Garth Domain – detailed contents

1. Y GARTH UCHAF (November 1998) by Barry Davies.  An ancient mountain farm on the south-western shoulder of the Garth Mountain, together with Bwlch y Gwynt …  Tir y Polyn … occupancy over the centuries.  Ref. 1542 survey of William Took, Henry Vlll’s Marcher Lordship of Glamorgan … ref survey of 1570 includes lordship of Meisgyn (Miskin) and the Manor of Pentyrch and Clun … family histories of  the colourful William Nichol (twice charged with murder) … fled to Ireland … persistence of saying: ‘gwaeth na Nicwl’  and the Mountain Lewises.  Speculations about local religious activity … The Soar (a chapel?) …  Relevant section of 1837 Pentyrch Tithe map.                                             16 pp.

2. THE WILLIAM EVANS PAPERS (December 1998) by Don Llewellyn.  In the mid 1970s a remarkable discovery was made in the roof above the stables of a derelict Pentyrch village store.  In the Victorian period the shop had stocked everything from butter and bacon to biscuits, wine, cigars, ale and spirits as well as bibles; drapery and all manner of haberdashery, also lampblack, paraffin, gunpowder and dynamite.  From 1860 to 1898 the entrepreneurial William Evans had kept many hundreds of pieces of paper relating not only to his business but also to numerous aspects of village life.  As well as grocery orders, communications from trades-people, suppliers and commercial travellers there are letters and notes from the postmaster, the land agent, the vicar, the schoolmaster and many others.  At that time the community was 95% Welsh-speaking and even though English was the language of commerce several letters are in the native language … and a good many more in broken English!  As William Evans was a senior deacon at Horeb there are many letters dealing with chapel business too.   Letters sent home from the Evans children away at boarding school are very readable..  Licences, and various certificates show how demanding the running of a shop in Victorian times was.  Most revealing of all are those notes which indicate the intense poverty in the period that followed the close-down of the Pentyrch Ironworks in the mid 1880s.  Examples of these highly visual documents are reproduced in this edition.                                                                                                    40 pp.

3. CRAIG GWILYM (March 1999) by Barry Davies. Another ancient farm, it gives us a story of bulls, bishops and bell-pits.  Craig Gwilym takes its name from a long ridge on the south-western approaches to the Garth.  References to the farm’s existence in medieval times is speculative but enough is known of Romano-British life in the area to encourage us to believe Craig Gwilym could be a truly ancient place.  Records of the area following the insurgence of the Normans abound.  The lordship of Meisgyn was conquered by Gilbert de Clare in 1245. A little later, Henry de Sully had seized Pentyrch and there can be little doubt that in the more temperate climate of the time, the area around Craig Gwilym would have been intensively farmed in the interests of the new masters.  Who was the Gwilym (William) after whom  the property was named will remain a mystery but  ownership surveys throughout the coming centuries would show that Craig Gwilym was an active farm. As in the case of Garth Uchaf, there is a reference to it in Jasper William Took’s survey of 1542.   By 1570 it is connected with William Mathew.  Lying on the coal measures, Craig Gwilym land presented occupiers with a golden opportunity to diversify.  From the 18th century onwards, coal became the dominant interest of Craig Gwilym farmers.                                                                                                                                      32 pp.

4. TWM LEE (June 1999) by Arthur Llewellyn.   The exploits of Thomas ‘Lee’ Llewellyn, one of the last ‘mountain fighters’ … Twm was a bare-fisted pugilist, a rugby man, and amazingly, in view of the nature of his chosen pursuit, in everybody’s view, a true gentleman.  Certainly he was hero-worshipped by Pentyrch residents but his reputation as a bruiser went far beyond the parish.    He fought some professional  boxing  bouts, mainly in the Monmouthshire valleys, but was at his heroic best battling it out with bare hands on the mountainside or any such place where the local gambling fraternity had set up a contest with a challenger.. He was a regular member of the highly successful Pentyrch rugby team of the early 1900s and there are several stories about their visits to such places as Tiger Bay in Cardiff, where Twm’s reputation had gone before him!   At the ripe age of 40 he enlisted in the army along with numerous others from the club and soon found himself in the trenches.  He lost one of his legs in a shell-blast – an event that, if anything, enhanced his status as a local hero.                                                                      18 pp.

5. THE GARTH MOUNTAIN (September 1999)  By Don Llewellyn.  The influence of a hill on the local community.   Since Pentyrch, Creigiau and Gwaelodygarth have become part of Cardiff, the Welsh capital can now claim to have a mountain within its boundaries.   It was a gift from the Bute estate to the Pentyrch Parish Council in the early 1970s.  Now, administered by its successor Pentyrch Community Council this prominent landmark is close to the hearts of everyone raised in its environs. Even those who have left the area retain glowing memories of the mountain and feel drawn to it like a magnet when they return.  In recent years, visitors to the Garth have increased enormously in the wake of the successful film ‘The Englishman who went up  Hill and Came Down a Mountain’ which was based on a modern myth that claims the mound known as ‘The Pimple’ was raised in 1917 to turn the hill into a mountain.  The truth is that the mounds (including the Pimple) have been there for over four thousand years and being Bronze Age burial mounds they are ancient monuments protected by law.  It became necessary for the Local History Society together with the Community Council to erect a notice warning of the severe penalties to be imposed as a result of defacement by anyone.   Photographs show the unveiling of the plaque witnessed by over 350 people who attended the ceremony in 1999.  This edition also includes  information about local folklore and superstitions associated with the Garth:  Arthur’s Buttes, Mari Ann Cabbage, Y Brenin Llwyd (The King of the Mist) and y Ladi Wen.   A photo shows the crowd who went to the Pimple in 1927 to see the total eclipse of the sun.  Ceremonial bonfires are referred to and so are several Garth-side dwellings including The Bowers, Maesarail, Ivy Cottage and the old tavern The Colliers’ Arms.  The panorama seen from the top is shown; also the magnificent view of the hill from Taff’s Well.                                                                                                                 28 pp.

6. THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST CATWG (December 1999) By Barry Davies and Don Llewellyn.  An account of 1500 years history of the parish church of Pentyrch since the time Catwg Ddoeth (Cadoc the Wise) formed a Christian cell and bond village around a magic well.   Catwg is described in detail from ancient manuscripts.   The well that still bears his name is shown; also a photo of the stream named after his mother Gwladus.  There is an explanation of the difference between a vicar and a rector, also of the way in which the Normans introduced the parochial and diocesan system into the church structure.  A map of St Catwg’s Glebe appears, also various views of the church and its contents including the 12th century font.  The chancel and nave, the bell tower steeple, the ornately carved reading desk and the carved wooden eagle lectern, the pipe organ and the so-called ‘Mathew Stone – an inscribed family memorial from the Middle Ages (thought not to relate to the Mathews). Another photo shows the wedding ‘canon block’ which used to be fired at weddings.   A medieval base-block for a cross is shown; also  the lych-gate designed and donated by Thomas Henry Sparks.  There is a rare photo of Horatio Thomas, vicar from 1834 to 1880,  Wilfred Lewis (1929-1955) is seen, as is Gruffydd  Jones his successor together with the church choir of his time.  There is a photo of John Pritchard the diocesan architect who designed the present beautiful building erected in 1857.  An impressive, scholarly and colourful description of the new church  by a contemporary journalist is a jewel of Victorian writing.  The consecration services  for the new church are taken from press coverage which indicates that the provision of  a new church on the ancient site  was a momentous local event. We learn a lot from the account of the visits of David Jones of Wallington and his conversations with, among others, John Llewellyn the old sexton.  We learn of various families associated with church life through the ages, also vicars who have left their marks on local history for one reason or another. Thirty reminiscences about the church from villagers conclude this edition.                           32 pp.

7. CREIGIAU (February 2000) By J Barry Davies and Don Llewellyn.  An ancient corner of the parish of Pentyrch … originally ‘Castle Hamlet’ it became ‘Creigiau’ after the coming of the Barry Railway.   The line, completed in the late 1880s passed through a Pentyrch farm known as ‘Criga’ (pronounced CREEGAH).  When the station was built a short while later it took this name and the village that grew as a result of it took the  name as well (except that some ‘purists’ mistakenly thought the correct form of the word was ‘CREIGIAU’ – meaning ‘rocks’).  Even then, there were errors. One photo of the signal box shows the name as ‘CRAIGIAU’.  The ancient history of the area is covered, beginning with reference to the oldest man-made item in the district: the Stone-Age cromlech at Caer yr Arfau.  The oldest house, Castell y Mynach is shown  and a family tree of those connected with it from Llewelyn ap Cynwrig (1277) to the Mathew family of the 16th century is set out.    Penllwyn Cynfyn, an associated ancient farm is described and its occupancy from Rhys Goch of Ystrad Yw also to the Mathews.  It is explained that Castell y Mynach was neither a castle nor a monastery, but a gentry house  of some considerable influence.   The adjacent Pantygored is also dealt with and so is Criga farm (which was to give in to the new name: ‘Creigiau’.)   From olden times the mystery of the location of a true castle in the area known as Castell Crege is still unsolved.   One of the most interesting houses in the old Creigiau (before the developments of the 1960s and 70s) was ‘Efail y Castell’ the thatch-roofed smithy that belonged to the Mathew Estate of  Castell y Mynach.  The advent of the quarry and its effect on the community is covered as is the family firm of Owen and Davies that built much of the immediate post-railway-station village.  Joe Fraser the millionaire shipping magnate who lived at Tregarth mansion is recalled and so is the much admired Doctor Gladys Aitken who served the community for many years.  We hear of  Seale’s shop and Mr Southcliffe’s pottery − also the private academy run by John Willie (son of William Evans).  The Golf Club  is described, also ‘Woodlands’ the house that was bombed during the Second World War.  The new thriving community (post 1970) has a new bilingual primary school, a leading mixed choir Cantorion Creigiau  and many other things.    40 pp.

8. CHARACTERS OF 19TH CENTURY PENTYRCH (June 2000) By Arthur and Don Llewellyn. ‘Personalities’ who left their mark are remembered.  Among them Thomas Llewellyn (Yr Ail Ithel), farmer of y Forlan, Rev Horatio Thomas (vicar for over forty years) Charles Prichard (polymath), Siôn o’r Lan, mountain farmer, Dafydd y Towr (thatcher), John Mathews, Gomer Thomas, Morgan Thomas (schoolmaster who established cricket and rugby football), Sara’n Llewelyn, Sian Watkin, Ifan Sôn (land agent), Oli Prichard (country poet), Twm Crydd (Tom Jenkins, poacher and raconteur), Hannah Maria John, Job Williams, Tom Wiliams, Dic Soar, Eleanor Williams, Henry Sparks, Dai Evans Cefn Colstyn, William Mathews, (blacksmith), William Llewellyn (butcher), William Evans (shopkeeper extraordinaire), Twm Siedi (Tom, mab Shadrach), Kitty Gwlannan, John Preece, Enoc Dafydd, Selina Thomas, Wil Davies, Twm Lee (mountain fighter), Tom Miles (sportsman), Evan Watkins, and the ‘Caewals’.  From the comments of travel writer Benjamin Heath Malkin in 1803, to the photographs of the Gardener brothers at the end of the century both the industrial and the agricultural aspects of life in the area is described.  Characters selected from a multitude of personalities are seen in the context of a tumultuous century in which the population of the area increased threefold before falling once more in the wake of industrial recession.  Whilst the Ironworks, brickworks and numerous small coal extraction enterprises flourished for most of the century, rural life continued, in some cases without change.   Until beyond the half-way mark, more than one farmer was still ploughing using oxen.  The pursuit of the fox was in its heyday with the incomparable Daniel Williams of Llwyndaddu’s pack of forty black-and-tan hounds the envy of many a neighbouring hunt.  Charles Prichard a schoolmaster, philosopher poet left us several epic poems describing the hunt, also the postman, and other personalities.  There are verses too from other country poets of the village, including Oli Prichard’s account of the funeral of a favourite pig.   Christian worship was at its height and in addition to the parish church congregation the place was teeming with Methodists, Baptists and Independents; not to mention  Wesleyans, Unitarians and others.  There is a tribute to JWC Schroeter the Norwegian timber importer who founded the English Mission in the last years of the century to provide the only non-Welsh services in the area.  Despite the strength of the Christian movement, many people still clung to primitive beliefs, some of which are described in this edition. Cultural life of the village included the society known as the Ivorites (Iforiaid) who met at the Collier’s Arms  and the Oddfellows who gathered at the Kings.   Work went on at the iron-ore mines and the newly opened limestone quarries.  A collection of reminiscences from people of the period include Edmund Siedi’s memories of the King’s Arms Festival where “you could have a black eye and a pint for sixpence!”                  40 pp.

