Abercwmboi Timeline

Picture of Bronallt Terrace

1834

During the last winter a poor Labourer, while removing an old wall on Abercwmboi Issa Farm, in the parish of Aberdare, on the property of J. B. Bruce, Esq. found a large quantity of Silver Coins, most of them in good, preservation. and consisting chiefly of shillings, sixpences, groats, and smaller coins of Queen Mary, Elizabeth and James I.

It is conjectured that they were concealed during the wars between the Royal Army and Cromwell by a soldier who was probably killed before he had communicated the place of the deposit. The owner of the soil having relinquished his claim in favour of the man who found them they are now placed in the hands of Mr. Lewis. Parsonage House, Merthyr, who is authorized to dispose of them for the benefit of the poor man’s children. Any application by letter must be post-paid.

Picture of Abercwmboi Issa Farm

Abercwmboi Issa Farm (Where Fernhill Estate is Now)
(Picture Courtesy of R.C.T.B.C.)

1836

Fertility of the lands in the Mountains of Glamorganshire

Of few years ago, a large piece of ground on the side of a bleak mountain, whose unpromising declivity exactly faces the north, was reclaimed and cultivated by J. B. Bruce, Esq., in this parish.

It may be observed that the sun does not shine at all upon it for three months in the year; nevertheless, it produced last year a beautiful crop of wheat, and this year, such an extraordinary quantity of fine oats, that the most experienced among the reapers declared they never saw such abundance before.

It will Scarcely be, credited, but it is no less true, that upon one straw which grew upon it, 280 oat grains were produced! How pleasant it is to observe industrious perseverance so amply rewarded! It may be added, that on this piece of land, a labourer, whilst engaged in removing an old wall, once found about 300 pieces of silver coin, supposed to have been hid in the time of Cromwell’s usurpation, from whence the field has not been unaptly denominated “Maes-yr-Arian,” or the Silver Field.

1837

GAME NOTICE ALL PERSONS: are requested to refrain from SHOOTING, or otherwise TRESPASSING, on the Lands of J. Bruce Pryce, and J. H. Allen, Esqrs in the Parishes of Aberdare and Llanwonno. Also, from the Pantycerdinen, Cwmbach and Craig-Gilfach Farms belonging to the Marquis of Bute: Ffynnon y Gog, the property of the Honourable R.H. Clive; the Farms of Tyrlletty-Jenkin, Abercwmboi, and Abernant-y-gros Issa, in the said Parish of Aberdare, and the Lands belonging to the Miskin Estate, N. V. E. Vaughan, Esq., in the Vale of Cynon, in the said Parish of Llanwonno. All unauthorized Persons found Trespassing, after this Notice. will be punished according to Law. Dyffryn, Aberdare, Sept. 29th, I837.

Violation of Colliery Rules at Abercwmboy 1869

At the Aberdare Police-court, yesterday, before Mr. J. C. Fowler, two firemen, named Edward Jones and David Jones, were charged, the former with violating one of the special rules of the Abercwmboy Colliery, by neglecting to keep the ventilating furnace in proper order by letting the fire go out, and the latter with neglecting to change turns with the first prisoner. In the case of Edward Jones.

Robert Richards, overman, said that Edward Jones was the flueman on the morning of October 3rd, and had to change at five o’clock with David Jones. The underground engineer told him he thought the furnace was out. Went down and found it was so. He never gave orders to either of the firemen to put the fire out. Neither of them, was there when he went down. He went to Edward Jones’s house and asked him how it was he let the furnace out. He said the banksman had told him to do so.

Told him he had broken the rules and would have to suffer for it. The furnace had been out, in his opinion, for two or three hours. The consequence of such neglect would be that the workings would fill with gas, as they were on that morning. This gas had to be cleared out before the furnace could be relighted.

The prisoner, E. Jones, said he had slaved to draw the furnace out by the banksman’s order, and he ought not to be punished for it. Lewis Jones, banksman, said he had told Edward Jones that some of the men were going to the little pit (that is the upcast furnace) on Sunday morning. He did not tell him to let the furnace out.

Mr. Bedlington remarked that the men had made all, these arrangements among themselves without receiving in any orders from the proper officer. The prisoner said he had not worked long in the pit and did not know he was doing wrong in obeying the banksman’s orders to slack the furnace. Mr. Bedlington said they had no business to take orders from the banksman about the furnace.

In the case of David Jones, the prisoner said he did not deny the charge, but he met the first prisoner on going to his work, who told him the furnace was out. He did not think there was any use in going down after that. Robert Richards, overman, said he saw the prisoner at of the furnace on Saturday. Prisoner asked if the furnace was to be put out. If said “No.” He gave no orders for anyone to clean the garlands (a) in the up-cast. The men went to clean it without his orders. He had told them nothing was to be done.

Mr. Fowler did not see that much blame was to be attached to David Jones, for he was told that the furnace was out. He ought, however, to have gone down to the furnace about the matter. Mr. Bedlington said the prisoner ought to have gone to the overman at once. Mr Fowler said he would like to have Mr. Bedlington sworn. Mr. Bedlington said they felt bound to prosecute the prisoners to keep proper discipline in the pit. The furnace being allowed to go out, the heat in the heat in the up-cast decreased.

The ventilation of the pit lo depended wholly upon that furnace being kept up, and it was, extremely dangerous to allow it to go out. The prisoner, David Jones, was to be blamed that he did not go fit at once to the overman and inquire how it was that the fire was out after he had told him it was not to be so put out.

Whenever the furnace was extinguished officers were displaced in the different workings of the pit to see that no accumulation of gas occurred. He would, however, as both the prisoners bore excellent characters. recommend them to mercy, for the neglect seemed to be more the effect of a, general “muddle,” and not of idleness.  Mr. Fowler, in passing sentence, said the prisoners had had a very narrow escape of being sent to prison. If it, had it not been for what Mr. Bedlington said, he would certainly have done so, for he did not think it right to fine men the safety of collier’s underground was concerned. He fined Edward Jones 40s. and costs, and David Jones 20s. and costs.

