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Panta Cottage

Panta House is sadly no longer in existence, apart from some ruined low walls which are overgrown in a thicket. I’ve indicated the location of the ruins on the map. It was probably built in the 1700s and situated down a footpath, that starts at Poplar Cottages, next to a small wood (Pantau Bushes).

The name of the house as written in censuses varied from “Panta” (18411891) “Panta House” (18511861), “Panty” (18711881, 1901) to Pantau in 1911 and “Panta Cottage” in  I’ve known it as Panta House (since that was the given name when my ancestors, John, Sarah and Henry James Pitt lived there), although I suspect a more correct Welsh name would be “Pantau House”, named after Pantau Bushes). It was known as Panta Cottage from 1922.


I know that there were at least five rooms at the cottage (from the 1901 census).

I received a lovely email from Sandra Curtis, the grand-daughter of the last residents that I know of (Ada and Evan Mainwaring). She knew the house as “Panta Cottage” and described it as follows:

“The cottage was a two up two down, you walked in through the front door straight into the main room, which had a range, kitchen to the rear.  Upstairs was accessed via a winding stone staircase to two bedrooms.

There was no bathroom, water was collected from the stream, which was a job for the boys.  The toilet was at the bottom of the garden.

The cottage had a bank of ferns to the side with a stream between the house and bank of ferns.

To visit my grandparents we used to walk from Little Mill to the road opposite Parke Davis and across fields to Panta Cottage.”


The occupations of the various residents probably give a clue as to the status of the house: from 1841: “Agricultural labourer”, “Labourer”, “Master stone mason”, “Railway store keeper”, “Labourer” (who became a “Railway Platelayer”) and a “Pickler at Galvanise Works”.

The Holloway family

In 1841, the residents were the Holloways. James was born c. 1793 at Tintern and was listed as an agricultural labourer on the 1841 censusIn 1851, both he and his son Edward were in the Wood trade (James as a “Wood cutter” living at Cwmoody, Llanfihangel Pontymoile and Edward was a “Woodward”, living with his wife (Mary) at Lower Llanfrechfa. They were married, I believe probably in 1845 - although I’m not sure about this or of Mary’s maiden name.

Their first daughter, Hannah Holloway, was born at Glascoed (I assume at Panta Cottage) in the summer of 1846 and baptised on 9th August 1846 at Llanfihangel Pontymoile church. So far I’ve found that Hannah later had a daughter, “out of wedlock” named Fanny, baptised at Llanfrechfa church on 24th August 1869. Fanny’s father was not named on the certificate, but was said to be a “servant”.

Their second child was also born at Glascoed (again presumably at Panta Cottage), was named Eliza and baptised at Llanfihangel Pontymoile church on 5th March 1848. She had at least two children out of wedlock - One was named Clara (baptised on 9th December 1867 at Llanfrechfa church) - Clara’s father was also un-named and was said to be a “servant”. Clara was found on the 1881 census with her Uncle John and grandfather, Edward, who was now a widower (still a “Woodman” at Twyn Celin 1, Panteg). Her next child was also baptised (on 19th September 1870) at Llanfrechfa, although by now Eliza was living at Croes-y-Ceiliog (not far away). He was Arthur Holloway. His father was “unknown”.

Edward and Mary had moved from Glascoed by 1850, when their third child, Thomas was baptised at Llanfrechfa (7th July 1850). They had two further children while living at Llanfrechfa Lower (Edwin, baptised 25th April 1852 and John baptised 28th January 1855). John at least continued the family tradition of working as a woodman, as seen on the 1881 census. I haven’t yet looked any further into this family.

Mary died at Panteg in August 1879 and was buried at Llanfrechfa church on 17th August 1879.

Edward died at Panteg 8 years later, aged 76 at New Inn. He was buried with Mary at Llanfrechfa on 17th October 1888.

I wonder whether the Holloways were related to John Holloway of Cwm House, who died after being bitten by a rabid dog in 1847. I assume there must be some link, but you know what they say about assumptions...