9. SCHOOLING IN PENTYRCH, GWAELODYGARTH AND CREIGIAU (September 2000) By Don Llewellyn and Derek Thomas.   Reference is made to education throughout the ages from the early days of Christianity through to the formal state-sponsored system of modern times.   After the success of  a large number of  ‘Charity Schools’ even in the 17th century, education was to take a big leap forward through the ‘Circulating Schools’ of Griffith Jones.  One of these was established at Pentyrch in the 1730s.  Later, that marvellous institution known as the ‘Welsh Sunday School’ was to be the agency by which a large proportion of the population became literate and numerate.  With the Ironworks and its associated workplaces concentrated in the lower valley at Gwaelodygarth, inevitably it was there that the main centre of education existed by the early part of the Victorian period.  The National school in upper Pentyrch was well-attended, as indeed were the various Sunday Schools, but it was the Bethelehem School in the Gwaelod that had the larger number of children in attendance.   Although Bethlehem was not a ‘Works’ school as such, it received the patronage of the Booker family, owners of the Pentyrch Ironworks. By 1847 there were 43 pupils at upper Pentyrch but Bethlehem accommodated 143!  This was one the schools visited by the absurdly ignorant Inspectors in 1847 that led to the report known in Wales as  ‘Brad y Llyfrau Gleision’ (Treachery of the Blue Books) in which the ability to speak one’s native language only was cruelly confused with illiteracy. As the century moved on the schools at Gwaelod and at upper Pentyrch became well-regarded centres of learning.  A photograph of a Gwaelod school class in 1875 is shown with their headmaster the redoubtable Thomas Madge.   A photo from 1893 shows the children of Pentyrch school dressed for a concert.  The headmaster in this group is ‘Jones Bach’. Also in the group is Charles Graham Hughes (‘Bottlebelly Punch’) who was to be Mr Jones’s successor.    Among the other illustrations there are further class groups,  a gang of  young salvage collectors from the second world war period, photos of the buildings and an extract from the Pentyrch ‘punishment book’.  The highly successful small private academy of John ‘Willie’ Evans was an important feature of Creigiau from the 1920s until after the war.  Memories of this remarkable centre of education are given by Cecil Lewis, J Barry Davies and Brian E Wood.  Don Llewellyn and Derek Thomas give accounts of their schooldays in Pentyrch and Gwaelodygarth respectively.                                                                                                                             40 pp.

10. SPORT – PENTYRCH, CREIGIAU & GWAELODYGARTH (December 2000) By Arthur and Don Llewellyn.  The main sports described are Rugby, Cricket , Soccer, Tennis, Boxing, Golf, Fox-hunting and Point-to-Point racing but the ancient pursuit ‘Cnapan’ and the timeless tavern game of  ‘Tippit’ are also covered . Also there are references to organised tree-climbing, bando, badminton bomparino, table tennis, marbles and pitch-and-toss.   Both Cricket and Rugby were introduced by  schoolmaster Morgan Thomas in the 1880s.  Much of the information comes from the strong local oral tradition which has always celebrated the exploits of sportsmen; also from the recorded conversations made with elderly Pentyrch people over forty years ago.   Highlights of the cricket story include the 170 yard hit by the legendary Tom Miles in 1909 and the plague of frogs that invaded the pitch in the same year.  Personalities who graced the cricketing scene over the following decades are described in detail.  The game was also strong in Gwaelodygarth where the Rev RG Berry was particularly passionate about the sport .  Others referred to include John Foxhall, John William Howell, Evan Howell, George Taylor (fast bowler) and Ben Howell (spin bowler).  Another team flourished in the 1930s representing the Dolomite Quarry team.  There are Pentyrch and Gwaelod team photos.   Rugby  is covered from the casual throwing of a ball about on the Forlan fields in 1882 and the formation of the club the following year through several ‘golden eras’ right up to the 1950s.  Activities of the colourful characters of the team of the early 1900s are described, their Tiger Bay sojourns etc and the Mallet Cup winning sides half a century later are duly extolled.  There is a photo of Garth Rangers (1904) and Pentyrch Youth (1957).  Pugilism took a while to be dignified by the term ‘boxing’ in Pentyrch.  The oral tradition has it that many a bare knuckle contest  took place on the Garth in times gone by.  Later, the Twyn mound opposite the Lewis Arms became the  favoured spot for bruisers.  Twm Lee (see GD issue no. 4 ) was the first to adopt the gloves.  Dai Lee’s boxing club at St Catwg’s Hall is covered; also those who went on to become professionals such as Daio Llewellyn and Billy Morse.   The history of Pentyrch Hunt is covered fully and its off-shoot the Point -to -Point races which were once a huge event in Pentyrch.   Soccer, although less popular than rugby, had its heydays and is fully described in the text and with photos.  Tennis was very popular in Pentyrch and Creigiau. Golf, exclusively a Creigiau pursuit is fully described by Brian E Wood.                                                                                                                            44 pp.

11. CASTELL Y MYNACH, CREIGIAU, THE GREAT HOUSE (February 2002) By J Barry Davies. Some misconceptions are cleared up about the building having been a castle, a monastery, or a manor house.  It was, in fact the home of minor gentry, the Mathew family, a branch of which owned the Pentyrch Ironworks.  Much of the house dates from the 15th and 16th centuries.  Photographs of the house include one showing the medieval arch-braced roof, described by the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments as ‘one of the finest in the county’.  Also there is one of a wall-painting depicting the demise of a ship of the Spanish Armada.  Another, is of the ‘Mathew Tew bench’ on which ‘Fat Mathew’ a less than popular  dignitary met an untimely end by sitting on a cobbler’s awl, left (it is said) with deliberate intent on that seat at Efail y Castell (the local smithy).  A map of Castell y Mynach is based on the 1839 tithe map of Pentyrch.  The usual tales of mystery attached to such houses are debunked; stories of monks and secret passages are dismissed as nonsense.  Castell y Mynach is interesting enough in its own right.  If it does date back to the early Christian period then it could well have been a ‘villa’ or ‘grange’ in the possession of Catwg’s successors, the monks of Llancarfan … but there is no evidence.  Superb pictures of the interior of the castle show the indisputable ‘antiquity’ of the place.  Drawings which are the Crown copyright of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales show the lay-out of the rooms, also shields of arms from the heraldic images still to be seen at the house.  A family tree shows the family line and Castell y Mynach tenure from Madog, Lord of Rhuthun down to the Wingfield ‘dynasty’ of modern times.   The progress of ownership follows a familiar pattern resulting from inter-marrying … in this case, the several Mathew generations, Earl Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord Dynefor and so on.  Drawing on the Welsh pedigrees and other sources, an extended account of the Mathew family is compiled.  An interesting inventory of  Thomas Mathew in the mid 17th century shows the value of his personal estate including his ‘oxen, beasts, kine, working horses and mares, hogges, swine and powltrie’.   There had been a large active cider mill at Castell y Mynach and there is a photo of a millstone discovered in a garden when the adjacent private housing estate was built in the 1970s.                                                                                                                                                              36 pp.

12. A LITTLE LOOK BACK (June 2001)   By Don Llewellyn.   Mostly translated from a Welsh language programme recorded in the early 1970s in which some Pentyrch characters recall the ‘old days’.  Gwyn Erfyl talks to Katie Taylor (nee Lewis), Henry Llewellyn (ex railway signalman), farmer George Jones, Mrs Morfydd Thomas (nee Davies, Caewal), Joseph Thomas, a wood-carver of merit who was then the oldest inhabitant, and Don Llewellyn.   Henry Llewellyn points out that Welsh was the only language heard on the streets of Pentyrch when he was young..  Working as a signalman he worked twelve hour days one week and twelve hour nights the next.  He points out that the furthest he ever went from home was to Porthcawl.  Katie Taylor describes her commercial traveller father who always had time for his large family.  He would find time to play dominoes with his children and teach them sums before they went to bed.   Morfydd recalls that her father, a collier, used to leave the house at 4.30 every morning.  They spoke only Welsh at home.  One of her early memories is of going to chapel before there was street lighting and being frightened of the tall trees that pointed up into the darkness of the sky.   George Jones explains that he took over the tenancy of  150 acre Penllwyn from his father and talks of the likelihood of more land being lost to developers.  Joe Thomas (brother of the legendary local choirmaster John Thomas) shows  examples of his wood-carving, one of which was an entry at the National Eisteddfod in Mountain Ash in  1946.   Don gives a general  history of Pentyrch and answers Gwyn Erfyl’s question about local  place-names.                                                                                                        36 pp.

13. PENLLWYN CYNFYN, A MEDIEVAL WELSH ESTATE IN PENTYRCH/CREIGIAU (Oct. 2001) By J Barry Davies. An ancient farm that was consumed by the expanding Creigiau quarry.   Its development is traced through the Norman period and that of Cynfyn Fychan  who was descended from Rys Goch of Ystrad Yw in Breconshire.  The story of Cynfyn’s grandson Cadwgan (Cadwgan of the battle-axe) is explained.  Reference is also made to the survival  of the name Cadwgan in families connected with Penllwyn − in particular the last tenants, the Joneses, of which Cadwgan the butcher was a member.  Other farms and holdings associated with the estate are described including: Caer yr Arfau, Llwynybrain, Maesteg, Craig and Criga, Ffynon Dwym, Cefn Gwarwig, Brista Fach and Pant y Gwyndon.  References to Penllwyn Cynfyn are taken from the Meisgyn Rental Records and in particular the Ministers’ Accounts for 1542 held at the PRO.                                                                                                                                40 pp.

14. A MISCELLANY (DECEMBER 2001) By Don Llewellyn.  This is the first issue not dealing with a specific subject.    This edition covers  the Well of the Taff with a superb illustration of how it looked in about 1858, Castell Coch, ancient artefacts discovered on the Lesser Garth, in particular a photo of the Iron-Age terret found in the 1960s by a quarry worker.  There are memories of severe weather from past times with a drawing which depicts the flooding of the Taff in 1864 and a photo of telegraph lines brought down by the ice storm of January 1940. Also snow scenes of 1947, 1963, and 1982  Details of a concert held at Taff’s Well in 1866 are given; Mrs Lily Welsby recounts her life in a mountainside cottage; the career of ex-policeman and rugby international Tom Lewis of Gwaelodygarth is recalled; the Glamorganshire Canal as it passed through  Taffs Well is described.  There is an extract from the Pentyrch Parish Magazine of 1906.  Mrs Morfydd Thomas talks about her early days and there is a transcript of a chat between Arthur John David and Morgan Morgan in which several colourful characters are recalled.  Photographs of Pentyrch Girl Guides’ camp of 1952 bring back memories.  The career of John Davies the organist is included; also a list of nicknames which were used in Pentyrch.  Marjorie Goode, daughter of Percy Seale, tells of the Creigiau bread shop and Brian Wood looks back at how Creigiau was affected during the second world war.   Other photos include the interior of the Lesser Garth cave, Gelynys House,  a car motoring up Heol Goch in the Pentyrch Hill Climb of 1906.   A Gren cartoon of the old Pentyrch Rugby shed and a photo of  Pentyrch Soccer team of 1963 are shown.  The Pentyrch Paupers’ List of 1889 makes interesting, if disturbing treading.  The Tithe Schedule for the parish of Pentyrch based on a survey of 1838 shows that the area had a total of 3991 acres.   A photo of Caewal Cottage appears and a view of Penuel Road from the north showing  just the first three houses built there.  Arthur Llewellyn gives an introduction to Pentyrch’s very strong ‘oral tradition’.  Important article on the Garth Mountain (in ownership of Pentyrch Council since 1972) … bought from the Lord of Manor of Senghennydd  for nominal sum of £100.                                                                                                                                              40 pp.

15. ENTERTAINMENT AND LEISURE IN THE GARTH AREA (April 2002) By Don Llewellyn. The Tongwynlais Fair is recalled by Mike Cradoc and there are quotations from Wirt Sykes’ book accompanied by excellent drawings of the funfair etc. Sam Allen’s reminiscences of Penny Readings etc tell us of mid Victorian entertainment.  Arthur Llewellyn recalls items from more recent times; Graham George remembers the Garth Gleemen, and Don Llewellyn the Pentyrch Male Choir.  The career of ‘Mr Music’ John Thomas is covered.  Amateur Dramatics in Gwaelodygarth and Pentyrch are detailed with photos and text.  A seventy years old article by Mr Rutter Thomas tells of  ‘The Boomerangs’ a concert party of the 1930s.  Derek Thomas writes of ‘Garth Memories’ and Ruth Jones of ‘The Village of Song’.  Gerald Edwards describes the Taff’s Well Spa and the building of the swimming bath.  Barbara Davies recalls the W.I. shows of the 1960s and Don Llewellyn explains the part the ‘Rest Centre’ played in local entertainment activities.  Carnival pictures from Gwaelod and Pentyrch  are included and, of course, the Mari Lwyd.   Photos show Pentyrch Amateur Dramatics of the early 1950s, also ‘The Vagabonds’  (singers and dancers from Pentyrch) who entertained throughout the 50s and most of the 60s. There are photos of  R.G. Berry’s Bethlehem Dramatic Society from the 1920s  and ‘Garth Memories’ from Derek Thomas.                                                           40 pp.