(a)    Garland meaning: Is a circular girder which supports the shaft, it goes around the circumference of the shaft. These in turn act as water collectors and are joined down the shaft with down pipes. Water goes down the shaft, collected, via the garlands and pipes to pit bottom, to be pumped back to the surface.

School Accommodation 1872

The question of school accommodation in this district has been debated with renewed animation for the last fortnight in consequence of the resolution recently passed by the Llanwynno School Board to erect a school at Mountain Ash to accommodate 800 or 900 children, which number they say represents the exact deficiency in this locality.

The Board having selected a site whereon to build the proposed school, a meeting was convened, and an organisation at once formed, by which the accuracy of the respective reports of the Aberdare and Llanwonno School Boards as to the number of children in the district of the Board of Health could be tested. Accordingly, a census of all the children living in the district, between the age of 3 and 5, and between 5 and 13, was taken at the latter end of the week.

The result of the census shows that the number of children in the Aberdare portion of Mountain Ash is 387 in the Llanwynno portion 1,430 totals, 1,817. The discrepancy between the Aberdare School Board’s report and the census just taken appears to be 105, Llanwynno, 78 totals, 184. The school accommodation in the district appears to be as follows Duffryn schools, 987, Newtown infant school, 189 Miskin infant school, 76 total accommodation in the district, 1,252: deficiency, 565. Allowing 13 percent for sickness and other causes, viz., 234, it will be seen that the real deficiency in the whole district is 331. It appears that the Aberdare School Board put down for Duffryn schools the children of Capcoch, but it has transpired that their byelaws preclude them from going there as the schools are more than a mile from the former place.

1873 Cap Coch Eisteddfod at Abercwmboi

On Monday, an eisteddfod was held at Bethlehem Chapel, and created considerable interest in the locality. The president of the day was the Rev D. Davies, pastor of Bethlehem Chapel; the conductor was Mr T. Howells (Hywel Cynon); the adjudicator for music was Caradog; and for prose and poetry, the Rev Gwrhyd Lewis, Cwmpark. The proceedings were opened by a brief address in Welsh from the chairman upon the benefit of eisteddfodau in bringing out youthful talent, after which the competition for recitation amongst the bards was called upon, but none of the competitors appeared on the day. Addresses were given by the bards Watkin Wyn, &c, the conductor. Mr T. Howells (Hywel Cynon) gave a song, which was exceedingly well received.

The competition for the best rendering of the song “Tra’n rodio’r ddol,” prize 5s, was won by Ap Iorwerth, of Hirwain, there being three competitors. The prize of 10s for the best essay upon the “History of the Independent denomination in Abercwmboi;” only one competitor came forward, viz D R. Thomas of Abercwmboi, to whom it was awarded. The prize of 2s 6d for the best rendering of the recitation “Cyflafan y Gwir,” was secured by D. R. Lewis, out of four competitors. The prize of 10s for the best stanza on the Rev W. Thomas, of Brynmenyn was won by Watkyn Wyn, of Carmarthen College. For the prize of 4s for the best performance of the Psalm tune “Dettingen” upon the harmonium, there were five competitors, the prize being awarded to James James, of Cap Coch. The next competition was for a prize of 7s 6d for the best epitaph to the late Mr E. Williams; of Cap Coch, which was divided between Evan Rees (Islyn), Cwmbach, and Llwyngwril. For the best singing of an air from the “Messiah,” He was despised,” prize 5s, there were two competitors, the prize being awarded to Evan Lewis, Cap Coch. Thomas Davies, of Cwmbach, carried off the prize of 3s for the recitation, “Dinystr y Demi;” there were nine competitors. In the competition for the best rendering of the air, “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” prize 5s, two young ladies competed, the prize being secured by Miss Ellis (Eos Elyd,) Mountain Ash. The prize of £2 10s, for the belt singing of the hymn tune “Gobaith,” with a book of the value of 5s for the conductor; was carried off by the choir from Ebenezer, Abercwmboi conductor, Mr. T. Samuel. The other choirs which competed were Bryn, Cwmbach and Ebenezer, Mountain Ash.

To the Rev D. Brythonfryn Griffiths, of Aberdare, was awarded the prize of £1 1s, for the best elegy upon the late Mr. E. Williams, Capcoch, out of nine competitors. For the best solo upon the fife, “Ar hyd y nos,” (Poor Mary Ann) with variations, 5s three competed, the successful competitor being William Jones, Mountain Ash.

For the best singing of the air “Honour and Arms” prize 5s, was won by D. R Evans, Cwmbach. The prize of £1 for the best rendering, of” The Thames I boat song,” was taken by the Aberaman minstrels. There were three competitors.

For the best impromptu speech on a subject given at the time. The prize of 2s was awarded to William Thomas, Capcoch, there being six other competitors.

The final competition was for the best rendering of the anthem; “Hear my prayer, O Lord,” for a prize of £7, and a baton for the conductor. The following choirs competed: — Bethlehem, Mountain Ash, conductor, Mr. Jones, to whom the prize was awarded; Bethlehem, Abercwmboi Brynsion, Cwmbach; Moriah, Cwmbach, and’ Bethesda, Abercwmboi. In the evening, a concert took place, in which Caradog, the Aberaman Glee Society, there were many local performers took part.

A New Speculation 1873

A company is now in course of formation for the purpose of purchasing and running omnibuses from Aberdare to Aberaman, Cwmaman and Capcoch. It is called the “Aberdare and Aberaman Omnibus Company (Limited),” and already a large number, of the shares have been taken up.

