Merthyr Tydfil is a city rich with historic significance and beauty of Wales. It is named after Saint Tydfil, a daughter of King Brychan of Brycheiniog. This area was first inhabited around 1000 BC by Celts and remained a small village until the iron age when it abundance of iron ore, coal, and water helped to turn it into the iron capital of the world. Much of its history is celebrated in the many museums and sites that can be visited today.
The Old Parish Church
The Old Parish Church is dedicated to Saint Tydfil. Not much is known of her except that she was slain by pagan’s around 480. A church was erected on the spot where she died. Some form of church has stood in that spot for 1500 years. Although it closed for worship in 1968, you can still visit the church.
The Castle That Was Never Finished
Construction of Morlias Castle began around 1270 and was commissioned by Gilbert de Clare, 3rd Earl of Gloucester on land that belonged to Humphrey de Bohun, 3rd Earl of Hereford. This caused war between the two that came to the attention of King Edward I, who intervened. Most believe construction was never completed and what remains of the castle lie near Merthyr Tydfil.
Honoring the Working Man
William Crenshaw was one of the prominent Ironmasters of Merthyr Tydfil. He commissioned Cyfarthfa Castle in 1824 to be a home for his family and himself. Today the castle holds a museum and a school. There are artifacts spanning 2000 years of Myrthyr Tydfil’s history. You can view the first steam whistle and the first voting box, just to name a few. The museum is a testament to the spirit of the working man.
Joseph Parry is Wales’s best known composer. He was born in a cottage built in the 1820’s for the workers of Cyfarthfa’s Ironworks. Today, Joseph Perry’s Cottage has been turned into a museum. Upstairs, you can view exhibits of Parry’s life and his work. There are also exhibits of Merthyr Tydfil’s industrial history.
This region has miles of beautiful countryside that must be visited if you are ever in this area. Take a ride on the Brecon Mountain Railway along the beautiful scenery and many historic sites. A trip to this region is one you would never forget.