16. MISCELLANY 2 (AUGUST 2002) By Don Llewellyn.    Exciting discovery of Roman coins on the Garth from the era of Emperor Constans (AD 343) son of Constantine the Great.  Ifor Jenkins gives a history of the Nantgarw Chinaworks.  Mrs Gwen Davies takes us down ‘memory lane’ to the Tongwynlais of her childhood, of hours spent at Castell Coch, and of how she married Dennis, the son of Adolphus Davies of the village store.  Rod Thomas recalls his parents-in-law: Tom John who was one of Pentyrch’s colourful personalities, and his wife Netta.  More memories of Taff’s Well from Gerald Edwards who describes a favourite walk to Craig yr Allt.  Henry Jones, the Pentyrch butcher tells of his grandfather who was a gamekeeper for the Wingfield Estate.  Soccer teams from Taff’s Well and Tongwynlais are pictured; also cricket in progress at Clawdd Sion Pentyrch (where Troed y Garth now stands).  Translation by Don Llewellyn of a BBC radio broadcast from 1951 of Gwalodygarth personalities chatting about their village.  The history of the illustrious Tongwynlais Temperance Silver Band is documented with a contribution from former bandsman Grenville Davies together with photographs from the 1920s and 1950s.  ‘The Welsh language in the Garth Domain’ by Don Llewellyn explains some of the peculiarities of the local dialect known as ‘Gwenhwyseg’.                          40 pp.

17. PENTYRCH VILLAGE HALL (OCTOBER 2002) By Don Llewellyn.   The remarkable story of how a small community succeeded against huge odds to provide the hall of their dreams.  The local residents had known for some time that the village’s population would soon be doubled.  Undeterred by the failure of earlier schemes a group of elected local residents set out to establish an even more ambitious project.  How they succeeded and in so doing won the Prince of Wales Award for the hall is now history.  This edition of the Garth Domain gives an account of the campaign from its inception in 1970 to the momentous opening of the hall on 24th April 1976.  The names of those who gave their time and their skills to ensure the success of the project are recorded.  To begin with the estimated total cost of the building was £21,000.   Novel ideas for fundraising  were put into practice and eventually the fund started to grow.   Special sales were organised and held at the Primary School and at Craig y Parc.   Concerts were held at various venues and major shows with star performers were booked into places like the Double Diamond Club in Caerphilly.  Big buffet dances were held at the same place   By June 1971 there was an active committee of 30 members.  One of the big events of 1972 was the spring Fair which included a Dog Show.  Prize draws and other events were bringing in a certain amount of money but it was becoming ever clearer that the Founder Members’ scheme which had been the brainchild of Norman Follis was to be the main foundation of the fund.  Unfortunately, in 1972 the rate of inflation had shot upwards and the cost of building was going up 15% per year!  By July 1972 the estimate had gone up to £26,500 and everybody knew there would be worse to come.  Indeed, by 1973 the cost went up to £42,000!   Undaunted, despite the challenge of the highest inflation rate on record, sleeves were rolled up and the volunteers carried on the fight.  By August 1974 the estimated final cost was £58,000!  Possible grants from various sources would depend on local efforts to produce matching amounts and everyone was flat out by now. Then there was an amazing  gesture by secretary  Norman Follis who had been blinded in a mining accident back in 1947.  He decided to perform a sponsored unaided walk along 14 miles of busy roads circling Pentyrch.  Norman’s inspiration and expertise would greatly help the village fulfil its dream.  Illustrations include pamphlets, posters, greetings cards, building progress pictures, Norman’s walk, the Grand Opening, and the presentation of the Prince of Wales Award.                                                                                                                                         44 pp.

18. MISCELLANY 3 (DECEMBER 2002) By Don Llewellyn.   Momentous local event of 1926 – the opening of the footbridge known as Pont Sion Philip which links Taff’s Well and Gwaelodygarth. Remarkable photograph of crowds on bridge for the ceremony.  Former forestry worker Chris Evans takes a nostalgic look back at Heol Goch to a time when it had several memorable features − and it was safe to walk!  Dr Bill Linnard provides a rare view of the Garth in a picture dated 1787.  Newspaper report of Taff’s Well Rugby Club in the 1920s and a team photo from 1950.  Also Taff’s Well Soccer Club on Easter tour 1951.  The Rev Roger Brown takes us on an interesting tour called ‘The Tongwynlais Walk’ in which he notes numerous items of historical interest.  These include Castell Coch (before and after renovation), The Ynys House (Ynys y Llewod Duon … Isle of the Black Lions),  the Iron Bridge and the Taff river, Tongwynlais Square, Church Street c 1910, Market Street with ref to Ainon Chapel and the Ton Fair.  Bethesda and Salem chapels are also mentioned and St Michael’s Church, Gelynys farmhouse, Greenmeadow Mansion and the remains of the canal.   Craig y Parc mansion Pentyrch is another feature of this edition, together with its originator Thomas Evans the coal-owner.  He is seen with a Pentyrch Hunt party on the steps of  the mansion – and equally interesting is a group of gardeners working there in 1926.  Ellis Davies gives us an article on Creigiau Limestone quarry; there are photographs of groups of workers from 1885, 1933 and 1960 … also there are interesting facts and figures.  Derek Thomas traces the journey of the Taff River from its source, through the Garth Domain and to the Severn Sea.  Photos of  Taff’s Well from the Garth, Ynys Gau, the Zig Zag , the station footbridge and the mighty viaduct.  There are pages of pictures of horse of various kinds which confirm the prominence of that animal in local life over the years. The horses featured belonged to Ron Lewis, Tonmawr, the mounted Home Guard, Colin Murphy, Brista Fach, Edward Llewellyn (The Colliers Arms), Barton Williams and Neil Hodges at Gymkhana,  Dai Lee greengrocer, George Jones (ploughing)  John Foster Lloyd (Gwaelod P. Office and general store), Lewis Llewellyn Penygarn, haymaking.   More pictures of the deep snow drifts of 1982.                      40 pp.

19. ‘THEY’RE OVER HERE’ (March 2003)   By Don Llewellyn.    Pentyrch was invaded by hundreds of  foreign soldiers in 1943 … but it was a welcome invasion!    The United States had joined the war in Europe and Rhydlafar was chosen as a site for one of the  U.S. army hospitals.   The impact on village life was enormous and with  no restrictions placed on them by their superiors the Americans were soon made to feel at home in Pentyrch … and to a lesser extent, St Fagans.  Pentyrch was still a comparatively sleepy place with almost as many horse-drawn carts as motor vehicles to be seen.    The war, though was at full blast.  The same month as the first G.I.s arrived in South Wales, the Luftwaffe hit Cardiff with another raid, on the 18th May, damaging thousands of houses.  There was continuing sadness about the tragedies of war but the arrival of the transatlantic allies in such large numbers in 1943 caused a frisson which boosted the hearts and minds of people who had known only gloom for too long.   The ‘occupation’ continued until 1945 by which time many long-lasting friendships had been set up … not to mention the marriages of some of the G.I.s to local girls.  Photographs show lay-out of ‘the camp’ with its Nissen huts and concrete paths.  There are snaps of several soldiers including Stan Dehnert, Karl Roeming, Ralph Guthrie and John Bloomquist.  A photo shows Bill O’Connor and Stan Dehnert on horseback at Penllwyn farm. In the course of compiling this issue, the editor was in touch with some of the surviving men including  Raymond Visser who had been the tallest man on the camp.  He refers in a letter to Don to the community singing evenings that were held in Horeb during the war and well-attended by soldiers from the camp.  His first letter is reproduced in full.   As well as hymn-singing they brought so much modern American music to the village.  For a couple of years St Catwg’s Hall and particularly the Rest Centre rang with the sounds of jitterbugging.  Wedding photos of  G.I. Jim James and Sybil Morley of Taff’s Well, G.I. Rex Noland and Christine Baynes of the King’s Arms, Pentyrch, G.I. Richard Zamastil and Rosie Phillips of Pentyrch.  An article by Brian Wood recalls the use of Creigiau Station for the bringing home of wounded soldiers who were then taken by ambulance to Rhydlafar.   An article entitled ‘Kin’ describes a successful visit in 2002 to the United States by Rod Thomas and his wife Mary who was anxious to follow up a trail that would answer certain questions  regarding paternity.  Mary’s mother had died within ten days of giving birth.  The father had abdicated his responsibility and gone back to the States where he became estranged from his strict protestant family.  He had long left Texas for California when he died in 1987.  Rod and Mary were welcomed with open arms and overwhelmed with Texan hospitality by the family when they went there.                                                                40 pp.

20. IRON! (June 2003) By J Barry Davies and John G Owen.  With iron-ore in plentiful supply  iron-making was established in the Garth area early.   This account is the result of strenuous research and conspicuous scholarship.  Some conundrums which had remained unanswered for decades with regard to certain aspects of the iron-working tradition in the area have now been solved.   Assumptions concerning the extent of ore-extraction from the Lesser Garth in ancient times have been disproved, and where there has been confused debate in the past about locations, the picture is much clearer now.  The nature of iron is explained, as well as the ways the processes by which it is treated to suit man’s needs have been changed.  The writers describe the economics of the industry as well as the colourful  personalities who peopled it.  Photos include views of the industrialised lower valley and the Ironworks ruins; also the interior of the main iron-ore mine on the Lesser Garth. There are illustrations of blast furnaces and bloomeries, bellows and finery hearths, old iron rails and sleepers.  There is no doubt that for periods, the Pentyrch Works led the local field.  The Mathew family were the owners in Tudor times and the arrival of one Hugh Lambert an iron-founder from Kent had a significant effect on the early fortunes of the works.  It is thought that Lambert built and lived in Gelynys House which still stands.  There is a well-known local story of how Edmund Mathew was said to have been prevented by an order of the Privy Council from selling ordnance (cannons and cannon balls) to the Spanish.  The same charge was said to have been made against a later owner Peter Semayne.  Although there may be some truth in these tales, doubt is now cast over some aspects of the claims.  The resurgence of iron working from 1740 onwards when Nicholas Pryce re-opened the works, and the subsequent ownership by the Blakemores and Bookers is fully documented.  The discovery of old furnaces when excavating ground for the building of new houses in 1989 caused some excitement when it was thought they might be of greater antiquity than they actually were.  From charcoal burners to puddlers and from donkey trains to cannons, the story of iron is one of great toil − and fortunes gained and lost.  It’s all here.  The issue ends with a poem by the young Joseph Thorne entitled ‘The Iron Workings’.                                                                                                                                  44 pp.

21. THE PRINCE OF WALES RHYDLAFAR (September 2003)  By Don Llewellyn.   ‘Squatters moved into the vacated US Army Hospital (see Garth Domain issue no. 19)  and then the site was taken over for the P.O.W.which, in due course, would lead the world in orthopaedic surgery.  A major source of employment for locals for nearly half a century until, with the decline of the NHS (despite noble efforts to save it) the hospital was forced to close.  The  local story begins with the departure of the Americans and the take-over by squatting families.  Mrs Norma O’Brien tells of  how she with her husband Doug (just home from the war) and without a home were glad of the chance to put a roof over their heads.   By the time the hospital was built the O’Briens and the other squatting families had been accommodated elsewhere.  However, the P.O.W.’s history really goes back to its origins in the famous ‘Hospital for Limbless soldiers and Sailors, Wales and Monmouthshire’ at The Walk in Cardiff during World War One.  Early pioneers, Sir Robert Jones and Sir John Lynn-Thomas were instrumental in setting up the hospital where surgeons such as Major Stanley Alwyn Smith and James O. D. Wade distinguished themselves.  After the Second World War there was a pressing need for the establishment of a large orthopaedic treatment centre and eyes were turned eventually towards Rhydlafar as a suitable site.  The new hospital would have the latest ‘state-of-the Art’ facilities but equally importantly it would carry on the exceptionally good name it had inherited from the establishment at The Walk all those years before.  The story of Rhydlafar includes the work of administrators, surgeons and other medical staff, nurses, domestics, porters and a host of others who made the hospital such a marvellous place in its 47 year existence.  There is an account of the official opening by the then Minister of Health in 1955 (three and a half years after it had started) and several photographs of the wards, the operating theatre, and other facilities including the dining room and the nurses’ lounge.   There are reminiscences of nurses, teachers and others who, without exception say it was a wonderful place to work.  When the ‘winds of change’ eventually started to blow, the staff and the hospital’s many well-wishers put up a long valiant fight to keep the establishment open.  They refused to accept that closure was a foregone conclusion.  However the forces of change won the day and an extremely important chapter in local history came to an end.                                                                                                           44 pp.