A New Undertaking 1873

The Aberdare and Aberaman Omnibus Company, Limited, which has been but recently formed for the purpose of establishing a line of omnibuses to run between Aberdare, Aberaman, and Capcoch, started their first bus on Monday, and drove along the line of route with a brass band on the outside, much to the admiration of the inhabitants. The establishment of this line of communication between Aberdare and the outlying villages will supply a want which has been long felt, and it will doubtless be well patronised so long as wages continue good. The fares have been placed low, but with plenty of traffic doubtless a sufficient margin has been left for a reasonable profit.

How Colliery Explosions are Caused 1877

William Morgan, collier, Capcoch, was summoned to appear at the Aberdare police-court yesterday, the Stipendiary, Mr R. H. Rhys, and Mr D. E. Williams on the bench on a charge of having contravened the Mines Regulation Act by opening his safety lamp in the Letty Shenkin pit, on the 23rd of May last.

Mr Rosser prosecuted on behalf of Mr Llewellyn Llewellyn, the manager of the colliery. The defendant did not appear, and it was agreed that, considering the serious character of the offence, it would not be right to hear the evidence in his absence.

John Williams, a collier also employed in the Letty Shenkin pit, said he worked with the defendant, William Morgan, on the day in question. They walked together to their stall from the lamp station. Their stall was about a quarter of a mile away from the station. Whilst working Morgan knocked his lamp with a mandril, and the light was extinguished. Morgan then called him, and he walked back some 10 or 15 yards. He then saw Morgan strike a match on his pipe and light the lamp. He opened his lamp with a pair of pliers. After lighting his lamp Morgan resumed his work. Witness thought that when Morgan called him, he wanted him to accompany him to the lamp station.

The Bench What did you say to Morgan?
Witness I told him not to light the match.
The Bench Supposing your lamp had gone out, what would you have done?
Witness: Gone back to the lamp station.

In reply to Mr Rhys, the manager, Mr Llewellyn, said there were about 200 men employed in the pit at the time, and their lives were placed in jeopardy by the defendant’s act.

The Bench thought that sufficient evidence had been given and ordered a warrant to be issued for the defendant’s apprehension.

1879

On Monday evening there was an interesting meeting at the Capcoch, the numerous friends of Mr Llewellyn Llewellyn, the respected manager until recently of the Powell Duffryn Co.’s Collieries in the district, having met for the purpose of giving him a substantial proof, of their goodwill towards him. Mr J. Snape presided, and after some eulogistic addresses, Mr J. Havard, Cefnpennar Colliery, presented Mr Llewelyn with a splendid gold watch and massive Albert chain, a drawing room clock, and a pair of candelabra, aa well aa a beautifully illuminated addresses, the whole being worth £00. Mr Llewelyn suitably acknowledged the present made him. Mr Llewelyn, it should be added, is leaving to take the management of the Risca Collieries.

1884 Cap Coch Obituary

The funeral of Mr Thomas Thomas, well known in the Aberdare Valley by the name “Gwron Dar,” took place on Monday. He died at his residence at Capcoch, and his mortal remains were conveyed to Aberdare for interment. The deceased had figured prominently as a leader among the colliers and had taken a continually active part in social and political matters when in the flush and vigour of life.

1887 The Free Libraries Act at Aberdare

Mr David Davies (high constable) presided over a public meeting held in the Temperance-hall, Aberdare, on Tuesday night, which had been convened for the purpose of obtaining the opinion of the inhabitants as to the desirability of proceeding with the free library movement.

There was a good attendance, including many ministers of the gospels and letters of apology were read from the vicar (Rev. R. B. Jenkins) and Mr D. E. Williams, J.P.

The Chairman having given a resume of former attempts to establish a free library in the town, addresses in support of the movement were given by the Revs R. E. Williams, J. Foulkes, and B. Evans; Messrs. Charles Kenshole, D. P. Davies, J.P., and D. W. Thomas, J.P. The last-mentioned gentleman advocated the adoption of some scheme whereby the claims of the people living in the outlying districts could be fairly met, as, if that were done, he believed all their opponents could be won over.

Picture of Cap Coch Inn

Cap Coch Inn, Abercwmboi
(Picture Courtesy of R.C.T.C.B.C.)

He was quite ready to renew the promised subscription be offered early in the present year and felt convinced that other gentlemen would do the same when asked. Mr John Jones (Cwmaman) remarked that at a meeting held in Cwmaman on Monday evening, it had been decided to oppose the adoption of the Free Libraries Act. Mr G. George, draper, proposed the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr J. L. Thomas, colliery manager, and carried with acclamation:

That a committee, consisting of representatives from Hirwain, Trecynon, Cwmdare, Llwydcoed, Aberdare, Aberaman, Cwmbach, Cwmaman, and Capcoch, be appointed for the purpose of drafting a scheme to form the basis upon which the Free Libraries Act might be adopted in Aberdare, and that the report to be so prepared shall bo submitted for consideration at a further public meeting to be hereafter convened by the high constable.” Also, a few gentlemen from the districts specified were appointed to act on the committee, and the proceedings then terminated.

1891 Ordination Services

Special services were held at Bethesda, Capcoch, on Sunday and Monday last, in connection with the ordination of the Rev. T. J. Roberts, of the University College, Aberystwyth, as pastor of the church. The preachers were the Revs. J. A. Morris, Aberystwyth, and W. Jones, Treharris. The Revs. T. Humphreys, Cwmaman; J. Griffiths, Aberdare; and W. Harris, Trecynon, also took put in the ordination service on Monday after-noon. A considerable number of other ministers were present.

1893 Aberdare Burial Board

At the monthly meeting at the Aberdare Burial Board held on Thursday. Mr D. P. Davies, J.P., in the chair, a deputation, consisting of Mr W. J. Heppell, agent of the Cwmaman Coal Company. Dr. D. Davies-Jones, Rev. H. A. Davies, Rev. W. D. Morris, and Mr J. Jones, waited on the board praying them to open a new cemetery near Cwmaman, which could be used by the inhabitants of Cwmaman, Capcoch, and the lower portion of Aberaman.

