History and Heritage

Headmasters of Ystalyfera County School


The first Headmaster of Ystalyfera County School was Arthur Blount Sully who took up the post at the opening of the school in 1896 and left in 1913. He was succeeded by Harry Rees who held the post for thirty years, from 1913 to 1943. Ben T Jones, already a veteran of the school, took over from 1943 to 1945. Then from 1945 E. D. Lewis was Headmaster. The photographs below are from 'The First Fifty Years' by Rees John Davies:-


Arthur Blount Sully

Henry (Harry) Rees

Ben T Jones

E.D. Lewis

From the book 'The First Fifty Years' by Rees John Davies, M.A. comes this
Obituary of Arthur Blount Sully

Mr A.B. Sully died in London on 20th January 1946, at the age of 75 years. He was born in Bridgwater and educated at Taunton, Cardiff University College, and Oxford. At Oxford he studied under Owen M. Edwards, upon whose advice he took up the teaching profession, although he had intended to study for the Bar. After a period of service in the Intermediate School, Bala, he was appointed headmaster of Ystalyfera County School in 1896. Upon relinquishing this post he went to London, where he took chambers with the object of practising at the Bar. During the 1914-1918 war he was employed on Government work in the War Contracts Department. Subsequently, he returned to legal work and continued to reside in London.

His general activities were much curtailed by ill-health due to arthritis, and he left London to live in Clevedon during the second World War. He then went into a London hospital for treatment and an operation. He died there and was cremated at Golder's Green on 23rd January.

Mr Sully's mother was of Welsh descent, being the daughter of Mr J.B. Hopkins, of Cardiff, who was a great grandson of Lewis Hopkin, of Llantrisant, one of the renowned "Hopcyniaid" of Glamorgan.

In 1943, Mr Harry Rees who had been Headmaster since 1913 retired, and was replaced by Mr Ben T. Jones, M.A., who had been senior master at the school since 1918, and had been teaching there since 1906, soon after completing his training. Born in January 1882, by September 1943, he would have been a few months short of sixty-one years of age.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, Saturday September 4th 1943:-

New Headmaster for Ystalyfera County School
Mr Ben T. Jones Appointed

At a special meeting on Wednesday, Ystalyfera County School Governors appointed Mr Ben T. Jones, M.A., as headmaster consequent upon the retirement of Mr Harry Rees. Mr Jones has been senior master at the school since 1918.

A Master of Arts (Wales) and a Licentiate of the College of Preceptors, Mr Jones is an Exhibitioner and Prizeman at the Cardiff University College.

A brilliant scholar, he gained first-class at each of the pupil teachers' examinations and first-class at the Queen's Scholarship Examination (1900); first-class at the Welsh Matriculation Examination (1901), Senior Certificate C.W.B. with four distinctions (1901); B.A. (second class honours Welsh, with ordinary Latin and Greek, and won the Dan Isaac Davies Welsh Prize, open to Honours Welsh students (1904); gained his second year certificate of the Board of Education in 1903 and his third year certificate in 1904, securing a Double First (in theory and practice of education) both years.He gained the Diploma of L.O.P., an examination in the theory and practice of education with special reference to secondary school curriculum in January 1905. In 1915, Mr Jones gained his M.A. (Wales).

His teaching experience extends over a period of 46 years. From 1897 to 1900 he was pupil teacher at Coedmore Board School, Lampeter; from 1904 to 1905 he was pupil master at the Pembroke County School, and held a similar position at Ystalyfera County School from 1906 to 1914. In September 1914 he was appointed assistant master at the school.

Mr Jones takes a great interest in local affairs. He lectures in Welsh and English to local literary societies; was president for three years in succession, and later secretary, of the Guild of the Red Dragon; financial secretary of the Ystalyfera Male Voice Party during its preparation for the Ammanford National Eisteddfod; organised a dramatic evening which realised £56 to Swansea Hospital funds; adjudicates at eisteddfodau and drama competitions, and was adjudicator in the literary section of Swansea National Eisteddfod in 1926; organised several high class concerts in Ystalyfera between 1924 and 1930; was secretary of the Ystalyfera War Savings Association and is the present treasurer of Ystalyfera County School National Savings Association. Mr Jones has for the past six years been secretary and a deacon of Pantteg Chapel since 1927.