22. MISCELLANY 4 (November 2003)  By Don Llewellyn.  Wartime in Taff’s Well – childhood memories of Pat Miller, now of Birmingham (she recalls the night Dr Williams’s house was bombed).  Harold Edwards of Canada recalls the Garth Mountain community he used to visit in the 1920s and 1930s.  The Lawrence Foundry which used to be below the viaduct – photos include the engine ‘The Princess May’ from 1936.  Ghost story by Cecil Lewis, world-renowned surgeon an medical academic who was a son  of the Rev Wilfred Lewis, vicar of Pentyrch.  A set of  wooden figures of some Pentyrch  personalities of a few decades ago carved by Ron Beer.  Now of Thame, Oxfordshire, Jennie Howes recalls being brought from the terrors of wartime London to the comparative safety of Pentyrch and the warmth of  her relatives the Rogers family.  Memories of Gwaelod School by Alan Lock (recalls the ‘whipper-in’ and bats in the bell-tower).  History of Morganstown  by Christine Curry − photos show hay-making at Cwm Farm, the Tynant Pub as it was in 1914, Main Road Morganstown and a view from Tynewydd field in 1919, Pentyrch Station, Tynant House and the family of coal-owner Henry Lewis with his family (including famous Medical man Sir Thomas Lewis whose story was not known by the writer at the time of this issue but is dealt with at length in GD no. 42).  Evocative images from the past include a steam-roller near the viaduct and the Portobello Pub, Taff’s Well as it was shortly before demolition.  A piece by E.L. Pearce is entitled: ‘Taff’s Well And What My Parents And Older People Told Me About It’.  The history of Horeb Calvinistic Methodist Chapel Pentyrch written by David Evans, a deacon, in 1940, covers the life of the chapel from the establishment of the Methodist Cause in Pentyrch in 1740.   A gallery of old photos includes a group of Cefn Bychan Pentyrch  boys in the mid 1930s, a group of older lads on Clawdd Sion in 1938, Taff’s Well Infants group (1931), evacuees Michael and Denis Terenzi with Mrs Rene Thomas and her son Terry in 1940.  Dai Bosanko holds one of the hundreds of  incendiary bombs that fell in the area during wartime raids by the Luftwaffe.  Dr Bill Linnard introduces the first of his articles about the Clockmakers of Pentyrch.  The brass dial of a 30 hour clock by David Philip of Pentyrch  is illustrated.  The style of the dial, with the rococo spandrels indicates that the clock was made in about 1770-1775.                                                                                                                                44 pp.

23. MISCELLANY 5 (March 2004)   By Don Llewellyn.  From Alan Lock we have an account of the Garth Caves Murders of 1963.  The body of Cardiff prostitute Patricia Simpson was discovered by boys visiting the old iron-ore caverns on the Lesser Garth.  An alarm was raised and police officers were led to the site of the discovery by the lads, but lack of equipment led to failure.   Doctor Ivor Monger of Taff’s Well was alerted and soon he led a party of experts including a four-man RAF mountain Rescue team to the mine.  Police enquiries went on for years without success but it became known in 1999 that a man in custody in Israel had confessed to the killing.   ‘Medical Stories’ is an article about various doctors and others who have graced the area, some of whom were very colourful indeed. – Dr Daniel Thomas certainly among them.   Drs Aitken and  Monger feature strongly in 20th century general practice in the area as well; but room is kept for the incredible Dr William Price the pioneer of cremation about whom stories abound in the district.  Country remedies (not recommended) are referred to by Arthur John David and Morgan Morgan.   T.W.Thomas also tells  of  the secret potions and lotions that he had heard about.  Ruth the legendary midwife and layer-out-of the dead and the later ‘Nurse Janes’ are described and so are the local surgeries based in people’s cottages..  There are several reminiscences from people involving doctors .  There are ‘More Taff’s Well Memories’ from Gerald Edwards including schooldays, Chislett’s shop, butcher Ernie Morris, a St Bernard dog at the Swan Inn  and Jones the Post.  Harold Edwards of Whitby Ontario, Canada writes again about his memories of the area, this time it’s  ‘The Hamlet of the Garth’. He mentions The Colliers’ Arms, The Bowers, the Atkins family, Ivy Cottage, and Caerwen.  Don has an article entitled  ‘What’s in a Name?’  … an examination of some of the changes in the personal nomenclature of South Wales which coincided with the emergence and establishment of the manner of speech  known as Wenglish.  Photos of Ferry Farm Taff’s Well and some individuals are reproduced in the hope they can be identified.  An article by J Barry Davies is entitled  ‘The Master of Oral Hisory, George Ewart Evans’.  The great man had roots here and Barry tells us all about them. An old letter written by Winnie Wood of Creigiau gives an insight into how important  Creigiau station was to that village.  Village campaigns against New Town plans and Opencast coalmining have  gone down memorably in local history.   These are recalled in an article by the editor.  The sad story of a preacher, Lemuel Smith of Taihirion and Bethlehem who died young in 1842 is told in translation by Dr Bill Linnard.  Photos show a group at the so-called Power Station trip in 1937 and another of young Pentyrch men on the groeslon in 1953.  There is an article about a LLanfyllin (Mid Wales) man known as John ‘Pentyrch’ Williams.  This issue ends with a letter  from  Gwilym Prichard  to  Thomas Henry Sparks  in 1954  in  which  he  refers  to  some  Pentyrch characters of years ago.                   44 pp.

24. MISCELLANY 6 (June 2004)  By Don Llewellyn.   The amazing Bryant family of harpists at the Carpenter’s Arms Efail Isaf with photos of old John at the harp with Richard Wilkins the roadsweeper alongside him in 1905; the Bryant clan outside the pub in 1890; John and Dic ‘Soar’ performing outside the pub; also Tom Bryant at the piano. Life achievements listed … playing for Royalty etc. A photo of Tudor Powell with the harp and another of  ‘Bopa’ Elvira Davies at the organ.  The Minepits Cottages, Lesser Garth, Pentyrch with its various occupants including Daniel Williams of  Pentyrch Hunt fame and his relatives who were gamekeepers − especially John Steadman Williams who had been a policeman.  Excellent tales from the bobby’s diary of incidents at Taff’s Well, Pentyrch, and the Vale of Glamorgan.  Marvellous references in the notepad to Pentyrch poachers! Pentyrch entry in Kelly’s Directory of 1895.  Nurse’s fete at Craig y Parc 1923.  The ‘Tin Church’ (St {Peter’s Gwaelod).  Events at Castle Field, Taff ‘s Well.  A Blaze of Glory − the chimneys of yesterday.  Page from ‘Trethiant Plwyf Pentyrch’ (1825) begs question of the location of ‘The Navigator’s Arms’.  Photo of scrapyard at Ynys Bridge.  Story of local foxhounds and the old Pentyrch hunting songs.  Hunt meets with Jimmy Edwards the comedian.  Gareth Morgan huntsman leading out the pack.  Another Penterche (sic) clock – a further find by Dr Bill Linnard.  ‘The Road of Life’ – a poem by Anne Hyde of Glan y Llyn.  Grand Days on the Garth – by Ann Dew.  A Taff’s Well journey  (pubs and pulpits) by Grerald Edwards.  ‘Taihirion’  the old Congregationalist Chapel.  Barry Davies’s article on John ‘Pentyrch’ Williams.   Fatal car accident in 1900s.  Photo of soldier Emlyn Williams (Gwaelod) and the scroll recognising his service in the First World War.  S. Wales Echo reference to Welsh language TV programme (1973).  Sundry quotations.          44 pp.

25. MISCELLANY 7 (September 2004) By Don Llewellyn.   A.G. Powell gives us a history of the railways and the ‘Taff’s Well Gap , the Taff Vale and the Rhymney lines.  Photos of stations and trains at Taff’s Well, Creigiau etc., all with dates.  The magnificent painting of a passenger train going over the Walnut Tree viaduct is reproduced and information of how to obtain copies of the picture.  A map of the complex of routes through the ‘Gap’ is included.  Creigiau station is shown as it was when in use and after closure.  John Thomas the harp maker is recalled by Rod Thomas.  We hear of the man behind the craft and there are photos of John at work.  His involvement with drama groups and concert parties at Rhiwbina is fully covered.  His B.E.M. and a visit by famous harpist Nansi Richards are described.  His eventual move to Sealyham in Pembrokeshire is documented and the work being carried on by John’s son Alun.  Dr Bill Linnard adds to our knowledge of Horeb’s history with an article and photo of the Rev David Evans, minister during the 1890s. An aerial photo of Horeb c 1958 is shown.  The story of the Williams clan (the Garth farming family of Harry Ffaldau) is told.  Harry, born in Aberdare in 1880 had farmed in Ferndale Rhondda before coming to Pentyrch as a farm bailiff for Dr Jones Ty Mawr.  After taking over Bwlch y Gwynt for a spell the family moved to Craig Gwilym in 1939.  Mrs Williams (Sybil) hailed from Cwm Du Breconshire.  The lives of their two daughters and five sons are described.  Harry himself was a master at the sheepdog trials and his sons were prominent in rugby locally and at first class level.  ‘More Taff’s Well Tales’ from Gerald Edwards … includes ‘An exile recalls’ and pieces about Mabon by Jeanne Linsey  and others.  The tales continue with Bonfires … The Eagle has landed … Village sounds .. Rockwood colliery, the Cymanfa Ganu  … a lost boomerang.    ‘Then and Now’ – Don Llewellyn tells of Temperance Road in Pentyrch describing the houses and the people who lived there.  Seven pages of ‘Temperance Road’ photos include the faces of  over 150 people who lived there at one time!  This edition being the 25th edition closes with  a page showing the covers of each issue to date.                           44  pp.

26. THE WILLIAMS FAMILY (MORE THAN A RUGBY DYNASTY) (December 2004) By  Gerald Edwards and Don Llewellyn    The story of the exceptional Williams family of Taff’s Well.  Their legendary prowess on the rugby field is fully documented here and reminiscences from the seven surviving sons pay special tribute to the eldest sibling Gwyn, who, at the height of his career was tragically wounded in World War ll.  There are graphic recollections of their chosen sport  as well as their experiences in the services from Bryn, Bleddyn, Vaughan and Lloyd.  Bryn and  Bleddyn recall their time in the army and RAF respectively during the second world war. Bryn tells us about North Africa and Bleddyn gives a moving and graphic account of his glider flights and the scenes of conflict in northern Europe after the D Day invasion. There are pen-portraits of the rugby careers of Cennydd, Elwyn and Tony.  Idyllic childhood years in Taff’s Well are recalled and due gratitude is given to the local school which set them all on the way to the interesting lives that were to follow.      The sisters too play their part in this remarkable story of a family deeply proud of the village of their birth.                                                                           40 pp.

27. COAL! (March 2005)  By J Barry Davies and T. Ellis Davies … with Don Llewellyn.    In some ways this can be regarded as a companion edition  to no. 20 of The Garth Domain which told the local story of IRON.  Both issues describe in  detail the history of mineral extraction in the Garth area, the way in which these two industries developed alongside the basically agrarian community, and how they consequently helped to shape the local character.  The Garth Mountain, lying on the southern rim of the South Wales Coalfield, was an early target for coal-seekers.  Over the centuries the hill was penetrated on all sides, firstly by entrepreneurial farmers and landowners, subsequently by the owners of the ironworks who were grateful to have a supply of coal so close to hand.  The coal measures however did not give up their wealth willingly and exacted a price from those who dug it out.  The dangers of working underground are recounted with reference to accidents which occurred, in particular the explosion at the Pentyrch Drift in 1875 which led, eventually to the death of fifteen men and boys.   Newspaper reports of the day give a graphic and tragic account of the disaster.  A map of the workings on the southern coal outcrop shows the extent of  the local extraction industry.  Ellis Davies describes the evolution of mining methods  with clear illustrations of bell-pits (photos today show traces of some of these).   Barry Davies explains how the landowners and farmers took due advantage of the valuable commodity that lay beneath their soil.   The story ends with the last working colliery in Pentyrch – the ‘Cambrian’ at Tyncoed.    44 pp.

28. MISCELLANY 8 (June 2005) By Don Llewellyn. Translation from 1838 hand-written booklet covering the formation of Cymdeithas Ddirwestol Pentyrch  (Pentyrch Temperance Society) containing names, ages, residences and occupations of all who signed ‘the pledge’.  Conversation piece with Gerald Edwards and Mrs Myra Elliott whose late husband Grosvenor was of a well-known Taff’s Well family of butchers.  Photos show the horse and cart which was their first mode of transport and the well-stocked shop window in 1915.  Gerald also talks to Margaret, daughter of the late Evan Williams of the Half-Way Garage with a photograph of the swimming baths in the 1930s.  Transcription made from a recording made in 1966  of the Rev Lundy Richards, a former Pentyrch curate (1919-1921) who had some colourful memories.  Confessions of under-age drinking and other peccadilloes by Alan Lock of Gwaelodygarth.  Memories from Mrs Carmen Holmes of a Tongwynlais childhood inspired by a painting.  Gerald Edwards reminds us of unsung hero ‘A.N. Other’. Biography by Canon Christopher Smith  of the saintly centenarian Edith Perrett − originally from Taff’s Well.  The family of Ned Llewellyn, landlord of the Collier’s Arms, is recalled with photographs.  A sad letter prompted by the death of two of Ned’s children in a diphtheria epidemic of the 1890s is reproduced.  Bryn Williams tells us of the changing landscape in Glan y Llyn and David Rowlands writes from Australia with details of how our local streams were diverted for various reasons.  An appeal  in  1882 for donations towards the seven orphaned children of a Taff’s Well chemist who had suddenly died.  Newly acquired photographs include one of Temperance Road Pentyrch from 1957.  An English poem on the River Taff by the late Gwilym Morris who was Minister of Bethlehem, Gwaelodygarth.                                                                                                  44 pp.