The Chairman pointed out the difficulties which existed, and the deputation, after promising to take a census of the district with the view of ascertaining the probable number of burials in the proposed cemetery, thanked the hoard for the patient hearing accorded them and withdrew.

1893, Narrow Escape of Lord Aberdare

Whilst the Taff Vale Railway passenger train due in Aberdare at 11.45 a.m. on Tuesday was approaching the railway crossing between Capcoch and Duffryn House the driver observed Lord Aberdare leisurely sauntering towards the rails. The driver, William West, one of the oldest servants of the company’s employ, at once applied the brake, with the result that the engine and carriages were brought to a standstill just before reaching the crossing towards which Lord Aberdare was making. His lordship was evidently unaware of the serious position in which he had been placed and walked some distance across the fields towards his house before being made aware of the serious nature of the risk he had run. Only a couple of years ago Lord Aberdare narrowly escaped being ran over at the same spot.

1895

The Hon. Miss Pamela Bruce, the Duffryn, proposes to start a class in “Home Nursing,” in connection with the Young Girls’ Friendly Society, at Capcoch shortly.

1896

The children of Capcoch have subscribed for a handsome marble clock, to be presented to the Hon. Miss Lily Bruce, sister of the Right Hon. Lord Aberdare, on her wedding on Thursday next. The money was collected by Miss Lizzie Hopkins. During the residence of the family at the Duffryn, Miss Bruce had taken great interest in the branch of the Girls’ Friendly Society, held at Capcoch.

Opening of a Mission Room 1896

On Friday morning the above mission room was opened for public service by the Lord Bishop of Llandaff. There were present: Revs. Morgan Powell (vicar of the parish), G. Heaton, J. Langdon, Alfred Austin, W. Rhyddarch (Hirwain), H. R. Roberts and Evan Davies (St. Fagan’s), B. Clayton, T. Moore (Mountain Ash), and others.

Shocking Case at Abercwmboi 1896

The sentence passed on four men (one of whom was a married man with a wife and five children), Richard Richards, William Richards, Edmund Davies and Richard Morgan, who were at the last Assizes sent for five years’ penal servitude for a rape on Mrs Sarah Ann Crisp, has created intense excitement in the neighbourhood of Capcoch, Mountain Ash, Aberaman, Cwmaman, and Cwmbach, as well as the whole of the Aberdare Valley, and several private meetings have been held during the latter part of last week to protest against the injustice of the sentence.

At one of these meetings a deputation was appointed to see Mr Kenshole, the solicitor for the defence, but they were. unable to see him. The deputation then acting upon the instructions received saw Col. Thomas Phillips, and as the result of their interview with him a mass meeting of the inhabitants of Capcoch and district was held all the Baptist Chapel, Abercwmboy, which was crowded by an intensely excited audience, over which Councillor Thomas Davies, Abercwmboy House, presided. Several speeches were delivered, in which the subject was very fully discussed. Some of the speeches were of the most indignant character as to the sentence passed. It was decided unanimously to prepare a petition to the Home Secretary praying him to reduce the sentence passed on the young men, and it was resolved to ask Mr T. Phillips, solicitor, Aberdare, to draw out a petition to that effect.

The Aberdare Martyrs 1898

The arrangements for the presentation of the addresses to Alderman David Morgan and his co- defendants on Thursday NEXT are now practically complete.

The procession will start from Llwydcoed Station at 3.15 p.m., and will proceed to the upper park gates, where it will be met by the contingents from Cwmdare and Penywain. It will then pass through the public park, and if the weather is fine the actual handing over of the addresses, which are beautifully illuminated, will take place in the park, by permission of the District Council.

On leaving the park the contingent from the town, Cwmbach, and Abernant will fall in, and the procession will pass through High Street and Wind Street to the Full Moon, where the processions from Aberaman, Cwmaman, Capcoch, and Mountain Ash will join and proceed through the town to the marketplace, where a public meeting will be held at 4 o’clock. It has been resolved that no brakes should form part of the procession, the only vehicle being the open landau in which Alderman D. Morgan and his three co-defendants will ride to and from the procession.

1902 Capcoch Lecture

The Rev. D. Rees, Pentre, addressed a meeting in the open air at Capcoch on Monday evening last, when Mr. J. Davies presided, under the auspices of the Aberaman Socialist Society. The speaker was very fluent in Welsh and English, and used the two languages to advantage, gaining the applause of the crowd as he proceeded with his lecture. He pointed out that Christ distinctly says not to make an oath, and yet every Tuesday at Aberdare we have Christians making oaths by kissing the book which tells them not to make oaths, and the churches allow it. In the same way the speaker said the Bible contained passages condemning landlordism, and yet the churches never protest. At the present time, interest is expected upon all money invested, yet the Bible tells us not to expect anything in return. The Bible condemns usury, yet the churches never raise their voices against the system. The speaker went on to show the identity of the ethical teaching of Christianity and Socialism. He, spoke of the need of erecting decent- homes and brighter surroundings for the people, and to work for better mansions on earth, as well as to sink about mansions in the sky. The speaker also dwelt upon the inequality in the distribution of the land.

