Cadoxton, or Llan-Catwg - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
CADOXTON, or LLAN-CATWG, a parish, in the union and hundred of Neath, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 1 mile (N.) from Neath; comprising the townships of Blaen-Honddan, CoedFrank, Dyfryn-Clydach, Lower Dylas, Upper Dylas, Neath-Genol (or Middle Neath), Lower Neath, Upper Neath, and Ynis-y-Mond, each of which separately maintains its own poor; and containing 5794 inhabitants. This extensive parish, which derives its name from St. Catwg, to whom the church is dedicated, is situated on the north-western bank of the river Neath, along which it extends for about fifteen miles, from its entrance into the county at Pont-Neath-Vaughan. The parish is traversed by the road leading from Swansea to Merthyr-Tydvil, and is bounded on the north by the parish of Kîlybebill, on the south by Neath, on the east by Lantwitjuxta-Neath, and on the west by the parish of Llansamlet. It averages about five miles in breadth, and comprises 32,000 acres, comprehending within its limits a great part of the beautiful valley of Neath. Rheola, the seat of Nash Edwards Vaughan, Esq., is a splendid modern mansion, occupying a delightful situation on the banks of the Neath, and commanding a view of the most admired scenery in the vale through which that river flows. Dyfryn, the seat of the ancient family of Williams, whose pedigree in the church is noticed below, is situated at the base of a precipitous mountain, near the road leading to Llandilo-Vawr: the family having become extinct in the male line, the property lately descended to two females. Cadoxton Lodge, Cadoxton Place, Court Herbert, and Aberpergwm, an ancient mansion in Neath-Genol, are also among the chief residences. Besides the Neath, the parish is watered by a stream called the Dylas, and it is not less distinguished for its mineral wealth, valuable manufactures, and extensive public works, than for richness and variety of scenery, and the number and elegance of the gentlemen's seats with which it abounds, exclusively of the highly respectable residences of the proprietors of the different works, or their agents. Stone is extensively quarried, and numerous collieries, with iron, tin, copper, and spelter works on a large scale, are situated within its limits, affording employment to much the greater portion of the inhabitants. In 1847 it contained the Neath Abbey iron-works, the Crown copper and spelter works, the Mines-Royal copper and spelter works, Kirkhouse's spelter works, the Aber-Dylas tin-works and forge, Abernant ironworks, Onllwyn iron-works, and a number of collieries. Some of these works are noticed under the head of Neath. A splendid brewery has been built some years by the Vale of Neath Company. The Neath canal, and the Swansea and Neath Junction canal, which unites with the former by means of a handsome stone aqueduct at the village of AberDylas, afford every facility for the conveyance of the produce of the mines, and of the various extensive works in the parish, to the shipping-places at Briton-Ferry and Swansea. The Vale of Neath railway, for which an act of parliament was lately obtained, will also pass through the parish.
The living is a vicarage, rated in the king's books at £5. 11. 10½., endowed with £200 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant; present net income, £240; patron and impropriator, Capel Hanbury Leigh, Esq. The church is supposed to have been originally built about the year 1300. It contains several handsome mural tablets, two of which are commemorative of the ancient family of Williams of Dyfryn, one inscribed with a curious acrostic on Mrs. Rose Williams, who died March 24th, 1680, and the other containing the entire pedigree of the family, engraved on several sheets of copper, from Iestyn ab Gwrgan, the last native prince of Glamorgan, in the reign of William Rufus, down to Philip Williams, Esq., who died in 1717. At Skewen is a separate incumbency, in the gift of the Crown and the Bishop of Llandaf, alternately; and a new church and parsonage have been lately built at GlynNeath. There is a chapel of ease called Crynant chapel; also various places of worship for dissenters in the parish, several day schools, and above a dozen Sunday schools.
The abbey of Neath, in Cadoxton parish, a magnificent structure, was founded about the year 1111, by Richard de Granville (who assisted Fitz-Hamon in his conquest of Glamorganshire), for Grey friars, who were afterwards superseded by monks of the Cistercian order. In this monastery Edward of Carnarvon, after his escape from Caerphilly Castle, took refuge, and remained for some time in security; but the house being threatened with a siege, he was induced to retire, under the conduct of one of the monks, hoping to reach his partisans: by the treachery of his guide, however, he was betrayed at Llantrissent Castle. Leland notices the house "as the fairest abbey in all Wales," and the present remains still afford interesting specimens of ancient ecclesiastical architecture. It is situated on the western bank of the river Neath, about a mile from the town of that name, and appears to have been the work of successive periods, and a pile of very great extent, stretching far beyond its existing limits. The ruins present a venerable appearance, but their beauty is greatly disfigured by the smoke of the various works which have been erected near the site. The white stone, from Sutton near Margam in this county, of which the cornices and other ornamental parts are constructed, is perfectly free from the ivy and other parasitical plants by which some portions of the structure are covered. The walls of the priory house are still in tolerable preservation, and the hall, the refectory, and some of the apartments, may be traced: the remains of the chapel and of the chapter-house are also considerable, and the ruins convey a striking and impressive idea of the grandeur and extent of this once magnificent pile. The revenue at the Dissolution was £150. 4. 9. A work entitled "Original Charters of Neath and its Abbey, by Mr. George Grant Francis, was privately printed in 1845, containing a mass of curious and valuable papers relating to the monastery.
On the summit of the Drymmeu mountain, to the north of Neath Abbey, was a kist-vaen, five feet long and four feet wide, in which, on its being opened not many years since, were found a heap of bones, and an ancient celt very much corroded. To the east of this mountain, and just above the village of Dylas, is the Long Mountain, over which is carried the Via Helena, commonly called the Sarn Helen: this ancient road diverges from the Strata Julia Maritima, and crosses the river Neath a little above the present bridge, where it enters the parish, afterwards taking a north-eastern direction across the mountain towards Crynant. On the hill of March Hywel or Howel, are several tumuli, on opening one of which a platform of stone was found, exhibiting strong appearances of the action of fire; and on one side of it was an urn of unbaked clay, containing ashes, remnants of bones, and charcoal, as fresh apparently as when first deposited. Celts, and a weapon of yellow metal, supposed to be a Roman sword, have also been found here.—See Neath, &c.