Districts and Places


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Treboeth in medieval times was primarily forest. The forest area was cleared either for farming or for charcoal burning.

The origin of the name of Treboeth The name Treboeth comes from the two words Tre meaning settlement and Boeth meaning burnt settlement. The second element of Tre-boeth is a mutated form of the adjective poeth and the name means “burnt home-stead” or translated into “Hot Town”. It may indicate that a particular place was cleared by burning or even destroyed by fire.

Another, less favoured, version
Treboeth is a corruption of Trebwthyn or Tribwthyn, three cottages, the original hamlet which stood 500 years ago besides the dirt track leading from Swansea to Penllergaer. Two of the cottages disappeared long ago but the third, a 15th century cottage, is still there at Llangyfelach Road, its historic past unrecognizable, behind a sparkling white, modern frontage. In it lived two of Treboeth’s most Interesting characters, 90 year old Glyn Robert, and his 83 year old wife Edith, (May 1991). The cottage had only three rooms, there were two rooms down stairs, a parlour and a small back kitchen, upstairs was just one big bedroom. The original beams are still straight and sound in the parlour. The thick walls are made of granite, not stone.
The cottage is named ‘Y Bwthyn Seren Fore’ Morning Star Cottage and takes its name from the later building beside it. It was once the Morning Star public house, a favourite with the miners working in nearby Tirdwncyn pit. The miners used to walk down the railway line that ran behind the houses in Llangyfelach Road.
Fifty years ago Treboeth was still a small village surrounded by green fields of Penlan Farm and Clase.

The Morning Star Cottage - a 15th Century cottage

Llangyfelach Road - The Morning Star 1988

Cambrian newspaper
7th October 1853 Public Houses, Benjamin Davies, The Morning Star, Treboeth fined forty shillings – refusal to admit policeman.
1st September 1854 Public Houses, Llangyfelach Session. Joseph Davies, Morning Star, charged re-open after hours.
13th October 1871 Public houses. Swansea Police: Ann Morgan, Landlady of a Public house in Treboeth, guilty of selling beer on Sunday 17th September

Treboeth 1799. Treboeth consisted mainly of quarries, collieries and farms. 1306 was the first reference of mining in the Swansea area, eventually there was a flourishing export trade. Coal was shipped away as domestic fuel, until the introduction of copper, iron and steel.
In 1680 large reserves of copper ore was discovered in Cornwall and the process of smelting the ore, to remove the impurities, required two tons of coal to smelt each ton of ore, therefore it was more economical to bring the ore to the coalfields.

Map of Treboeth 1799

Map 1875 and Aerial view 2007

Treboeth in 1940 was a village that stretched from the cottage called the Scwt, flanking both sides of Llangyfelach Road, as far as Caersalem Chapel. Below the Scwt cottage was Brynhyfryd, and above Caersalem Chapel was Tirdeunaw.


Treboeth Quarries
Heol Gerrig is still called Stoney Road by some older people. Quarry Road refers to the quarry, but this areas had many such quarries, the stone, excellent for building was called Pennant Stone, St. Alban’s was built from this type of stone, as was Caersalem in 1842 and Moriah in 1872, which cost £200 to build.

Treboeth Collieries
It seems very likely that some sort of mining went on in Treboeth during 14th and 15th century; also small farmsteads were dotted around Treboeth.
When the Industrial Revolution began towards the end of the 18th century, mines and works were established in the Brynhyfryd, Treboeth, Mynyddbach, Llangyfelach and Penlan. There were literally dozens of small pits, for example, in 1768 the Pentre Colliery had 78 tonnes of tramway underground. In 1885 a shaft was opened at the site of St. Peter’s Church, Cwmlevel, which eventually extended via Tirdeunaw to Cefn Cadle Colliery.
Significant pits in the area included Cwm, Pentre and Calland's near Brynhyfryd, Ladysmith at Cwmgelli, Mynydd Newydd at Penlan, and Tirdonkin and Cefngyfelach near Llangyfelach. Many of these pits were first dug in the eighteenth century, and had been worked out by the 1930’s.
Treboeth like Cockett and Fforestfach became colliery villages. There were working coal mines in the area up to the early part of the 19th century.
Cwmgelli Colliery – Lady Smith
The mouth of the level colliery was at the top end of the Cwmgelly Valley and worked the five feet seam.  It was opened by Sir John Morris (1745–1818).  There was a tram road down the valley to the canal at Landore. 
Sir John Morris also opened the Cwm Level colliery, which worked the five feet seam ultimately connecting up to the Treboeth Level colliery under Tirdeunaw. 

