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Help and advice for Betws

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"BETTWS, a parish, in the union of LLANELLY, hundred of ISKENNEN, . . . 8 mile (S.) from Llandilo-Vawr; comprising the upper and lower divisions, and containing 1109 inhabitants. . . situated within a short distance of the turnpike-road leading from Llandilo-Vawr to Swansea . . . A considerable part of the surface is mountainous and barren, and the level portion contains some tracts of woodland . . . a small quantity of grain is grown, but the chief produce is cheese and butter. The river Amman runs through the parish, and two brooks called Cathan and Nantyfin. Slate is quarried, and coal and iron-mines are in operation, a rail-road having recently been made. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Llandebie , , . The church, dedicated to St. David . . . contains 250 sittings, of which 40 are free. A Sunday school affords instruction gratuitously in the Welsh language to about 110 children of both sexes." [From A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (S. Lewis, 1844).]


1841 census of Bettws - transcription by Rina Callingham

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Betws area or see them printed on a map.

Church History

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data re St David's Church, Betws

Some church and chapel data from The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. Ed. by   I.G   Jones, & D. Williams. UWP,   Cardiff, 1976. The names are those of the informants

  • Bettws Parish Church           Richard Bowcott, Perpetual Curate
  • Wesleyan Methodist, Pontamman         Erected about 1840       N Morris, Steward, Pontamman Works, Nr Llandilo    
  • Sion   Welsh CM      Erected before 1800       William Evans, Elder, Weaver, Bettws, Nr Cross Inn               
  • Bethesda, Cwmamman     Particular Baptist             Erected 1843        David Jones, Manager
  • Latter Day Saints, Cwmamman                   John Griffith, Elder, Nr Prince Albert Inn, Cwm Amman

See the Cwmgors/Waun site for a history database of local chapels and churches

Cwmamman Auxiliary of the British & Foreign Bible Society. Subscribers' List from the 1931-1932 report, compiled by Rina Callingham

Parish entry for Bettws with Ammanford from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by (Archive CD Books)).

  • St David
  • &
  • St Michael's, Ammanford
  • &
  • All Saints
  • Incumbent and Curates; R H Roberts (W C Lewis)
  • Rural Deanery of  Llandilo
  • Acreage  6,511 ; Population 7,964

Parish entry for Cwmamman from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by (Archive CD Books)).

  • Christ Church
  • &
  • Llanfair
  • &
  • St Margaret
  • &
  • St David
  • Incumbent and Curates; W A Jones (B Davies, A O J Thomas)
  • Rural Deanery of  Llandilo
  • Acreage --- ; Population 11,810

Church Records

Dyfed FHS have photographs and data relating to various churches and chapels on their site

Parish registers prior to 1706 were lost when the place they were kept caught fire.

Parish registers: Christenings and Marriages (1706-1973), Banns (1823-1964) and Burials (1706-1909) are at the Carmarthenshire Record Office.

Bishops' Transcripts, covering the period (1702, 1707-8, 1716-22, 1728-84, 1786-7, 1789-90, 1793-6, 1798, 1800, 1802-3, 1805-65) are at the National Library of Wales, and have been microfilmed by the LDS.

Marriage index for this parish - see Dyfed Marriages, 1813-1837, Vol. 18 - Iscennin Hundred (Dyfed Family History Society, c1989)

See Bap/Mar/Bur data on FreeReg

Nonconformist Chapels:

  • Capel Newydd  CM chapel  Betws Rd, Betws  - still open in 2006         SN6328011847       Built 1898     Status (2000): in chapel use.     Coflein
  • Siloam Welsh CM, Maesyquarre Rd      SN64151170      Built 1905. Status (1997): disused.            Coflein
  • Sion, Betws Rd, Betws (Calvinistic Methodist, c1740)   (New Sion)      SN63091135   Built 1795 and rebuilt 1829. Status (1998): demolished   Coflein
  • Hen Gapel CM (Sion/Seion), Pontaman  (Old Sion)   Births and baptisms, 1812-37, PRO RG4/3831, LDS 828108, IGI          SN6423812403   First chapel built before 1800; alterations & rebuilding of 1829 & 1895. It survived until ca.1940-5. Status (1997):demolished.  Coflein
  • [There was an old and a new Sion on different sites, the Rawlins book has photographs of both]
  • Pontaman (Wesleyan Methodist, c1840)                  Listed in Rawlins and the Religious Census 1851 above but not found on Coflein or Dyfed FHS

The parish Vestry Minutes for the period 1706-1894 are held at Carmarthen Archives.

Description and Travel

Dave Michael's Amman Valley site

Betws - on Wikipedia

Place names from the C19th Tithe Apportionment schedules. Contributed by Darris Williams

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales., byJones, I.G. & Williams, D.   UWP,   Cardiff, 1976.  These statistics for this parish are extracted from this book which in turn got them from the 1851 census itself;

  • Area 6465 acres; Population 824 males, 755 females, total 1579

Places, villages, farms etc within Betws parish  as shown on the online parish map from the CD of  Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. (Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R.). (Extracted by Rina Callingham)

  • Betws [26] - Bancbryn, Banc Cwm-Helen, Bettws, Blaerdy, Bodyst, Foel, Garnant, Gellifawr, Glanamman, Hafod, Henrhyd, Inn, Llwch-is-awel, Maes-llech, Nant Garenig, Nant Rickett, Tir-lan, Ty'n-domen, Waun hir, Wernolau

Gittins, R & Spencer Davies, D. The Illustrated Heart of Wales Line. Llandysul, 1985, 143 pp. Its 110 mile route from Swansea to Shrewsbury takes it through  the heartland of Wales inc. the towns and hamlets of Pantyfynnon, Ffairfach, Llandeilo, Llangadog, Llandovery, Cynghordy etc, and describes each halt and station in detail.

