Cilymaenllwyd Local History Group

The Way of Life

The local history group has been established as part of the Cilymaenllwyd Community Council Footpath Restoration Project in the Afon Wenallt Valley. There have been three meetings to set up and progress the group. The meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at the Cardi Bach Heritage Centre and Museum at the former Login Station.

It was decided to explore how people in the community lived and worked from 1830’s to the present day, with an emphasis on education, work, worship, health and well-being.
The community footpaths and roadways provided direct, short cuts to Chapel, Church, places of work (farms and quarries), schools including Sunday Schools and to Login Station. The meetings will be structured as interest in themes develop. It was also felt that it is an important opportunity for members of the community to meet, socialise and exchange anecdotes and local knowledge of their own families’ experiences.

First Meeting – 4/4/2024

It was agreed at this preliminary meeting that maps were important and we are fortunate in having a retired local Archeologist to assist. There are already a wealth of maps in the Cardi Bach Heritage Centre and Museum and considerable data already available.

  • It was agreed with the Archeologist to research maps back to 1830 that defined the area of Cilymaenllwyd Parish. They show the importance of the pathways and roadways in relation to Calfaria Chapel and Church (formerly St John and St James) at Llandre and the Login Railway Station.
  • There are a number of Antiquities e.g. Cromlech, Forts in the surrounding areas. These will be mapped and where appropriate the footpath providing access linked to the project footpath will be identified.
  • Any artefacts or buildings identified in the footpath restoration will be investigated further.

We also discussed how recollections, anecdotes and local knowledge could be recorded.

Second Meeting – 2/5/2024

This meeting was again held in the afternoon. A number of interesting items were brought to this meeting and discussed.

  • Abstract of the title of Col Phillips of Dale Castle to the Coedllys Estate 1895. A lot of properties, farms in Cilymaenllwyd were rented from the Coedllys Estate.
  • Documents showing the importance of the development of the Cardi Bach Railway line to the community.
  • Photos of the construction of Login bridge
  • History of Calfaria Chapel
  • Mapping of old properties where people worked and lived. Mills, smithies, tailors, pubs etc.
  • The experience of his grandfather in the family putting the iron hoops on cart wheels in Login were discussed by one contributor present
  • Importance of water power for mills, particularly for the woollen mills. Organic dyeing techniques were described.
  • Further talks from experts on the history of local subjects e.g. Silver Mines at Llanfyrnach and Quality of Fish Stocks in the river and streams locally.

With the days lengthening and to assist those at work it was decided to hold the next meeting in the evening.

Third Meeting – 6/6/2024

This was a well-attended meeting. A member of the community had maps of 1830 era and 1889 that she had previously obtained from the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth and these were shared at the meeting.

Progress was made with recording apparatus borrowed from the Cardi Bach Heritage Centre and anecdotes and recollections of the local people working on the Cardi Bach Railway line were very interesting.

A former resident (during her childhood) of the area was welcomed. She had done considerable research already and has made that available to the group and on her website.

Anecdotes about the importance of the area as a supplier of rabbits for food and the healthy diet of the historical abundant fish in the rivers, streams were added.

There was an interesting account of a school child’s history of the area also presented.

The chair’s theme of the evolution from candles in 1830 to other forms of light to the present day electricity. Discussion around the invention of paraffin in 1830’s, the Davey and other safety lamps for coal industry. The advent of Acetylene lamps 1860’s (calcium carbide and water) and the eventual supply of electricity to the area.

It was also agreed that we would create an interactive website and discuss how the histories we develop can be used for education purposes.

Themes suggested:
Effect of the Great Depression, WWI and WWII, breakup of the large estates and tenanted farms and homes etc, drovers, census information, the emancipation of women.