The remains of Treboeth Level Colliery - Photographs taken 12th December 1999.

The Cwmgelly Colliery worked an area of coal towards the old workings of the Trewyddfa Pit.  The colliery was connected by a tram road to a coal yard, 200 yards from Cwm Level Square and from there the coal was hauled away in horse drawn carts and wagons to the works at Landore.  The colliery worked regular until 1918.

Cambrian News
6th December 1834 inquest at Treboeth, Llangyfelach John Williams aged 16 killed in roof fall at Treboeth Colliery
4th May 1839 William Morgan injured in a gunpowder explosion at Treboeth
21st April 1848 Disaster and accidents, other accidents. William Matthews killed in accident at the tunnel – inquest in Treboeth.
25th February 1853 - Disaster and accidents, accidents, mining accidents. John Matthews, 49, died after a stone fell on him at Cwmlevel Colliery. Inquest at Treboeth
30th October 1874 Mining accidents. James Rogers, accidental death at coal pit, Ty Canol Colliery, Quarry at Treboeth.
4th June 1904 Mining accidents. Inquest at Brynhyfryd on John Robert John, 19 killed at Cwmgelly Colliery, Treboeth. Mr. Robson mine inspector attended.

Heol Ddu refers to the Black Road which took the miners to either, Mynyddnewydd, Penlan or Tirdwncyn Collieries.

The Co-operative store at Treboeth with some of its staff early 1900

The Co-operative Stores 1920’s

The Inns of the area are very old. The Welcome Inn almost certainly 18th century, the Eagle Inn probably was built around the same period and the King’s Head probably later.

King’s Head Public House 1936 with the stone wall and the lower cottages

Cambrian News
14th August 1846 - Llangyfelach Petty Sessions – Leyshon Matthew Landlord of the Kings Head, Treboeth.

Deaths. 27th January 1908 at Kings Head, Treboeth, Hannah Rees, wife of William Rees, burial at Capel Zion.

The King’s Head – The wall has gone but the cottages remain

Dai Rees landlord of the King’s Head

Eagle Public House 1999

Cambrian News
8th  July 1853 Clase Colliery inquest  at Eagle, Treboeth, witness, John Jones, Tyrdeunaw
17th February 1888 - Crime, punishment and police assault or threatening behaviour. Swansea police court: Mrs. James ‘Eagle Inn’, Treboeth –v- David James (husband) 

15th June 1888 - Crime and punishment and police inquest, inquiries and tribunals. Inquest Eagle Inn, Treboeth, Talfourd Strick. Evidence John Muirfield, Daniel Evans.

22nd June 1888 - Public houses. Swansea police court. License of the Eagle Inn, Treboeth from David to Jane James.

General news from the Cambrian newspaper 1834 to 1916

17th November 1871 - Sale by auction, two fields and a cottage, near Rising Sun, Treboeth, Llangyfelach, occupied by George Crosby.

22nd March 1872 Chapel. Tenders to build a chapel at Treboeth wanted – to obtain specification contact Mr. Humphreys, Morriston.

22nd March 1872 Chapel. To builders, tenders to build a chapel at Treboeth wanted – Apply to Mr. E. Daniel, Morriston

29th March 1872 Chapels. Tenders invited for building a chapel at Treboeth – Plans at Mr. Humphrey’s, details from E. Daniel. Morriston.

6th July 1877 Education, Swansea School Board: Possible to rent schoolroom of Moriah Chapel as temporary accommodation for pupils in Treboeth. 

4th January 1916 Drowning. Inquest on Mr. J. P. Richards, newsagent, Lisbon House, Treboeth, found drowned on the sands.

Tirdeunaw stands for 18 acres, (Tir, meaning land, deunaw meaning 18), being land costing 18p.