1902 Grand Concert

Under the auspices of the Abercwmboi Male Voice Party, a splendid concert was given at Bethlehem Hall on Monday evening. It was held for the purpose of obtaining funds wherewith to pay for the loan of the room in which the party meets for practices. The Rev. M. Jenkins, Bethesda, occupied the chair. The chief contributors to the programme were members of the party and the party itself. The party under the capable leadership of Mr. Phillip Rees, A.C., rendered The Storm,” Martyrs of the Arena,” and “The Monk’s War Song,” in exquisite style, and with marvellous power of description. Miss Annie Hopkins gave some fine renderings of “Hen Gadair Freichiau Mam,” and “The Toilers.” Mr. R. Rhydderch’s rendering of “Bedd y dyn Tylawd,” also deserves special mention. The composer of this beautiful solo is the conductor of the party Mr. Phillip Rees. The rest of the programme was as follows: “0 na Byddai’n haf o hyd,” Mr. A. T. Morris; “Holy City,” Mr. H. Rhydderch; “Bugail, Hafod y Cwm,” Mr. Henry Evans Queen of the Earth,” Mr. A. T. Morris; overture, Mr. J. W. Evans; duet Albion on the Fertile Plain,” Messrs. D. J. Evans and R. Rhydderch solo by Mr. Edwin Webber; Cymro Dewi,” Mr. D. J. Evans. Second part: Overture by Master Jonah Rees; “The Wolf,” Mr. Daniel A. Davies; “Flow gently Deva,” Messrs Henry Evans and A. T. Morris; Penillion by Mr. E. Pugh; Pregeth Gymraeg,” Mr. D. J. Evans; “Village Blacksmith,” Mr. H. Evans. Mr. Gomer Davies and Master Jonah Rees ably accompanied.

Penny Readings

On Tuesday week, there was a crowded audience in Bethesda Vestry, when the fortnightly penny reading was held. Mr. David Lewis was chairman and adjudicator of the recitation competition. The musical adjudicator was Mr. William Evans. The opening song was given by Mr A. J. Morris. Recitations followed by Elizabeth A. Paul and Owen Morton. Miss Bella Wills gave a solo, and some stanzas on “Ymson y Carwr Siomedig” were read by Mr. W. C. Edmunds. An item that created much amusement was the dialogue by Mr. W. James Thomas and friends. Miss Lizzie M, Evans followed with a song. In the various competitions the adjudicators stated that no effort had been made by the competitors and so the prizes would be withheld in each case. The singing of “Hen wlad fy Nhadau,” terminated the meeting. Mr. W. C. Edmunds performed the secretarial work.

Bethlehem Hall

The penny reading in connection with this place took place on Monday evening last. Mr. R. Rhydderch filled the dual capacity of chairman and literary adjudicator, while Mr. Phillip Rees, A.C., adjudicated the music competition, Mr. Jonathan Pugh opened the meeting by a splendid song. Recitations followed by Rebecca Davies and Horace V. Richards. In the children’s singing competition, the first prize was given to Amy Davies and the second to Maggie Isaac. For the best impromptu speech, Mr Dd. T. Davies. Songs were rendered by Lizzie Mary Davies and John H. Williams dialogue by Isaac and friends. Best love letter, Willie Rhydderch. Best rendering of Salome,” seven competitors, prize divided between Miss Sarah Rhydderch and Mr. Ab. T. Morris. The secretary was Mr. David J. Davies. Master Jonah Rees ably accompanied.

1904 Abercwmboi Estate

Abercwmboy Estate bought by Sir W. T. Lewis. On Saturday, at their shop, High Street, Cardiff, Messrs Stephenson and Alexander offered for sale by auction the valuable and compact freehold estate situated in the Aberdare Valley, and known as the Abercwmboy estate. It lies in the centre of a large mining and colliery district, the surface presenting several valuable sites suitable for building developments: and on account of its accessibility to the towns of Mountain Ash and Aberdare the undeveloped portions were readily lettable for accommodation purposes. Abercwmboi Farm contained upwards of 208 acres. The estate, which was offered in one lot also comprised freehold ground rents amounting to £241 6s 2d per year, the public house called the Capcoch Inn, 14 freehold dwelling houses, and several closes of freehold land and houses at Aberdare and Hirwain, the whole producing an annual income of £665 odd and an additional estimated annual rental in respect of properties unlet of £55. The bidding began at £10,000, and rapidly rose to £16,000, increasing to £17,400 at which price it was knocked down to Sir W. T. Lewis. Messrs Linton and Son, Cardiff, were the solicitors for the vendors.

Capcoch’s New Name. 1905 Proposed Free Library

On Wednesday evening a well-attended meeting of the residents of Capcoch was I held at Bethlehem schoolroom to consider a proposal to alter the name of the village from Capcoch to Abercwmboi. The chair was occupied by Mr Augustus Davies. On the motion of the Rev J. B. Davies, it was unanimously resolved to petition the Post-master General, the District Council, and other authorities to alter the name.

It was stated that the name Capcoch came from an old man who always wore a red cap. (Laughter). Councillors W. Rees and John Davies promised to support the movement at the next meeting of the District Council. Rev J. B. Davies, Bethlehem, read a letter from Mr A. P. Jones, agent to Sir W. T. Lewis, Bart., stating that Sir William was prepared to grant a free site for free library buildings, provided the plans met with his approval. It was resolved to ask the District Council to open a branch library in the village. It was stated that many of the houses in the upper streets were without water for many days during the summer. Besides, the water was full of impurities, and frequently was turned off without notice.

Picture of Bethlehem Chapel

Bethlehem Chapel, Abercwmboi
(Picture Courtesy of R.C.T.C.B.C.)