29. SECRETS OF THE LESSER GARTH ( AND OTHER ITEMS OF ANCIENT HISTORY )  (September 2005)   By Don Llewellyn .    A full account of the ancient artefacts discovered in the Lesser Garth cave and the surrounding woodland.  Transcriptions of the reports of the findings by MS Hussey and Dr HN Savory together with photographs and catalogued drawings.   Bone implements and ancient pottery pieces are depicted, as are pieces of ironwork. Photos of the cave interior and a plan of the cave lay-out are included.   An aerial photo taken in 2005 shows the huge excavation at the limestone quarry that has removed most of a hill and threatens to engulf the natural cave where the finds were made.  On e item found in the forest rather than the cave was the much publicised terret dating from the Iron Age between 100 BC and 100 AD (a terret is the loop through which chariot reins pass).   In addition to detailed descriptions of the search operations, both in the  cave and the forest, Dr Savory’s scholarly assessment emphasises the importance in the context of European archaeology of what has come to be known as the ‘Lesser Garth Hoard’.  The story is appropriately accompanied by a brief look at some of the other ancient items of interest in the locality:  the Caeryrfa cromlech, the Garth Mountain tumuli, the finding of Roman coins and the contribution of  St Catwg (Cadoc the Wise), perhaps the most important historical figure in the area’s long history.                                                                                                                                44 pp.

30. MISCELLANY 9 (December 2005) By Don Llewellyn.   An article ‘THE HOME FRONT IN PENTYRCH’ (1939-1945)  is an essay on the childhood memories of the writer.  Bombing raids, rationing, The Home Guard, The WVS, The Observer Corps, The Land Army, the National Fire Service and other groups are fully described.   There are vivid memories of how the 182 evacuees fitted into the local community; the games that were played, and the comics that were available in those days to keep the young happy.  The anti-aircraft gun and searchlight site on the Garth is recalled and indeed the fears for loved-ones away from home.  Photos of young salvage collectors and the Mounted Home Guard ‘Cavalry’; the bombed house on Pantygored Road; Dai Bosanko with a locally found incendiary bomb, and a set of cigarette cards giving advice on extinguishing bombs and coping with gas.  Dr Ceinwen Thomas recalls Nantgarw of a different era and how her mother passed down all that is known of the Nantgarw Folk Dancing tradition.  Photos are of Ceinwen, her mother Margretta, and of the modern day dancers who are keeping the tradition very much alive.  Alan Rogers recounts his days working on the local railways and Bob Maddern, now living in Norfolk, gives us more ‘Tales of Taff’s Well’.   Photos show workers at Steetley Dolomite in 1939.  J Barry Davies, the doyen of local historians has been looking into one section of his family tree and tells us ‘Who he is!’  Photos here of his grandfather and great grandmother, Caerwen farm, Llwynyreos, the Davies grave at St Catwg’s and the Celtic cross on Henry Sparks’s grave.  To mark the sad demise of Horeb Chapel, two Sunday School groups from earlier times are reproduced.                     44 pp.

31. MISCELLANY 10 (March 2006)  By Don Llewellyn.  This edition opens with a history of the Gwaelodygarth Inn by Derek Thomas.  From its inclusion on the tithe map of 1838, its importance in local life is described and full mention is given to all the innkeepers who have graced the hostelry during that time.  Among these were Manoah Morgan who played the trombone in the local band; and the ‘mine host’ of the 1930s, Dave Peters, who had been a Welsh champion boxer.  This is followed by a conversation piece between Gerald Edwards and Captain Arthur Gummer of Taff’s Well who served in the Merchant Navy during the  second world war before going on to hold various senior maritime posts including that of Dockmaster at Cardiff.  A photograph shows Captain Gummer meeting the Queen when the Royal Yacht docked at Cardiff.  Denis Murphy who was born in  Pentyrch in 1933, was brought up together with his two brothers by his widowed mother, the much admired village postmistress.  Denis, who achieved success in both the sporting world and the manufacturing industry now lives in Surrey.  Here we have his reminiscences of the various personalities who influenced his early life.  A brief but evocative piece by Jean Duncan who now lives in Britanny describes the Creigiau of her childhood.  From Alan Lock we have ‘Gwaelod Boys Born and Bred’ – which tells of a life quite different from that of young people today.  As well as showing how a ‘bogie’ truck was constructed with old pram wheels the article shows how a sycamore whistle was made and how trout were tickled!   Don Llewellyn gives a short history of Glandwr Chapel, Taff’s Well describing various ministers who stood at its pulpit since it was formed in the revival year of 1859.  ‘Where My Heart Is’ by Mike Llewellyn is another good example of how someone living away from the village of his roots cherishes many memories of the place that nurtured him.  Don Llewellyn writes about ‘The Enigmatic Parson of Pentyrch’ and shows how prominent the Rev Horatio Thomas was in the ‘anti-drink’ debates of the Victorian era (except that he was often a champion of the opposition!)  J Barry Davies gives us an account of Craig y Parc – the ridge of high ground where George Mathew had his deer park in the 16th century (where Parc y Justice was later established, and where Thomas Evans built his mansion in 1914).  Don Llewellyn in ‘Taff’s Well As I Remember It’ gives his collection of thoughts on that remarkable place as seen through the eyes of  ‘someone from up the hill!’                                                                                                      44 pp.

32. MISCELLANY 11 (June 2006) By Don Llewellyn.  The Pentyrch Young Farmers’ Club which thrived in the early 1950s is recalled with information gleaned from the few documents that survive.  The formation of the club is covered and reference is made to the successes of it members in various competitions.  There are sample copies of letters; also the minutes of a meeting – together with information about fifteen Pentyrch farms which were active at the time.  Gerald Edwards gives his version of ‘The Seven Wonders of Taff’s Well’ with a couple more added as a bonus!  Gerald’s choice of wonders: The Taff Gorge, The Dolomite Lime kiln, The Walnut Tree Viaduct, Taff’s Well Station, Taff’s Well Spa, The old Police Station (now removed), The Weir and The Feeder, the railway lines in the Gorge, and the Glamorganshire Canal.  We have John Potter’s thoughts on  Taff’s Well railway Station and Gordon Beech talks to Gerald about the old police station.  ‘A Study of Local Government in Pentyrch in the Nineteenth Century’  by Margaret Davies is very revealing indeed about life in Victorian times.  We learn about schooling, the highways, the postal service as well as about sickness and poverty.  Don Llewellyn tells of the Rev R.G. Berry who was among the most memorable of local clergymen.  As a young man the minister of Bethlehem had come down from Llanrwst in North Wales to Gwaelodygarth where he would stay for the rest of his days, becoming closely involved in all aspects of local sporting and cultural life.  Being passionately fond of cricket in particular he was instrumental in acquiring for the village team a pavilion which was opened in 1935 by Joe Fraser of Tregarth, Creigiau a  millionaire and benefactor of several organisations.  ‘R.G.’ married into a well-known local family and, as a  leading  Welsh playwright, he helped form the Garth Dramatic Society which staged several of his works.  The article includes annual accounts which show that the chapel was in a healthy state at the end of the second world war.  The minister died in 1945 and was buried at the parish church of  St Catwg.    ‘Tin Lizzy’ is written by Prof. Ron James (now of Southampton) who, together with his two brothers constructed a boat from scrap metal and bits and pieces, fitted a ‘jet-engine’ and then launched it on the Taff near Glan y Llyn.  Photos of the ‘launch’.   J Barry Davies identifies a mystery portrait that had come into his possession as being that of Mr Thomas James (1819-1891) of Parc y Justice.  Barry’s research work demonstrates the detective skills he employs in family searches in order to pursue the picture’s provenance.   Also, Alan Lock’s memories of Heol Berry and Heol y Nant, Gwaelodygarth, from the 1950s and 1960s.                                                                                                                                          44 pp.

33. MISCELLANY 12 (September 2006)  By Don Llewellyn.    The first article connects the village of Taff’s Well with a tale of momentous importance in the history of the First World War. It involves a soldier, Captain Albert Jacka who was the first Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross.  He went on to win the Military Cross and Bar as well.  His exploits, taken from the records, reflect his phenomenal bravery, but notwithstanding  his exemplary military record, he was by no means an establishment figure. The fact that he regularly fell out with his superiors is thought to be the reason he did not rise above the rank of Captain.  He became the Mayor of St Kilda, Melbourne and at his funeral in 1932, the eight bearers were all Victoria Cross holders!  The Taff’s Well connection is that this exceptional figure was Best Man at the wedding of his brother William (also a soldier) in the Wesleyan chapel near the Junction, in 1919.  This was fully seven months after the war had ended but the brothers were still in Britain to receive (certainly in Albert’s case) continuing treatment for serious war injuries.  William was marrying Joan Jacka of 54 Cardiff Road, Taff’s Well.  Despite stringent research it has still not been established if the bride and groom were blood relatives.  The article describes the intriguing way in which the story was brought to our attention and how the Taff’s Well interest unfolded.  Elsewhere in this edition, old photos include a Pentyrch Hunt meet at Tongwynlais in the 1920s and a view of Glan y Llyn in 1912.   Alan Lock’s piece this time is about the old hobby of carving names on trees − a practice that seems to have died out.  He shows how it used to be done, with  examples that can still be seen in the local woods.  Ifor Jenkins’s article ‘Friends Re-united’ tells of how Mrs Cora Bunn (nee Morgan) and her old schoolfriend Elsie Evans (nee Harris) met up for the first time in almost sixty years.  A photo of their school group from 1920 is shown and a picture of Cardiff Road Taff’s Well from the same period.  George Lamerton and his wife Esther were popular grocers in Pentyrch and were both deeply involved in several village organisations.  George’s collection of photos depict various  aspects of village life. Taff’s Well School’s Log Book make very interesting reading.  The entries show how school activities have changed.  An English translation from a recording made in 1965 of a conversation between Tom Jenkins (Twm Crydd) and Edmund Llewellyn (Emwnt Shedi) with  illustrations.  There was some excitement when Twm recalled  his poaching days.  He would catch a fox and release  it after marking the animal’s ear with a slight and harmless incision.  When Mrs Davies in whose house the recording was being made, brought down a fox mask (dating from the 1920s) from the wall, Twm immediately identified it as one of his ‘own’!   An aerial photo of lower Pentyrch is shown  − also a view of the Old Village in 1900.  Gymkhana days are recalled with photos of Henry and Delia Jones together with a news-cutting relating to a typical event.  Rare railway photos include one of a passenger train on the viaduct, a coal train on the Rhymney line at Graig yr Allt, and Glan y Llyn stone bridge showing in the background the construction of Club Row, Gwaelodygarth (c 1872).                           44 pp.

34. MISCELLANY 13 (December 2006) By Don Llewellyn.   A tour of the ‘Old Village’ of Pentyrch describes the houses and numerous past characters.  Starting with the Parish Church of St Catwg and the origins of the community, the article includes later developments.  ‘The English Mission’ which opened in 1895 to provide English language services to newcomers to the area who had no Welsh.  The public houses, The King’s The Rock and The Bute.  The garage, taxi and bus company of T.A. Griffiths (‘Taggy’).  St Catwg’s Hall which had been a school and later a venue for dances, concerts and drama productions.   The series ‘Taff’s Well Tales’ continues with talks Gerald Edwards had with Margaret Marshall and Muriel Honey.  Jim Taverner recalls the Tynant Quarry in its heyday.  Alan Lock tells of  ‘The games we played and the things we made’ in a nostalgic look at how young people spent their spare time constructing things.   Includes an illustrated guide to making a ‘peg-gun’.  There is an update of the story of Victoria Cross winner Captain Albert Jacka which connects Australia with Taff’s Well.  Following the article in the previous issue, more photographs came to light of the soldier’ brother William and his Taff’s Well bride Joan.  There is a remarkable photograph of the wedding feast in Taff’s Well which prominently shows the Australian hero of this epic story.   To please the many railway enthusiasts who are readers of The Garth Domain, there is a superb photograph taken in 1959 by Ian Wright showing the junction of lines as seen from the Walnut Tree viaduct.  In addition there is an historic photograph by Roy Hobbs of the last passenger train crossing the viaduct in 1965.   A fine photograph  from 1934 of Gwaelodygarth Cricket members together with local dignitaries at the opening of the pavilion.   Photo of pig-killing group with Li Atkins.  Readers are invited to put a date to a photograph showing a tree blocking Heol Goch in the 1950s or 60s.  Brian Lancaster recalls his wartime schooldays in Taff’s Well.                                                                    44 pp.

