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Garnant and Glanaman

(Cwmamman)

Glanaman from Tair Carn

Garnant

 

The villages of Garnant and Glanaman were previously known as Cwmamman (This is a slightly anglicised version of the Welsh Cwmaman, in an attempt to differentiate the valley from Cwmaman in the Aberdare area). The valley was very rural, with farming the main occupation. The oldest building of note was Hen Bethel Chapel, built on the side of the mountain, well above the present villages. Sheep and cattle would be summer pastured on the Black Mountain as indeed they still are. While coalmining existed, it was on a small scale with farmers mining the coal for use in small lime kilns to produce the lime for fertiliser. The road from Neath to Llandeilo ran along the side of the mountain, passing Hen Bethel chapel.  

Hen Bethel Chapel Dating from 1773

 

In 1817, the nature of the valley changed with the building of a turnpike (toll) road from what was Cross Inn (Ammanford) to Neath. A tollgate was erected at what is now the Cross Keys pub and Glanaman Square was known as Gate Square. This was followed in 1840 by the extension of the Llanelly Railway & Dock Company line with its stations of Garnant and Glanaman.

Garnant Golf Course

The valley quickly became industrialised with coal mines taking advantage of the rich anthracite seams. The Amman Tinplate Works were established in Garnant in 1883 while Glanaman had the Raven Tinplate Works. The Amman closed in 1932 and the site is now part of Golwg-yr-Aman Park, while the Raven site was closed by 1936 and is now the site of a council depot. The raven was the crest of the Dynevor family that owned much of the valley. The name survives in Garnant in the Raven Inn and various shops and cafes.

River Aman at Garnant

There were more than 18 collieries in Garnant and Glanaman, the largest of which were the Raven and Gelliceidrim. Open cast mining followed with the site now redeveloped as Garnant Golf Course.

 

With industrialisation, the population of the valley exploded with houses, churches and chapels following. Bethesda Chapel was built in 1843, New Bethel in 1875 and Christchurch was started in 1842.

The River Amman is joined in Garnant by the River Garnant and the River Pedol, flowing from the Southern face of the Black Mountain

The bridge over the Aman: note the two colours beneath the bridge due to the widening

 

A stone bridge over the Aman was built in the early 1800s probably by Morgan Morgan of Ty Llwyd Glanaman, who also built Christchurch in Garnant. The bridge contains the holes, pioneered by William Edwards, builder of the old bridge at Pontypridd, designed to strengthen the main arch of the bridge, but in this case they are smaller and nearer the main arch than those of Edwards and his son. The bridge was widened and reconstructed in 1935.

A cottage hospital was opened in Glanaman in 1936 in the former home of Mr & Mrs Henry Folland. Mrs Folland donated their house, Frondeg and paid for the medical instruments and part funded the running of the hospital. Horny Road was renamed Folland Road after her. Henry Folland had lost an arm at an early age but worked as an assistant cashier at the Raven Tinplate Works. In 1901, at the age of 23 he was assistant manager and became manager and then director, creating the Folland Group that owned 11 works in the area. The Folland Group merged with Richard Thomas & Baldwin.

Christchurch Garnant

Christchurch was built in 1842 by Morgan Morgan of Ty Llwyd Glanaman to a design by Robert Ebbels, an architect specialising in church design. Ebbels was responsible for a number of churches in his home region around Wolverhampton as well as Surrey and the Isle of Wight.

 

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Site and Photographs Geoffrey Davies 2008-10  Contact info@enchantedtowy.co.uk