infobox UK place
country = Wales
welsh_name= Pontyberem
constituency_welsh_assembly= Llanelli
official_name= Pontyberem
latitude= 51.783333
longitude= -4.166667
unitary_wales= Carmarthenshire
lieutenancy_wales= Dyfed
constituency_westminster= Llanelli
post_town= LLANELLI
postcode_district = SA15
postcode_area= SA
dial_code= 01269
os_grid_reference= SN505115
population= 2829

Pontyberem is a village situated in the Gwendraeth Valley halfway between Carmarthen and Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, West Wales.


The village grew during the late 19th century and early 20th century with the growth of the coal mining industry in the area. There were four principal mines in the Pontyberem Area; Pontyberem colliery which was opened in 1845, Pentremawr (1889-c1974), Glynhebog(1892-1949) and Gwendraeth colliery (Watney pit). It was in the Gwendraeth colliery (Watney pit)in 1852 that a terrible disaster took place : 26 men and boys died when water flooded the mine killing all the miners on the night shift. It is said that it took 18 months to recover the bodies . [ [http://www.welshcoalmines.co.uk/Photo.htm Photo ] ] Due to the demise of the coal industry in the South Wales Coalfield, there are now no high quality anthracite coal mines operating in the Gwendraeth Valley.

Pontyberem safety lamps were made by John Jones (1879-1976) who worked as Colliery Chief Mechanic at Pentremawr pit , Pontyberem. [Mining-Memorabilia http://www.mining-memorabilia.co.uk/Pontyberem-Part%20II.htm]

The name Pontyberem originates from three separate Welsh language words, "pont" meaning bridge, "aber" meaning mouth of a river (into the sea), estuary, confluence of a lesser with a larger river and "Beran" after "Nant Beran" the river that flows through Pontyberem . [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/whatsinaname/sites/placenames/pages/pontyberem.shtml BBC - Wales - What's in a name - Pontyberem ] ]

'Although not immediately obvious the element aber once formed part of this place name and referred to the location of the pont (bridge) over the river Gwendraeth Fawr just below its confluence with Nant Beran.

It was probably lost through the contraction of aber and the river name Beran. The -a- of aber was then interpreted as the definite article y and Beran was probably influenced by berem, a variant of burum (yeast).'

Welsh Language

The Welsh language is a very important element in the daily life of the people of Pontyberem. In 1991 Pontyberem was recorded as having, with Cwarter Bach, the highest levels of Welsh speakers in Carmarthenshire. [ [http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/ccc_apps/eng/documents/documents/welsh_lang_strat/2.asp Documents - Welsh Language Strategy ] ] According to the 2001 Census, 81.28% (1961:91% :1991:80.5%) of the population have one or more skills in Welsh with 60.83% able to speak, read and write it. [ Carmarthenshire County Council http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/index.asp?locID=4473&docID=-1] In a survey conducted by Mori for Carmarthenshire County Council in 2000 people were asked how well they spoke Welsh. In the Gwendraeth valley 47% said very well, 17% said fairly well , 10% said not very well with 25% saying not at all. [ [http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/ccc_apps/eng/documents/documents/welsh_lang_strat/2.asp#_ftn3 Documents - Welsh Language Strategy ] ] Menter Cwm Gwendraeth, the first community Welsh language initiative is based at Pontyberem. Menter Cwm Gwendraeth started in 1991 following the successful Urdd Gobaith Cymru
National Eisteddfod held in the Gwendraeth Valley.

Both primary schools in Pontyberem, Pontyberem Primary School and Bancffosfelen Primary School , are Category A schools where the majority of the curriculum is taught through the medium of Welsh.


Ysgol Gynradd Pontyberem / Pontyberem Primary School

Heol y Felin , Pontyberem, Llanelli. SA15 5EB Telephone: 01269 870306 E-mail: pen.berem@ysgolccc.org.uk Fax: 01269 870306Website : [http://v2.amdro.org.uk/eng/School_Websites/Primary/Pontyberem/Welcome_to_Pontyberem_Primary_School.htmlPontyberem Primary School/Ysgol Gynradd Pontyberem]

Ysgol Gynradd Bancffosfelen / Bancffosfelen Primary School Bancffosfelen, Llanelli, Sir Gaerfyrddin , SA15 5DR. Telephone: 01269 870272 E-mail:head.bancffos@ysgolccc.org.uk Website: [http://v2.amdro.org.uk/eng/School_Websites/Primary/Bancffosfelen/Banffosfelen Primary School/Ysgol Gynradd Bancffosfelen]


*Rugby union - Pontyberem Rugby Football Club : 28 Pontyberem Recreational Park, Heol Y Parc, Pontyberem
*Football (soccer) - Bancffosfelen A.F.C. : 28 Pontyberem Recreational Park, Heol Y Parc, Pontyberem
*Cricket - Pontyberem C.C.

Notable People

*Arthur Daniels - Wales and Great Britain rugby league international
*Victor Bach - Widnes rugby league player
*John Jones - Maker of Pontyberem Miner's Lamp
*Dorothy Squires Singer
*Gwenda Owen Singer
* David Davies (Dai Cantwr) Leader of Glamorgan Rebeccaites
* Lewis Thomas (1877-1955) Pioneer of the art of Cerdd Dant (Singing to harp accompaniment)
* Jack Gravell Father of Ray Gravell and back-row forward for Pontyberem
* Ieuan Rees World renowned lettering designer and artist
* John Jones, (Shoni Sgubor Fawr, Johnny Big Barn, 1811-1858) Demolished the tollgates at Pontyberem in the Rebecca Riots
* Nigel Owens - Welsh and International Rugby Union referee

External links

* [http://www.mentercwmgwendraeth.org/index.htmlMenter Cwm Gwendraeth]
* [http://www.welshcoalmines.co.uk/Photo.htmWelsh Coal Mines] "Contains detailed information on Pontyberem, Glynhebog, Gwendraeth (Watney) and Pentremawr collieries."
* [http://www.mining-memorabilia.co.uk/Pontyberem.htmPontyberem Miner's Lamp]
* [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/unit_page.jsp?u_id=10292750A vision of Pontyberem CP] "Contains much useful information on Population, Housing,Historic Boundaries and Census Reports."
* [http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/index.asp?locID=168&docID=-1Carmarthenshire County Council/Cyngor Sir Caerfyrddin website] . "Contains much useful census information regarding Pontyberem"
* [http://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s-JONE-JOH-1811.htmlJohn Jones (fl. 1811-1858; ‘Shoni Sguborfawr ’)]
* [http://www.brobeca.co.uk/comm.html Rebecca Riots in Pontyberem Carmarthenshire]
* [http://www.upmystreet.com/local/l/pontyberem.html UpMyStreet: Pontyberem]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=2737588 www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Pontyberem and surrounding area]


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