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PEMBREY PARISH CARMARTHENSHIRE

& OTHER PARISHES OF CARMARTHENSHIRE

PEMBREY & BURRY PORT

Some Road, Street and other Place Names

COLBY ROAD. From Achddu Cross (Brynygroes) to Chivers Corner.

Members of the Colby family came from Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire, and owned land and houses in Pembrey and Burry Port. Mr. T. V. Colby, of Haverfordwest, was one of three landowners who generously gave sufficient land to the Elkington brothers to build St. Mary's Church in memory of their parents.

Colby Road was extended in July 1917, when Burry Port Urban District Council decided that Ivor Terrace (near Plas Newydd) should be re-named Colby Road.

Interestingly, the Colby family built a cottage in Pembrey c.1840, at a total cost of £68.17.5. (£68.87) made up of the following charges; stone mason £46.15.9., carpenter £17.5.0. and sawyer £4.16.8. - note no plumber, electrician, plasterer, roofer nor even planning consent

ELKINGTON ROAD. From Station and Gors Roads Junction to top of Stepney Road at Achddu. Deservedly after the Elkington family who came from Birmingham to establish the Pembrey Copper Works alongside the Burry Port Harbour. Three generations of the family from 1849 to 1905 were connected with the Works and the parish, several of them at different times living in Burry Port and Pembrey.

Elkington Road known until c. 1900 as Jerusalem Road.

The Pembrey Copper Works site was occupied by Grillo Zincoxide (U. K.) Ltd.

PEMBERTON AVENUE. From Carway Street to Heol Elfed.

Named after a well-known North of England family who had mining, railway and maritime interests in Pembrey parish and the Llanelli area. Two Pemberton brothers were among the proprietors of 10th July 1825 Act, permitting the building of the New Pembrey Harbour at Burry Port. Francis, one of the brothers was a director of the Burry Port & Gwendraeth Valley Railway. Their home in Llanelli, known as Pemberton Mansion, stood on the site of the present Llanelli Borough Library.

The family generously supported a Charity School in Pembrey village for over a hundred years. Pemberton Avenue and Carway Street, were built by Edward Morton Goodwin, c.1873, and were known as "Goodwin's Town.'

HEOL VAUGHAN. Connecting to Pembrey Old Harbour Road.

Unrelated Vaughan (Welsh Fychan) families have been associated with the parishes of Pembrey and Llanelli for hundreds of years. One Vaughan family built the main part of Pembrey Court in the 16th century, others lived at Plas Trimsaran. The 1579 memorial tablet to David Vaughan of Plas Trimsaran, cemented into the floor of the Lady Chapel, is the oldest memorial stone in Pembrey Church.

MANSEL STREET. Connecting Elkington and Stepney Roads.

Members of the Mansel family lived at Pembrey Court, Plas Trimsaran, Muddlescombe and Stradey. Several Mansels are buried in a vault under the nave of Pembrey Church.

Mansel Street, formerly Aelybryn Terrace, until re-named in 1917 by Burry Port Council.

STEPNEY ROAD. From Station Road to Achddu Cross.

The founder of the Llanelli dynasty was Sir Thomas Stepney, from Prendergast, Haverfordwest, who married Margaret Vaughan of Llanelli, in 1691. Sir Thomas built the present Llanelli House, c.1714, (opposite The Llanelli Library), on the site of an earlier house. The family is commemorated by Stepney Road, Pwll, Stepney Street, Llanelli and the Stepney Hotel.

GWSCWM ROAD. From Achddu Cross to Queen Street, just beyond Pembrey Church.

Its name derives from the old Gwscwm Farm, which had been occupied by descendants of the same family, until recently, for almost two hundred years, but only the house now remains. Many older people will remember the farm buildings, to the rear of the house being used by a nearby farmer to keep cattle. All the land was leased from the Colby estate. The Gwscwm name, for which there is a selection of meanings, has been passed on to Gwscwm Colliery, Gwscwm Quarry to the rear of the house and Gwscwm Park.

GORS ROAD. Gars is the Welsh word for bog or marshy land.