1905 Rev Peter Price at Capcoch

The eagerly anticipated visit of the Rev. Peter Price, B.A., to Capcoch, took place last Monday week. The seating capacity of the chapel was taxed to its utmost all day. The afternoon service was commenced by the venerable Rev. Garibaldi Thomas. The service soon rose to a high spiritual pitch. The soul-stirring hymn, “Manifest Thyself in our midst,” was sung with thrilling effect. The Rev Peter Price preached from Isaiah vi. 1-8. He commenced in an exceptionally low tone, which gradually became louder and fierier. Referring to visions and God’s revelations to man, he remarked that some people professed to see visions but in, reality they were just dreams. Here in the text was one of God’s saintliest characters, in fear and trembling because he felt himself unworthy to witness such a spectacle. The Almighty only revealed himself in certain places, and to certain men. Religion was a matter of quality and not quantity. A large section of the people was, discouraged by the mysterious dispensations of God’s works, and such books as “The Riddle of the Universe” would only make them worse. This world and life were a huge puzzle, but the reason the Almighty was not clearly seen by all was because people did not take the right perspective. He was firmly of the opinion that creation existed in person before it did in space. An acquaintance once told him that there was too much blood in his dis- courses, but he thanked God that the blood of Jesus had washed his sins away. The congregation at this juncture could not restrain themselves, and they burst forth into songs of praises, which were continued for some time. The preacher, it the termination of the singing, was going to conclude his sermon, as he had been over 60 minutes, but the congregation shouted Go on.” He spoke for another 20 minutes, closing his sermon with the remark, despise no one who attempts to tell you the truth.” The evening meeting had been convened for 6,30, but the building was literally packed at 6. The service proceeded until 7 o’clock on revivalistic lines. Mr Pride’s text was Revelations v. 6. He remarked that man’s work was to look, and God to provide. Whilst the preacher was relating an incident in connection with his mission work in Liverpool, he became overpowered with emotion, and completely broke down, the congregation bursting into song and prayer. The brethren are thankful to God for such manifestations of His presence.

1907 Cap Coch, Bethlehem

Two grand competitive concerts were held at Bethlehem and Bethesda Halls respectively, on Monday and Tuesday last. The chairman on Monday evening was Mr. Evan Jones, builder, Abercwmboi. The adjudicators were: Music, Messrs. P. Rees, A.C., and J. Wigley. Recitations, Mr. John Rowlands. Accompanist, Mr. Jonah Rees, Adv. R.A.M., L.C.M. An overture by Mr. Jonah Rees gave a grand opening to the concert on Monday night. A grand rendering of “Dewrion Sparta” by the Abercwmboi Male Voice Party, conducted by Mr. P. Rees, followed. A song was given by Miss Alice Morton, Abercwmboi, “Y Gardotes Fach,” who sang well as usual.

The solo, “Cymru,” was given by Miss Z. Rees, who gave, a very, good rendering. Reciting competition for boys under 16, four competed, and the prize was awarded to Master David Harris. A consolation prize was also given by the chairman to Master Ernest Davies. Song by Mr. Gwilym Evans, Aberaman, “Cymro Dewr.” Song by Mr. David Davies, Mountain Ash, “Only once More.”

Competition for bass or tenor (open solo), 4 competed, and the prize was divided between Messrs. Gwilym Evans, Aberaman, and Anthony Jones, Mountain Ash. Trio by Mr. Gwilym Evans, Mrs. Lizzie Lewis, and Miss Rees. Song by Mr. Thos. Wil Recitation by Master Ernest Davie. Song by Mrs. L. Lewis, Aberaman, “Darlun fy mam,” which was very effectively rendered. Mrs. Lewis also responded to an encore.

A hearty vote of thanks to the chairman and all who assisted at the concert, was proposed by Mr Pugh, Prince of Wales, and seconded by Mr H. Jones, and supported by Messrs. M. Griffiths and J. Rees. “The land of my fathers” was sung by Mr. John Ward.

On Tuesday evening, at Bethesda Hall, the Rev. M. Jenkins, Abercwmboi, presided, and the same persons adjudicated as on the previous evening. Messrs. J. W. Evans and David T. Evans rendered a duet upon the violin and piano respectively, and Miss Jones, Brynmawr, followed with a solo.

The Abercwmboi Male Voice Party, under the conductorship of Mr P. Rees, A.C., then gave another splendid rendering of “Dewrion Sparta,” the tenor solo being taken by Mr. Edwin Webber. Miss Lizzie Edmunds sang “Deio Bach,” and the reciting competition for children under 16 then took place. The subject was, “O Blentyn y Nefoedd.” Out of three competitors, Miss Gwladys Jones, Aberaman, was declared successful.

The quartette, “Ti Wyddost Beth Ddywed fy nghalon,” was sweetly rendered by Mr John Griffiths, Mr Joseph Wigley, Mrs Lizzie Lewis, and Mrs Maggie Griffiths. Contralto solo, “Geneth y meddwyn,” Mrs Maggie Pughe Griffith. Tenor solo, “Merch y Cadben,” Mr Thomas Williams, who was loudly cheered by the audience. Soprano solo competition, “Angels ever bright and fair,” out of four competitors the prize was divided between Miss Alice Morton and Mrs Lizzie Lewis. Solo, “Goodbye, Robin,” by Miss Jones, Brynmawr. Competition for male voices, any solo, four competed.

The prize was divided between Messrs. Gwilym Evans, Aberaman, and Anthony Jones, Mountain Ash, Solo, “Boed ysbryd ein cyndeidiau,” Mr. Thomas Wills. Trio, Mr J. Wigley, Mrs Lizzie Lewis and Miss Rees. Song by Mrs Lewis, Aberaman, “Darlun fy mam,” “Hen wlad fy Nhadau” was sung, the solo being taken by Miss Alice Morton.

The halls were crowded both evenings, and Mr. Joseph Wigley most satisfactorily performed the duties of secretary. The proceeds are to be devoted to the funds of the “Tywysog Wayne Morgan” Lodge of Ancient Britons.

