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Neath Abbey Iron Company were producers of engines, cylinders and other parts for Cornish pumping engines, blowing engines, marine engines, locomotives, rails and chairs, rolling mills, machine tools, gas plant, and a great variety of iron castings and forgings.
1785 Richard Parsons operated a blast furnace and a forge at Cwm-y-Felin.
1792 Parsons leased the Cwm-y-Felin property to the family of George Croker Fox of Falmouth and their associates, two of whom subsequently were Peter Price and Samuel Tregelles. This Cornish Quaker family were known as 'never tried to grow large', but were content to develop slowly '. . . ever mindful to turn out work of the best make'.
The works consisted of 2 large furnaces, blown by one Boulton and Watt steam engine. A visitor, John Gilpin, described the blast furnaces as about 60 feet high, together producing 75 to 80 tons of iron per week. . Iron ore came from Merthyr and Brecon, and also from Lancashire.
1801 Peter Price became the resident manager at the Neath Abbey Ironworks. Soon the making of machine parts and castings by the partnership was concentrated at Neath Abbey, leading to the manufacture of complete steam engines. With his foundry and engineering expertise, Price was able to develop the Neath Abbey ironworks from a bulk pig-iron producer to a precision engineering establishment. This transition was helped by the partnership's Cornish connections - illustrated by the fact that the first engines made at Neath Abbey were of the high pressure design under Richard Trevithick's patent.
1805 Neath Abbey Iron Company made the first Harbourside crane for the Falmouth Quay.
1817 Sale Notice:
'Iron Works, Foundery, Steam Engine Manufactory, and Collieries, at Neath Abbey, South Wales.
To be disposed of by Private Contract, all these valuable IRON WORKS, COLLIERIES, &c. consisting of TWO BLAST FURNACES, ready to work at short notice; very extensive Foundery, well furnished with all necessary Implements, and capable of making the largest Castings; a powerful Boring Mill, worked by water, with complete Apparatus for boring and turning all kinds of Castings ; also an excellent site for a Rolling Mill, for Iron. Copper, for other purposes, with an unemployed fall Water of about 25 feet; commodious Buildings now employed in making-Steam Engines on the most improved plan, being furnished with an excellent Steam Engine turning Lathes, and all other necessary Apparatus; extensive Smithery, with a most complete Blowing Apparatus, and all kinds of Tools and Implements, all in complete repair and in full work, situate about a quarter of a mile from the navigable River Neath, with Rail Roads to a Wharf on the said River, as well as to the Neath Canal.
The Collieries consist of several valuable veins of Coal adapted for the supply of Iron, Copper, and other Works, and for general Sales to Ireland, Cornwall. Devonshire, &c. with four Steam Engines now at work, Rail Roads leading towards the navigable River Neath—Waggons and every requisite for carrying on a most extensive Trade.
A great part of the purchase Money may remain unpaid, on approved Security being given for the same.
For particulars apply to Joseph T. Price, Neath Abbey, Glamorganshire; or to John Hamilton, 11. Mark-lane, London.'
1818 Name of the company was changed to Neath Abbey Iron Company
1820 Joseph's cousin Edwin Tregelles was apprenticed to him, later to be joined by Edwin's brother Nathaniel (1803–1887) who remained until 1847.
1822 Started building marine steam engines
1822 'Died - At Neath, aged 52, Mr. Thos. Pengilly, the well-known and highly valued Superintendent the Neath Abbey Iron Works.'
1831 A locomotive was built for the Gloucester and Cheltenham Tramway
1831 Built a very interesting locomotive for the Dowlais Iron Co, having two 0-4-0 pivoting bogies driven by a central gear. It also had two chimneys, on on each side of the smokebox, which could be turned down horizontally to pass through tunnels 
1831 Edwin resigned on principle rather than be party to supplying machinery to a Newport brewery.
1841 Neath Abbey Iron Company (Messrs. Foxes, Price and Co., Proprietors) employed 175 adults, 47 under 18 years of age, and 11 under 13. Charles Waring, the works' agent, described 'The Neath Abbey Iron Company is an engine manufactory, and contains a department for iron ship‑building, &c. Our works have no special provision for ventilation but they are sufficiently airy; and the usual temperature is from 58° to 70°, nor is any great degree of heat required in those processes where children are employed . . . We have about 170 adults at work now, but when we are full of work we employ from 260 to 300. Our two blast furnaces are not at work'.
