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We've had a query regarding the area of Kilvey and Crumlin Bog on the eastern side of the city. We know that the Tithe Map will detail some parts of the original parish of Swansea but we are not aware of any other sources which might help with the following:

Where would I find the history of the enclosures on the East side of Swansea which resulted in the farms . I am particularly interested in the Lan Farm, Tal y Copa and others of that period. there were quarries and slant mines and the Crumlin Bog area had a farm Lanwern I think. My grandfather owned the Lan Farm which became the Bell Home estate between Winchwen and Halfway(Pentredwr)
I'd be interested to know is there is anything written on the period when these farms were formed i.e. the fields enclosed and the farmhouse and buildings were built.

Any ideas?

Lynne Evans: If your book on the Charters of Swansea is written by George Grant Francis then yes it will be very valuable!
Gaynor was interested in Mount Pleasant. Gaynor, its always been the Welsh way to label each other with 'distinguishing characteristics' For example if you know a David and he has a farm he will at some time in his life be known as 'Dai Farm' and this makes it easier for the rest of us to talk about him and everyone will know who you mean. The system comes into its own when you have a lot of  Jones' or Davies' or Morgans's and you need to differentiate between them (particularly if its a bit of gossip that everyone can enjoy).  We don't know the origin of William Hon Kong,  he may have been there or perhaps he sold something exotic in his shop. Billy the milk (Gambold) started his business going around houses selling milk from jugs so lots of people knew him!
Simon Morgan: We know there was a letter in the South Wales Evening Post recently concerning the Swansea Blitz. Unfortunately it was a bit misleading, the numbers of bombs dropped on Swansea in the February blitz of 1941 is a matter of record and there is no need for speculation. We've posted the figures on a separate page.
Shane Sinclair. Although you asked us about 'Llewelyn Castle', we thought you might mean 'Morris Castle'

Morris Castle was built about 1775 by Robert Morris to house his workers. It was possibly the first block of workers’ flats in the modem world.

The "castle" was built around a central courtyard with a massive tower of .four floors at each corner. The towers were linked by three storey blocks, and the whole was crowned with a mock battlement. Evidence suggests that each family’s flat would have comprised one floor of a tower together with all or part of an adjacent wing except on the top floors of the towers. An early 19th century account states that there were 40 families housed in the building, but 20 may be more likely considering the layout, available floor area, and the size of contemporary workers’ houses.

What survives are the end walls of the north-east and north-west towers, the rest having been destroyed by quarrying in the late 19th century, and a partial collapse after a storm in the early 1990s. The remaining walls stand to their original height and it is possible to pick out the outline of the mock battlements of black slag and fragments of the lead flashing which helped waterproof the flat roofs. On each floor a fireplace survives with its own flue, rising through the battlements. Many window openings can be seen, edged in original brickwork which contrasts with the slag blocks and native sandstone used elsewhere. Several doorways edged in brick and slag leading from the towers to the linking blocks can also be seen, as can the sockets for the floor beams and joists and the imprint of partitions and staircases in the internal wall plaster. On the outside faces can be seen prominent string courses of slag blocks, included for architectural effect and also to throw off rain-water washing down the broad expanses of stonework.

The apparently isolated position of Morris Castle is misleading. At the time it was built there were very many cottages up here on the Graig, convenient to the many coal levels, while most of the adjacent valley settlements of Landore, Brynhyfryd and Plasmarl were still open fields.

Carl Rix wanted to know about Swansea becoming a city.

Swansea first petitioned to become a city back in 1911, the year of investiture of a Prince of Wales although it was not successful at that time. In 1969 with the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales another opportunity arose and this time Swansea was successful. In 1969, Swansea became the second city of Wales after Cardiff.

Philip Stevens asked about James Harris the famous local painter of seascapes. We've given a short biography of Harris and an example of one of his local paintings.
Derek Grant asked about the Morris family and Sketty. The Morris family dominated the industrial development of the town for a number of generations. They first arrived in the Swansea area early in the Industrial Revolution, and were influential in the success of the early copper industry and later expansion of coal mining. Gower, the journal of the Gower Society contains an article about the Morris family in the 1952 volume. The author of that particular article was the late J.M. Davies who collected vast amounts of information on the family. Mr. Davies was also Honorary Curator of the Royal Institution in Swansea and a founder member of the South West Wales Industrial Archaeology Society. There is a box file of notes and maps relating to the Morrises (and Morriston) at the Royal Institution. An excellent fact sheet about the Morrises was complied by Gerald Gabb in the early 1990s (we think) known as Lower Swansea Valley Fact sheet 10. These may still be available from Swansea Museum.

Above: Sketty Hall in 1792, the home of Sir John Morris by the 1820s. The illustration is from Thomas Rothwell.

The life and times of Sir John Morris II (1775-1855 are beautifully explored in an excellent book, Starling Benson of Swansea (Cowbridge, 1996), by Dorothy Bayliffe and Joan Harding. This book is a superb insight into the world of copper and coal in Swansea and the development of the docks and expansion of the port.

 

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