About the Society
Historical Notes






A list in Gardd Aberdâr (1853) of schools in Aberdare at the time contains the following item “Dwy Ysgol berthynol i’r Eglwys: - nifer - athrawon - dim hysbysrwydd”. The School Log Books have not been deposited with the Local Authority or the Public Records Office. Reminiscences of David Thomas David of Abernantygroes, born 1840. He remembered his first schoolmaster was the Rev Morgan Lewis. Then he was taught by a scholarly manservant. Later he attended a Church of England School back of the Crown Hotel in Cwmbach. The master was a Welshman called Jenkins. There is now in the library documentary evidence, a deed of conveyance by John Bruce Price to the Bishop and the Vicar of Aberdare of a piece of land for the purpose of building a school on part of the land of


Tir-y-Llwd Farm and Tir-y-Founder Farm May 6th. D.M. Richards gives the date of the National School in Cwmbach as 1850.


Headmaster in this year was Philip Webb.
The Rev E.T. Lewis, Vicar of Aberdare 1859–66, said that when he came to Aberdare there were two schools for boys and girls in Aberdare, mixed at Aberaman, mixed at Cwmbach.


National School at Aberaman built between these years.

1851 Mar

A piece of land in Cardiff Street was conveyed by the Marchioness of Bute to the Vicar and wardens for extending National Schools. PRO London Close Row 1851, Part 31 Number 20. By this time, there was accommodation for 450. The Headmaster was David Thomas, and the Headmistress, Miss Emma Coe. He was followed by William Davies (1856) who later became Vicar of Penydarren. He was followed by a Mr Owen, brother of T.M. Owen who later became an HMI. After 1861, John Williams followed by J.C. Poole.


Church School of St Fagan built. There had been a day school conducted in the Church Vestry. The buildings were officially opened on July 16th 1858 by the Dean of St. David’s.


Some Colliery schools were also set up and run on the National School System. The chief promoter was H.A. Bruce. Dyffryn Schools and others followed after 1860 and served at least 6 collieries in the valley. Children came from P.D. Collieries and Nixon’s, and those in which Lord Aberdare had an interest.


By the middle of this year, there were three such schools in Mountain Ash: Cefnpennar infants, Newtown Infants and Miskin Infants and people from these were drafted to the Dyffryn Schools.
Collieries adopted the poundage system but schools also admitted paupers, and for these, the Parish was occasionally responsible.


Attendance 290 including 60 work boys
Attendance 278 including 103 work boys


After this year more colliery schools were set up.

Llanwonno Navigation Colliery School
Cwmaman Aberdare Colliery School also known as the George Elliot School.


Private Academies

Of Schools before 1850, some were still flourishing:
1 C.G. Griffiths continued at Ebenezer Schoolroom at Llwydcoed assisted by Mrs Griffiths. Pupils 65 in 1853.
2 Mrs John had 30 pupils in Harriet Street.
3 After the death of Rev Morgan Lewis, school in the Baptist Schoolroom was kept by the Rev J.D. Williams 1849–55.


Other Schools made their appearance including the following boarding schools:


1 John Jones at Hirwaun for 40 pupils including Boarders
2 Miss Havard of Dare Villa, Mill St, for 27 young ladies including Boarders
3 Mr. John Jones of Jenkin St with 28 pupils including Boarders. The School was held in the Long Room of the Bird in Hand. This John Jones was the brother of Griffith Jones, "Caradog", and was considered to be a first class mathematician. He subsequently emigrated to Australia where he kept a Mathematics School until his unfortunate death in a cab accident.


Non-Resident Schools During and After the Fifties


Rees Davies, Hirwaun.


William Jones with 28 pupils at Hirwaun
Elizabeth Evans at Aberdare
Rev Cooper (first Minister of Carmel English Baptist) 10 pupils Aberdare
Miss Cooper 28 girls at the same time
Miss Elizabeth Thomas, (probably daughter of Rev Joshua Thomas Saron), 40 Pupils Aberaman
Miss Mullin daughter of Primitive Methodist Pastor


Mr. E Ellis in Bute Street.
When Walter Lloyd, “Gwladgarwr,” first came to Aberdare, his wife, who had been a teacher, kept a school in Gloucester St.


Advertisement in the local press, ‘Aberdare Grammar School Bethania Vestry Room, behind the Black Lion Hotel’. The duties of the above school will be resumed on Wednesday January 6th 1858.


English and Commercial Subjects

 £1..1..0 a quarter

Classics and French

 £1..11..6 a quarter


Apply to J.G. Morgan undergraduate of London University, Grammar School Aberdare.


Mr Owen Davies came from Llandovery to Aberdare and opened a School at his house No. 1, Seymour St. This proved to be a highly esteemed establishment until his death in 1889. He was a prominent member of Bethania.
The most noted school was still that of the Rev John Jones of Hen Dŷ Cwrdd. In


there were 50 pupils, and on his death some 16 years later, his son Rees Jenkin Jones took over both school and church.


Owing to persistent ill health, R.J. Jones resigned both church and school and he was followed by the Rev William Jones. During his time, pupils were prepared for the London Matriculation.


R.J. Jones married Ann, daughter of Evan Griffiths of “The Poplars”. The newly wed couple began to keep a school for day pupils at their home Myrtle Cottage, Clifton Street.


When the Rev William Jones left Hen Dŷ Cwrdd for Llandaff, R.J. Jones returned to Hen Dŷ Cwrdd and the school. The School at Myrtle Cottage moved with him to the Schoolroom and later to Broniestyn House.

Educated at Trecynon Seminary in 1885, a young man barely 14, passed the Oxford Local Examination. His name was Thomas Botting, (later Director of Education for Aberdare).