Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

The White Lion, Ystradgynlais

The White Lion in Ynys Uchaf was constructed along the banks of the Swansea Canal which reached Abercrave in 1798. The inn was certainly in operation well before the 1840s. It is now a private house, though a mould of the lion remains on its exterior.

The White Lion, from an original photograph kindly donated to YEARGroup by the photograph's owner Mrs Baguley. This photograph shows the canal in the foreground, rising up the bank to the towpath where the people from the inn are standing in front of it, and the oak tree (which, along with the canal, is no longer there).

The White Lion, Ynys Uchaf, in April 2019

From the Llais

The Llais newspaper for August 1914 records the death of the landlord, Mr Watkin Phillip Morgan, and the transferance of the license afterwards to his widow, Mrs S Morgan.

From the Labour Voice 1st August 1914:-


The death occurred at the White Lion, Ynis Uchaf, on Monday evening of Mr Watkin Phillip Morgan, for many years the nominal landlord of that inn. Deceased suffered a paralytic stroke about two years ago, and since that time up to his death he had been almost helpless. He was 68 years of age and leaves a widow, two married sons and two daughters. Deceased had followed the profession of ship's engineer for nearly 30 years. Prior to going to sea, the deceased owned and ran the now dismantled foundry which was situated near the Aubrey Arms, Gurnos, the ruins of which remain.
He was a well known sports man, a good shot and one of the finest fishermen in the county of Brecon.

From the Labour Voice 8th August 1914:-

On Thursday of last week, the interment took place of the late Watkin Phillip Morgan, White Lion, Ynis Uchaf, at the Parish Churchyard.
A large concourse of friends and sympathisers gathered to pay their last tribute of respect to the departed.
The chief mourners were: Mrs Morgan widow; Misses Claudia and Beatrice Morgan daughters; Messrs Watkin and Edgar Morgan sons; Mrs Jones Llandovery; Miss Harris, Nantricket sisters; Mrs Elizabeth Morgan and Mrs Ruth Morgan daughters in law; Mr and Mrs Thomas Port Talbot brother and sister in law.

From the Labour Voice 22nd August 1914:-

LICENSE TRANSFERRED On the application of Mr Clarke Solicitor Swansea, the license of the White Lion Inn, Ynis Uchaf was transferred from the late holder to his widow, Mrs S Morgan. The Police offered no objection.

Watkin Phillip Morgan was born in Ystradgynlais on October 10th 1846, and is buried in Saint Cynog's churchyard, reference Area C, R04, G12. He was certainly running the White Lion by 1891. His wife is given as Rachel Morgan, born in 1850, and dying in 1921. The newspaper article records her as Mrs S Morgan, so she may well have gone by a middle name, that is not recorded. They were married for 38 years and had seven children, three of whom died prior to 1911, leaving the four mentioned in the article. One of the two daughters can be identified as Beatrice Mary Maud Morgan, born in 1881, who married Charles McClaren Humprhreys, and who died in 1945. The other would be Claudia Demophilia Morgan, born in 1880, who is recorded as dying in 1951. The two sons were W J Morgan, born in 1874, and Edgar D Morgan, born in 1890.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 18th February 1922, as part of the report on the proceedings of the Ystradgynlais Licensing Sessions it was reported that the license for the White Lion Hotel had been transferred during the past year. This may be linked to the death of Mrs Morgan, above, which is recorded as being on Sunday 24th April 1921, and her death and funeral are recorded in the Llais for April and May 1921:-

From the Labour Voice April 31st 1921:-

The death took place at Ynisuchaf on Sunday evening last of Mrs Morgan, the landlady of the White Lion Hotel. Deceased, who was well-known and highly respected in the district, had not been well for the last six months. She leaves two sons and two daughters to mourn their loss. The funeral took place on Thursday, and was largely attended.

From the Labour Voice May 7th 1921:-

The funeral of Mrs Morgan, of the White Lion Hotel, Ystradgynlais, whose death was reported in our last issue, took place on Thursday of last week at the Ystradgynlais Parish Churchyard. The Revs D.J. Davies (Ainon), D. Aubrey (Penrhos), and J Thomas (Gurnos) officiated. The funeral was a very large and representative one, the deceased lady being highly respected in the district. The following were the chief mourners: Mr Watkin Morgan (son), Mr and Mrs Edgar Morgan (son and daughter-in-law), Miss C Morgan (daughter), mr and Mrs C.M. Humphreys (son-in-law and daughter), Misses Rachel Morgan, Beatrice Morgan, Arthur Morgan, T.W. Humphreys, Raymond Humphreys, Morgan Morgan (grandchildren), Miss Annie Williams, Messrs John Morgan, Morgan Lloyd, Tom Thomas, all of Glynneath (nieces), Mrr Ivor Thomas, Port Talbot and Mrr Dan Harries, Cwmgorse (cousins), Mr J.S. Humphreys, Miss Annie Humphreys, Mr A.H. John, Miss Gertie John. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr Edgar O. Morgan.

From the Labour Voice 18th February 1922:-

Transfers - The license of the White Lion Hotel, Ystradgynlais, was transferred during the year.

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.

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Valley Boys in the Great War

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