Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society

A web log for the Resolven History Society which publishes articles and stories related to Resolven and the immediate surroundings.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Wonders of the Web of Time

They say that you are only six (or is it seven steps) from anyone else in the world. With the advent of the world-wide web we are all far closer than ever. Paul Bailey and his wife Julia of North Carolina in the USA, were coming to Wales in order to enjoy the tourist delights of our wonderful country but also to find the family roots of Doctor Bailey whose great grandparents hail from the Neath area.

Paul and Julia Bailey at Manteg
A Facebook search asking for some assistance with their task was sent to the Resolven District News and the Resolven Community Council web sites. To cut a long story short, Trefor Jones current Chair of the Community Council and long serving secretary of the Resolven History Society was contacted to meet them. On Monday, September 18th they met with Trefor outside the erstwhile Sion Chapel now the Community Centre. However, they had already been met by the residents of Tan-y-Rhiw (formerly Chapel Row) and next door to Paul’s great grandfather’s house which it is now assumed to have been demolished (Chapel House Ed.) . A whistle stop tour then ensued, firstly of the now renovated chapel which includes the gravestone of the Morgan family, and where Paul’s ancestors were members and his great grandfather a deacon. This was followed by a historical tour of the Resolven area including the canal and what remains of the hamlet of Ynysfach. It appears that Paul’s great grandmother was an orphan who had spent her early life in the workhouse in Neath “Llety Nedd”. They subsequently made two visits to the now Vet’s surgery and saw some children’s clothes from the period. On the way back to their car parked in Resolven, they visited “Sgwd Rhyd yr Hesg”, (Melincwrt falls) and finished their initial visit at Capel Melincwrt (built 1799). By sheer chance, (the chapel which is only used very infrequently), had a harvest service that afternoon and Mr Roy Joseph was delighted to open the chapel and let our visitors experience the inside of a genuine 18th century independent chapel almost as old as the USA itself.

Their second visit to Resolven occurred on the Wednesday of the same week when the Baileys visited Manteg, the home of Mr and Mrs Phylip Jones, and of course President of the History Society. Phylip is literally the 'keeper of records' for the Resolven area and had already prepared a family tree much to the delight of Paul Bailey. Phylip was also able to fill and verify in some of the gaps left in his internet led research. This also led subsequently to other successful leads to Llandyfaelog in Carmarthenshire and the graveyard of St David’s Church in Resolven. They concluded with a visit to Glyncastle and the site of Ty’n-y-Cwm farm which was originally the family home. A subsequent visit unearthed some more details and the location of the family graves.

To show his appreciation of the help he had received, Paul gave a generous donation to the History Society and to the Community Council. It is to be hoped that the Baileys will maintain their association with the area and feel that this is now very much their ancestral home.
Ed: Paul has promised us some photographs of his visit which I will post on the blog.
UPDATE: Paul Bailey has been in touch and has promised more information. He also thanked everyone for making his visit a success.
Paul Bailey's great grandfather John Morgan.


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