Page created: 21 August 2005
Latest revision or update: 8 September 2017

Swansea Jewish Community

City of Swansea

Swansea (in Welsh: Abertawe - "mouth of the Tawe") is the second largest city in Wales, with a population of about 240,000.  It lies on the northern coast of the Bristol Channel, at the mouth of the river Tawe.

Until 1974, Swansea was a county borough in the old county of Glamorganshire. From 1974 to 1996, it formed a district in the county of South Glamorgan. In 1996, Swansea became a unitary authority (in the ceremonial, or preserved, county of West Glamorgan). 

Swansea Jewish Community

The Swansea Jewish community was the earliest Jewish community to develop in Wales inmodern times, thare being records of Jews settling in Swansea from the 1730s. (see The Rise of Provincial Jewry, C. Roth) The first (wooden) synagogue was built in the 1740s and the Swansea Hebrew Congregation develped over subsequent decades. In 1768, the Jewish community received the grant of a plot of land for use as a cemetery. In 1906, an additional congregation was established, primarily by new Yiddish-speaking immigrants, initially as supplementary to main synagogue, but developed as a separate synagogue, until both congregations merged in 1955. In recent years numbers have dwindled and the synagogue building was sold in 2009 and the congregation subsequently rented a small hall for services.

Jewish Congregations

The following are the Jewish congregations that exist or existed in Swansea:

The following are former or alternative names of the above congregations:


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Swansea include:

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Swansea during the 1790s (2 records), 1800s (10 records), 1810s (15 records), 1820s (66 records), 1830s (115 records), 1840s (114 records), 1850s (159 records), 1860s (92 records), 1870s (81 records), 1880s (42 records), 1890s (24 records), 1900s (13 records) and 1910s (1 record).


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Swansea Jewish Community



Other Swansea Jewish Institutions & Organisations

Educational & Theological

  • Jewish School (founded by 1874), held at Synagogue chambers

  • Congregational Hebrew Classes (founded 1888)

Other Institutions & Organisations

Formed by 1900*

  • Swansea Benevolent Society (founded 1893) to help the resident poor.

* As listed in the Jewish Year Books 1896 & 1900.


Swansea Jewish Cemeteries Information

There are two Jewish cemeteries in Swansea, both orthodox:

  • Old Jewish Cemetery - Townhill, at High View and Long Ridge, Townhill, Mayhill, SA1.  This was established in 1768 (the oldest Jewish burial ground in Wales). It was subsequently enlarged, in particularly in 1878. Closed in 1965, although there were some subsequent burials.

    Articles on JCR-UK:

    • The Jews Burying Ground, an article on the Swansea Jewish Cemetery at Townhill, which initially appeared in the Cambrian newspaper on 29 January 1897.

  • Oystermouth Cemetery, Jewish Section. This is the new Jewish Cemetery, opened in 1962.

(For additional information, see also IAJGS International Jewish Cemeteries Project - Swansea)


Swansea Jewish Population Data


    Possible first Jewish settlement (The Rise of Provincial Jewry, C. Roth)



(Article by B. Goldblum)



(The Jewish Chronicle, 1847)



(The Jewish Year Book 1896)



(The Jewish Year Book 1936)



(The Jewish Year Book 1947)



(The Jewish Year Book 1981)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 2004)

Jewish Communities in Wales home page

Jewish Congregations in the former county of Glamorganshire

Jewish Congregations in Wales, according to current unitary authorities



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