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.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Fair View and Llwyn Helig , confusion resolved.

The Society recently received this mail from Mr John Lewis of Hertford, Herts,  who has strong links to the village of Resolven. 

Dear Trefor Jones

 I contacted you by telephone 2 weeks ago and must apologise for taking so long to get back to you. I have been dealing with a medical emergency.


I am attaching a letter (pdf file) and an image (jpg file) that I hope you will consider for publication on your excellent website for the Resolven History Society.


All the best for now.


John Lewis

The contents of the letter are transcribed below.

Dear Trefor Jones,

I am writing to provide further information concerning the two houses on Glynneath Road, on the way to Abergarwed, destroyed by a landslip in 1965. This event was recalled on your website in February 2016 and again in February 2020, when you published a letter by Anne Thorne correctly naming the houses involved  as Llwyn Helig and Fair View, not "Hirwaun cottages" as previously incorrectly reported which was further along the road towards Resolven.

Llwyn Helig was the home of Thomas Llewelyn and his family , and Fair View was the home of my maternal grandparents Sydney and Olive Willett and their family . The houses were built by my grandfather who was skilled in masonry. My grandmother was Thomas Llewelyn's sister and my mother was one of the children raised at Fair View. I visited both houses and stayed at Fair View with my parents for holidays in the 1940s and 50s.

Fortunately a part of the original plans of the two houses drawn on drafting linen has survived and passed down to me through the family. I attach a scanned copy of the front elevation. Llwyn Helig on the left and Fair View on the right. The plans are dated from October 1910 , so the houses would not have been occupied before then. The 1911 Census shows that both families were resident in Company Street, Resolven in April 1911.

I hope the information will be of interest to the readers of your website. Some may remember the houses before they were destroyed in the landslip of 1965.

Kind regards,

John Lewis .

Many thanks to Mr Lewis and Mrs Thorne for clearing this up, once and for all. !!!


Sunday, March 07, 2021

Save Aberdulais Aqueduct

 Storm Dennis of July last year caused much damage to the Aberdulais area  and very nearly demolished the 200 year old aqueduct at Aberdulais on the Tennant Canal. The aqueduct was subsequently blamed as a contributing factor to the floods at Canal Side which saw  the poor residents being inundated in the latest of many floods.

However, it came as a shock last week to receive an email from Harriet Eaton  of the Neath Port Talbot Heritage Group, signaling that the aqueduct may be subject to demolition by the County Borough, rather than its being restored. The Neath and Tennant Canal Trust are raising concerns about this matter and have asked every heritage society in their area for their support.

I have therefore lobbied both Resolven Community Council and local ward Councillor Dean Lewis in order to gain their support. I am glad to report that letters will be going to the County Borough denouncing this short sighted plan. Harriet Eaton has also been informed.

Should any member also wish to write in , it would obviously add to the weight of the opposition.

Trefor Jones

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda /Happy New Year


Firstly, apologies for not posting sooner, but there has been literally little to put on the site owing to the present hiatus.

                                                                                                  Resolfen (1903)

As we have entered a new Tier 4 arrangement since December, there is little that can be done to speed up the process of renewing our activities. Optimistically, we may have a meeting in the late spring or summer, but quite honestly your guess is as good as mine.

With regard to the roll out of vaccinations, there are not many advantages to being older, but at least the vast majority of us will have had vaccinations in the next month or so and a booster later on. Until everyone is safe and feels happy to come to meetings , then it is better to err on the side of caution.

Gan ddymuno blwyddyn newydd dda a dedwydd i bawb.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Live History

 Delyth Evans of the Glynneath History Society has been in touch regarding a live history broadcast on the internet this coming Friday. The Topic is Ystrad Fflur/ Strata Florida in Ceredigion. See the details and link below.


You are invited to join a zoom talk by Andrew Green (Chairman of the Strata Florida Trust) on his book "Wales in 100 Objects", followed by Q&A.


Come and join us in 2021!

