Children of Richard Jones

and Mary Benjamin 

1. David Jones (1870-1932) married Hannah Thomas (1874-1926), Toncastell

David Jones and Hannah Thomas (photo courtesy of U Cole) married on 5 May 1894 at Pontardawe register office.  Hannah came from Penycae where her  father was a quarryman at the nearby Penwyllt quarry.  

David Jones and Hannah married in 1894-95 according to their declaration on the 1911 census.  However, we still need to find Hannah’s maiden name – to find a marriage record - to be absolutely certain of the family because we cannot definitely link them yet.  However, strongly supporting the theory of their attachment is that first son seems to be named after the paternal grandfather, and the last child’s middle name is the mother’s maiden name (and this name was relatively uncommon in this area).

Richard Jones and Mary Benjamin had stayed at what was the Benjamin family farm at Toncastell until at least 1881.  By 1891, they had moved with their family to one of the houses at Cefn Byrle (“Ganol”).  By 1901, eldest son David had married Hannah and in 1901 they are found just outside Yniswen (near Abercrave). William Benjamin – Mary Benjamin’s brother had occupied Toncastell in the intervening period (from after 1881 to before 1911). However, by 1911, David Jones appears to have come full circle, as he returned to his birth place, where his wife and family of six children are recorded in 1911.  His son Thomas Jones (most likely born after 1911) is said to have farmed Toncastell well into the twentieth century.

The farmhouse at Toncastell fell into disrepair by the end of the twentieth century and was eventually sold by Thomas Jones, whose new owners effected its renovation.

Thomas Jones (1911-2003) and William Benjamin Jones (1908-1999).

All photos courtesy of U Cole.


i. David Richard Jones (1895-1915) - details of his death below

ii. Mary Jones (1897-1928) married Brychan Jeffreys (Blaenllech branch, Crynant); died in childbirth

iii. Ursula Jones (1899-1900)

iv. Elizabeth Jones (1900-1977) married Evan Williams

v. Daniel Theodore Jones (1902-1967) married Elizabeth (Bessie)

vi. Ursula Jones (1907-1978) married Richard Hughes, Ynswen.  (Ursula was Hannah Thomas’ mother’s name)

vii. William Benjamin Jones (1908-1999) married Harriet Lewis (of the Rhydffosddu family; a niece of David Lewis, considered below).  In 1939 the couple are recorded at Aelybryn, Coelbren, together with their daughter Menna (1934-).

viii. Thomas George Jones (1911-2003) married Harriet Mair

David Jones died at home on the 8th July, 1915 following an accident at Maesmarchog Colliery the previous day.  His injuries were caused by a fall of stone.  He was carried from the pit to Toncastell but clearly his case was hopeless.

The Llais Lafur (“Labour Voice”) reported this accident firstly on Saturday 10 July 1915 and followed up a week later with a report of the funeral (see sidebar).  The burial in the Tyn-y-coed Chapel at Abercrave confirms that most of this family was of the Independent denomination but what appears notable is the sympathetic ecumenical turnout of many other local clergymen, reflecting the family’s connections to others across the area.  J Williams was vicar of Capel Coelbren (Coelbren Church) and A Pipe had previously been in charge of Moriah Baptist Chapel, Coelbren.

As well as being “intelligent and religious”, David Jones was also apparently musically talented.

2. Gwenllian Jones (1873-1947) married David Lewis (1872-1959), Coelbren

This is the Lewis family mentioned in “Coelbren School” (Davies, 1994), of Coelbren Farm, and involved closely, as were other neighbours and family, with the establishment of the first school at Coelbren from 1894.  In 1901, The Sunday Schoolroom (Baptist) is shown next door to Coelbren farm, and this was where the school started before a purpose-built building was given in 1908.  David Lewis’ brother, William, was landlord of the Price’s Arms at Coelbren from the about 1917 until the mid 1920s (Davies, 2014).


Mary Lewis (1895-)

Margaret Lewis (1897-1921)

Elizabeth Lewis (1899-) – shown opposite in the sidebar as “Bess”

Winnie Lewis (1900-)

Thomas John Lewis (1903-)   

Thomas Lewis married Hannah Jones in 1938.  She was of the Morgan Jones family of Camnant farm, daughter and one of six children of William and Eleanor Jones.  No relation has been established to the main Jones family under consideration here, and there is unlikely to be one. 

This Jones family and the one under consideration here grew up alongside each other from the early nineteenth century - at Pantyddrainen, Banwen, near Tir Bach.

The connection between the two families is made by this marriage of Thomas Lewis and Hannah Jones - Thomas Lewis’ mother being Gwenllian Jones (1873-1947).

Ben and Gwilym Jones were sons of William & Elinor Jones, Camnant Farm and like their siblings they attended school in Coelbren as did their contemporaries from Tonycastell, Ton y fildre and other surrounding farms as far as Cwm Nant Hir Farm. In fact Ben continued his education in Maesydderwen Grammar School, beforegoing to Swansea Uni. The family could not afford to send both sons to college so Gwilym did his by night school while working underground in the day.  The connection for the Lewis family in the Camnant area came through my fatherThomas John Lewis Glynllech when he married Hannah Jones daughter of William Jones Camnant Farm.  On a personal basis I was very fond of Jeff when I lived in Bryngolau in Camnant.  He gave me a lot of good advice and encouragement on a wide range of topics.   

I recently saw a photograph of my school year at Maesmarchog when we were about 8-9, out of that group, there are two medics, 4 or 5 graduates and 5-6 teachers not bad for a small country school. But by far the brightest person in that class was never given a chance to go on and left school at 15, how much more such talent was wasted through lack of opportunity I wonder? 

from an email by E. Lewis, November 2018

Matilda Lewis (1905-) – shown below

Richard Lewis (1907-)

William S Lewis (1910-): shown rear, left on this photograph (see Howell “Jeff Camnant” Jeffreys”)



One of Gwenllian and David Lewis’ many grandchildren, Eurof Lewis, recalled in 2016: “Having been brought up at Camnant I have many fond memories of Jeff [Jeffreys] he taught me many things, not least how to swim, although he could not swim himself!    

3. Matilda Jones (1874-) married David Williams (1875-)

This marriage is recorded at Coelbren Church, 15 Dec 1894.  The family is then recorded in 1901 at Caehopkin, and later in 1911 at Wenallt, Abercrave.  David Williams’ occupation is given as Colliery Official (fireman), a responsible position in the mine.


Richard Williams (1903-)

Anne Williams (1905-)

Lizzie M. Williams (1906-)

Gwenllian Williams (1909-)

Matilda Williams (1911-)


4. William Jones (1877-)

5. Ann Jones (1880-)


6. Mary Jones (1883-)

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