Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

The Castle Hotel, Caerbont

The Castle Hotel was located in Caerlan, Abercrave, and closed in 1990. When constructed it was on the main road through the valley, but after the construction of the by-pass in 1974 its location was now that of a quiet cul-de-sac, off the main thoroughfares, though accessible by foot from both directions, and by car via the off-exit for Caerlan.

This photograph of the Castle Hotel is a close-up of a photograph in the collection of Ystradgynlais Library. It looks like it must have been taken from the hills above and aback of Caerlan. A fuller version, showing the whole of the view can be found at the bottom of the page


These excerpts from the 1878 Ordnance Survey map of the area show how the old main road from Ystradgynlais ran up to and past the Castle Hotel (marked on the right-hand map as the Castle Inn).

This is the full photograph from the collection of Ystradgynlais Library. It looks like it must have been taken from the hills above and aback of Caerlan. It looks out over Caerbont towards Penrhos.

A few photographs around the former Castle Hotel today, taken from the public highway.

A view towards the Castle Hotel, as was, coming from what is now a footbridge into Caerbont, but would have been the main road bridge approaching Ystradgynlais in its time.

The side facade of the Castle Hotel, where the benches etc as show in the Welsh television programme set at the Castle Hotel would have been set up.

The rear facade including the ornate porch.

Looking back at the Castle Hotel as you approach Caerlan

A side view of the ornate porch, taken from the roadway and cropped.

This view of the porchway of the Castle Hotel was taken several years ago.

A crop of the main photograph above, showing the shape of the road bridge from Caerlan to Caerbont, that spanned the canal, and has now been replaced by a footbridge.

The Fallen of the Wars

William John Jones, son of the Manager of the Castle Hotel, Abercrave, served with the Royal Engineers in the First World War, and was promoted to Sergeant in January 1915, and was awarded the Military Medal in February 1917. He was killed in action on 28th July 1917, his death being reported in the local newspapers in mid August.

His parents, who ran the Castle Hotel, were John (born Carmarthen 1865, Hotel Manager) and Mary Ann Jones (born Rugby 1863). William John Jones was their only son and was born in c1892, and his sister was Annie Elizabeth, born in Abercrave in 1895. If this information comes from the 1911 census, then it shows that John Jones was managing the Castle Hotel in at least the period 1911 to 1917.

From the Llais

From time-to-time local public houses featured in the Llais newspaper, sometimes when the licensee changes, or where the licensing authority requests changes, or where something dramatic, or noteworthy, happens at the establishment.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, January 1st 1927:-


The death occurred on Thursday morning last of Mrs Emma Louisa Lewis, widow of the late Mr John Lewis, Castle, Abercrave.
Deceased, who had reached the advanced age of 83 years, had latterly resided with Mrs Pritchard at Wern Yorath Farm.
The funeral, which was a private one, took place on Tuesday at Cwmgiedd.

Some of the details about pubs in the Swansea Valley and Coelbren were sourced from 'The Village Pub' by William T. Davies,a detailed history of brewing in the Neath and Swansea valleys and the history and heritage of the local pubs of the area. All proceeds from sale of this book go towards Ystradgynlais Community Hospital. Published by Dinewfr Press, copies of the book can be ordered either by telephoning them on 01269-850576 or emailing the author direct on WilliamTD@yahoo.co.uk.

Ystradgynlais - South Wales

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Valley Boys in the Great War

We are pleased to present our First World War project as a contribution to the Centenary of WWI It is a document entitled: YSTALYFERA YSTRADGYNLAIS And DISTRICT 1914 -1918..

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