In 1841, Nant Wen was a 41 acre farm on the lower hillside adjacent to the Bargoed Taff. The name does not appear on the modern OS map. Prior to 1750, it is not possible to distinguish the two properties Nant Wen and Blaen Nant Wen so the two histories for these properties during this period may be reversed. The earliest deed relating to the property is a deed of 1519, the property is also referred to in a will of 1567, before being purchased in 1575 by Thomas Lewis of the Van, the largest landholder in the district. On the marriage of William Lewis, a grandson of Thomas Lewis, and Anne the daughter of Edmond William of Gilfachfargoed in 1611 it became part of the Gilfachfargoed estate and remained a part of the estate being purchased by the Hanbury family in 1751. The first documented use of the name Nant Wen seems to come as late as 1800, it being referred to as Abernant or Abernant Gwyn in the 18th Century. Nant Wen (white stream) is also the name of the stream which is the southern boundary of the three farms Nant-wen, Lan Uchaf and Blaen-nant-wen.
In the 1540 Senghennydd Manor survey, what was to become “Nant Wen” has been identified as part of a larger property owned and occupied by Jankyn Llywelyn ap Jankyn, who paid an annual rent to the lord of the Manor of 45 pence, with a further 10½ pence every other year as cymortha. This property was subsequently divided to become the farms “Nant Wen”, “Lan uchaf” and “Blaen Nant Wen”. Since no tenant was shown for the property it is presumed that Jankyn lived on the property. In a comprehensive 1545 tax return for Gelligaer we find “Jeynkin ap llen” shown as paying 12 pence, this was a tax specifically on goods not land and shows that he was among the more affluent residents of the parish. The neighbouring property, which has been identified as “Tylaglas” was occupied by William Llywelin ap Jankyn, who paid the same lords rent and cymortha, and it is likely that the two owners were brothers. This is given credence by a deed among the Hanbury collection of deeds, which is likely an early deed relating to these properties and is catalogued as:
18 February, 10 Henry VIII (1519)
(1) Llewelin ap Jankyn.
(2) Rees ap Llewelin his son.
Grant and Confirmation.
One third part of all his lands and tenements in the parish of Kayellegare in the lordship of Senghenneth that is to say from Warecoied tave to Keveneforthe in length and from land of Philip Thomas to land of philip lloid. To hold of the chief lord of that fee by customary rents and services.
Witnesses: Rys Gruffeth, Gruffith ap hoell ap Rosser, llewelin tew ap Ieuan ap Madoc and others.
“Warecoied tave” is presumed to be Bargoed Taff, “Kevenforthe” is recognised from another deed to be a road in Garthgynydd Hamlet, evidence from another deed suggests a Philip Rees ap Philip lived at “Lan isaf” the property to the south. We can conjecture that Llewelin ap Jankyn had owned a 175 acre property stretching from the Bargoed-Taff up to Gelligaer Common and had three sons Rees, William & Janken, and that the property was to be divided into thirds. But Rees died and the property was divided between the remaining two sons Jankyn and William. A later deed which refers to the property as “Tyr Llewellyn Jayn ap Meredyth” shows the father’s fuller name was Llewellyn ap Jankyn ap Meredith.
A deed of 1559 shows that Jeuan Jenkin, who it is presumed is Jenkin Llewelyn’s son, sells a part of the property to Walter Williams. This has been taken to be part of what was to become Blaen Nant Wen. He must also have sold another part of the property to John ap Jevan Philip of Merthyr Tydfil parish as the latter in his will of 1567/8 wrote:
“… To William [ap John] the lands and tenements in Kelligare which I bought of Jevan ap Jankin, now in the tenure of Jevan and his son, and to his heirs forever, with remainder to Phillip ap John my son and his heirs.”
These changes were reflected in the 1570 Senghennydd Manor Survey where the entry reads “William John, Walter William and Jevan ap Jankin hold a tenement formerly Janken Lln ap Jankin paying 45 pence”. So we find the property of 1540 now divided between three owners whose properties are identified as being the farms which were to become “Nant Wen”, “Blaen Nant Wen” and “Lan uchaf”.