The Lewis family

The next residents that I have a record for were the Lewis family, who were certainly at Panta Cottage at the time of the 1851 census. Joseph and Patience were the parents with two sons and four daughters. They were from Cwmcarvan (Joseph) and Penallt (Patience). Fuller details of their history can be found on the “Names” database. They were married on 9th June 1834 at Llanishen Parish Church and their first three children were all born at Cwmcarvan: Edwin (bap 1st Feb 1835), Maria (bap 14 Feb 1836 and buried 8th Oct 1838 at Cwmcarvan also) and Emma (born c. 1837). Their son, Joseph was baptised at Abersychan Parish church on 18th March 1840, Talywain, as a very young baby, but died aged only 10 days.

They lived in the communities of Croesyceiliog, Llanfrechfa and Panteg (briefly) before moving to Glascoed. They moved back to Croesyceiliog and Llanfrechfa after leaving Glascoed (which I estimate to be in the mid or possibly even late 1850s). Joseph’s occupation was always listed as “labourer” apart from in 1857 when he was listed as a woodcutter at the time of Edwin’s marriage to Margaret Lewis at Llanfihangel Pontymoile. This is the same trade as the previous residents, the Holloways. I wonder whether they did some of their cutting at Pantau bushes - or whether they had anything to do with Panta Cottage’s orchard?

Two more children were baptised at Llanfrechfa before the move to Glascoed. Jane (born c. 1848/49),Mary Ann (born c 1852) and Ellen (born late 1855 or early 1856) were all born at Glascoed. I’m not sure whether this was at Panta Cottage or another Glascoed property. See the Pitt entry below for more thoughts on this.

The Lewis family were certainly at Pontnewydd by the 1861 census, when the Pitt family could be found at Panta Cottage. Joseph was an agricultural labourer at this point. He sadly died in March 1862 at Croesyceiliog. Interestingly their son John, at the age of 15, was baptised just 12 days after the death of his father, at a neighbouring church (Llandegveth). His two youngest sisters followed suit within two years.

The Pitt family

John Pitt and Sarah Davies had been living nearby at the time of the 1851 census  and were both “outsiders” .. Sarah had been born at Llansawel, Carmarthenshire (a welsh speaker) and was working as a 22 year old General servant at Coed-y-Cadno farm in Llanfihangel Pontymoile. John Pitt was also living at Llanfihangel Pontymoile on Court farm ... my theory is that John would have been working as a mason on the railway which was being built right in between Coed-y-Cadno and Court farms ... The romantic in me believes that they may well have liked the look of each other as John worked on the railway and Sarah worked on the farm. Or perhaps they met each other at the local public house - the “Horse and Jockey” where John was certainly a customer (as evidenced in this newspaper report from 1852). They married at St. Woolos’ church (now the cathedral) on 25th June 1853. The certificate stated that they were living at St. Woolos.  Why did they marry at St. Woolos and not at a more local church like Pontymoile? It may have something to do with Sarah being pregnant - to avoid local gossips putting two and two together between their marriage date and the birth of their first child seven months later? Or perhaps John (or Sarah) was working at Newport - my strong suspicion is that he worked on the railways as a Mason. Maybe they had family living there (I don’t know where either of their parents were living at this time - if indeed they were living). Maybe their parents would have found attending a marriage at Newport easier (John was from Gloucestershire or Wiltshire and Sarah from Carmarthenshire originally).

I would imagine that the change-over in tenancy at Panta Cottage would have been from the Lewis family to the Pitt family. It’s just a question of when. The firm date we know they had changed by was 7th April 1861, census night. The final Lewis born at Glascoed (according to the 1861 census and BMD registers) was Ellen - born in either Oct-Dec Quarter 1855 or the following Quarter Jan-Mar 1856.

All of the Pitt children were born at Glascoed. John and Sarah’s first child, Sarah Ellen Pitt was born on 1st February 1854 at Glascoed. - starting on 1st February 1854. So either the Lewis’ had moved to a different property by this point, or the Pitts first lived elsewhere on coming to the village as newly-weds.

John was a Master Stone Mason according to the 1861 census and I know that by the 1860s he was working as a jobbing builder, as evidenced by some of the local reports.

I believe that John and the family had moved to Rose Cottage at some point between the census in 1861 and the time of John’s death on 9th August 1865, from Small pox.