1854 Joseph Tregelles Price died. The works were carried on for a while by his nephew, Henry Price (b. 1825).
'The Neath Abbey Iron Company' by Laurence Ince', lists over 230 stationary steam engines supplied by the company between 1806 and 1882. However it is not clear whether all the contracts listed involved complete engines, rather than just key items such as cylinders, pistons, etc. In fact, another source  contains a summary of numerous archived drawings for marine engine contracts, locomotives, and numerous manufacturing drawings for individual components of stationary engines and other machines for various customers. Some examples of listed customers, selected at random, are given below. Note that in many cases it is not clear whether complete engines were supplied, or just specific components. Note: The list is now available online. The list below applies to the title of the drawings as described in the list, and does not imply that the extent of supply under the contract was limited to the items described by the title.
Henry Taylor designed a number of locomotives of various, original designs which were built by the Neath Abbey Ironworks.
Nine of these, which built between 1829 and 1837, were:
1817 'The Britannia Steam Packet, of Dublin, which has been undergoing some alterations at Neath Abbey Iron Works, arrived at Bristol last week from Swansea, making that passage, against all the ebbtide, in twelve hours. This packet is a complete sea-going vessel, the first of her kind to which the powers of steam have been applied. Her sails and propelling machinery admit of being used separately or in conjunction, not interfering in the least with each other’s action, and the latter admits of being disengaged at a moment’s notice. The vessel, we understand, is intended to make several trips in the Bristol Channel, ere she departs for her station between Dublin and Holyhead.'.
Note: Britannia was built in 1816 by James Munn of Greenock. She was a wooden paddle steamer. The Neath Abbey Co carried out some work on the ship, and made detailed drawings of the engines. It is considered that this work inspired the company to embark on marine engineering, and they built their first marine engine in 1822 for the Glamorgan.
1827 Advert: 'TO HARBOUR AND DOCK COMMISSIONERS.
To be Sold Cheap, a powerful and well constructed STEAM DRUDGING[!] MACHINE, with all her apparatus in complete working order. The Engine is of 12-horse power, capable of excavating the bottom of a river to depth of 24 feet, if required 400 or 500 ton gravel, per day. She has lately had a new Boiler, and gone through a thorough repair, end has just completed an extensive submarine excavation in the Port of Cork, where she may now be seen.
For Terms and further particulars apply to Jos. R. Pim, Esq. General Steam Packet Office, 11, Eden-quay, Dublin, John Lecky, Cork, or to H. H. Price , Civil Engineer, Neath-Abbey, Neath, Glanmorganshire. 30th of 3d Month, 1827' 
1838/9 The surviving list of contract drawings  includes drawings for castings for large shears for wharf (presumably shearlegs) and masonry for the shears' rack (1838) and for a delivery barge (1839).
1842 Built an iron ship, the first in Wales, for Joseph T. Price, named the Prince of Wales. Neath Abbey ironworks built some of the world's largest pumping engines for the Cornish mines.
The list of contract drawings  includes 'gas plant' for numerous customers. This covers a wide range of plant, from retorts and gasometers to pipes and gas lamps. Customers included:-
Barnstaple (gas plant, and lamp frames for bridge, 1833-49); Bodmin Gas Co (gas plant, 1837); Bradninch (gas plant, including 14ft dia gasholder, 1842); Brecon Gas Co (35 ft gasholder); Bridgwater Gas Co (pipes and boxes, 1841); Bridport (castings, et., 1832-41); Carmarthen Gas Co (1821-3); Chepstow Gas Co (plant including gasholder); FFA & J A de Elorza, Spain (1844-5); Cwnavon; Dorchester (1833); Dover (1822); Exeter (1837-8); Fox Bros of Tonedale, Wellington, Somerset (1843); Galway (1847); Hafod copper works (1820-2, 1830); Haverfordwest (1836); Llanelly; Merthyr (1847;Foster & Co Morfa copper mills (plant including gasholder, 1833,1841); Neath Gas Co (1832-51); Castle Inn, Neath (lamp bracket! 1832); Vale of Neath Brewing Co (fasholder, 1846); Daniell, Nevill & Co, Llanelly (gas plant including gasholder, 1833); Ross-on-Wye (1830); Saffron Walden (1836); Sidcot School (gas plant, 1841); Swansea Gas Co (1821-41); Swansea Iron Shipbuilding Co; Tailbach copper works, Torbay Gas Works (1850s); Tralee (intended gas plant, 1841); Truro (1839); Usk (1851); Wellington Gas Co, Somerset (including wooden models of bricks for retorts, 1835); Witham Gas Co, Somerset (1835); James Wynn, Falmouth (1831); Yeovil Gas Co (1833); Youghal Gas Co (1830-1).
