A Glamorgan Family History
Name index
Early adminstrative history
Survey of Gower
Overseers of the Poor 1740-1801
Land Tax Records
Directories: 1871 & 1884
Poor Law
Churches and Chapels
The Cistercian Way
Baran/Pennsylvania Connection
Rhyndwyclydach Higher/Position of Rhyndwyclydach
Rhyndwyclydach was one of the 4 original hamlets (or parcels), along with Mawr, Penderry and Clase, that made up the Glamorgan Parish of Llangyfelach.  It's name derives from the fact that, east to west, a large section of the parcel is situated between (rhyng/rhwng) the Upper and Lower Clydach rivers respectively.  Rhyndwyclydach occupied the north-eastern section of Llangyfelach Parish at elevations between 500-1000+ feet above sea level. 

East:   the Upper Clydach river and the Blaenegel & Mawr parcels of the Glamorgan parish of Llangiwg
South: the River Tawe and parts of the neighbouring Glamorgan parishes of Cilybebyll and Cadoxton
North:  the Carmarthenshire parish of Betws.
West: the Mawr parcel of Llangyfelach parish.  The south west corner of Rhyndwyclydach also connects with a small portion of the Clase parcel. 
Early administrative history:
Parcels were the subdivisions of a parish which were adopted for the convenience of manorial administration.  Like the other parcels of Llangyfelach, Rhyndwyclydach was itself subdivided into Higher and Lower Divisions.   Historically, along with large sections of the parish of Llanguicke, the parcels of Llangyfelach formed the main part of the Manor of Gower Supraboscus - situated above the wood (boscus) that ran between Swansea and Loughor.  This was otherwise known as Gower Wallicana (or Welsh Gower).  In contrast to the more anglicised Gower peninsula (Subboscus) which formed the Gower Anglicana, the Welsh language and local customs are acknowledged to have been preserved for longer in this upland region of the Manor. 

The differences between the populations of the Welsh Gower and the peninsula are demonstrated by the following letter which appeared in the book,
"Letters written during a tour through South Wales:  In the year 1803 and at other times" by John Evans, published in. 1804 by C & R Baldwin, pg. 195:

"In Gower it is peculiarly striking: their persons are different: those of Gower have thin faces with narrow foreheads, flat cheek bones, with a flat and rather sharp nose; hair for the most part light, or brown, with blue or grey eyes. On the other hand, the Welsh have dark eyes, dark hair, high foreheads, with prominent cheek bones. The dress of a female in Gower is a short jacket and petticoat, with a straw hat, and a piece of coarse red cloth, about two yards long and one wide, with a deep fringe on one side, carelessly thrown over the shoulder; hence denominated a Gower whittle. Those of Celtic origin wear a long gown, a long blue cloth cloak, and a beaver hat. The language of the Gower people is English, with the intermixture of a few Norman French words; and the dialect rather broad and coarse. So that a traveller might fancy himself in the west of England. While if you enter into a Welsh village, though not three miles distant, they will, if able, even refuse to speak to you in English. They seldom intermarry, and have an utter aversion for each other. When a man of Gower is asked the residence of one in Llangevelach, a village on the Welsh side of the line, it is a common reply, "I danna knaw, a lives somewhere in the Welshery." "
Prior to the Civil War (1639-1651) - during which these lands were confiscated by Oliver Cromwell - the Lord of the Manor was Edward Somerset, the 2rd Marquess of Worcester (aka the Earl of Glamorgan).   Following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the Marquess of Worcester regained the manor and his son, Henry Somerset, was elevated by Charles II to the title of Duke of Beaufort in 1682.

