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The streams of Swansea

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If something is important to people they will give it a name. Many of the springs and streams of the town were given names very early in Swansea’s history. The oldest names are English rather than Welsh because they were named by the town's Anglo-Norman founders. Most of the streams were culverted over in the later years of the nineteenth century as a precaution against the spread of disease. Although choked with rubbish and filth and giving off noxious gases in the last years of their lives, they were the life blood of the town in earlier times. Here are only a few of the early streams that were used by the people of the town.
The Washing Lake A vigorous stream which ran from Mayhill down Mount Pleasant and into the centre of town. One of the best water supplies for the early town. It flowed into the Town Ditch. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it supplied the large tannery that once stood on the site of The Hanbury public house.
Ffynnon y Graig (later known as the Cwm Evan John Spring). A large stream which rose from a spring above Rosehill Quarry and flowed through Ffynone and Uplands before crossing the flat expanse known as Sandfields and eventually joining the Town Ditch. Although a first class water supply in its upper reaches, the lower course became the early town's most notorious sewer.
The (Ana)Baptist Well A spring which rose on the western slope of Mayhill and flowed through Waun Wen before joining the large stream known as the Glasdwr Brook.
The Burlais Brook (Burgh Lake) The stream which was used by the Normans to denote the northern boundary of the Borough of Swansea (hence its English name). Heavily used as a water supply for the works at Cwmfelin, and the residents of Greenhill. This stream was the source of a number of outbreaks of illness, particularly as so many people relied on it for water supply despite the fact that it was the receptacle for a considerable amount of industrial and human waste.
Saint David’s Ditch Another important early stream used by the Normans as the eastern boundary of the Borough of Swansea. It rose as a spring at The Cockit and flowed through an area later known as Bryn Mill.
The Cwm Dawkin (or Donkin) Springs A series of springs from the southern slope of the Town Hill which amalgamated to produce an excellent water supply used in the nineteenth century to fill the Cwm Donkin reservoir.

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