Thomas Alwyn John, LL.B.
Solicitor & Coroner
(ABGS 1920–1926)

T. Alwyn John

T. Alwyn John, (1956)

Alwyn John was a prominent Aberdare solicitor, who took an active role in several local organisations. He became Coroner for North East Glamorgan in 19461.

Thomas Alwyn John was born 20 November 1907 in Trecynon. He was the only son of James John, and his second wife Harriet, née Jones. Alwyn’s father was employed in the mines, progressing from a mines examiner in Aberdare to General Manager with Llewellyn Ltd. at the Plymouth and Cyfarthfa Collieries in Merthyr from 1925–33. James John was Secretary and Deacon at Heolyfelin Welsh Baptist Chapel in Trecynon for thirty years. He died in 1933 at the age of 65. Two years after his death, the family moved back from Pentrebach in Merthyr to Aberdare, occupying temporary accommodation in Brynawelon, the manse of Bethel Welsh Baptist Chapel in Abernant. After only two weeks at Brynawelon, Harriet John died, (April 4, 1935).

Alwyn John was a pupil at Park Elementary School, Trecynon and the Higher Standard School, Gadlys, living at this time at 53 Broniestyn Terrace. He won a scholarship to Aberdare Boys County School and entered Form 1A in September 1920. He passed his School Certificate in 1924, and again in 1925 but this time with Matriculation Equivalence. Then in 1926 he was successful in the Higher Certificate examination. He won a Rees Llewellyn Scholarship, valued at £35 per annum, and progressed to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth where he graduated LL.B., (1929).

He was successful in the finals of the Law Society in examinations sat on November 6th & 7th, 1933. After a period in Merthyr where he was articled to a local solicitor, he joined the Ivor Charles Kenshole law practice at Lloyds Bank Buildings, Aberdare. Shortly afterwards in October 1934, he was on a shortlist for the Town Clerkship of Aberdare U.D.C. Though unsuccessful, his interest in local government was whetted, and in March 1937, he was elected to Glamorgan County Council. However, with the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the RAF in September 1940, where he attained the rank of Squadron Leader upon his demobilisation in 1945.


Bethel Deacons

T. Alwyn John in 1946
when appointed Coroner

He married Audrey Francis, the daughter of the Fishmonger Jack Francis, Canon Street, on 4 September 1937 at St. Elvan’s Church, Aberdare. Was it a coincidence that Francis the Fishmonger was directly opposite Kenshole & John Solicitors, Lloyds Bank Buildings! The couple initially settled at ‘The Nook’, Plasdraw Road. A son Robert F. John was born in April 1945. The family settled finally at Ashbrook House, 23 Clifton Street, Aberdare in 1947.

There were many positions that T. Alwyn John held:

Alwyn John was a committed Christian and worshipped at Bethel Baptist Chapel in Abernant, where he was a Deacon. He also served many local non-conformist causes as a lay preacher. He was known as an avid reader and one who took an interest in many cultural events. Those who recall his demeanour described him as always being meticulously polite and cheerful. He could also make an impromptu speech at the drop of a hat!

Alwyn John with fellow Deacons3 at Bethel, Abernant, 1956

Alwyn John died at the West Wales General Hospital, Glangwili, Carmarthen on September 30th, 1966 aged 58. This followed a heart attack two weeks previously, whilst he was on holiday in Saundersfoot. There was a memorial service at the Calfaria Welsh Baptist Chapel4 in Monk Street on 3 October 1966, followed by interment at Aberdare Cemetery. Present at the funeral were several clergymen, amongst whom were the Principal of the Welsh Baptist College, Dr. Ithel Jones; the secretary of the Welsh Baptist Union, The Rev. Morgan John Williams5, M.A., B.D., and Alwyn’s cousin the Rev. Professor Mansel John6.

Alwyn’s widow Audrey died sixteen years later in 1982.

TAJ from Hanes  Heolyfelyn

Braslun o’i Hanes erbyn Dathlu ei
Chanmlwyddiant, Mai 1952


  1. When Alwyn John was appointed Coroner he succeeded Mr. R.J. Rees. Coroners for the area after Alwyn John were Graeme John, no relation to Alwyn, John R.D. Morgan, and then Philip Walters. Alwyn and Philip Walters both attended Aberdare Boys County School — as did Graeme John, although he completed his secondary education at Wycliffe College, in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire.
  2. In November 1948, Alwyn John was the chairman of the ceremony when the WW2 Memorial Plaque, dedicated to those past students who were killed during the war, was unveiled in the School Hall of Aberdare Boys Grammar School in Trecynon. In the Order of Service for this event, he is described as President of the Aberdare Branch of the British Legion.
  3. Other former pupils amongst the deacons: Lewis Nicholas James who entered the County School in 1905, later a headteacher in Aberdare, and father of D. Gordon James, County School, 1933–1939. Gordon James became Town Clerk of Aberdare, and Vicar of Aberdare; John Thomas Roberts, County School 1914–19, who became a peripatetic teacher of Commercial Subjects at various secondary schools in the valley; John Edward Williams, who is mentioned in one of the School Sports Day reports, and who became Headteacher of Aman Junior School, Godreaman.
  4. Calfaria was probably chosen instead of Alwyn’s own chapel as it was larger and nearer the family home in Clifton Street. It also possessed a large pipe organ which at that time Bethel did not.
  5. Rev. M.J. Williams was a past student of Aberdare Boys County School, 1922–28. He contributed a short article about his schooldays in the 75th Anniversary Booklet to be found in the School History section of this website.
  6. Rev. Professor Mansel John was also a past student of the County School, 1922–29, and has an entry in the Former Pupils section of this website. From the school dates shown above it can be seen that T. Alwyn John, Mansel John and M.J. Williams were all at school during almost the same period.


  1. The W.W. Price Bibliographic Index and the help of Steven Graham at Aberdare Library for locating the relevant entries.
  2. The RCT Photographic Archive for the main photograph.
  3. John Samuel for his unfailing help in compiling the account, and for the photograph of the Bethel Deacons, which appeared in the 1956 booklet, ‘Bethel, Eglwys y Bedyddwyr, Abernant - Canmlwyddiant cychwyn yr achos - 1856–1956.’