The earliest administrative record that I have currently seen of Rhyndwyclydach is a document, dated
1628 relating to the 3rd of 5 subsidies raised by taxation in the reign of Charles 1.  Those liable for this tax in Rhyndwyclydach are named as:

William Griffith
Hopkin David
Evan Hopkin
Owen ap Evan
David Morgan
Thomas William

Other taxation records classified in the series
E179, in the National Archives, that specifically relate to Rhyndwyclydach, date back to tax subsidies granted by parliament to Elizabeth 1 in 1597.
In 1650 a rental survey of the manor ordered by Cromwell included some properties in Rhyndwyclydach - including Nantmoel Uchaf.   The Higher and Lower divisions of Rhyndwyclydach are mentioned separately in Gabriel Powell's 1764 Survey of the Lordship of Gower.  Nantmoel (also spelt Nantmole/Nantmol) Uchaf farm lies in the Rhyndwyclydach Higher Division.  In his study, "The Farms of Rhyndwyclydach in 1850", historian, Jeff Childs, identifies the boundary between the Higher and Lower divisions of Rhyndwyclydach as being:

"from West to East, the Lower Clydach River, Nant Llwydyn (as far
                                         as Llachard Fawr), then by way of a track and stream as far as Tir
                                         Shet, close to the Upper Clydach River."

From the tithe maps and apportionments of 1838, Childs defines the dimensions of the hamlet as being 7704 acres, with 38 farms (of 2780 acres) in Rhyndwyclydach Higher and 34 farms (of 2576 acres) in Rhyndwyclydach Lower.  The remaining 2348 acres is accounted for by the common land of Mynydd Carnllechart and Mynydd Gellionen.

Jeff Childs also discusses how the elevated and exposed position of Rhyndwyclydach, together with the general poor quality of it's soil, set limitations on the types of farming practised in the community.  The emphasis was on
pastoral farming - tending animals such as cows, cattle and in particular, sheep who can forage on the available land and provide saleable products such as milk, butter, wool and meat.
Overseers of the Poor:  1740-1801 Land Tax Records
While the less populated Higher Division of Rhyndwyclydach, was home to a mainly agricultural community; J. Christy Davies describes how the Lower Division developed small, originally water-powered industries such as corn and woollen mills and the iron (and later tin works) at Ynyspenllwch and Forge Uchaf. In 1798 the Swansea Canal reached Clydach, bringing a new means of transportation and accomodating the develpment of what had been a very small, localised coal industry.  The new industries drew workers who increased the population of the village of Clydach and in 1847 Rhyndwyclydach was made into the independent ecclesiastical parish of Clydach St. John.  Other industries followed, supported by improvements in the roads of the Swansea Valley and later in 1876, the coming of the railway.
Clydach St. John Slater's Directory 1871
Kelly's Directory of 1884:
Swansea Valley:
or Rhyndwyclydach, is a village with a station (Cwm Clydach) on the Swansea and Hereford branch of the Midland railway, on the high road from Brecon to Swansea, and distant about 5 miles north from the latter.  In 1847 it was formed into an eccleseastical parish from the civil parishes of Cadoxton and Llangyfelach, and is in Pontardawe Union, Swansea county court district, Upper division of the county, rural deanery of West Gower, archdeaconry of Carmarthen and diocese of St. David's.  The church of St. John is a very pretty cruciform stone building of Welsh sandstone, in the Elizabethan style, and consists of chancel, nave, transept and a very small bell cot.  The register dates from the year 1847.  The living is a vicarage, yearly value 400, in the gift of the Crown and Bishop of St. David's alternately, and held since 1868 by the Rev. Evan Davies.  Here are Congregational, English and Welsh Baptist and Calvanistic Methodist chapels, and a Unitarian chapel at Gellyonen.  The remains of a British cross of the fifth century have been built into the east wall of the Unitarian chapel.  At Carn Llechard is an old circular stone containing an early Dolmin.  Ynyspenllwch the residence of H. N. Miers esq. J.P. is a very elegant mansion, in it's own grounds, surrounded by trees and bounded on one side by the River Tawe; from the house and grounds can be seen the hills for a long distance on either side of the valley.  The Duke of Beaufort K.G. is lord of the manor; the principal landowners are H. N. Miers esq. J. P. the trustees of the late William Martin esq. J.P. the trustees of the late H. D. Cook esq.  The soil is alluvial; subsoil, gravel.  Rateable value, 12,295; and the population in 1881 was 5,154 of eccleseastical parish and 3,529 of civil parish.
The Poor Law and Censuses in Rhyndwyclydach:
Following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, England and Wales were divided into Poor Law Unions to administer local responsibilities to the poor.  Each Union was centred on a major market town and encompassed the local parishes and townships that were linked to the town.  As part of the Parish of Llangyfelach, Rhyndwyclydach was in the Swansea Union.  When Civil registration was introduced in 1837, the local Registration districts were set up to correspond with the Poor Law Unions and for convenience, later became responsible for the  administration of the censuses.  For the 1841-1871 censuses, Rhyndwyclydach was categorised as being in the Llandilo-talybont Sub District of the Swansea Superintendent Registrar's district. 