The Edins family

By 1871, James and Charlotte Edins (or Eddins) had moved in. James was a railway store keeper from Cradley in Herefordshire and aged 29 (8 years younger than his wife, Charlotte, whose maiden name was Bayton). James’ mother Elizabeth, was with the family at this point - a 67 year old widow. Charlotte’s son from her first marriage, Edward Thomas, was living as James’ stepson.

The Edins family had moved on again by the 1881 census, to Cwm Soar - just down the lane. Edward was still with them along with a nephew, William Jones, from Glamorgan. Charlotte must have died between 1881 and 1891, since James Edins was with Martha Meredith of Sunny Bank Cottage, for the rest of the census period. They declared themselves to be married on the 1891 census, although didn’t actually get married until the final quarter of 1891.

The Preston family

The Preston family had moved in by the 1881 census. Henry Preston was a 37 year old labourer from Staunton in Worcestershire. His wife, Hannah was 9 years his junior. They had four children between the ages of 7 and 1, all born at Glascoed on this 1881 return, so it’s likely that they moved to Glascoed after their marriage at Goytre on 22nd April 1873. Henry also appeared on the 1889 Register of Electors. None of the other residents appear to have been wealthy enough to be able to vote under the previous voting rules, but the Electoral reforms of 1884 must have extended voting rights to the likes of Henry Preston. Women would not get the vote until 1918 of course. The Prestons actually stayed beyond the 1891 census, which was a rarity for Panta Cottage residents.

The Williams family
Eli Albert Williams (born 1866, in the Pontypool Registration District) and his wife Mary Ann (nee Bassett) had married on Christmas Eve 1888, at Llanfihangel Pontymoile church. They had at least 11 children and the their first 6 children were born at New Inn. We can tell from the birth dates of the children that the Williams family moved to Glascoed somewhere between 1896 and 1898, I assume directly to Panta Cottage. Eli was a Pickler at the Galvanizing works. They were certainly at Panta Cottage for the 1901 census on 2nd April 1901.


On census night 1911, Panta Cottage was uninhabited.

The Baker family

All I know about the Baker family is that they appeared on the 1922 Register of Electors at “Panta Cottage”. Their names were Harold and Elizabeth.

The Mainwaring family

I heard the name Mainwaring from a conversation with a neighbour from the Poplar cottages, which is detailed below. They were certainly there at the time of the 1929 Register of Electors, where interestingly it is now described as “Panta Cottage”.

Ada Mainwaring was born Ada Preece, c.1888. I believe that she married Evan Mainwaring in the Summer of 1916 (Jul-Sep Quarter). They had four children, three boys and one girl. One of the boys (William G.) was born in 1923 in the Pontypool registration district and was the grandfather of my contact, Sandra Curtis. He died in December 1947. He was apparently born in about 1869 (according to his death register entry). I believe that he was from Breconshire and had been living at Goytre, in 1911 with his parents, who were farmers.

They were still at the Cottage in 1939, as evidenced by the 1939 National Register.

Notes from the day I “discovered” Panta Cottage at Glascoed,

from a conversation with a neighbour at Poplar Tree Cottage, on October 3rd 1993

The house was estimated to be approx 200-300 years old (probably therefore built in the 1700s). It was situated down a footpath, that starts at Poplar Cottage, next to a small wood (Pantau Bushes).

The last inhabitants, the Mainwaring family, were known to have lived at Panta Cottage for some time. They stopped living at Panta “approx 30 or 40 years ago” - in the late 1950s?? The Mainwarings were a fox-hunting family and used to keep a fox cub tied up to the fence outside the cottage.

The house was then inherited by a family that lived away. The neighbour believed that it was a Vicar inherited it, from the South-East of England? The new owners let Panta Cottage go to “rack and ruin” and eventually asked for it to be pulled down in the late 1970s - I guess to avoid paying rates.

Panta Cottage was described as a “lovely old cottage” and I was told that there was “no good reason why it should have been pulled down”. At the time that I visited, only part of one wall remained - and was overgrown with brambles, trees etc.


CENSUS18411851186118711881189119011911, 1939.