35. MISCELLANY 14 (March 2007) By Don Llewellyn.   The editor tells a tale about an allegedly haunted old cottage in Pentyrch called ‘Tomcat’s Castle (Castell y Cwrcyn)’.  The story is supported by some verses from Edmund Llewellyn (Emwnt Siedi) (1885-1971).  There are several contributions from leading railway historians together with excellent photographs.  Pictures from Alan Jarvis show how trains accessed the Steetley quarries from the viaduct and there are views of the south portal of the Walnut Tree viaduct tunnel before and after its closure.  Ian L Wright recalls how he became captivated with local railways in his youth by watching trains at the ‘Pentyrch Crossing’ and takes us back to the time when Tongwynlais had its own station.  Mr Wright also provides a newspaper cutting that describes the work of the Lawrence Foundry where rails were made for exportation.  Photographs from the superb S.C. Fox collection show the ‘Forgie Line’ which is also featured in an article by Graham George about his childhood in Gwaelodygarth.  Dafydd Millward, formerly of Gwaelodygarth and Taff’s Well gives us a biography of his remarkable father Dai, a colourful character who was a lifelong major figure in rugby and many other aspects of local life.  Betty Davies describes her life in Bryn Terrace, Gwaelodygarth where she was born in 1925.  The article is accompanied by photos of her grandparents.  Alan Lock tells of the building of  Garth Newydd just after the Second World War.  Many of the residents of the new Heol Berry and Heol y Nant had previously lived in mountainside cottages and the improved facilities they enjoyed are described in detail.  A 1950 photograph shows a snow-clad Garth Mountain gazing down on the as yet unfinished Heol y Nant dwellings.  Christopher Evans marks the golden jubilee of Pentyrch Youth RFC  formed in 1957. He describes the personalities involved and their success on the field.   Chris gives us a piece about his grandfather (also Chris Evans) who was a muleteer in the First World War.  Dr Bill Linnard once again shows us the work of the Philip brothers, local clockmakers in the 18th century.  Four views of Church Village show how much quieter it was in the 1930s.  Corney Lewis’s dental surgery is advertised together with the prices of various kinds of false teeth!  An invoice for the professional services of Dr Edwards of Taff’s Well in 1884, and a letter from that period indicating a family’s financial hardship.  Twm Jenkins (Crydd) and Edmund (Siedi) had been 92 and 80 respectively when recorded in 1965.  A continuation of their chat  includes harvesting gorse, the local fairs, and a ghostly figure that was said to have walked the Mountain Road!                                                                                                                                                       44 pp.

36. MISCELLANY 15 (June 2007) By Don Llewellyn.  The picture on the front cover is of diminutive Debbie Williams on her Shetland pony at a local Gymkhana.  A poem by William Beer in praise of the Garth Mountain written in English many years ago launches this edition.   ‘A Gwaelod Walk’ by the editor and Derek Thomas is an historical tour through the mountainside village.     Aided by a map and appropriate photographs the tour begins at the Ynys and proceeds through the estate where the Pentyrch Ironworks used to be before picking up the pathway that follows the route of the old ‘Forgie Line’.  Photos show Ynys House, the station footbridge, the ‘New Level Houses, the viaduct, the forge, etc.  The bungalow that was the office of the old brickworks sited alongside the Ironworks can still be seen among the modern houses of Heol y Nant.  From here the pathway runs above and parallel with the Taff  River.  Alongside the path stands the original schoolhouse and chapel which is now a modernised dwelling.   A few hundred yards upstream the bridge that opened in 1926 spans the river and joins the Gwaelod to Taff’s Well.  Pont Sion Philip was named after John Phillips the local influential  figure who was then chairman of the Cardiff Rural District Council.   Cwm Dews, where there was once a mine is now a swampy area  and little remains of the colliery.  Up then to the village proper.  Bethlehem and Salem chapels, the Ffygis, the old post office, the Gwaelod Inn etc.   There are photos of personalities, Willie Charles Thomas, R.G. Berry, Gwilym Morris, John Foster Lloyd and John Thomas.  Views of old Gwaelod as seen from Glan y Llyn, the allotment hut with gardeners, the school, the entrance to the Lan drift mine, a horse and coal dram from Garth Rhondda colliery and the Steetley lime kilns, the Garth Hill houses, the ‘Tin Church’, a group on a 1920s outing and the ferry boat that was superseded by  John Phillips’s bridge.  A poem entitled ‘The Gwaelod’ by Margaret White.  An Alan Lock article ‘A hole in my Shoe’.   Alan shows how  much life has changed over a generation or two.  He reminds us of things that are no longer done − such as home shoe-repairing and the chopping of firewood.   In a chat with brothers Jim and Len Harkins who were born and bred at the ‘Willowford’ (Rhyd yr Helyg) we have a fascinating account of their tough but thoroughly interesting upbringing in which horses played a big part.   Successful Taff’s Well soccer teams of the early and mid-1950s are recalled (with photographs) during which period they won not only the South Wales and Monmouthshire Amateur Cup but also the Corinthian Cup.                                                                                                             44 pp.

37. CAPEL LLANILLTERN (September 2007) By J Barry Davies, Don Llewellyn, and Anthony Jones.  This issue is based largely on the groundwork carried out by Barry Davies unravelling the complex matter of land-ownership since medieval times.  The document seeks to show that Capel Llanilltern is far from the simple hamlet it might appear to be.  The scattered farmsteads all have their own distinctive character: from Pencoed with its illustrious occupants to Llanfair and its ecclesiastical connections; from the farms of Tydu, Trewern and Tynewydd to Taihirion (a fount of nonconformity), the place is full of interest for students of local history.  Already closely involved with the Mathew family who influenced local life  greatly in the 16th and 17th centuries, Llanilltern residents were to feel the effect of the Battle of St Fagans that took place just a stone’s throw away.  The tiny church, dedicated to St Elldeyrn, has Latin inscriptions that have long linked the place with Arthur and Guinevere.  Although this is discredited by serious (less romantic) historians, it is a legend that has sustained locals for many a century!  Memorials which adorn the church are depicted and described in great detail by the heraldry expert Anthony L Jones.  The imposing property known as Capel House was the local tavern before the Star pub was built (the latter being demolished to make way for the M4).  The story of the property known as ‘Parc y Justice’ is colourful − and ultimately, a tragic one.  The changing ownership of this country mansion would be interesting enough, for it was connected with more than one historical figure. For instance, in the 18th century it was occupied by Samuel Price, brother of the truly eminent Dr Richard Price who influenced as much as anyone else the thinkers who brought about American Independence.  However, the epic tale with which the house will forever be associated, is a rare story of crime and punishment.  Read of the catalogue of felonies that led to the apprehension  of Catharine (a former servant at the big house) and her accomplice Henry.  Then read the detailed account of their public hanging on Cardiff’s Heath.  Catharine was the last woman to be publicly executed in South Wales … she is said to have gone to the gallows singing a Welsh lament that she had written for the occasion.                        44 pp.

38. MISCELLANY 16 (December 2007) By Don Llewellyn.  ‘Some Thoughts On The Garth’ – moving and atmospheric poetry by Alan Lock to which the editor has added suitable pictures.  A recent discovery of an ages-old relic encourages us to take another  look at the evidence we have of our ancient past.  A  Stone Age cromlech, an Iron-Age terret, a 4th century Roman Coin, an ever-present Bronze-Age burial mound we call ‘The Pimple’ that dominates the  landscape are all permanent reminders of early civilised habitation of the area.    The ‘find’ that prompted this was a perfectly-formed Bronze Age flint arrow-head.  Mr Mike Cross was taking a walk on the Garth ridge when he discovered the item protruding from muddy soil newly tuned over by a tractor wheel.   Mr Cross describes the incident; and photos of the arrow-head and the other ancient  items are reproduced.  A story supplied by Ivor Rowlands and Barbara Cooper tells of the friendship between the redoubtable Taff’s Well lady ‘Cassie’ Rowlands (later Cassie Gould) and Donald Woods the much admired anti-apartheid campaigner.  We hear of how Mr Woods came to Taff’s Well and struck up a ,marvellous relationship with Cassie − who subsequently went out to South Africa to stay with his family.   In an article from the Western Mail entitled ‘To the memory of a special woman’ Donald Woods describes Cassie as his ‘Welsh mother!’    One time landlord of the King’s Arms (The ‘Old Pub’) in Pentyrch John Wilson Baynes was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government for his bravery during the First World War.    Serving with the South Wales Borderers he earned the medal for his heroism when his battalion  pushed back the Germans at the Gates of Paris.  Only a few knew about the various medals Mr Baynes had won for valour because he would never talk about his war experiences..  The centenary celebrations of Pentyrch school are noted and some cameo pictures of pupils over the century are shown.  Also a group of children with the school’s percussion band instruments which had been delivered in 1941.  A scientific treatise from 1877 on the chemical content of the water of the Well of the Taff is printed in full.  Alan Lock reminds us of the ‘fibbing lies’ we used to believe, such as eating  crusts would make your hair curly and consuming carrots would help you see in the dark.  Gwaelodygarth school group photos from 1912 and 1934 are reproduced.  ‘Then and Now’: several photographs show how a number of Pentyrch and Taff’s Well scenes  have changed over the years.  The Pentyrch equestrian tradition is once more illustrated with pictures of various riders and their mounts, including Bobby Porter who was the oldest jockey to win at Chepstow.  The Gymkhanas and the Pentyrch Hunt are shown.  Photos of Taff’s Well Ladies Marching Band and a group of young men that includes ‘Big Jack Buttle’ are shown.  Pictures of Pentyrch Tennis from the 1930s and 1950s showing the courts and players.  Christmases of past times are recalled by Alan Lock and Don Llewellyn.                                                                                                                  44 pp.

39. MISCELLANY 17 (March 2008)  By Don Llewellyn.   Two old soldiers, Ivor Rowlands of Taff’s Well and Henry Jones the Pentyrch butcher recall serving in Eritrea fifty seven years earlier.  Incredibly they were not known to each other although they were at the same base at the same time.  In an article entitled ‘Needles and Nitrous Oxide’ Alan Lock describes what it was like going to the doctor or the dentist years ago.  From the archives a transcript of a chat in 1979 with Jinny Thomas then aged 95 tells of how she grew up in a prominent Pentyrch musical family.  Jinny was old enough to remember the opening of the new road Heol Goch.  She talks too of school and chapel.  Thelma Jones who was 97 on Christmas Day 2007 (2007) recalls her life from childhood in Pentyrch – through the time she was in service in London (where she met Charles Lindbergh) and of her career as a telephonist at exchanges in Cardiff and London. (where, once, in the 1930s, she had Queen Elizabeth on the line).   Winnie Davies (‘Winnie the Garth’) who will be 99 years old on June 27 2008, tells of her life-long love of horses.  As the daughter of the eminent huntsman Jack Evans she recalls hunting days that involved Lady Bute and others.  Life at Garth Farm on the mountain  was much different from that of today.  She married Johnny Davies (David) whose prowess with horses was also well-known.  Just like Jinny Thomas, Winnie was a soprano and sang with local concert parties.  An account from a Rhondda school diary tells us of a group visit to the comparatively new village of Creigiau in 1906.  The newly-built station had made access to the local countryside much easier and use was made also of the Creigiau Inn for refreshments.  Mair Sharp had been, like Thelma, a telephonist but was engaged throughout her working life at Radyr and Taff’s Well, the place of her upbringing.  Mair recalls some  characters of yesteryear including ‘Mabon’ and ‘Jim the Tramp’.  She also has lovely memories of ‘small beer’, rhubarb wine and the not-so-nice elderflower tea.  The transcripts of the chats with the ladies referred to above are all accompanied by photogrphs.  A Pentyrch Community Council plan to set up a village museum is announced.  In a photograph of the staff of Pentyrch  School in the 1930s, the ‘commanding presence’ of  formidable headmaster David Williams (‘Dai Bill’) is well-captured.                                                                                                                           44 pp.

40. MISCELLANY 18 (June 2008)  By Don Llewellyn.  Mainly a series of reminiscences.  Chris Evans, now of Shirehampton, Bristol, recalls an idyllic childhood in Pentyrch.  John S Williams, now of Downend Bristol tells of his origins in the Garth area and of his rugby and athletics background; also his time in the RAF. He remembers harp-maker John Thomas with affection.  A letter from Betty Brown to her granddaughter in the USA recounts her  early life in Pentyrch when she and her sister  were well-known as ‘The Twins’.  Their grandmother Laura Edwards was a teacher at the village school until the 1920s and they were given a good  educational grounding by her.  Betty married a doctor and Mair became Lady Connor through her marriage to journalist Bill Connor (Cassandra of the Daily Mirror).  Gerald Edwards talked to Joyce Goode  (nee Brown)  about the School Meals Service, centred in Taff’s Well where the food was cooked and distributed to surrounding  villages during the war years.  Jan Johnson of Maes Bach farm, Tonteg, provides a news-cutting from the Merthyr Guardian of 1869 that tells of her great-grandmother having triplets and missing out on the full gift that was expected from Queen Victoria.  The item is supported by information on what else was happening in the world in 1869.  Alan Lock remembers his time at Whitchurch Secondary Modern School and recalls the ritual known as ‘having the cane’.  Another Pentyrch clock is described by Dr Bill Linnard and he tells how he came by it.  The story of the once thriving local firm of E.C. Cases is told by Alan Lock who chronicles the company’s rise to fame and its eventual demise.   John Reypert in search of information regarding former caretakers of Castell Coch tells of his family connection.  The auction of the household contents of Tregarth Mansion, Creigiau, in 1946 after the passing of Mrs Mary Ingledew is graphically recalled in pages from the sale catalogue.    Joe Fraser, Mrs Ingledew’s millionaire father, had died in 1940 and it is thought that many of the items had been his original possessions.  The Pentyrch Undenominational English Mission was established in 1895 to provide English services to non-Welsh -speakers who had come to live in the area.  Its hundred years plus history is retold with references to several of the leading persons involved.  The photo-gallery includes a picture of an unidentified couple from Taff’s Well c. 1916 and a group of unsmiling cricketers said to be from the Garth area.  A group photo shows Standard Three at Pentyrch  School in 1936; also from the same school the scholarship winners of 1938.  There is an evocative carnival group photograph from the 1930s taken near the Mission Field Pentyrch and a street scene near the Portobello public house in Taff’s Well of uncertain date showing a crowd gathered to celebrate some event (possibly the armistice of 1918).  A picture of Pentyrch Pierrots, local entertainers, 1953.  Six poems from Alan Lock entitled:  ‘Reflections’.                                                                                                   44 pp.