We will be running a variety of courses including:

  • Archaeological Excavation & Survey (1-4 weeks) 
  • Accredited 20 Credit Archaeological Excavation Module (4 weeks)
  • Digger Days

For more information contact us at or visit our website at

Find Out More


Heritage Network

 The History Society is one of dozens of similar heritage organizations within the County Borough which meet quarterly to discuss matters of mutual interest. Harriet Eaton , the coordinator on behalf of the Council Library Service has asked each member to submit a few words on how they were coping in the current strange period. Below you will find a few words submitted on your behalf, it should come as no surprise that we are unlikely to have business as usual for a while, but the good news recently on promising vaccines makes a resumption in the spring more likely than it appeared a few months ago. If you have any comments please get in touch,

Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society


Edward Jenner famously pioneered vaccination in the late eighteenth century, and until the recent good news regarding some positive developments of a vaccine for Covid-19 it looked as if the virus had washed out the whole of the c programme for 2020 -21 . The Society has not met since February, however, I am constantly getting asked when we will be beginning to stir from our corona induced slumber. Evidently, the answer hinges on two things, the raising of the limit in terms of attendees indoors and the relaxation of self-distancing. In reality considering the age profile of our membership it is unlikely that any activity will take place until we are clear of the pandemic, which may mean a fresh start in the autumn of 2021.


Every cloud has a silver lining, and it is our intention to broaden the work of the Society to include original research as against being a vehicle solely for monthly meetings. We also retain a virtual existence in our weblog, which ticks along as stories, photos and these days even you tube entries make it a permanent record of our activity as a Society. I’m sure, that our woes are no different to many other societies, sports clubs, chapels and churches. Yet in one way it has made everyone realise how precious everyday activity is, and also the value of real human physical contact, however successful  the crash course on Teams, Zoom or Silver Leaf has offered in terms of virtual communication has been . It is not the same as meeting people with a shared interest, or having your mind opened to an aspect of history which you will not find on Google search. Remember, the dark days of the Great War were followed by the “Roaring 20s”, in terms of creativity, despair not.  Let’s assume that this is only a blip, and that normal service will be resumed shortly, it is a historical event after all, and thankfully it is not the Spanish flu!!


Trefor Jones (Chair)

Monday, October 19, 2020

Neath Abbey Ironworks

 The Society have received this flyer regarding the latest developments at this site of outstanding industrial archaeological significance. A few years ago, a series of open days were held on site, and these images illustrate what has gone on since. Many thanks to Mr Richard Pary of Bryncoch, who assures me that the site is well worth a visit ( lockdown
willing of course).

Sunday, October 18, 2020

More musical memories of Resolven via You Tube

A reminder of happier days as Gwyn Thomas and Phylip Jones unveil a plaque to the ThreeDoctors of Music on the Community Centre or as Phylip would remind us, Sion Chapel. 

Eleri Jones has kindly informed the Society that she has put up two new items on her You Tube account accessed via ELERI NEDD . The items include an interview in Welsh with Phylip Jones on the Three Doctors of Music ( with English sub titles) and also a Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol programme of hymn singing recorded at Jerusalem Chapel in 2009.

The Jubilee Concert was devoted to the work of the Three Doctors and included performance by Cor Bro Nedd and The Resolven Chapels Choir.  ( Dechrau Canu)      (Three Doctors ) 

Diolch yn fawr, Eleri. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Henllan stone circle or Carn Caca.


Henllan Stone Circle

The presence of some very significant archaeological sites on Carn Caca above Melincwrt, has been known to me for many years but have never quite plucked up the courage to push my aging Scottish terrier up the steep incline to witness the delights on our doorstep. My abiding fear actually, by combining a walk with a recce that it could prove disastrous on what is working farm land. To cut a long story short , today , the 20th of September, doubts were pushed aside and out of my comfort zone, went in search of the stone circles, which are shown on the OS map as Carn Caca cairns and stone circle. 

D.Rhys Philips in his “History of the Vale of Neath”, describes it thus ( paraphrased) :-

The Henllan circle lies in a commanding position on Henllan farm in ( Glyn Gwilym ?) Melin y Cwrt. It is a small circle about 30’ in diameter and an eloquent connection between the pre and post Roman Period. It pre dates the Brythonic period and could well have been used by the Celtic saints Cadoc and Illtyd.

Carn Caca also includes a Roman marching camp and a hillfort. “Caca”, itself is interesting and probably refers to the leachate of iron ore in the area which would resemble excrement.

Did I find it? Well, yes and no. I came across one of the cairns which runs alongside St Illtyd’s Walk , but was not sure if it was the cairn or stones deposited by a long melted glacier. Walking straight passed I had obviously missed the other two, after close inspection of the map on my return. However, my worst fears were realised when I saw a herd of huge Welsh Black steers being driven up the hill accompanied by dogs , two 4 x 4s and a lot of shouting. Beating the retreat off the hill I came under the bounding and watchful eye of one of the athletic dogs, who sniffed my terrier and then bounded off to the day job. In my defence, the Archaeological Trust did state that it was difficult to spot, i.e. the circle, not the dog.

Been to base camp,  summiting next time and will take the map