Originally named, probably, after Gars Farm, which would have been adjacent to the present Gars Estate, and most of the farm's land is now occupied by the Estate. Gars Road runs parallel with the railway, from the house, 'Ty-Y-Gors', to the junction of Elkington and Station Roads.

Much of the land below the farm, as far as Heal Vaughan, lower Cliff Terrace and under the present road and rail bridges was pa r t of Gars Pool, and a part of the Pool still exists as a watery bog on the south side of lower Cliff Terrace. During the early 1800s, the Pool was part of George Bowser 's short canal system.

People of my generation may well remember the 8.40 p.m. G.W.R. Royal Mail train snatching the mail bag hanging on the mail post near Gars Farm.

PARKES STREET. Rear of Station Road, almost adjoining the Royal British Legion.

The brothers Alexander and Henry Parkes, from Birmingham, first came to Burry Port in 1848, on behalf of Mason & Elkington, to view a possible Copper Works site. They recommended some land alongside Burry Port harbour, on which, in 1849, the Pembrey Copper Works was built. Alexander was already a well-known chemist and credited with many inventions associated with the copper trade, while Henry was an assayer (Copper quality tester) and both were employed at the Copper Works . They married sisters, two of the four Roderick daughters, who lived in Danygraig House, Pembrey.

Alexander, due to his many inventions had sufficient influence to encourage several wealthy industrialists to establish a Silver Works, in 1853, on land leased by and adjacent to the Copper Works. The new works gave Parkes an opportunity to further develop a process which he had earlier patented for refining silver.

Both brothers and their families lived at Burry Port House, which adjoined the down platform of the main station, but the house was demolished in the 1970s, and the house site and the garden converted into a car park.

Note excellent example of copper slag rubble wall, capped with half-round slag, bordering the car park and down platform .

WOODBROOK TERRACE. Branching off Glanmor Terrace to Burrows Terrace in the Backe. The older terrace houses were built by Mason & Elkington, owners of the Copper Works, to provide homes for their employees and their families. Woodbrook, was borrowed from a village of that name, c. 1850, near Birmingham, which had an Elkington family connection. The Copper Works Company also built other rows or terraces, including, Refinery Row. When Elliott's Metal Company, the successors of the Elkingtons as owners of the Copper Works, sold Woodbrook Terrace and other properties, one of the directors of Elliott's who signed the sale document was, Neville Chamberlain, who was British Prime Minister from 1937 to 1940.

SILVER TERRACE. Again branching south off Glanmor Terrace to Burrows Terrace.

Built by the nearby Burry Port Smelting Company (Lead & Silver Works), 1853 to 1877, for their workmen and their families.

WILLIAMS TERRACE. Off Pencoed Road.

Built by David Williams, a respected carpenter, contractor and undertaker.

SPRINGFIELD TERRACE. Stepney Road to Elkington Road.

There were many free-flowing water springs on the open fields, where the later Park Terrace, Mansel Street, Snowdon Road, Sandfield Road and Springfield Terrace now stand, also a large

pond in the Park Terrace area. From about 1880, most of the spring waters were channelled to a sunken brick and stone built reservoir (still there) in the garden of Wellfield House, in Springfield Terrace. The Burry Port Harbour Company were then the owners of the land as far as Sandfield Terrace, and water was piped from the garden reservoir to the dock area, to supply drinking water to vessels in the dock and harbour. Nearby residents and the Ashburnham Tinplate Works were also allowed to draw water from the reservoir.

Spring water from the present Snowdon Road land was diverted to a brick built water holder, with half round roof, which stood in front of Achddu Villa. This water was for the use of the general public. It was demolished in the 1930s. There was a smaller rectangular water holder on the site of the present Amelia Earhart monument.

SANDFIELD ROAD. Entries from Stepney Road, Springfield Road and Elkington Road . Some of these houses are among the oldest in Burry Port, and were referred to on early censuses, and other documents, as Club Houses. It appears that "Club Houses", is a legacy of the efforts of the earliest few residents who had clubbed or joined together as a self-help group to build each others house. Clearly the land of the area is sandy.

NEPTUNE HOTEL and SQUARE. Immediately south of Pembrey & Burry Port Station.

