Pontrhyn Bridge crosses the Taff at Troedyrhiw, and is believed
to be located on the site of an ancient bridge that dates back at
least 500 years. Legend claims that the bridge was the site where
Rhun, the son of a local chieftain and brother of Tydfil (from whom
the name Merthyr Tydfil is said to derive), was killed defending
the area from marauding Picts in the 5th Century.
Up until the 19th century this area was rural and agricultural.
In 1771 a map shows that Troedyrhiw was comprised of a large farm,
a corn mill and just three other buildings.
The Merthyr and Cardiff Guardian, in 1852, observed the changes
that took place at Troedyrhiw during the 19th century:
"This place bids to be a star of the first magnitude. It formerly
only had a chapel, two taverns, a few cottages, an engine-house,
the remnant of a mill, and a miserable shed...speculative
spirit…has led to the erection of numerous cottages, by perpetual
battering, the Taff Vale Railway has been induced to improve their
station; and the place has been successfully adorned with Villas, a
new church and two or three new meeting houses...nearly all the
houses have been built under the sanction of the board of Health,
and are really what human habitation ought to be."
Sunk by the Crawshay family in the 1866, Castle Pit was located
in the centre of Troedyrhiw. The colliery was opened expressly to
mine steam coal and sell it commercially.
As the iron industry became more erratic collieries like Castle
were opened and ironmasters entered 'the sale coal market' to
subsidise their failing ironworks. Overtime however, the collieries
totally replaced the ironworks as the main trade in the Merthyr
The single shaft at Castle reached a depth of over 400metres to
mine the excellent quality seams on the west side of the Taff.
Church of St John the Baptist
The parish Church of St John the Baptist was built in 1853 by
Anthony Hill, ironmaster of the nearby Plymouth Works. The church
was built by Anthony on condition that he would be the only person
to be buried in the church grounds. He is said to be buried in an
iron coffin. When he died the workmen were given the day off to
attend his funeral, with full pay, but out of respect for him they
each donated their days pay to purchase the stained glass window on
the east side of the church.
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