Near Abersychan, Afan Lwyd Valley (244042)

Four shallow shafts were sunk to work both ironstone and coal for the British Iron Works. The main coal seams worked were the Two-Feet-Nine, Four-Feet, Upper-Six-Feet, Nine-Feet and Yard/Seven-Feet. They were sunk cl860 and in 1870 worked by Thomas Brown and then the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Company, within 1878 the manager being Rees Emmanuel.

At his trial on the 15th of April 1876, Thomas Rapps, aged 15 years, and a signal boy at this mine, stated that the devil prompted him to cut the rope that brought the men and trams up a steep incline and out of the slope. Luckily enough the rope broke completely once the strain was taken up and no one was injured. He was sentenced to three months hard labour.

The mines were leased to the Abersychan Elled Steam Coal Company in 1884 which in 1888 was listed as employing Thomas Jones as the manager and working the Elled, Big, Three-quarters, Black and Meadow Vein seams. It was leased again to Powell’s Tillery Steam Coal Company Limited in 1908.

Also, the site of the Cwmsychan Red Ash Level which worked the Brithdir (Tillery or Red Ash) seam and employed 23 men in 1902, 6 men in 1903, 16 men in 1905, 27 men in 1907, 27 men underground and 5 men on the surface in 1908/9, and 35 men in 1910 when it was owned by T. & E. Williams of Dock Street, Newport. employed 34 men in 1911 and 30 men in 1913/19 under the ownership of the Waen Nantyglo Colliery Company. The manager at that time was W. Thomas. This company was not a member of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association.

The Red Ash Level is still shown as working in 1917, and Cwmsychan is still shown as working in 1921, although it had reached its northern limits by 1877 and its southern limits by 1891. In 1924 it employed 30 men, in 1927 the Red Ash employed 33 men and in 1928 it employed 19 men.

In 1923 the Cwmsychan then also called the Talywaun Level was still managed by Mr. Thomas and employed 20 men working underground and 3 men working at the surface of the mine. It employed 30 men in 1924 and 40 men in 1925 to 1929. In 1930 manpower had decreased slightly to 30/3. Mr. Thomas was still the manager. By 1932 both the pits and level had disappeared from the listings.

Some of those that died at this mine:

  • 12/07/1837, Aaron Williams: Fall of coal.
  • 12/11/1846, David Jones: Collier: Fall of coal and rubbish.
  • 28/08/1857, Samuel Nicholas: Collier: Fall of coal.
  • 06/05/1859, William Tanner, Age: 10: Haulier: A coupling broke on surface incline and a tram in which he was riding descended with great velocity and upset.
  • 1/10/1861, Thomas Jones, Age: 28: Miner: Fall of a large stone in an old stall.
  • 25/02/1862, Thomas Priestwood, Age: 15: Collier: Fall of clod lying between Meadow Vein coal and roof. The boy and his father were endeavouring to get it down when it came too suddenly on them.
  • 8/03/1862, William Franks, Age: 54: Collier: Fall of coal in Meadow vein which injured him to such an extent that he died
  • 14/04/1862, George Hayman, Age: 23: Haulier: Overpowered by his train whilst slackening them down across a heading and so injured he died 22nd.
  • 7/04/1863, John Williams: Collier: About 5cwt. of coal rolled off the side where he was at work an so injured him that he died.
  • 27/02/1867, Benjamin Davis, Age: 48: Collier: Explosion of firedamp which so injured him that he died on the 11th of March. Some gas had accumulated in a hollow place in the roof over the gob in a consequence of a fall having choked the windway. The fireman and the man in charge of the airways then went into the place to clear the fall and get the ventilation restored previously giving orders to take the men out of the neighbouring stall in case of the explosion. Davis came back with a naked light far too soon and fired gas. He was killed and 7 others injured. A most inconsiderate and foolish act.
  • 4/02/1868, Daniel Evans, Age: 56: Collier: The stone that killed him fell from the roof.
  • 24/06/1871, George Walker, Age: 14: Collier: He was descending Cwmsychan No.2 and had reached the bottom when a byat higher up broke and fell through the bonnet and stuck his head.
  • 20/03/1885, Abram Martin, Age: 40: Collier: Fall of stone.
  • 21/4/1886, James Rhodes, aged 14, collier, Fall of stone.
  • 24/10/1892, William Loxley, Age: 16: Colliers boy: Fall of coal and clod from the face.

There were about seventeen fatal accidents at this mine with nine miners dying under roof falls.


TALYWAUN – Talywaun, Afan Lwyd Valley

This level was listed in 1878 as working the Red Ash (Brithdir) seam under the ownership of the Abertillery and Talywaun Red Ash Collieries Limited. There is no listing for it in 1888, but in 1902 it is shown as being owned by the same company and producing house coals. It is not mentioned in 1913 or 1917, but on Gordon’s 1921 Map of the Coalfield it, or another level, is shown as being worked by the Waen Nantyglo Colliery Company. This company is shown as working the Cwmsychan Red Ash Level in 1913 which employed 30 men and is possibly the same level as Talywaun. It is not listed in the 1930s.


Information supplied by Ray Lawrence and used here with his permission.

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