Children of Daniel Jones

and Anne Morgan

coelbren house group 1910 detail

Probably around 1910, showing Gwenllian Morgan and her grandchildren outside the front door to Coelbren House.

Rear L: possibly Olwen Jones  Rear R: possibly William Jones

Front L: possibly Margaret Jones; Centre: twins Jestyn and John Walter Jones  Front R: possibly Gwenllian Jones.

Source: family photograph

1. William Jones (1887-1979) married Margaret Williams (1887-1968)

William, known as “Will” was the first of Daniel and Anne Jones’ ten children and was no doubt named after his paternal grandfather, William Jones (1820-1879).  He worked as a collier and in 1939 was recorded as Colliery Fireman.  At this point, the family is shown  at Pen-y-Bank, Coelbren.

Will Jones with his wife and two of his daughters: the photograph was taken at Coney Beach, Porthcawl on what must have been a day out. Source: family photograph   


i. Jack “Bach” Jones (1912-)

Really John Walter Jones  (pictured, source: family photograph) he married Gwenllian Kemeys at Ystradgynlais in 1935. The Kemeys family was of Arosfa, Station Road, Coelbren.                                                                                                                     Husband and wife appear to have been second cousins, through Gwenllian’s parents John Kemeys and Jennet Jones.  Jennet was Jack’s father William’s cousin.

In the 1939 register, the young married couple are shown with no children at Glasfryn, Coelbren.  Jack’s occupation is “Colliery Hewer - Heavy Worker”.  He would have perhaps been in the company of his cousin, Howell Jeffreys, (“Jeff Camnant), another famous hewer of the area, and perhaps as the boys grew up  their rivalry did too.

ii. Winifred Jones (1914-1915)

iii. Nancy Jones (1916-1936) - died aged 20 following hospital operation (believed thyroid).

iv. Daniel Jones (1916-), recorded in 1939 as a Colliery Tram Weigher 

v. Elvira Jones (1919-) married Thomas S Kemeys in 1942.  Thomas would have almost certainly been connected to the same Arosfa Kemeys family her brother married into, but it is not yet known precisely how.

vi. Eurwen Jones (1921-), in 1939 she is recorded a a cashier in a grocery shop.  She is thought to have married a Morgan.

vii. Myrddin Jones (1923-27)

2. Winifred Jones (1889-1894) died in infancy

Her memorial inscription, on the same tomb as her parents Daniel and Anne Jones, states that at she died on the 11th of May, 1894, aged 4 years 6 months. Unfortunately, there are no obviously matching birth or death records supporting these dates and neither does the young Winifred appear, as we might expect, with her parents at Coelbren House in the 1891 census.  So the exact trajectory of her short life remains to be confirmed.


3. Gwenllian Jones (1890-?) died in infancy


4. Richard Jones (1892-1970) married Mary Ann Jones (1893-)

Inevitably at this time early in the twentieth century, we find young men photographed who might not otherwise have been: here is Richard (“Dick”) Jones in the First World War.  The picture on the left is stamped with the name of a photographer in Herne Bay (Kent), most probably an assembly location for new recruits prior to embarkation to France. Although two years older, Dick’s younger brother Daniel appears to have been the first to join up, but was counseled against by his brother: “… you mentioned in your letter about joining the army - I advise not to for I shall tell why when I will come home on furlough…” (March 1917).  We should be struck by the apparent youth of these soldiers (source: family photographs).  Dick Jones was eventually posted to India.

Daniel and Mary Ann maybe married at Pontardwe in 1923 (to be confirmed).  The lived at Brynawelon, Coelbren.  In 1939, he was recorded as a “Colliery Hewer, Heavy Worker”.  Otherwise, Richard appears to have been closely connected to Moriah Chapel.


Thomas Jones

Iestyn Jones (did not marry)

Gwenda Jones married Cyril Jenkins

Rhoda Jones (1930-87) married Eurwyel Davies.  On the 1939 register, she is shown as “at school” at Brynawelon.

5. Daniel Jones (1896-) married (Eva) Marguerite Norton (1901-)

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Daniel Jones would have been 19 and his extreme youth is apparent.     In the group portrait – taken at Cartwright Photographers, Ystradgynlais – we see Daniel Jones (left) with one of his many cousins, John (“Jack”) Jeffreys (centre), of the same age, who later became a local butcher.   The identity of the third soldier is unknown (source: family photographs).  Daniel himself married into the Norton family, who also ran a farm and butchers in Coelbren.  In the 1939 register, he is shown with his wife and two eldest children, next-door to the Norton family headed by William Norton (1905-), butcher.

The wartime letters of Daniel Jones

Much of Dan’s correspondence to his parents, brothers and sisters survives: from his initial posting to Winchester in the Autumn of 1915, prior to embarkation to France where he remained until invalided back to a hospital in Willesden, London, in March 1917.    

