgan" lists all the parishes of Glamorgan and the newer preserved counties and principal areas in both English and Welsh. (Currently this website is still under construction.)


The first three maps are provided by A Vision of Britain through Time

These maps were found on Wikimedia Commons

These maps of Glamorgan post-1974 were found on another site and are very useful for sorting out the up-to-date geography of the area

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Pontardawe. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.