A series of deeds from 1575 shows that the property owned by William John was sold to Thomas Lewis of the Van in January 1574/5. The catalogue description of the sale document says:
20 January 17 Elizabeth (1575)
(1) William John of Merthyr Tydvill and Lewis David ap Rees of Kelligaer co. Glam. gent.
(2) Thomas Lewis of the Vann co. Glam. esq.
Feoffment £54 6s. 8d.
All messuages, barns, buildings, garden, lands, arrable, meadows, pasture, woods, and wastes with appurtenances, called Tyr Llewellyn Jayn ap Meredyth, now in the occupation of Jenkin ap Adam, situate in the parish of Kelligare co. Glam.
In the Senghennydd Manor survey of 1630 the property was recorded as “Sir Edward Lewis knight and William Thomas Williams for one tenement in the tenure of William Richard, John Thomas prosser, John Edward Lewis and Howell Rees paid 45 pence”. The property owned by William Thomas Williams is “Lan uchaf”, both “Blaen Nant Wen” and “Nant Wen” were owned by Sir Edward Lewis of the Van. It is not known which tenant was in which farm. All Sir Edward Lewis’ lands in Gelligaer had been settled on his 2nd son William Lewis when he had married Ann the daughter of Edmund William of Gilfachfargoed. This marriage formed the Gilfachfargoed estate of which “Blaen Nant Wen” and “Nant Wen” became a part. In the 1670 Senghennydd Manor survey the property was recorded as “Edward Lewis Esq. and William Thomas Williams for a tenement in the tenure of Watkin John, William Richard and William Thomas paid 45 pence”. Edward Lewis was the son and heir of Sir William Lewis of Gilfachfargoed and owner of the Gilfachfargoed estate. After various lawsuits over ownership, this estate, reduced in size but still including “Blaen Nant Wen” and “Nant Wen”, was sold to the Hanbury family of Pontypool in the early 1750s, and they continued to own the farms into the 19th century.
We know nothing more of the farm until a Senghennydd Manor rental of 1747 when a Thomas John Edward is given as the tenant, he was succeeded by his wife Margaret. During the second half of the century various tenants are shown but they cannot be identified. In 1808 the tenancy was taken over by a Lewis Williams who can be identified from a gravestone beside the Craig Fargoed Chapel (today the Bedlinog Cemetery)
In Memory of David third son of Lewis Williams of Nantwen in this parish who died July 4th 1815 aged 6 years.
Also of the above Lewis Williams second son of the late Rowland Williams of Penheol Adam who died June 23rd 1847 aged 73 years.
Likewise of Ann relict of the said Lewis Williams and only daughter of the late David Phillips of Gilfach-Main ucha who died October 16th 1851 aged 72 years
The marriage of Lewis William and Ann Phillip was recorded in the Gelligaer Parish register 19 June 1805. Following the death of Lewis Williams his son Thomas Williams took over the farm and continued at the farm till his death sometime in the 1880s.
1519 Deed : Gwent Record Office Hanbury D/1 JCH1738
1540 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Archive SC6/HENVIII/7493
1545 Tax : National Archive E179/221/238
1567/8 Will : National Archive PROB 11/50
1570 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute S1 & S2
1575 Deeds : Gwent Record Office Hanbury D/1 JCH1920, JCH1846, JCH1834 & JCH1751
1630 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute M37/39
1660 Tax : National Archive E179/264/47
1670 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute M37/41 & S11
1666, 71, 72 Hearth Taxes : National Archive E179/221/297, 294 & 296
1747-1840 Senghennydd Manor Rentals : National Library of Wales Bute R6/2-5 & 32
1763-68 Land Taxes : National Library of Wales Tredegar 85/2230++
1773-1808 Local Taxes : National Library of Wales Bute G11
1779 Marriage : National Library of Wales Marriage Bond 57/82
1783-1831 Land Taxes : Glamorgan Record Office Q/D/LTA/CAE
1841 Tithe Schedule : Glamorgan Record Office P/1/2/13