History and Heritage

The Bird in Hand, Ystalyfera

The Bird in Hand public house, Ystalyfera was located in the Pantteg area on Graig Road, which in the past used to be referred to as Godre'rgraig.

The Labour Voice newspaper, printed in Ystalyfera, 1910 records that the family running the Bird in Hand were William Williams, who had a son called Morgan and a daughter called Catherine.

The Labour Voice newspaper 3rd September 1910 reports on the death of William Williams:-

We regret to record the death of Mr William Williams, landlord of the Bird in Hand Inn Godre'rgraig which took place on Monday evening. The deceased who was 62 years of age had been in failing health since the death of his wife exactly 12 months ago and a fortnight ago whilst in conversation with Mrs Harris and two young ladies in the house next door, he was seized with a paralytic stroke. He was put to bed but gradually got worse and died as stated. Up to 2 1/2 years ago he followed the occupation of the mill man at the Ystalyfera Tinplate Works and was a prominent member of the Tin and Sheet Mill Men's Union.
He was a native of Ystalyfera and had occupied the Bird in Hand Inn for a considerable number of years. He was well known and gained quite a reputation as one who had a pleasant word for all, possessing a keen sense of humour and the gift of repartee.
He leaves a grown-up son and daughter, the former Morgan Williams lying very ill at present.
The funeral took place at Pantteg Chapel on Thursday when deceased was buried in the family vault. The Rev Ben Davies was the officiating minister and there was a large attendance of relatives and friends

1916 sees the marriage of William William's daughter, by now landlady of the Bird in Hand:-

The Labour Voice newspaper, 1st April 1916:-

The wedding took place very quietly at Lanelly last Thursday week of Mr Arthur Hopkin solicitor Pontardawe and Miss Catherine A Williams, landlady of the Bird in Hand Hotel Godre'rgraig.

The Labour Voice newspaper 10th March 1917 reports on the death of Morgan Williams; his sister, married above to Arthur Hopkin, is the Mrs Arthur Hopkin at the bottom:-

The funeral of Mr Morgan Williams, only son of the late Mr and Mrs William Williams (Bird in Hand) Godre'rgraig Ystalyfera, took place at Pantteg on Tuesday. Deceased, who was 37 years of age, was an architect and had been articled to Mr O W Jenkins, architect for the Carmarthenshire County Council. While serving his apprenticeship he shared the first prize granted by the British Institute of Architects in 1905, one of the few Welshmen who have achieved this distinction. In the same year he carried off the first prize for a set of drawings at the Mountain Ash National Eisteddfod. Some time later, he was engaged on the staff of the Glamorganshire Education Committee and while holding this appointment he was obliged to retire from practice owing to ill health. There was a large gathering at the funeral, the Rev Ben Davies Pantteg, officiating.
The chief mourners were: Mr and Mrs Arthur Hopkin brother in law and sister.

From grave information in Pantteg Cemetery (Row 20, Grave 06) we can add the following information to the Williams' family.

William Williams was born in 1849 and died on 29th August 1910, aged 61, being buried on 1st September 1910.

His wife Elizabeth was born in 1850, and had died on 4th September 1909.

Their son Morgan Williams was born in 1879 and died on 2nd March 1917, aged 38, being buried on the 6th March 1917

They had had another son, Lewis, who had died on 29th June 1885, aged only five.

Their daughter, Catherine A Williams, was born on 15th September 1883 and in 1915 [*] married Arthur Hopkin (born 1875), who worked as a Solicitor. They had a son, S Hopkin, born 9th July 1915, and living by 1939 in High Street, Pontardawe

[?] One assumes the newspaper article above should have 1915 as the date, not 1916? An explanation as to why the wedding took place "very quietly" would be that their son was born 3 months afterwards.

Also mentioned on the grave in Pantteg Cemetery, is a Jane Williams who had died aged 77 on 29th December 1904. Her name and age suggest that she was probably the mother of William Williams.


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