The bridges in the photograph below stood side by side for only six years. The one on the left was built in 1937 while the old bridge on the right was reputedly erected c1300. It was dismantled in 1943. Both bridges in turn were known as the Pontardulais Bridge alias Y Bont Fawr. The Loughor/Llwchwr river flows beneath their arches.
Pontardulais or Pontarddulais?
Pontarddulais, with a lenited Ddulais, suggests that the name of this village, located on the border of Carmarthenshire and the
The Elizabethan historian Rhys Ameurig [alias Rice Merrick] records ‘Dulais bridge upon Loghoure’ in 1578, while the Holingshead Chronicles (1586) has ‘Arthelais bridge over Logor’.
There was no bridge over the Dulais stream until the construction of the Turnpike roads c1760-1800. Prior to this, the stream was forded along the old route at Ffosyrefail, Glynllwchwr and the Upper Mill.
A document dated 1550, is to be found in the Carmarthenshire Deeds at the Glamorgan Record Office,
E. Lewis Evans in ‘Hanes Pontarddulais’ (1949) popularised the mutated spelling of the place-name. He attempted to justify his etymology by claiming that the
Put simply, Pontardulais is a short form of Pontaberdulais.
In his authoritative book "Place-Names in Glamorgan" page 158, Gwynedd O. Pierce states "..clearly implying that the bridge, at the end of which the modern settlement grew, was over the Dulais at its confluence, W aber, with the river Llwchwr (Loughor)." This unfortunately contains a scribal error.
Prof. Emeritus Pierce informs me that it should read ".....clearly implying that the bridge, at the end of which the modern settlement grew, was over the river Llwchwr (Loughor) near its confluence , W aber , with the Dulais."
The photograph below shows Pontardulais Bridge in close proximity to the mouth [aber] of the Dulais stream, bottom right.