The contract drawings  include many items in categories other than those listed above. These include:-
The drawing list includes orders for lathes (1823 - 1846), boring mills (1813 - 1881), drilling machines (1841, 1852), planing machines (1839 and 1874). In 1841 they made a lathe for Lunell and Co of Bristol.
1822 Cast iron rails 4 ft long and rail chairs for George Stephenson.
Items for Cwm y Felin Forge: Forge roof (1825); waterwheel shaft and cam ring, 1827 (presumably for tilt or trip hammer); crane for new foundry, 1839.
1852 Specification for two 20 ft 'airometers' for Middle Duffryn Colliery, Aberdare. L. Ince refers to these as 'aerometers', patented by William Price Struve, 12 March 1846, for mine ventilation.
'On a tributary of the River Neath there was established long ago a shipbuilding yard, with a fully-equipped graving dock. Most of the coping stones are still in situ. They are granite, and some of these are 6ft. in length by 3ft. 6in. in width, and 18in. deep. The walls of the dock are in the same position as when placed there, and very little would be required to make it a useful graving dock for modern purposes. The highest spring tide rises up to above the level of the coping. The length of this dock, from the entrance to the extreme end, is about 270 ft., 70ft. wide, and 20ft or more in depth, which could easily be increased. There is a long reach or gutway opposite the entrance, in which vessels could be turned and manipulated for entering or leaving the dock. Numerous buildings alongside are in ruins, which could be quickly renovated and utilised, and with sufficient old material to construct up-to-date workshops, with chimneys, &c., almost ready for immediate use.
'BEAUTIFUL WELSH ABBEY.
'A visitor who wishes to explore this specimen of early engineering and shipbuilding of about a century ago will be astonished at the number of white ornamental cut stones, in its walls, denoting that much of these were obtained from the beautiful abbey almost immediately adjoining. It is astonishing that this splendid old works and its magnificent site, which, in its time, was probably the largest of its kind in the world, has remained unused for such a length of time when small, or even large ships are so necessary for modern requirements. In the engineering works, about 100 yards or so away, the finest work of the time was executed and some of the best engineers were educated, including Sir Benjamin Baker, the designer of the great cantilever bridge which crosses Forth near Edinburgh, and is justly celebrated being, perhaps, the greatest engineering triumph in the world. Half a century ago the Neath Abbey Works were celebrated for the design and excellency of their great colliery winding engines and pumping engines, and had practically a monopoly of the South Wales trade. To be known as a Neath Abbey workman was such a guarantee of excellence that no other recommendation was necessary. Little is required to furnish and equip the works in order to utilise the natural resources of the district, with its unlimited supply of anthracite and steam coal, as well as iron, and with unrivalled means of communication foreign parts.
'DIRECT COMMUNICATION WITH PARIS.
'The collieries ship their coal almost direct into the ship’s hold, with comparatively no long railway journey, and it possible for small vessels to take in their cargo on the tide at any point considerably above the place where the Great Western Railway crosses the river. Without transhipment the cargo could be conveyed direct to Paris for the French market in suitable steamers with lowering masts and funnels to clear the bridges on the rivers on either side.