The hotel was built in 1841 by the Burry Port Harbour Company, and opened on 13th October 1842. Neptune is the name of Roman sea god and also the name of the planet discovered in 1846.

A report of October 12th 1842, concerning the Neptune, refers to, "this commodious hotel erected for the accommodation of merchants, Masters of vessels and others frequenting the harbour." Its first proprietor was William McKiernon, a very competent and versatile marine and civil engineer..Many wealthy, even titled families, from London and Birmingham stayed at the hotel during the summer months to enjoy the 'salubrious' Pembrey sands.

Auctions and sales of wrecked vessels, new and second-hand canal barges, farming equipment and machinery and commercial goods were often held on Neptune Square.

SEA VIEW TERRACE. Co-op Railway Bridge to Gors Bridge.

Burry Port Council decided in July 1917, that the road from and to the above two bridges would in future be known as Sea View Terrace, and that the road from Gors Bridge to Challenor's Bridge or Ashburnham Bridge be named Cliff Terrace.

Houses near Tabernacle Chapel were often referred to as Tabernacle Terrace, and houses near Gars Bridge as Gors Terrace.

The Backe. This large area of land and including five terraces of houses is on the south side of the railway.

Most of the main industries of Burry Port were sited on the Backe, during the second half of the 1800s, and also most of the town's sporting activities of the last and present century until about 1950, were held there. The name may have derived from the custom of estate sale catalogues and official institutions referring to houses, farms and land to the rear or beyond the first named property as "Back . . . . . . . ." An example is provided on the Ashburnham Sale Catalogue, the second day's sale, held on August 16th 1922:-

LOT 374

"Freehold Salt Marsh and Back Land." implying land beyond. Backe, may plausibly be, a contraction of "Back Land", over or beyond the railway.

There is an identically spelt area name just outside St. Clears.

CLIFF TERRACE. From Gars Bridge to the Ashburnham or Challenor Bridge.

The name Cliff Terrace was instituted by Burry Port Council in July 1917. It was repeatedly referred to as Cliff Road in the Ashburnham Estate Sale of August 1922. Obviously, the word Cliff was borrowed from Cliff Cottage, from where Cliff Terrace originally started.

SOME PEMBREY ROADS AND STREETS

ASHBURNHAM ROAD. Known until about 1905 as Sandy Road. In June 1916, a contract was awarded to a Mr. David Davies, for laying out Ashburnham Road. During the late 1920s, the frontages of most of the houses were shortened to provide sufficient width for a wider road and pavements.

RANDELL SQUARE. Named after Francis Randell, a well-known ship's captain, during the early 1800s, who owned the Commercial Arms (Pembrey Inn), and previously the proprietor of the Ashburnham Arms / Hotel.

Tre Nel (Nel's Town) Housing Estate bordering Factory and Lando Roads. Believed to be named af ter a mythical or long lost village on Cefn Sidan Burrows.

QUEEN STREET. Off Danlan Road (A484) and opposite Murray's Newsagent Shop or as some of the older people remember it as Camel Jem (Jem's Corner), where the Randell Square Road joins Danlan Road. It is assumed that this diminutive cul-de-sac was so named during the reign of Queen Victoria, and originally provided access to Penstar Farm and a cottage.

CHURCH HILL. The short 'ONE WAY ROAD' passing alongside the churchyard wall from Gwscwm Road to Randall Square. Prior to c. 1932, all traffic had to go up and down this road, to go to Ashburnham Road and the Pembrey to Kidwelly Road.

FFORDD FAWR. See Pembrey Court additional notes (p.16).

THE CROWN COLONY. The Penybedd area south of the Pembrey to Kidwelly Road.

The 1914-18 War Cabinet decided during the later years of the war, that returning wounded or disabled servicemen should be rewarded and helped in some appropriate way for their valiant service. One of the ways this could be accomplished was to lease or buy land in many parts of the country, and allocate a few acres and a house to the servicemen who were interested in farming.

