Former Pont y Twr School, Bethesda

Former Pont y Twr School, Bethesda

Pont y Twr School (also known as Tŷ'n Twr School) was established here by Hon. Col. Douglas Pennant (owner of the Penrhyn Slate Quarry) in the early 19th century. The section nearest the road was the schoolmaster’s house, with the school room behind. The building is now a private residence – please enjoy the view from the road and don’t enter the garden or the courtyard behind.

In 1866 the school had 310 pupils (130 boys, 180 girls) – more than any other school in the area. It was a prime venue for meetings and concerts. In 1856 the Penrhyn Slate Quarry Harmonic Society performed here to an audience of 600. The school was a temporary hospital during an outbreak of typhoid fever in 1882.

By 1849 Charles Jones, originally from Holywell, was the schoolmaster. He had earlier been a clerk in a Manchester office. While he lived here with his wife Joanna and their children, tragedy struck the family. On Saturday 15 May 1852 eldest son Charles Foulkes Jones, aged 10, was killed instantly when he fell down a 9-metre (30ft) cliff on Braich Tŷ Du Rocks (beside the current A5 road, below Pen yr Ole Wen).

Eight days later his younger brother Josiah, aged 15 months, died from whooping cough. Both were buried in Glanogwen Churchyard, the funerals taking place just six days apart. The family moved from Bethesda, and Charles eventually took holy orders.  When he died in 1890, aged 75, he was the vicar of St Fagan’s Church in Aberdare, Glamorgan.

In October 1903 the schoolmaster’s house was put up for auction. In 1915 the Board of Education began plans to close the school. There was local resistance, including warnings that the children wouldn’t attend any other school and that the matter would be raised in Parliament, but the school closed by the end of the year.

Furniture, equipment and books transferred to Cefnfaes or Glanogwen Schools in Bethesda. The teachers, including headmaster Richard Evans, were also moved to other schools. Richard became assistant-master at Carneddi School but soon left, in February 1916, to do munitions work for the war effort.

With thanks to Dr Hazel Pierce, of The History House

Postcode: LL57 3BQ    View Location Map