After the reorganisation of some Poor Law Unions in 1875, Rhyndwyclydach became part of the newly created
Pontardawe Union and the censuses of 1881-1901 were adminstered by the Pontardawe Superintendent Registrar. 
Rhyndwyclydach Higher 1841 census
A complete transcription of the 1841 census for Rhyndwyclydach Higher together with ongoing notes on family connections and histories.
General census details:
Census references for Rhyndwyclydach Higher:
HO107/1419/6, (12 pages in total),  E.D. 4
HO107/2465, (14 pages in total), E.D. 1d
RG9/4095, (11 pages in total), E.D. 4
RG10/5442, (13 pages in total), E.D. 4
RG11/5349, (17 pages in total), E.D. 26
RG12/4469, (11 pages in total), E.D. 26
RG13/5066, (8 pages in total), E.D. 26

Census references for Rhyndwyclydach Lower:
HO107/1419/6, (24 pages in total),  E.D. 1,2 & 3
HO107/2465, (57 pages in total), E.D. 1,1b & 1c
RG9/4095, (65 pages in total), E.D. 1,2 & 3
RG10/5442, (88 pages in total), E.D. 1,2 & 3
RG11/5349, (133 pages in total), E.D. 23,24 & 25
RG12/4469, (129 pages in total), E.D. 23,24 & 25
RG13/5066, (151 pages in total), E.D. 23,24 & 25
Population for Rhyndwyclydach Higher:

286: 131 males & 155 females
371:  126 males & 145 females
252:  124 males & 128 females
266:  130 males & 136 females
354:  168 males & 186 females
291:  141 males & 150 females
225:  107 males & 118 females
Churches and Chapels:
The database compiled by
Genuki co-ordinator, Gareth Hicks gives full details of all chapels and churches in the Llangyfelach parish - which includes the parcel of Rhyndwyclydach.
Llangyfelach Chapels Llangyfelach Churches
A complete list of members of Gellionnen Chapel, Rhyndwyclydach Lower, during the period 1767-1775, together with ongoing notes on family connections and histories:
Gellionnen Chapel Members 1767-1775
A complete list of the members of Baran Chapel, Rhyndwyclydach Higher on 4th April, 1841, together with ongoing notes on family connections and histories:
Baran Chapel Members 4th April 1841
The Cistercian Way
The Cistercian Way is a project to link the Cistercian abbeys of Wales, using mainly ancient tracks, roads and pilgrimage routes.  It extends for approximately 650 miles, roughly following the outline of Wales.  Part of the Cistercian Way runs through Rhyndwyclydach, following the medieval St. Illtyd's Way, across Mynydd y Gwair (Baran mountain) and Mynydd y Betws.  It passes the 13th century, timber stronghold,  Penlle'r Castell, erected 1215 feet above sea level. St. Illtyd's Way also forms part of the modern, St. Illtyd's Walk - extending 64 miles from Margam (in Glamorgan) to Pembrey (in Carmarthenshire) - where the local parish church is named after St. Illtyd.
Name index
Copyright © 2006 Rina Callingham