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Cilybebyll Church - - 133383.jpg
St John the Evangelist's church
Grid reference: SN7404
Location: 51°43’8"N, 3°49’48"W
Population: 4,769  (2001[1])
Post town: Swansea
Postcode: SA8
Dialling code: 01792
Local Government
Council: Neath Port Talbot

Cilybebyll is a village and parish in the in Neath Hundred of Glamorgan. It includes the villages of Alltwen, Fforest Gôch, Gellinudd and Rhos, and is located two miles east of Pontardawe, 4¾ miles north of Neath and 10 miles north-east of Swansea. The civil community has a population of 4,806.[2]

The Cilybebyll estate was established in the 15th century,[3] and after development by various families, by 1838 was recorded as having the largest land holding in the district. The main house, Plas Cilybebyll, was redeveloped in 1840 by Henry Leach, creating a south-facing Victorian facade on the property. His son Frances Edward Leach inherited the estate in 1848, changing his name to Lloyd in 1849 by Royal Charter in order not to forfeit his inheritance. The family remained in residence until the early 20th century, when the family records were passed to Swansea Museum. The main house today is a guest house.

Coal mining

Like much of South Wales, small-scale coal mining has taken place in the area for many centuries.[4] By 1849 it was producing large quantities of coal, which were readily transported around the world from the docks at Swansea.[5] The dangers of coal mining past and present are highlighted by two disasters in the locality. In 1858, 14 men and boys died as a result of engine fumes being accidentally pumped into the Primrose Colliery. In 2008 the community council commemorated the 150th anniversary with a plaque on a park bench.

On 15 September 2011, water poured into the mine workings at Gleision Colliery, a small-scale colliery which had expanded as the price of anthracite had risen. Three miners escaped to the surface, with one taken to Morriston Hospital. Units from the Mines Rescue Service were called in from across the United Kingdom, to rescue four men located 300 feet below the surface.[6] Four bodies were subsequently found. Parallel inquiries into the causes of the disaster were launched by South Wales Police and the Health and Safety Executive.[7]


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