41. MISCELLANY 19 (September 2008)  By Don Llewellyn   A well-known, respected resident of Morganstown, 96 years old Jack Ray tells of his life since he was born in the village in 1912 at Tyman’s Row.  A life-long gardener he began working helping a builder and then on the railway.  Jack gives a graphic account of his experiences during the Second World War . Rejoined the railway on his return home and after retirement from the line at 64 worked for Pugh’s nursery until he was 80!  He talks about local farmers, sportsmen; also the Lewis family of Tynant and their coachman Mr Dobbins. Jean Prichard, daughter of George Jones, Penllwyn,  farmed with her husband in the Llantrisant area for many years, but still has a strong attachment to Pentyrch.  She recounts her early days at Ty Glas, her time at the village school before going on to Whitchurch Secondary.  Strong memories of Penllwyn where her grandparents, aunts and a great uncle lived.  It was a thoroughly Welsh-speaking household.  Happy days  helping out on the farm and lots of pony riding..  She was the first secretary of  Pentyrch Young Farmers’ Club.  An accident that could have been very serious occurred at Creigiau Quarry in 1971.  A sizeable lump of rock bounced off a truck onto which stone was being loaded and hit quarryman Aubrey Betty on the head.  Fortunately he was wearing the obligatory hard hat and escaped without injury.  The incident is a reminder of the fact that perilous occupations have been part and parcel of life in the domain of the Garth.  Barbara Davies, although born and raised in Whitchurch has a close affinity with Tongwynlais.  She recalls many visits to Castell Coch when relatives of hers were the caretakers.  Her grandfather John Henry Williams had been a young stone mason working on the rebuilding of the castle by the Butes.  Her great grandmother Ann Harris kept a grocery store in Tongwynlais.  She talks of Greenmeadow mansion and its associtaed folklore.  Happy memories of Whitsun Mondy in The Ton and rides on Cliff Davies’s bus that transported Pentyrch boys to and from the Ton for woodwork lessons.  A newspaper report records the historic felling in 1971 of the big Sycamore that stood at the end of the Taff’s Well street of that name.   A photo and pen portrait reminds us of one of the most colourful personalities of  20th century Pentyrch, Ted Follis, archetypal newsman and scourge of the Western Welsh Bus service!  Then and now pictures of Glan y Llyn  (1910 and 2008), Temperance Road Pentyrch (1956 and 2008).  Bob Maddern, now of Thetford, Norfolk but formerly of Taf’s Well  asks for information about token coins and the editor gives an explanation of the ‘company shop’  with which they were associated.  Havard Gregory, writer, linguist, broadcaster, businessman, tells of his time in Gwaelodygarth from the age of  nine.   This is a a classic essay in which the deep thinking HG recounts with sparkling clarity a plethora of experiences in a village that was still an island of  ‘Welshness’ in his time.  Local characters come in for his honest assessment.  The gallery shows the Dolomite Cricket team of 1938 and a postcard of an unidentified First World War soldier and his wife  c. 1916.                                                                                                                               44 pp.

42. MISCELLANY 20 (December 2008) By Don Llewellyn.   Begins with a compilation of items based on Castell Coch.  Material from Mike Cradoc includes an original  letter from Bob Pendlebury in 1936 that provides an answer to Barbra Davies’s enquiry about an accident involving the collapsing of the castle drawbridge in the 1930s.    William Burges, the architect who rebuilt the castle for the Butes is described and a part of his report before the restoration began is reprinted.  Marvellous drawings of the plan of the restoration that appeared in ‘The Architect’ in 1874 are reproduced.  These were also from Mike Cradoc’s collection.  The story of the Castell Coch vineyard at the castle appears and there are photographs from  1905 including one of the grape-gatherers.  Various quotations, extracts from newspaper articles and books give a rounded picture of the castle’s importance before and after the rebuilding. (its place in history and its role today as a tourist attraction).  More than one person from our locality has enjoyed world-wide fame, but none more than Sir Thomas Lewis, raised from childhood at Tynant House, Morganstown.  The son of Henry Lewis (owner of Lewis Merthyr Colliery), his family line reflected a rich Welsh pedigree.  Educated at home during his early years by his brilliant mother, Thomas was a lively lad familiar with the local hills and forests in which he spent much time pursuing his interest in natural history.  He was drawn to medicine and his career which took him through University College Cardiff and then University College Hospital Medical School of London.  He was to become regarded as the ‘father of clinical electrocardiac electrophysiology’.   The 125 year history of Pentyrch RFC is brought up to date with extracts from the original centenary book  ‘A Club for All Reasons’ by Arthur and Don Llewellyn and updated information.   Photo gallery shows scenes from the construction of the A470; also a Taff’s Well Drama Society group from 1952 and aged Pentyrch Carnival figures in Welsh costume c. 1960.  Bob Pendlebury’s Christmas card from 1936 closes the issue with best wishes to readers of the Garth Domain.              44 pp.

43. MISCELLANY 21 (March 2009) By Don Llewellyn.   Mr Graham Shutter, a railway enthusiast now living in Westerham in Kent is building a scale model of the Walnut Tree viaduct in his garden.  Two photographs show the progress he has made with it.   J Banbury’s painting  of a passenger train on the viaduct is once again  reproduced to show what it was like in its heyday.     Mrs Mabel Gough of Nantgarw celebrates her 103rd birthday.   In conversation with Gerald Edwards she talks of her early  life having been born in Caerphilly and after marrying moving to Nantgarw where she was to spend the rest of her life.  ‘As bright as a button’ she has a clear recall of the challenges of her early days when ‘life was hard and money was scarce’.  Her hundredth  birthday was celebrated in great style.  Her granddaughter who is married to a Brigadier of the Welch Regiment arranged (with her husband’s help) to have the Regimental Band to play for Mabel.  She had 150 congratulatory cards … including  one from Tesco.   Old photos of Nantgarw.  A follow up story regarding Sir Thomas Lewis the eminent medical man who was featured in issue no 42 shows via a press cutting from 1914 that he was instrumental in setting up a the ‘City of Cardiff Hospital’ in northern France to tend  wounded French soldiers.   A report of his mother’s funeral, attended by (among many others), Dr Daniel Thomas of Taff’s Well.      Gerald Edwards gives us the history of Taff’s Well Spa  Ltd..  The story has been partly told before but this account gives details of the business aspect of the venture in which a number of locals had put their faith (and their money).  Again from Gerald Edwards with the help of Margaret Jones and Thelma Whilding we have ‘The Day the World Came to Taff’s Well’. A concert arranged by Hamish Richards held in Tabor chapel, performed by singers from many countries  who were of the United Nations choir from that year’s Llangollen International Eisteddfod.  A profile of Thelma’s father Tom Whilding who was manager of Thomas and Evans’ shop in Taff’s Well with reference to the Rev Tawelfryn Thomas who was Tom Whilding’s neighbour.  Gallery shows Bennett’s Garage at Tongwynlais in the 1970s, Paul Tripp’s Taff’s Well smithy just before it was pulled down in 1970.  Also Forest Lock which was to the south of Tongwynlais (but incorrectly described here as Taff’s Well!).  Another ‘follow-up’:  We learn more about the family of William Evans the Victorian shopkeeper who left us so many papers.  David Phillips of Wenvoe (one of William’s great grandsons) has given not only further information but photographs as well.  For the first time we  see what old William looked like .. also his wife and her parents!  Other photos are of David’s grandfather David James, his great uncles Thomas Edmund and  John Williams.  The editor gives an account of the Mari Lwyd custom that  prevailed in Pentyrch until recent times with photographs and  some examples of the verbal exchanges that were the basis of the ritual folk-practice.  A poem by F.S.J. Morgan of Tongwynlais praises  the kingfisher, a delightful, elusive bird that used to be seen from time to time on sections of the old canal.                             44 pp.

44. MISCELLANY 22 (JUNE 2009)  By Don Llewellyn.     Bob Cugley recalls a visit to South Africa and his presentation of a copy of ‘The Club For All Reasons’  (the Pentyrch history of Pentyrch RFC) to the president of the Western Province Rugby Union.   Ivor Rowlands  looks back at his early days in Taff’s Well with ‘Blast from the Past’.  We hear of  his schooldays and happy times playing along the canal at the various locks.   Carnivals and fairs are recalled and the procession of animals through Taff’s Well on its way to Pontypridd, the next venue.  Amongst the colourful recollections is the case of the hungry elephant that paused to take down the branch of a tree in Glan y Llyn!  Cricket at the Dolomite Sports Ground alongside the canal is recalled and Ivor expresses sadness at the loss of  local features such as the viaduct.  The editor, in another piece inspired by the ‘William Evans Papers’  tell of the case of Thomas James who had lost his job with the Shopkeeper because of his fondness for drink.  An exchange of letters reveals that the young man had joined ‘The Blue Ribbon Army’ one of several Temperance societies of the Victorian era.  This is followed by an account of another society (non-temperance in this case) of the period: ‘The Ivorites’ (Iforiaid) whose local lodges were based at the Colliers Arms in Pentyrch and the Junction Hotel in Taff’s Well.  Extracts from the society’s rule-book reflect a way of life far different from that of today.   It is shown that  the Ivorites were similar to the Freemasons in that membership involved knowing a number of secret signs (illustrated).   Barry Davies gives the history of two farms, Lan and Ynys Gau − both of which are actually in the parish of Llantwit Fardre despite their close association with the community of Gwaelod y Garth.   From our sound archives an interesting chat about old times between Mr Henry Llewellyn and Mrs Morfydd Thomas recorded in 1974.  Translated from the Welsh by the editor, the piece recalls a life that revolved around the chapels, hard work, and  the  musical  tradition.     It also makes it clear that in Morfydd and Henry’s time there were moral values which are notably absent today.               44 pp.

45. MISCELLANY 23 (SEPTEMBER 2009)  By Don Llewellyn.  This edition contains two personal profiles.   The first is of 92 years old Jack Gummer who tells us about his early life in Taff’s Well and Morganstown: his work and play.  He describes graphically his later years in the army during the Second World War, from the day of his enlistment to his final demobilisation.  We join Jack on his sea journeys to the theatres of war.  He admits to being sea sick on the troopships and although that wasn’t a good start, he went on to gain memorable experiences in France, Greece, North Africa, and other dangerous locations.  In the RASC his job was helping to make petrol cans  for the transportation of fuel to the front line.  He tells us of shells raining down all around and recalls clearly the awful sight of a ship going down during the bombardment.  He got out of Crete just in time … but not before he met up with another from Taff’s Well (Cyril Cooper).  Photos of Jack as a boy and later in uniform accompany the article.  The second profile is of the late Derek Murphy, a Pentyrch boy who became a rugby star in the 1950s.  Playing on the wing alongside Bleddyn Williams and other ‘greats’ he was a regular in ‘the most successful club team in the world’.  The article is introduced by his younger brother Denis and illustrated with cuttings and photographs mainly from the Football Echo of the time.  These had been kept in a scrapbook by Derek’s mother, Pentyrch’s popular postmistress over half a century ago.  Derek’s rugby career is recalled by four of his contemporaries: Ross Johnson, Emlyn Cooke, Glyn ‘Ffaldau’ Williams and Alun Priday.  The last named reminds us that Derek appeared 161 times for Cardiff and scored 77 tries!  The ancient farm of Pantygored is the subject of an article by  J Barry Davies who describes it as a very important local building.  The house dates back to medieval times and there are numerous ancient features still to be seen.  Photos help to give the feel of antiquity one gets on entering the house.  A staircase had remained concealed until a decade or so ago.  Now the winding steps take you to the landing and above your head is a remarkable example of a medieval ‘cross-slabbed’ ceiling.  Barry Davies offer some views on the changes made to the building over the years and gives detailed information of occupancy and the family trees of those who farmed there. Drawings supplied by the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments also indicate the historical importance of  the architecture at Pantygored.  Gerald Edwards recalls a special type of cake available in Taff’s Well years ago produced by Rutters the Bakers and regrets that it is no longer made by anyone.  A group of girls in Gwaelodygarth around 1947 is shown.  All the youngsters are identified except one.  ‘The Canal Row Kids’ of Taff’s Well appear in a large group photograph taken around 1929-30.                  44 pp.

