The Ynyscedwyn Arms, Ystradgynlais

PWMP logobutton-theme-womenbutton_lang_welshThe Ynyscedwyn Arms, Ystradgynlais

This hostelry, popularly known as the “Sced”, has long been a centre of community life. Its site was once squeezed between the river Tawe and the Swansea Canal (now the route of the A4067 road). The space in front was known as the Square.

Inquests were often held at the hotel, including one in 1845 into the death of David Davies, nicknamed “Dai Dwywaith” (Dai Twice). He was killed by a rockfall in a colliery, leaving his wife and children. In 1878 a verdict of accidental drowning was returned in the case of John Owens, aged four, whose body was found in the canal near Ynys Isaf.

An inquest here in 1892 found nobody was to blame for the deaths of six colliers at Hendre-Ladis drift mine. The cage for miners to enter and leave the mine had suddenly careered downwards, knocking away roof supports and causing a rock fall.

In December 1882, c.250 of the local poor walked through thick snow to the Ynyscedwyn Arms to receive clothing and blankets given by world-famous opera star Adelina Patti, who lived near Abercrave. She had donated £100 in kind to help the poor – about £12,000 in today’s money.

Madame Patti often called at the hotel for a meal during days out with her artistic friends. She treated 2,000 local schoolchildren to a special tea in 1892 and visited each of the schools. Outside the Ynyscedwyn Arms stood a temporary “triumphal arch”, bearing the words “God bless the Queen of Song”.

Inventor George Capell hosted a celebratory lunch here in 1887 after a successful demonstration of his patent mine fan at Ystrad Fawr colliery. His fan had two sets of blades, one inside the other.

During the First World War “smoking concerts” (where men smoked, chatted and listened to music) were held at the Ynyscedwyn Arms to welcome home soldiers, often after they’d been wounded or ill. Recipients included: David Jones of Pelican Street (wounded at Hill 60 in Belgium), who received a watch and money; Sam Jones of Pelican Street (gassed and wounded by shrapnel); and Private WJ Charles of Brynawel Road, who received a watch and cigarette case.

The local Soldiers’ Reception Committee organised entertainment here for Private DH Lewis and Driver WT Owen before they returned to the fray in 1915.

Postcode: SA9 1LA    View Location Map

Website of the Ynyscedwyn Arms


To continue the Ystradgynlais in WW1 tour, walk southwards along Commercial St and turn left into Heol Giedd. Sardis Chapel is the first building on the left
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