It was reported in July 1917 that, "We are informed from a reliable source, that the Penybedd and Tywyn Farms have been acquired by the Government ......(l)" Shortly afterwards it was further noted that, "As reported in last week's "Mercury", the Welsh Farm Colony has been definitely fixed for Pembrey, and it is now further reported that Sir Richard Winfrey is shortly to pay another visit to Carmarthenshire in regard to the establishment there of a farm colony for disabled Welsh soldiers and sailors. The cause of the delay in settling the matter is understood to be a question of minerals under the land, and the point or points to which access to them shall be secured for the landlords. It is probable that Sir Richard will ask the Welsh Agricultural Committee to assist him in the matter." (2)

Locally, the Welsh Farm Colony plan was sufficiently advanced for the administrators to build six blocks of semi-detached houses of pleasant and rather unusual design, to accommodate the servicemen and their families, three blocks to the east and west of Penybedd Farm. The houses are believed to be of Dutch design.

Due to the "minerals under the land" and other difficulties the project only survived for two or three years. Capt, Grant, who lived at Penybedd Farm, was in charge of the Pembrey project.

Geological surveys over many years have confirmed that huge deposits of coal exist under the present Motor Sports and R.A.F. land area.

References

1Llanelly Mercury, July 19th 1917.

2 Ibid., July 26th 1917.

THE COUNTRY PARK or FACTORY ROAD. This is another ancient vehicular (Horse & cart) roadway to the Pembrey shore. Nowadays it branches off Lando Road (A484) and over the c. 1915 railway bridge, previously a gated crossing, then bears left near the entrance to the former Royal Ordnance Factory to pass along the outside of the Factory and Country Park boundary fence and on to the sandbanks. Recovered bodies, timber and remaining cargoes of wrecked vessels were carried along the originally rough roadway, either to the Court via Ffordd Fawr or to the village for later disposal by sale or auction. For several hundred years it had served a few homesteads along its route, but during the last eighty years or so it has served Coastguard houses, two Munitions Factories 1914-18, 1939-45, an on-going Industrial Estate and since the 1.980 opening of the Country Park, it has carried a variety of heavy traffic.

HEOL LLOETRACH (LLOETRACH ROAD). This ancient roadway branches off Ashburnham Road at the old Board school, and for hundreds of years provided unrestricted access for local people to the beach over open burrows and sandbanks. Records show that the road was used from certainly the late 1600s by horse drawn vehicles to carry the bodies of drowned sailors, timber and cargoes of stranded or wrecked vessels to the Pembrey Court or to the village. A long held tradition claims that the bodies of most of the crew and passengers, including the 12 years old Adeline Coquelin, from the "La Jeune Emma", a well-known 1828 wrecked French vessel, were transported to the village along this roadway. It was also used by local farmers, who had leased or rented land on the flatlands, before and after the 1914-18 Munitions Works. During the 1823 to 1843 Pembrey Canal years, which cut across the roadway, a service bridge allowed the customary traffic to cross the canal, and a bridge spanned the South Wales Railway (pre 1863 G.W.R.). From 1863 to 1887, the Lloetrach was regularly used by designated horse owners to gallop their horses down to the Pembrey Lifeboat House, near the Plantation, to enable the lifeboat to be drawn into the sea by the horses during shipwreck rescues.

Although the roadway is known as the "Lloetrach", there is no readily available evidence as to why or when it was so named.

When the Ashburnham Estate sold land to the Pembrey School Board in 1873, to build the Board school, the sale document referred to the land as, "alongside the road leading to the sands", Lloetrach was not mentioned. On the 8th June 1905, it was reported that, "G.W.R." erected a new bridge near Board School, Pembrey Village, "the former structure had stood the test of time for many a long year", - again no mention of the Lloetrach. No old map in my possession names the roadway as Lloetrach Road. It appears therefore that it is post the 1905 bridge.

The meaning of "Trach" in one old Welsh dictionary is given as hill, hillock or mound rising from flat land, which is the precise description of Lloetrach bridge. I have been reminded that the hill overlooking Tintern Abbey, is known in Welsh as Trach Dindyrn (Tintern Hill), and

there are many other examples of trach usage, particularly in North Wales.

Lloetrach may well be a contraction of "Lle oer ar y trach" (The hill is a cold place) or even an expansion of the Welsh word "Loetran" (To linger).

Richard James 1993