The Llewellyn Almshouses, Neath

The Llewellyn Almshouses can come as a bit of a surprise for visitors travelling along Gnoll Park Road. Constructed of vivid Ruabon brick, with a frontage of half-timbered appearance and set in its own grounds, it is a striking addition to the street scene.

Old photo of the Llewellyn Almshouses, NeathOpened in 1897, the building was designed by George E Halliday, architect of the Llandaff diocese. It was erected in memory of Griffith Llewellyn of Baglan Hall by his widow Madelina Georgiana Llewellyn. She was the eldest daughter of industrialist and slave owner Pascoe St Leger Grenfell of Maesteg House on Kilvey Hill, Swansea. See the footnotes for more about her and Griffith.

The Almshouses was for the maintenance and support of eight “poor women”, either widows or single ladies over 45 years of age and of good moral conduct and character. They had to be members of the Church of England and should, in the main, be residents of the parish of Baglan. Originally the almswomen, as they were known, lived free of rent. Each received four shillings per week for her support.

Old photo of the Llewellyn Almshouses, NeathA woman of good character was to be appointed as caretaker. She ensured the outer gates were locked at 10pm and the gas was turned off just 15 minutes later.

A large sum of money was invested in Neath Corporation bonds to meet the immediate outlay and future maintenance.

One of the residents, Sarah Ann Finch, died aged 71 in 1919 after colliding with a blind man in Crythan Road and falling. Her death, a few days later, was attributed to her broken thigh.

The older records of the Almshouses, including those relating to the early residents, are kept by Neath Antiquarian Society at Neath Mechanics Institute. The Almshouses is now managed and let by the housing association Tai Tarian.

With thanks to Neath Antiquarian Society

Postcode: SA11 3HH    View Location Map

Website of Tai Tarian

Footnotes: Who were Mr and Mrs Llewellyn?

Griffith Llewellyn (1802-1888) inherited Baglan Hall from his mother in 1840. He married Madelina in 1850. He grew even wealthier from industrial developments, including Rhondda collieries, and was a benefactor of local churches and Swansea Hospital. His estate was valued at £352,500 (c.£38m today) on his death.

Madelina continued the support for worthy causes, particularly helping the poor. On Christmas Day 1896 she provided a “veritable feast” for inmates at the local workhouse. She funded three new churches and a new wing at Swansea Hospital. She died in 1903, aged 77.