Nantarnelle alias Nant-y-nelle alias Nantyranele (The Stream of the traps)
The various spellings suggest that the original name could have been ‘Nantyrannelau’ Nant (stream) plus yr (the) and annelau (traps).
Now owned by Forestry Commission Nantyrnele farmhouse ruins are under forestry but some of the land may now be on the open mountain where OS maps show disused mine adits.
The owner in the tithe was David Lloyd Harries, of the Llandingat estate and the tenant of this 13 acre holding was Hezekiah Herbert. In 1896 a newspaper article entitled, “Welsh Centenarians …” is about Hezekiah Herbert, occupant of Nant a’r Nelle in 1843, then living in Llanwrtyd and aged 100.1
In 1800 a ‘certificate of the contract for the redemption of land tax upon the messuage and lands called …. and Nantyrarnele, parish of Killecwm, by David Lloyd of Pistillgwyn, esq’ appears in the Glansevin deeds.2
In 1822 3 July 1822, Benjamin David of Nantynele, 73 years was buried at Cilycwm.
In 1838 there was an agreement … between David Lloyd Harries [Llandingat] and William Davys Harries [Neuadd Fawr] for a lease for life of the right of pasturage of the bank or hill called Lletherclynview, part of the farm of Nantarnelle. 3
In 1838 there is an agreement between David Lloyd Harries and Wellington Gregory of, ‘The Mining Offices, London, … to mine and search for metals, minerals and ores in the estate called Nantarnelle for 12 months …’ 4
Outside events intrude upon the Gwenlais valley in 1841, the farmhouse and buildings of ‘Nantyranell’ are razed to the ground by Rebecca’s daughters,
“ …. this wanton gang of grievance mongers, known by the name of Rebecca-ites; who again assembled near Cwmdunant farmhouse in the parish of Cilycwm, on Friday night, it is said with the intention of pulling it down, out of revenge to its proprietor, who is one of the most active magistrates in the district. The house was, however, spared, but on the following night, or early on Sunday morning, another farm-house and buildings, the property of D. LI. Harris, Esq., called Nantyranell, in the same parish, was razed to the ground, because the tenant, who had rented it was obnoxious to Rebecca’s children, of whom there were about 150 engaged at the destruction of the house”. 5
Was the tenant “who was obnoxious to Rebecca’s children” and cause of the house being burned to the ground William Morgan who was the occupant in the census of 1841?
There is no record of any occupants at Nantarnele after 1843. However, there are Glansevin documents relating to agreements for mining there dated 1852, 1860, 1862, and 1865; and the 1841 Census recorded a Miner, William William, age 30, living at New York in the ‘Gwenles’ valley. G.W. Hall’s 1993 book gives a detailed analysis of Nant a’r Nelle as well as other mines in Cilycwm parish, including Craig y Rhosan, Pen-Rhiw-Rhaiadr, Mallaen Mountain, Cnwch y Bedw, Benlan, Cae-glas, and Tynybedw,
“Nant a’r Nelle was worked about 1838 by the then owner who raised twelve tons of ore … In 1845 P.P. Couch attempted to form a public company to provide further capital for development, but with little success …. In 1854 another company was in possession” 6
In 1918 there is a sale of ‘Three Fields or Closes of Land called and known as “Nantyrnelai”, 9 acres of land in the occupation of William Davies. In the 1940’s Nantarnelle was planted with forests, by the Forestry Commission.
1. “Welsh Centenarians, Two of The Oldest Persons In The Kingdom” by Mr. T. C. Thomas of Llandaff, in the Evening Express, 24 November 1896
2. Glansevin 1500 (NLW)
3. Glansevin 154 (NLW)
4. Glansevin 323 (NLW)
5. Article “Rebecca’s Diabolical Progress”, in the Cambrian Swansea, 7th October 1841
6. Hall, G.W. (1993) Metal Mines of Southern Wales, Griffin Publications, Kington, pp61-62
Tegwyn & Mair Davies, Glangwenlais