Tirdeunaw 1900 facing Caersalem Newydd Chapel  

Tirdeunaw School

Tirdeunaw Post Office

Treboeth Public Hall 1908

The Memorial Clock was installed to honour local service men in the 1939-45 war

The Public Hall accounts book, contains entries which indicated the variety of organisations which used it years ago such as fifteen shillings being paid in 1915 by the Miners Remembrance Fund of Tirdwncyn Colliery, an ambulance class paying approximately fife shillings for the use of a room; a branch of Caersalem Sunday School paying eleven shillings; items mentioning the Ratepayers Meeting, and a Liberal Association meeting.

Arthur Jenkins 5th June 1994
Arthur Jenkins has spent almost all his life in Treboeth, Swansea, with a variety of jobs. He worked for the electricity-board for 37 years before retiring to indulge his pastimes of rugby, writing, reading and photography, but it is the years leading up to the last war that bring back fond memories.
It is like a 6O-year time-warp to me. Nostalgic memories come rushing back when I look down from the top of Castle Graig in Morriston, Swansea, onto the surrounding districts of Brynhyfryd, Landore and Hafod. The area is steeped in literature, chapel choirs, hymn singing and industrial history.
I was lucky to be born and bred in nearby Treboeth, the home of Welsh poet Daniel' James - bardic name Gwyrosydd - who wrote Calon Lan, and writer John Morgan. My education started at Brynhyfryd
Elementary School where, as mischievous young boys, we clambered dangerously on to the back of colliery trucks which shunted - across The Square from Pentre Colliery. They took us up the incline for a free ride to Mynydd Newydd Colliery at Ravenhill during our lunch break and we returned tired, disheveled yet exhilarated, for afternoon Classes.

Sadly the two collieries were closed, flooded when the pumping station ran into financial difficulties. The pits were sealed off and the area landscaped. My first job was, as a boy, delivering groceries in all weathers by horse and cart for Brynhyfryd Co-operative Wholesale Society. It was 1937 and l remembers one storm-drenched weekend when the dirt track lane from Trewyddfa Road to the houses perched high above Castle Graig, became almost impassable. The rain swept under the canvas covering of the cart and all over the groceries, a late order of bacon and cheese. The addresses, written on the packages in puce lead, were illegible and inevitably I delivered them to the wrong houses. To this day I can imagine the look of indignation on people's faces, waking up to the wrong breakfast.

Landore in the 19th century was known as the world's Copperopolis - a huge copper processing area along a four mile strip which now stands between the M4 and the mouth of the River Tawe. Vivian and Sons became a household name. Most of the workers lived in Hafod. My grandfather worked there as a chief engineer - in the fitting shop. I remember him telling me that if there was a breakdown at the works in the middle of the night a messenger' would rush to his home in Gerald Street, Hafod, and throw stones at his bedroom window to summon him back to work.

I got a job with ICI (Metals) at Landore in January, 1939, delivering messages. In winter I would skate along the frozen Swansea Canal to the alkali works, half a mile from the beautiful red-bricked Victorian building which housed the main offices, then another half a mile in the opposite direction to Hafod lead works at Maliphant Sidings.

On long, hot summer evenings I swam at Langland and Caswell Bays on Gower. In our youthful exuberance my friends and I felt everything was so right with the world. Then the Second World War was declared later that year and compulsory call-up became the order of the day. Tragically the Swansea Canal at Landore has been filled in and is now buried by a motorway network. The ICI main offices and works stand in ruins nearby, although certain features have been retained. There is talk of the city council developing it into an industrial heritage park. That would be a fitting memorial to past generations.

Mr. Arthur B. Jenkins of Llangyfelach Road, Treboeth, recalls the time he spent as a youngster in Treboeth. He attended Brynhyfryd Infant School in 1932, when he was seven years old.
It conjures up vivid images of life spent as youngsters in nearby Treboeth, Swansea. On long hot balmy summer evenings, not a motor-car was in sight, only the Treboeth Co-operative horse and cart delivering groceries. We made up our own innocent fun. We played street games of cricket, football, mob, cat and dog, touch, and smooth the white rabbit and many more. We tied black cotton to purses placed strategically on pavements, and observed the look of amazement on people's faces when someone bent down to pick up the purse - we'd give the cotton a tug. We tied cotton to door knockers and pulled them from a distance to disturb irate neighbours. Our holiday enjoyment was flying kites, home made from sycamore trees, brown paper, string and a mixture of flour and water as paste.
Entertainment was simple, a Saturday morning trek, in all weathers to the local flicks - the Landore Bug. Admission was one old penny and the management supplied a free bar of chocolate. We sat two in a seat, hissed, yelled, screeched and cheered the exploits of Tom Mix, Cowboys and Indians and The Lone Ranger. On winter evenings we watched magic lantern slide shows and attended the Band, of Hope concerts held in the local chapel schoolroom.
To quote Dylan Thomas: "If it could only just be like this forever and ever, Amen." 