Picture of Joseph Wigley

Joseph Wigley

1907 Cap Coch Library

A grand competitive concert was held in connection with the above institution on Monday evening last at Bethlehem Hall. 95 entries had been received in the different events, and the preliminary tests were conducted at Bethesda and Bethlehem vestries. The adjudicators were: Music, Mr T. Glyndwr Richards, Mountain Ash; recitations, Rev. D. Jeremy Jones. Mountain Ash. The chairman was the Rev. J. B. Davies, and the accompanist was Master Jonah Rees, Adv. R.A.M. and R.C.M. The secretary was Mr. Philip Rees, Bronallt-terrace, whilst Messrs. J. H. Davies and Daniel J. Evans acted as assistant secretaries, and Mr. H. Evans, fulfilled the duties of treasurer. In the open champion solo six appeared on the stage, viz., Ap loan Dar. Llinos Llwchwr, “Maggie,” Tonyrefail; Mr. Tom Bonnell, Mrs. Bronwen Jones Williams, Maesteg, and Mrs. Mills-Reynolds, Pontypridd. The two latter won, and they were invested by Mr. John Davies, Gwinau Emlyn, and Master Jonah Rees.

In the open female solo three were selected for the final. The prize was awarded to “Maggie,” Tonyrefail, who obtained 49 marks out of a possible 50. Male solo competition (open), prize divided between Ap loan Dar and Dewi Pennar. They were invested by Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. H. Jones. Open recitation, 3 competitors came to the stage in the final, and Mr. John Walters, Abernant, was adjudged the best, and he was invested by Miss E. Rees. Recitation, confined to residents of Abercwmboi, best Miss Elizabeth Ann Lewis. Solo, confined to residents of Abercwmboi, 3 were selected for the final, viz., Mr. T. Wills and Master John H. Williams; best, Master J. H. Williams.

A great deal of enthusiasm was displayed concerning the local competitions, several having given a good account of themselves upon their first appearance on the stage. Both adjudicators remarked that they had never heard better singing and recitations in any competitions. Mr. T. Glyndwr Richards made some highly complementary references to Master Jonah Rees, the accompanist. and said that Abercwmboi people ought to feel proud of him. To the manner, in which he played the champion solos at first sight was highly creditable to him and did full justice to the singers.

Cwmbach Co-operative 1908

The result of the Election for Directorship is as follows: Aberaman, Fred Bridges, 180; John Dumayne, 82; Abraham Jones, 91; Daniel Jones. 66; Wm. Henry Powell. 03: Jonah Rees, 119; Jas. Venables, 53. Fred Bridges and Jonah Lees were therefore elected.

At the Cap-coch branch there were two candidates, via., Joseph Wigley and Augustus Davies. The votes were as follows: Wigley, 58; Davies, 24. Wigley was therefore elected.

1908 The New Theology

Rupture at the Welsh Congregational Church. The new theological movement has caused great deal of excitement in the village of Abercwmboi and has led to definite action on the part of the Welsh Congregational Church at that place. It appears that for some time there has been a band of men at that Church who believe in the New Theology, and the old and the new theologians worked together most harmoniously.

Matters, however, came to a head when the New Theologians desired that an eminent Unitarian minister should be invited to attend some special meetings. This was the last straw, as far as the Old Theologians were concerned. A Church meeting was held, and a resolution passed that, inasmuch as the New Theologians did not accept the Godhead of Jesus Christ, they excluded themselves from the membership of the Church.

The view of the Old Theologians is that, as the New Theologians do not accept what they consider the fundamental doctrines of the Congregational Church, they have no right to consider themselves as members any longer. The excluded persons number about thirteen and include one deacon.

The New Theologians look upon the action of the Church as an instance, of bigotry and intolerance. The pastor of the Church is the Rev J. B. Davies, and he has been ministering during the last eleven years. His sympathies are with the Old Theology. Mr. Davies’s ministerial career has been most successful, for during the eleven years the membership of the Church has increased from 116 to something like 350. Mr. Davies has, altogether. received into Church, membership something like 200 members.

The rupture between the two sections has caused the greatest pain, and prominent Nonconformists, as well as prominent New Theologians, have expressed the hope that, as far as possible, peace and harmony may continue to exist between those who believe in the old, and those who believe in the new theological position.

Churches Need Purifying. Sir startling news has reached us from Abercwmboi. They are making history down there just now on the cheap. “Thirteen (unlucky number)” members of the Congregational Church were excommunicated for being New Theology men. Thirteen put out of the Synagogue. Now, now they firmly, believe the churches need purifying. But may I suggest that a church member tan be guilty of worse things than the sin (?) of being a New Theologian.
Yours truly. W. J. Rowland, Congregational Church, Hirwain, Redriffe.

Children’s Charter 1909

Sir T. Marchant Williams at Aberdare today fined Mary Toogood, Cwmaman, and Mary Ellen Jones, Capcoch, 20s. and costs each under the Children’s Charter Act for not providing fire guards in their houses. The evidence showed that two children had lost their lives through burns. A similar charge was preferred against Charles Addiscatt, Cwmaman, but he was dismissed, the Stipendiary remarking that he would have to impose the full penalty of £10 and costs upon future offenders.

R.A.O.B. 1909

The first lodge meeting of the newly consecrated Bruce Lodge was held last Friday evening at the Capcoch Inn. Primo M. Davies (Sirdar, Bruce Arms Hotel. Mountain Ash) was in the presidential chair.

The function opened with a link of 35. which was considerably augmented during the evening by the attendance of many affiliated brethren. The S.P. initiated Dr. Tobin into the mysteries of the Order, and there was a distribution of 17 emblems. Host Bro. Bowen announced that he would present a Kangaroo jewel to the brother who would be most successful in adding to the strength of the roll. Interspersed with the business items were some capital songs. Bro. Powell was at the piano, and Bros. F. Mogg, John Ward, Morris. Evan J. Davies, and W. Williams added to the harmony. The first lodge was voted a huge success and was closed in the usual Buff manner with a link of 31 brethren.

A “Smart” Contractor 1910

A delegate said that non-unionists were employed on the new Cottage Homes which are being erected at Hirwain and Capcoch, notwithstanding the Trade Union Clause in the respective agreements. Whose business was it to see that this rule be adhered to?