Daniel returned from the vast theatre of war to a much smaller world.   In April 1917, the ever-observant Llais Lafur (“Labour Voice”) reported Daniel’s welcome home (he wrote his last letter home from hospital in Willesden, London on 26 March 1917).   The David Jones, Tonycastell, was his cousin (son of Richard Jones & Mary Benjamin).   Most of the performers were family.  Mary Ann Jeffreys in the next paragraph was one of his many cousins, but Daniel probably wouldn’t have been allowed in the Price’s Arms opposite his home (even if he were old enough).  The new landlord, though,  was another relation


Samuel Gordon Jones (1927-) married Barbara Wall

Beryl Jones (1934-) married Reginald Sullivan

Anne Veronica Jones married Huw Moelwyn Hughes

6. Olwen Jones (1898-1975), Coelbren

Rear L-R: Olwen Jones, Katie Millar, Mary Amelia Jeffreys, Olwen Morgan, Margretta Lewis

Front L-R Gwennie Jones, Bess Lewis, Sarah Lewis, Agnes Millar

Source: Davies, “Now and Then Vol. 2”

The occasion for this group portrait – possibly from around 1916 - is unknown.  The young ladies were all maybe connected with the Moriah Baptist chapel, but definitely shared some common interest in having the portrait taken, so perhaps inevitably in a group of like-minded people in a small village, we see family ties.  The two Jones girls from Coelbren House on the left were sisters; they were cousins to varying degrees of the Lewis girls and while not directly connected they had vague allegiance through marriages to Mary Jeffreys. 

Olwen Jones spent her life at Coelbren House looking after her family and also was the caretaker of the Coelbren Miners’ Welfare Hall.  Here she is as a young lady in the 1920s, in one of the typical studio poses, which was the main way in which working class people recorded themselves for posterity, before the mass ownership of cameras – in particular, the Kodak Box Brownie - and enough disposable income to develop photographs for themselves (source: family photograph).

7. Gwenllian Jones (1901-1994), Coelbren

Gwennie Jones was born in Coelbren House and never left it until the short time she spent at the nearby Angorfa care home before her death.  She dedicated her life to looking after other people: whether her family, or the many children she helped through her work at Maes-y-Deri Children’s Home at Caehopkin.  For this work, she was awarded the British Empire Medal, which she accepted with characteristic reluctance.  She did not marry and had no children.

Gwennie (1901-1994) sent this postcard to her mother, Anne Morgan, at Coelbren House.  The reverse shows Brecon Infirmary, where Gwennie may well have been working in wartime (source: family postcard)

colbren group

L:R Gwennie Jones, John Walter Jones, Mary Enid Jones, Olwen Jones.  Source: family photograph.  Taken at School House, Aberhafesp, 1960s.

8. John Walter Jones (1904-1979) married Mary Enid Jerman (1908-1997), Llanidloes

9. Jestyn Jones (1904-1993) married Jennet Harris (1912-)

Brothers Will (centre) and Jestyn Jones (right).  Jestyn was a twin to John Walter – above (source: family photograph, possibly mid 1970s).

What looks like a plaque in front of the men commemorates “Onllwyn Iron Works 1848” and has the engraved scripture, “Jesus saith unto her: give me to drink” (John 4:7), with the relief illustration showing the scene of a woman with Jesus next to the well.   The use of this scripture in this context is not obviously understandable without knowing more of the circumstances in which the plaque was cast  - the teaching is that while Jesus is now asking for literal water because he is thirsty, he then entreats the woman – a Samarite of doubtful virtue, whom a Jew would normally shun - to drink of the water of life, the water that gives the hope of eternal salvation.  Her family and followers then acquiesce.

The Onllwyn Iron Works, like others at nearby Banwen, was relatively short-lived, opening in early 1844, for two main reasons: this was the era of “railway mania” when speculators thought the demand for iron would be great; secondly, after the key technological development in the late 1830s which allowed the local anthracite to be used for smelting iron ore, which was also mined locally. Indeed, the workers’ “cottages” at Front and Back Row, Onllwyn, were built originally in 1844 to house ironworkers, not colliers.  The two biggest works were slightly distant, in the Swansea valley at Ystalyfera and Ynysgedwyn, the former reputedly being the largest iron works in the country after those at the iron-centre of Merthyr Tydfil.   The Onllwyn works closed by the late 1870s, as their markets dried up.   1848 does not appear to have been a particularly special date in the always-chequered history of these works; however, in 1848, the Independent Chapel opened in Onllwyn (demolished in 1992) so this plaque may be relevant to that, given the religious allusion.    We don’t know where the plaque was held or kept – we might expect that the men had a deeper understanding of the scripture, than, for example, to take it literally and keep it above the bar at the Onllwyn Miners’ Welfare Hall.  

One other theory is that this artefact was originally an oven door equipping the houses in Front and Back Row, Onllwyn; such doors were said to have been made in the owner’s foundry, although it is hard to believe that such an intricate casting would have been made for these otherwise very poorly specified houses and again the reason for the religious inscription is puzzling.

Jestyn Jones is pictured bottom left at the wedding of his twin brother, JW Jones, in May 1935.  Behind him are their sisters, Gwennie and Olwen.   As a bachelor, Jestyn lived with his sisters at Coelbren House and is shown there on the 1939 register as a collier, before marrying into a local Harris family in 1943.  He died in Coelbren at the age of 89.

10.   Margaret Jones (1906-1994) married Alwyn Lewis, Coelbren

 Alwyn Lewis features as a player in many local amateur football accounts.

© (the written content and authorial photographs) Gareth Jones 2015-20