From Bulletin No.71 February 1998
© Nigel Wassell
THE PENCLAWDD CANAL: A BRIEF HISTORICAL SYNOPSIS -Nigel Wassell
Act of Parliament: 21 May 1811 (51 Geo. III c.106)
Construction of a canal or railway from the village of Penclawdd to "Paper mill lands" at or near Pont Llewydda (Llewitha Bridge), together with numerous branches
Authorised capital: £12,000, plus power to raise a further £8,000 by mortgage.
Knightley Adams, Henry Charles Duke of Beaufort, James Brogden, Jenkin Davies Berrington, Samuel Yate Benyon, Samuel Bordell, William Brandon, Rees Bevan, John Powell Cuny clerk, William Chacklen, John Currail, John Edmond, John Evans, John Franklen, John Frieth, Joseph Fowler, Lewis Grif~ths, John Houghton, Francis Hancorne, Thomas Horner, John Harry, Major Charles James, Rees Jones, John Llewellyn, Thomas Lockwood & John Morris, Thomas Leyson, Margaret Leyson, Thomas Lee, Sir John Morris, Bart.,Edward Martin Jnr., Thomas Lott Martin, Rowland Pritchard Jnr., Francis Pinkney, Jane Phillips, Alexander Raby, John Rose, Elizabeth Rose, Thomas Rose, Valentine Rutter, Ann Smith, William Simpson, Llewellyn Terry, Thomas Wyndham, Thomas Waters, Henry Wright, John Wheatcroft, George Walker, Augustus Warren, Lewis Wolfe, and Lucy Wail.
Edward Martin and David Davies
Estimated cost: £9,934
The canal was built within the estimate. 31/2 miles of waterway were constructed from a new dock at Penclawdd, along the coast to Pont-cob, then inland, following closely the course of the river Llan to a terminal basin near Ystrad Isaf. There were two locks near the present-day village of Gowerton. The line was continued by a tramroad towards Llewitha Bridge. A branch tramroad was built southwards from the terminal basin to coal works near the present-day village of Waunarlwydd. None of the other proposed branches was built.
According to newspaper advertisements, the canal and dock were ready for use by May 1814. The only known trader was the partnership of Lockwood, Morris & Leyson, who owned the coal pits around Waunarlwydd which the canal was intended to serve. The sole purpose of the canal seems to have been to permit the export of coal from this source, but the venture failed at an early date.
The canal company met until 1818, but thereafter active management of the waterway seems to have ceased and it is safe to assume that it would have gradually fallen into dereliction. The line is shown complete and apparently in good order on Colby's Ordnance Survey map of 1830 (surveyed in the 1820s) and Denham's chart of the Burry estuary, published in 1830. By 1860 the canal was largely derelict, except for the dock at Penclawdd which saw intermittent use until the 1870s, and much of the land was appropriated for railway building.
28 October 1997