The Secretary: The Trades Unionists who are on the job. Every one of them should be a picket. The same delegate said that one of the contractors under the Aberdare Council employed non-unionists. He was in the habit of conveniently placing the men on another job just after the organiser would visit the men and replace them afterwards. Secretary: That is very smart. I think I know who that man is. It was agreed that the Secretary should investigate the matter.

1913

Capcoch had its name from a man who kept a public house at the foot of Abercwm-y-bwcci hill about 300 years ago. This personage delighted in organising cockfights, and when the contests were in progress, he always wore a red cap (cap coch), and by that name the place has been known ever since. About 7 or 8 years ago, however, the Rev. J. B. Davies and some of the residents applied to the Council to have that “vulgar” name changed, and the Council agreed to substitute Abercwmboi. The Schools, notwithstanding, are still called “Capcoch Schools.”

M.I.S. 1914

On Tuesday night at Bethlehem a strong committee was formed to work up a programme of competitive meetings. The Rev. J. B. Davies, pastor, was elected president, and Mr. Dan T. Jones, secretary. The committee are: Messrs. David Lewis Evans, Levi Davies, Henry James Williams. D. I. Williams, lago Isaac, J. H. Davies, Phillip Rees, John Evans, Henry Williams. Joseph Wigley, John Lewis, and John D. Davies, Misses M. James. S. D. Davies, and Amy Davies.

Abercwmboi D.C.M. Presentation to Sgt. R. A. Scott 1915

Sgt. R. A. Scott, attached to the R.G.A. with the Expeditionary Force France, returned home on Friday. The streets had been suitably decorated for the occasion, and the villagers turned out en masse to meet him. Shortly after 3.30 p.m. the hero wending his way through John Street, and a procession of school children, carrying a large Union Jack in front, sang the National Anthems of the Allies. He was given a most heartily welcome home.

On Monday last a meeting and presentation took place at the Capcoch Inn, and Dr. J. J. Horgan presided over a crowded audience. The chairman in his opening remarks, said they were to honour a hero – Sergeant Scott had honoured Abercwmboi by bringing back with him the D.C.M. Sergeant Scott was the first in the Aberdare Valley to bring the D.C.M. home. They were pleased to note that they had had a substantial money from the inhabitants of Abercwmboi to present him with handsome presents. He wished the hero further success. The following gave songs: Messrs. W. George, W. Davies (Garden City), Arthur Hench, W. Williams, D. Davies, William Parry and M. Morris.

Picture of a Distinguished Comrade Medal

Distinguished Comrade Medal

The presentation of a handsome wristwatch, and gold signet ring, was made hero by an old campaigner in the person of Mr W. J. Lewis, 108 John Street, who in a very appropriate speech said he was glad of the honour conferred upon him to present Sergeant Scott with the presents on behalf of Abercwmboi people.

Millie Bowen, Capcoch Inn, then presented him with a purse of gold on behalf of Abercwmboi and wished him further laurels. Sergeant Scott, who, on addressing the audience, was given a rousing reception, said he had only done his duty, and had not expected the presents. When he would return to battery, he would always think of Abercwmboi. He thanked them all for what they had done.  Ap Morris sang “Baner Ein Gwlad,” in magnificent style, Mr W. D. Williams, gave an address. Votes of thanks to the chairman, host and hostess, and organisers, were proposed and seconded by Messrs. Joe Jenkins and D. Davies, respectively.

1916

On Saturday last a quiet but pretty wedding was solemnised at the Merthyr Register Office. The contracting parties were Miss R. James, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin James, 63 Fforchaman Road, Cwmaman, and Mr. Richard Wigley, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wigley, Jenkin Street, Abercwmboi. Mr. Philip Gardener, brother-in-law of the bridegroom, was the best man, while Mrs. Gardener acted as brides- maid. Miss Sarah Wigley was also present.

1916

A wedding was solemnised on Monday at the Merthyr Register Office, the contracting parties being Miss Harriet Wigley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wigley, Jenkin Street, and Mr. Arthur Ernest Smith, son of Mrs. Smith, 113 Park View Terrace. There were present at the ceremony: Mrs. Feakes, sister of bridegroom; Mr. and Mrs. J. Henry Wigley, Treharris, and Miss Wigley, brother and sister of bride.

1930 Abercwmboi Proud of Benny

A public meeting was held on Monday night, in honour of the Abercwmboi hero, Benny Morris, the young colliery worker who saved two lads from drowning in the Powell Duffryn washery pond last June. In the absence of Alderman Rose Davies, J.P., Mr. J. L. Rowlands, president of the Aberdare Chamber of Trade, presented to Morris the parchment awarded to him by the Royal Humane Society. Mr. Rowlands congratulated the community upon recognising such gallantry.

Gold Watch and Wallet

A gold watch, chain, and medal, subscribed for by Abercwmboi residents, were handed to the hero by the Rev. Morgan Price, who, speaking in Welsh, said the residents of the district were proud of Morris’s courage. He had brought honour to the whole valley.  A wallet of Treasury notes was, handed over by the Rev. D. Ogwen Davies, vicar of Abercwmboi.

“The Little I Did”

Despite the eulogies, Benny Morris, by his response, showed that he remained the same modest Ind. “Thank you very much for the wonderful gifts,” he said, “for the little I did.”

During the evening solos were rendered by Madame L. Edmunds-Price, Messrs. Ben Williams, and D. Teify Davies; Mr. W. R. Ward gave many a number, of recitations, and the Abercwmboi Male Voice Party, conducted by Mr. Philip Rees, with Mr. J. Rees at the piano, rendered choruses. Mr. D. J. Jones was in the chair. The presentation movement was the combined effort of the churches and societies in the village, organised by Mr. W. R. Griffiths, newsagent.

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