Banwen: Saint Patrick’s birthplace is a small village in the Upper Dulais Valley, with spectacular views over the southern slopes of the Brecon Beacons

Copper, iron ore and tin were mined and crafted in early times

Brickworks and opencast coal mining provided employment in later years

Now the big industries have gone but the village is still evolving.

It has an excellent community resource at the Dove Workshop which runs courses from beginner to degree level; stages of the Wales GB car rally are held at Walters Arena and the tourism potential of being St Patrick's birthplace is being developed

Meanwhile, a stone commemorating the birthplace of St Patrick can be viewed from Roman Road in Banwen, which he knew as "Bannavem Taburniae".

The Sarn Helen Roman road runs north to south along the Pyrddin valley.

Along the floor of the valley lay a Roman fort called Ricus and nearby was a very large Roman marching camp.

The names of local farms tell the story - Toncastell (land of the fortress) and Ton-y-Fildre (land of the soldiers)

The Roman invasion of Britannia by Claudius occurred in AD 43. This area was peopled by a Celtic tribe called the Silures.

Caratacus, the leader of a defeated tribe in southern England, fled west to join the Silures and led them in guerrilla raids against the Roman legions.

This formed the basis of resistance for several years until, in a pitched battle, Caratacus was captured. The leaderless Silurians then fought on for another twenty years.

By AD 78, Julius Frontinus, the new Roman Governor, had finally overcome and totally decimated the tribe. The Romans now had complete domination.


Saturday 15th March 2008.

The Parade left Dyffryn Cellwen YMCA at 11 am.

The participants walked in the rain (“a fine soft day!” as they say in Ireland) to St Patrick's Stone, Roman Road, Banwen for short commemorative service followed by a buffet at the DOVE Workshop


The Banwen and District History Club Ltd would like to thank Communities First and Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council for funding this and previous events.

St. Patrick's Day 2008 - Introduction