Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

The Miners Arms, Ystradgynlais

The Miners Arms is now a private house on Rhestr Fawr, the road opposite the Ynyscedwyn Arms, and which used to be referred to as "Gough Buildings". It closed in 1969.

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 31st January 1914

"Greater Love Hath No Man"

About 12 months ago it will be remembered that Mr Thos. Thomas, of the Miners' Arms, was rescued from a watery grave by Councillor J W Morgan. He was watering his horse in the river near Ystrad bridge when he was precipitated into the river, and but for the plucky effort made by Mr Morgan the consequences might have been serious. Since that time Mr Tom Thomas has been anxious to repay the service rendered to him by his friend, and the opportunity came on Tuesday last.
A party consisting of several councillors and others attended the funeral of the late Mr Daniel Walters at Abercrave, and made the journey in traps. On the return Councillor Howells, Councillor T Williams, and another gentleman were being driven by Councillor J W Morgan, and when near Abercrave House the horse bolted and Councillor Morgan was unable to control the beast. Mr Thos. Thomas was driving another horse and trap, and noticing that something was wrong he jumped from the vehicle and pluckily sprang at the head of the bolting horse. It was with great difficulty that he succeeded in bringing the infuriated animal to a standstill, and not before the occupants of the trap were very severely shaken. The shock to the nerves of the driver caused him to collapse, but he declined brandy, which was proffered to him, and as soon as he was sufficiently recovered he offered up a prayer for the providential escape they had had, and expressed his heart felt gratitude that such a brave man as Mr Thomas Thomas had been in the vicinity.
There is talk of presenting Mr Thomas with a medal.

From the Labour Voice 18th April 1914


The Ystradgynlais and District Farmers' Association has removed its headquarters from the Penybont Inn, the home of many memories to the Miners' Arms, where the members will in future, as in the past, be entertained right royally.

From the Labour Voice 25th July 1914


Mr Thomas Thomas Miners Arms, made an application for an occasional licence in respect of the Ystradgynlais Agricultural Society's first annual show to be held on Gibbon's Field, on 4th August.
P S Evans said he had been requested to ask the magistrates to make the time for which they granted the licence as short as possible. The police had no objection.
The Chairman asked what time shows of a similar character finished, and Sergeant Evans stated that the usual time was six o'clock. The licence was granted from 12 to 6 p.m.

From the Labour Voice 16th January 1915

Mr Tom THOMAS, the very genial landlord of the Miners Arms Ystradgynlais, is now recovering from his recent indisposition and is now able to supervise his business.

From the Labour Voice 7th October 1916

Congratulations to Corporal Gwilym Thomas, son of Mr Thomas Thomas Miners' Arms, who is in the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry, on his promotion. Since the day he joined Gwilym has been very popular both with officers and men and his promotion has caused considerable satisfaction amongst his mates.

From the Labour Voice 27th January 1917


Mr Thomas Thomas, Miners' Arms, has received an intimation that his son, Private Gwilym Thomas of the Pembroke Yeomanry, who was aboard the ill fated transport “Ivernia” sunk in the Mediterranean, has arrived safely in Egypt. This news has relieved considerable anxiety in the neighbourhood.

From the Labour Voice 3rd February 1917


Mr Tom Thomas Miners Arms has received a letter this week from his son, Lance Corporal Gwilym Thomas, of the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry, who was aboard the torpedoed transport "Ivernia." He has been landed somewhere in the near East. Lance Corporal Thomas seems well pleased with his new home, although he lost all his belongings on the transport. "Gwilym" also says that he goes for a swim every morning, and in January too! Ystrad people will be glad to hear that, he is still safe and sound.

From the Wikipedia page on SS Ivernia:-

On 1 January 1917, the Ivernia was carrying some 2,400 British troops from Marseille to Alexandria, when at 10:12am she was torpedoed by the German submarine UB-47 58 miles south-east of Cape Matapan in Greece, in the Kythira Strait. The ship went down fairly quickly with a loss of 36 crew members and 84 troops. Captain Turner, who had been criticised for not going down with the Lusitania (even though he had believed he was the last person on board), remained on the bridge until all aboard had departed in lifeboats and rafts "before striking out to swim as the vessel went down under his feet."
HMS Rifleman rescued a number of survivors and armed trawlers towed the bulk, who had taken to lifeboats, to Suda Bay in Crete.

A photograph of the Ivernia can be seen on Twitter as well as artwork of the rescue.

From the Labour Voice 25th March 1916:-


Best known as "Dick Morgan, the Miners" A short while ago, news appeared in the Llais of the death of our dear friend. Everyone is sorry that Dick has lost his life, having fallen in the fields of France on February 21st 1916. As a young lad he was fine and quiet in the way he was, and a wonderful friend, kind and gentle of heart. He was so nice that everybody loved him. He was the son of the late Mr and Mrs T R Morgan of Colbren, and grandson of the well-known and late Old Richard Morgan the Taylor. His parents were buried many years ago, leaving 4 children to live their lives.
He lived with Thomas Thomas of the Miners Arms, Ystradgynlais and had been living there for six years, and counted as one of their own children. His last words to them were "Goodbye; I don't think I'll ever see you again". His sisters Margaret and Gwen live in Colbren, but Willie, his only brother, went to America when he was 24.

Our connected website, Ystradgynlais Wargraves, has a memorial page for Richard Morgan with full details about him.


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

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Penybont Sports Bar and Lounge