The photo shows the infants class 1a of Brynhyfryd Elementary School in 1932.
Mr. Arthur Jenkins was aged 7


The area boasts numerous nonconformist chapels, two of which are Mynyddbach and Caersalem.

Mynyddbach Chapel 1910
It is in about 1640 the story begins proper. A group of people met on the Sabbath and on week nights, to read the Scriptures and to hold prayer meetings at Cilfwnwr Farm, one mile from the village of Llangyfelach. Three miles to the north of Swansea up through Treboeth to Llangyfelach and along the old road (A48) to Penllergaer, the scene was a broad sweep of tree-fringed fields and wooded hills but today it is covered by a modern housing estate. From this once peaceful area the roots of Christian Nonconformity was established.  In 1640 Cilfwnwr farm was the home of Mary Thomas a widow.
The next place of assembly was the farmhouse of Tirdwncyn where it was said a Sunday school was carried on long before 1697. They continued as a properly constituted Church until 1762 when the first Independent Chapel was built in Mynyddbach.

Caersalem Newydd
A service to mark the commencement of the building of the new chapel was held as early as 10th November 1839 and its name “Caersalem Newydd” had already been chosen. The building (46 x 40 feet square) was not completed and officially opened until May 1842, but by 20th September1840 it had walls and roof and was already more suitable for the growing congregation than Penlan Fach. On that day, therefore the congregation met to pray in Penlan Fach and then marched behind a specially bound bilingual Bible to hold the first meeting in Caersalem Newydd. It was claimed that the church at that time numbered 269. Isaac Harding Harris was the minister and the new church was desperately trying to obtain recognition as a Congregational church. Within a few months, the church recognized Harris for the rogue he was and he left; however, this did not lead to a reconciliation with the church remaining in Mynyddbach which continued to oppose Caersalem’s application for recognition by the Congregationalists.

Officially opened May 1842

Treboeth RFC 1909-10

Corner shop 1959 – M. Jenkins and Margaret Webster

Corner-shop 1959 – Bert Williams, Helen Jones, Maggie Jenkins and Mrs. Evans

Parc Llewelyn One of Swansea's earliest and most important parks, Parc Llewellyn, originally Cnap Llwyd Farm, was given to Swansea Corporation in 1876 by Sir John Llewellyn to serve as a people's park. Llewellyn had been influenced by the theories of William Thomas of Lan, near Morriston, the great proponent of the open space movement.

Parc Llewelyn 1905 with Cnap Llwyd Farm in the background

Morris Castle
The most impressive monument in the area owes its existence to the growth of industry. Morris Castle on Graig Trewyddfa was erected in the 1760s by the local industrialist, Robert Morris, to house his workers, it housed about 40 families. It was located high on the hill so as to be above the level of the polluted smoke from the copper-works in the Lower Swansea Valley. An inadequate water supply led to its abandonment by the 1830s, after which the top of the hill was disfigured by extensive quarrying. There was also a tailor and cobbler installed in the flats. The flats, the first workers flats in the world, also had a sort of a rubbish collection chute. The main problem was getting the water to the ‘castle’.
Morris Castle High above Brynhyfryd and Landore stands a ruined building known variously as ‘Llewelyn’s Castle’, ‘Castle Graig’ and ‘Morris Castle’. The building was called a castle from a very early date, it was constructed between 1768 and 1774 and it was topped by a fake battlement made of copper slag, the remains of which can still be seen. Morris intended it as a landscape feature, when intact it must have been an imposing building and above the smoke.

A fierce storm on 25th January 1990 destroyed a large section of the ruin.
Described in the South Wales Evening Post – Castle wall falls – One of Swansea’s best known landmark, the twin towered Morris Castle, which overlooks Treboeth, lost its east wall in the hurricane, a gust reduced one of the towers to rubble.