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Cwmgors > Area History

A Brief Summary.

** All of the following information is taken directly from the public “Heritage Notice Board” situated on the corner of Parc Howard, Cwmgors.  Photographs are displayed with the following explanation::

Archaeology & Place Name.

Bronze Age burial cairns on Penlle’rfedwen and Mynydd Uchaf are evidence that people were living and farming in the Cwmgors area over 3000 years ago.  Some 400 years ago, the area was a remote, rural corner of the Manor of Caegurwen.  A survey of the manor made in 1610 names “ Cors y Felsach”.  This is the cors (bog) which is referred to in the farm name Cwm-y-gors, which later gave the village its name.

Industrial Growth.

This quiet rural society changed dramatically in the 19th Century, when the demand for top quality anthracite coal saw a big expansion in the mining industry locally.  By the 1870’s, several small collieries were being worked, with Cwmgors Colliery opening in 1888.  This pit grew to be one of the largest in the area and employed over 400 men at the start of the First World War.  The Duke Colliery, south of Cwmgors, later became the site of the Abernant super-pit, which employed up to 900 men before it closed in 1988.

The arrival of hundreds of miners and their families towards the end of the 19th Century saw the village of Cwmgors begin to develop.  St. Mary’s Church (Llanfair) was built in 1886, followed by the Baptist, Independent and Wesleyan Methodist chapels – sure signs of a growing mining community.

Cwmgors was once famous for its brickworks.  Bricks stamped with the name “Cwmgorse” can be found in many buildings in the district and beyond.  The village also once had its own brewery, built at the back of the Abernant Inn, or the “Brew” as it was known.

Social History.

A school was built in 1912, and by the 1920’s, a general store (the Rock Shop), a post office, tailors and drapers, sweet shops and tobacconists, a butchers, ironmongers and fruit shop had opened to serve what had become a bustling community.  Cwmgors even had its own cinema, the Gaiety Cinema, and a workmen’s Hall.

Local Sport.

As early as 1895, the Curwen Stars rugby team was playing at Parc Howard, Cwmgors.  Cwmgors Colliery had its own team in the 1920’s.  In 1927, the two teams were disbanded and Cwmgors RFC was founded.  It is still going strong today, although its clubhouse is now based in Gwaun Cae Gurwen.  Cwmgors, produced three Welsh International players during the 1930’s, Claude Davey, Will Davies and Emrys Evans.  Davey captained Wales to their historic victory over the New Zealand All Blacks in 1935.

There are many books with information about this village and the surrounding areas including:-

“History of Pontardawe and District” by John Henry Davies & “The History of Pontardawe”, by John E Morgan.

Besides these there is an extremely informative website :-

www.communityarchives.org.uk

Simply click on the website and then type in Cwmgors, then follow the links.

Many local historians are very interested in any local stories and photos.  We, as a community, are also interested and would invite any person who has an interesting anecdote, information and historical photos to contact us.