On the Normans conquest of Glamorgan, Caradog, the eldest son of the defeated Welsh prince, Iestyn ab Gwrgant, continued to hold this lordship, and for the defence of the passage of the river built a castle whose foundations now lie underneath the streets around St Mary's church. His descendants (who from the 13th century onwards styled themselves De Avan or D'Avene) established, under line protection of the castle, a chartered town, which in 1372 received a further charter from Edward le Despencer, 1st Baron le Despencer, into whose family the lordship had come on an exchange of lands. In modern times these charters were not acted upon, the town being deemed a borough by prescription, but in 1861 it wasincorporated under the Municipal Corporations Act.
Aberavon was the birthplace of Dic Penderyn, a key figure in the Merthyr Rising of 1831. St Mary's Church is the site of his grave.
From 1832 Aberavon belonged to the Swansea parliamentary district of boroughs, uniting withKenfig, Loughor, Neath and Swansea to return one member; since 1918 it has had its own constituency. Its most famous MP was Ramsay MacDonald.
In the 1950s many of the sand dunes of Aberavon Beach disappeared as part of the development of the Sandfields estate, at this time a 1.25 mile sea wall was built primarily for sea defences. The estate was built to accommodate the growing population, especially the families of workers at the new Port Talbot Steelworks.
Aberavon hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1932 and 1966.
Aberavon RFC are a rugby union team, and play in the Welsh Premier Division, which is the top tier of the Welsh rugby pyramid.
Baglan Industrial Park
The Baglan Bay Industrial Park lies on a stretch of Baglan Moors in the parish of Aberavon south east of the Baglan Energy Park and immediately northwest of Neath Port Talbot Hospital. It is sandwiched between the M4 Motorway and Afan Way (A4241). Current occupants include Morrisons, Lidl, KFC, Focus DIY, Dreams, Pound Stretcher, Pets at Home & Halfords superstores and a Warburtons bread factory in premises which were previously occupied by Panasonic.
Government and politics
The electoral ward of Aberavon is coterminous with district of Aberavon and is a part of the parliamentary constituency of Aberavon.
Aberavon is bounded by the wards of Sandfields West and Sandfields East to the southwest; Baglan to the north; Port Talbot to the east and Margam to the south. The ward boundaries can be defined by the roads surrounding it which are the M4 Motorway to the north east; the A4241 to the north west; Afan Way to the southwest and the River Afan to the south east.
The Aberavon ward can be roughly divided into two parts. There is the residential area to the southeastern part of the ward beside the River Afan. The north western area consists of areas of industrial estate land called the Baglan Industrial Park which includes a number of out of town retail premises as well as business and manufacturing premises.