Tom Jones, a shepherd who lived in one of the Ystradfechan Cottages at Old Farm, Treorchy, was employed by the Ocean Coal Company who owned the land above ground and coal (the Park and the Dare Collieries) beneath. A farrier who lived in the adjoining cottage tended to all the Park and Dare pit ponies. Tom Jones was known world-wide as the “Wonder Shepherd” for his remarkable skills as an animal trainer which, together with his concern for his flock, are recorded here.
Tom Jones used his remarkable skills in his work and he also demonstrated these skills to universal acclaim at shows (e.g. Birmingham Horticultural Society Show, 15-16/7/1932) where, for instance, two dogs each with three sheep would be seen working at the same time to two different whistles from him, and the dogs would show how they could feed lambs from bottles and ride ponyback. He received several awards ‘For Humanity' from the RSPCA – one in 1939 for the rescue of 6 lambs trapped at the bottom of a 60ft crevice and another in 1982, at the age of 79, for bringing a ewe and her lamb to safety from a ledge they were stuck on half way down a steep quarry side.