You can see pictures of Betws which are provided by:


Emigration and Immigration

From the Amman Valley to Kansas  By Rina Callingham            "Daniel Thomas Morgan was born on Tuesday 28th April 1835. He was the 5th known child of David and Mary Morgan (nee Griffiths) of Brynhynydd farm in the Carmarthenshire parish of Betws.............................."


Carmarthenshire Families

A database of Hicks Names names found in  the BTs/IGI and censuses for Llandeilo fawr, Betws and [some] Llangadog parishes which have been  collated into specific (probable) family groups.

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Amanwy, papurau (papers) 1909-1975    "`Amanwy', David Rees Griffiths (1882-1953) of Betws, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, was a poet, writer and broadcaster. An elder brother of James Griffiths (1897-1975), Labour MP for Llanelli and Secretary of State for Wales, he was born in Betws on 6 November 1882 ........"  
  • Griffiths, James, papers 1897-1975 (accumulated 1912-1975)   "James Griffiths (1890-1975), trade union leader and MP, became the first Secretary of State for Wales. He was born in Betws, Carmarthenshire, on 19 September 1890..........."

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Betws has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Betws to another place.


See Not everyone knows this..  and the Cwmgors/Waun site  for random snippets about this parish

Evans DA & Walters H. Dyffryn Aman 'Slawer Dydd [The Amman Valley Long Ago: A Collection of Photographs];Gomer 1987. Bilingual. Here is the book's introduction and an index by Gareth Hicks

Lewis, Brian The Amman Valley: A Photographic Portrait. 1996.  Here is an index by Gareth Hicks.

Lloyd, Sir John E., (Ed.). A History of Carmarthenshire (2 vols.), Cardiff, London Carmarthenshire Society (1935, 1939). Extracts from this book can be accessed on some parish pages

Locksmith, W T H.  Ammanford: Origin of Street Names and Notable Historical Records. Cultural Services Department, County Hall, Carmarthen, 2000 ?.

Murphy, Carol/Dixon,Chris. Betws Mas o'r Byd. Betws History Group, 2000 . Here is a contents listing and index by Gareth Hicks.
Here also is a brief Betws related extract from this book re the Llyfrau Gleision (The Report of the Commission of Enquiry into State Education in Wales, 1847)

Trumor Thomas, D. Old Characters of Bettws. Glanamman, 1894. (Translated from the original Welsh by Ivor Griffiths, Gorseinon.) Here is an Index by Gareth Hicks. See here also for an extensive summary of the book .

Walters, Huw [Dr]. Canu'r Pwll a'r Pulpud. Cyhoeddiadau Barddas, Swansea; 1987, 397 pp. A study of the Welsh culture of the anthracite coalfield before 1914 - particularly Brynaman, and the Aman Valley areas. There are chapters on folk-lore, growth of industry and population, nonconformity, the eisteddfod etc. It brought the author  the Welsh Arts Council Prize for the best work of literary criticism in 1988, the Board of Celtic Studies Prize and the Sir Ellis Jones Ellis-Griffith Prize in 1989.
Here is a translation of the Preface by Professor Caerwyn William, list of Contents and brief Introduction.

Land and Property

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Llwynyronnen estates 1753-1961      "The Llwynyronnen estate, formerly known as Tyr yr Inn, was situated in the parishes of Bettws and Llangadog, Carmarthenshire. During the early 19th century the estate was owned by the Lewis family of Tynywain. In 1819, the property was sold to Richard Jones, of Cwmllynfell, Glamorgan ........"
  • Betws (Ammanford), papers     "Deeds and papers relating to lands of the Hopkin family and others in the parish of Betws, Carmarthenshire, 1594-1748; papers relating to the Hopkin family, 1719-1898; and a poor rate account for the parish of Betws, 1818."


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SN633118 (Lat/Lon: 51.788067, -3.983392), Betws which are provided by:


Betws Deep Mine on the Miners' Advice site

Betws  Drift on the Welsh Coal Mines site

Davies, Ifor. History of Coal Mining in the Amman Valley . Bi-lingual. Published by the author, 2001. Here is a list of chapter headings and photographs.

Evans, William John.   Pit Memories [Up and Under] 1989. Dinefwr Press, Llandybie. Or in Welsh "Atgofion y Pwll " [ Lan a Lawr]. The book is bi-lingual although the 2 sections are not identical. Here is an index by Gareth Hicks. with a list of contents. There is coverage of Betws[Ammanford] Colliery but also some on the villages and mines of Brynamman in Carmarthenshire and Tairgwaith, Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and Cwmgors in Glamorgan.

Public Records

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Betws Parish Council and Community Council Records 1825-1987 (accumulated 1894-1987)

Social life and Customs

Davies, Howard G. The Centenary History of Amman United Rugby Football Club, 1903 - 2003. (Roll Along, Amman United, Roll Along) 2003. Here is a Contents listing and a listing of the photographs - by Gareth Hicks

Walters, Huw. Cynnwrf Canrif : Agweddau Ar Ddiwylliant Gwern.  Cyhoeddiadau Barddas, Abertawe, 2004. ISBN: 1900437678. Paperback, 372p.
A comprehensive collection of eight interesting and informative essays reflecting various aspects of the rich folk culture of the Aman and other south Wales valleys in the 19th century, written by a thorough researcher. Here is a review of the book by Tegwyn Jones (in Welsh)

[Gareth Hicks: 19 Dec 2012]