'This being a prosaic Engineering Note, it may not be thought appropriate to refer to the beautiful Vale of Neath, with its unrivalled river scenery, or the magnificent ruined abbey, the stones of which have been regarded as a convenient quarry and a storage place for engineering refuse. But I may be forgiven if I refer to the time when St. Mary’s Abbey, which was called Holy Trinity King in John’s Charter, was founded in 1129. In an old Welsh verse I learn, "The gold-adorned choir, the nave, the gilded tabernacle work, the pinnacles, the stained glass, the ceiling, resplendent with Royal shields of arms, the grey walls of the church, the vast lofty roof, with corbels, carved like archangels, its tesselated floors . . .", &c. All these have vanished, but there are still old friends I frequently see who remember with pride the days when the shipbuilding yard was a prosperous industry, and the building and launching of such vessels as the Neath Abbey in 1846.
'SHIPBUILDING AT NEATH IN 1846.
'Then there was the Helen Bates - her length was 169 ft. 6in.—-and the Flying Scud. The engines of the latter were 31.5in. in diameter, with a 50in. stroke, and carried 25lb. of steam. She was built as recently as 1877. Here also were built the first locomotives used on the Taff Vale Railway at Cardiff, as well as the little tank engine that I saw and admired at the Great Exhibition in London in 1862, not forgetting the pretty little beam engine which used to wind the iron ore at the mine pits the Garth Mountain, and was known as the Prince of Wales’ winding engine.'
The oldest surviving buildings are two stone-built blast furnaces (the original ones built in 1793) and the remains of workshops where the steam engines were constructed.
Their significance was recognised, and the ironworks is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The furnaces are listed Grade II star and the workshops Grade II.
Some work was undertaken to stabilise the structures, and a display plaque was placed near the top of one of the furnaces, visible from Longford Road. However, today (2015) there is little to suggest any official interest in this aspect of the town's industrial heritage, and the display plaque is weathered and illegible. The structure of the furnaces may be threatened by the growth of ivy.
On the positive side, efforts are made to keep the pathways clear. There is a network of footpaths from Longford Road and from Taillywd Road into the wooded valley through which the River Clydach passes. This is a pleasant area, and contains the ruins of a number of stone buildings, presumably connected with the ironworks. Towering above the valley is the impressive Neath Abbey Viaduct. A short distance upstream of the blast furnaces is the Forge Tramroad Bridge, a fine masonry structure. In common with many bridges and walls in areas connected with the copper trade of Swansea, Wye, Severn and Bristol, the parapet is capped with copper slag blocks. Uncommonly, these are decorative, being ogee-shaped.
A path immediately west of the River Clydach can be accessed from near the railway bridge over Longford Road, and can be followed southwards past the furnaces and the engine works building, emerging by a garage which exits onto the A4230. It is not clear whether this path is on private land.
Site location: General area: 200 yds NW of Tesco superstore. Specific area: Bounded by Longford Road on the west, Taillywd Road on the east, the A4230 on the south, and the railway viaduct to the north. There are other historic features in close proximity to the ironworks, connected indirectly or hardly at all, including the impressive ruins of Neath Abbey itself, about ¼ mile due south of the ironworks. Pedestrians visiting the Abbey will find their return to the village easier than will drivers, due to a curious one-way system!
The 1817 sale notice (above) states that the ironworks is 'situate about a quarter of a mile from the navigable River Neath, with Rail Roads to a Wharf on the said River, as well as to the Neath Canal.'. In fact the canal nearest to the works is the Tennant Canal, which crosses the River Clydach by a masonry aqueduct adjacent to the abbey (see photo). The Neath Canal is further to the east, across the River Neath. The 'Rail Road' to the canal presumably followed the Clydach valley.
A track crosses the Tennant Canal by an old bridge, capped with copper slag blocks, at the south eastern corner of the abbey. 100 yds south of the bridge is a 19thC building known as 'Cheadle Works Cottages'. The Neath Abbey Co's shipbuilding and marine engineering premises were established at the site of the former Cheadle Copper Company's works, and this represents the site of the shipyard and drydock referred to in the 1918 article. Old maps show the drydock immediately west of the cottages, and aligned SSE, with the 'long reach or gutway opposite the entrance, in which vessels could be turned' referred to in 1918. Reference to the Google Earth satellite image shows little evidence of this reach, as it has become largely silted up and reclaimed by vegetation, although a stream still runs through it. The A465 dual carriageway now crosses the land, and the former drydock, between the cottages and the river.