46. MEMORIES OF TONGWYNLAIS (DECEMBER 2009)  Edited by Don Llewellyn.  Val Bowden, a campaigner for the Parkinson’s Disease charity overcomes her own huge disability to give us her remarkably clear recollections of her early life in Tongwynlais. She tells us of what cottage life was like in the village in the post war period and what children used to get up to.  Ifor Jenkins tells us of an ‘Age of Innocence’ in the Taff’s Well of the 1930s.   From a piece of information given by Dr Bill Linnard about the Pentyrch Militia of two hundred years ago, the editor describes the extent of recruitment in Glamorgan at that time, where the force went – and what they did.  We go over the mountain to meet Shirley Smith who was brought up at Duffryn Bach Farm in Church Village.  She describes a hard life delivering milk door to door and  how many aspects of life have changed in her time.   We hear of the presentation of an Iron Cross medal to a museum in Devon by the family of Dr Tom Lewis − one of the sons of Wilfred Lewis the vicar of Pentyrch from 1929 to the 1950s.  The medal had been  recovered from a German soldier who was found floating in the sea.  He had won the medal for his part in the Polish Campaign.   The house on the mountain road to Efail Isaf called Silverbrook (and previously Nant yr Arian) is recalled by various persons who knew the place well.  Robert Williams tells us of the changing ownership over the years and Ellis Davies recalls the war period when Mrs Sutton took in evacuees.  The place was known for eerie happenings and was always a place of mystery.  A photo gallery shows two Bobbies of 1930s Taff’s Well and the station master of an even earlier period;  Dai Millward (dressed to kill!) and the Gwaelod Post Office in the Edwardian era.   Workers with a horse-drawn load of stone at Creigiau quarry and the delivery wagon of John Thomas, Grocer of Taff’s Well are also shown.  Frank Taylor the Pentyrch cobbler is seen outside his workshop in 1950 and a group outside the grocery store of George and Esther Lamerton shows some faces familiar to Pentyrch people.  Roger Farrance tells us of  some interesting eccentric Welsh acquaintances he had before coming to live in Wales.  The story of Tongwynlais-born Dennis David, a Battle of Britain pilot is told in detail.  The issue ends with details of another local find of an item from prehistory in the Garth area.  This time it was a bronze palstave (a gouging tool) discovered by a Mr Alan Jenkins.                                        44 pp.   

47. MISCELLANY 25 (MARCH 2010) compiled by Don Llewellyn. Miscreants were chased after a theft from Gwaelod Inn in Victorian times.  The Taff’s Well Eisteddfod of 1862 … description of the competition classes and the participants.  Reports of local interest in Welsh newspapers of the time.  Article from the SW Echo about Gwaelodygarth 50 years ago.  Cuttings show how Dr Monger led a campaign to protect the caves and caverns of the Lesser Garth.  An article on the colourful and extremely popular Gwaelod character of yesteryear Willie Charles Thomas.  Photo of gardeners at St James’ church Taff’s Well in the 1920s.  Mrs Murphy and Pentyrch people at the unveiling of village clock in 1965.  A character Alec Murphy is recalled by his nephew Denis (photographs, variously from Pentyrch church to the Isle of Man).  A gung ho letter from the manager of the Melingriffith Works H Spence Thomas to the workers regarding recruitment etc for the first world war.  An in depth profile of Arthur Llewellyn (1928-2007) truly the founder of the Pentyrch Local History Society  in that he cajoled everybody into getting it started. His life from his early days in the village of his birth to his London days and his later period in business is covered.  In ‘exile’ in Bournemouth where he had lived since the 1960s, he was a regular contributor to this society’s publications drawing on his phenomenal memory.  His writings as well as his connection with Pentyrch RFC are covered, also his friendship with the incomparable Norman Follis and others is fully dealt with.   Finally, a poem about the Ironbridge Tongwynlais  by Val Bowden.                                                                     44 pp. 

48. GREENMEADOW (JUNE 2010) Compiled by Don Llewellyn.   This edition is given over exclusively to the story of the mansion of Greenmeadow still remembered as a prominent landmark in Tongwynlais.  The Lewis family is fully accounted for with the marriages into other minor gentry families of the district giving them a strong presence in the area.   Barry Davies gives us details of the Lewis genealogy which shows this presence through the ages.  We see how Wyndham Lewis came to Greenmeadow and how his wife the colourful Mary developed the building out of all recognition of its (probably) medieval origins..  The arrival of Disraeli on the scene and his marriage to the widow Mary is told in detail whist dismissing several of the myths that grew up at Greenmedow.  The tales of allegedly supernatural happenings are also touched upon   There are numerous fascinating photographs, some seen for the first time.  The last Colonel Henry Lewis is shown to have had a leading position in The Pentyrch Hunt, not surprisingly as he was regarded as the local ‘Squire’.  There are also marvellous photos showing the prominent parts played by the Lewises and their servants in the Great Pageant of Wales held in Cardiff in 1909.  The connection with Y Parc at Llanilltern is fully explained and a photo appears of the grave of Colonel Henry at Llanilltern Church.                                                                                   44 pp. 

49. MISCELLANY 26 (SEPTEMBER 2010) compiled by Don Llewellyn.    The reminiscences of the remarkably talented Pentyrch man Haydn Pulfrey who had recently celebrated his 90th birthday are fascinating.  He came to Pentyrch as a boy from Cardiff where he was born and immediately made his mark as will be seen from a wonderful photograph of him on stilts.  He attended Ponty County School to which he travelled on the train from Creigiau (having walked down from Pentyrch).  Called up to the  RAF early in the war he was sent abroad.  His  account of his sea journeys and service life in various parts of the world are fascinating.  He spent a large part of his time in the searing heat of Iraq  where he worked on the assembling of Spitfires and other planes for use by the Russian forces.   His visits to Babylon, Jericho, Jerusalem, also Egypt and other exotic places are described.  He tells how he climbed the Great Pyramid.  After the war he worked as a lab technician at Cardiff University until he retired. His remarkable dexterity allowed him to master several crafts including glass-blowing and in no time constructed a miniature replica of a domestic heating system (a fully working model) He became a master craftsman making jewellery combining silver and lapidary work; he made miniature furniture to scale, for doll’s houses.  He even did embroidery, a good example of this being a representation of the RAF banner (which he made whilst in military hospital in Iraq.  The large number of exquisite Welsh love spoons he has carved (most with moving parts and cut from a single piece of wood) have to be seen to be believed.  Also in this edition we have the memories of Charles Lewis of Gwaelodygarth.  There’s another photo of locals who took part in that 1909 Pageant of Wales.   Denis Murphy organised a reunion (together with other contemporary friends) of some of the survivors from a 1953 photo of Pentyrch lads on a tree (which has been published several times).    The history of St James’ Church Taff’s Well by the Rev Roger Brown formerly vicar of Tongwynlais)  takes us from its origins as a school right up to modern times.   A follow-up article about Mrs Sutton the spiritual healer is included with some cards with religious messages.                                                                                                                                   44 pp. 

50TH EDITION (DECEMBER 2010).  This milestone edition has two features.  The first covers the story of the dental practice of the Lewis family of Taff’s Well as related by the multi-talented Christopher the third dentist of the line.  The other tells of a remarkable Pentyrch man, the late Norman Follis, drawing largely from a TV programme which the editor made about him in the late 1980s.  We hear of Corney Lewis who set up the dental surgery which would become nothing less than an institution in Taff’s Well and the surrounding area.  Corney had married Mabel Jenkins, the daughter of the Mayor of Cardiff and after practicing for a while in Taff Street, Pontypridd he set up his surgery in Taff’s Well having had Glenhaven, 129 Cardiff Road built for the purpose. Corney’s son Eric took over the practice when his father retired in 1947 … to be followed in the mid 1960s by his son Chris, who, like his father had studied at Guy’s.   Chris’s wife Pauline was the dental hygienist at the Taff’s Well surgery.   Chris’s rugby career is detailed, also his talents as an artist with several examples of his work reproduced.  Norman Follis lost his sight in an underground accident at Rockwood Colliery Taff’s  Well.  Possessed of a brilliant mind and a determined nature he went through life courageously and highly successfully in everything he became involved with.  Whilst working for the National Coal Board he was at one time serving on fourteen committees.  His passion for learning led him to become the first blind person to pass the finals of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries.and later became involved in several major educational institutions with an honorary fellowship of the Cardiff Institute of Higher Education.  He graduated with  honours in Social Services through the Open University and was awarded the MBE.  He was for many years secretary of Pentyrch Rugby Club!                                                    48 pp.

51. Gwaelodygarth in 1911 …and a medley of pictures from the past (March 2011).  Begins with an examination by Derek Thomas of the Gwaelod Census for that year. Derek refers to the important matter of English-only speaking enumerating officers seeking information from Welsh-speaking villagers! Maps accompanying the article clearly show the changes which occurred over a hundred year period. It was a village that then had 232 occupied households and the record shows that 43% of the population were ‘home grown’ i.e. they were born in the parish of Pentyrch.  At that time 150 local children were ‘at school’ although this number is likely to be higher because many entries for children of school age were left blank on census forms.   Interestingly unemployment was virtually nil.  Pages from the actual census are reproduced.    Also a medley of pictures from Pentyrch, Taff’s Well, Tongwynlais, Morganstown, Creigiau, Nantgarw etc. all of which attracted much interest when they appeared in earlier editions. They include Twm Crydd,  a poacher’s gun, Pont Sion Philip, a charabanc outing from before the first world war, Ton RFC 1928, grape harvesters at Castell Coch, the rocking horse at Taff’s Well, J.C. Schroeter, the Rev Horatio Thomas, the cannon block at St Catwg’s, The Well of the Taff, the US Army Hospital at Rhydlafar, PYFC 1951, Efail y Castell, William Evans the Shop, Farmer George Jones, The Princess May locomotive, eclipse watchers on the Pimple 1927, John Thomas harp-maker, Winnie the Garth, the ice storm of 1940, Ffest yr Hen Dafarn, The Colliers Arms, Llwynybrain, Gilaswg, Orsaf Creigiau, haymaking at Cwm, The Tomcat’s Castle, the Mari Ann Cabbage stone on the Garth and the ‘Vendumaglus Stone’ at Llanillterne church etc etc.                                                                                                     44 pp.

52. JUNE 2011  By Don Llewellyn. Readers had been encouraged to send in summarized accounts of their lives. This edition begins with Bob Maddern’s story.  Bob now lives in Norfolk but still retains an interest in the area where he was born and raised. He tells us of his early days at Taff’s Well, the St John Ambulance and his life in the services and as a prison warder.  There are photographs of the ships HMS Tyne entering Grand Harbour Malta and HMS Termagant.  Bob also refers to the wartime mystery ‘Operation Mincemeat’ (The Man who Never Was).      A comprehensive history of  cricket in Pentyrch and the influence of Morgan Thomas, Vicar Henry Williams and Thomas Henry Sparks, Con Lewis etc.  Among the star local players were Tom Miles, Trefor Llewellyn, Ianto Jenkins and Philip ‘Curly’ Evans.  The article includes ref to the county game between Glamorganshire  and Northamptonshire held at Pentyrch in the 1990s.  In an article from the Western Mail of 1898, Morien describes a find in the Taff Valley.  Chris Evans tells us of a gift of rugbybsocks he received from Derek Murphy.   A tale of  Horse and Hound – how a boxer dog beat the hrses in a Pentyrch Point-to Point race.  The story of firebrand David Jones (Dai Bomb) is told. A Welsh Dragon flag is put up on the Garth (beating the Union Jack to it in a Christmas prank!)   The usual gallery of photographs.    44 pp.

53. MISCELLANY 28 (September 2011).    Memories of Taff’s Well by Cliff James.  Always mad on football, Cliff played for several sides in the Cardiff and District League including:  Roath Rangers, Villa, Army Cadets, Central Boys Club and Tongwynlais (under Joe Gray) and of course, Taff’s Well for which club he played in a special fixture against High Wycombe away!  He was an  apprentice fitter/turner at the Channel and Bute Dry Dock in Cardiff and later at The Forgemasters in Taff’s Well.  He goes on to recall the Taff’s Well he knew years ago: the shops the residents and personalities. Cliff remembered that Evan Williams of the garage owned a Rolls Royce Phantom which had belonged to Lloyd George.  The editor gives some anecdotes about the enigmatic Horatio Thomas, Vicar of St Catwg’s from 1833 to 1880 the year he died.  Then from Dr R Elwyn Hughes there is a transcript of the lecture he had delivered to our society about this colourful cleric. The section ends with references to the vicar’s sometimes rival, the man of letters Charles Prichard.  Photographs include portraits of both Horatio and Charles also the latter’s grave in the graveyard at Penuel Baptist Chapel.  An article from the Pontypridd Observer from 1974 tells us about three village characters  whose combined ages amounted to 273 years!   Joseph Thomas was then 93, his wife also 93 and his sister Jenny who was 90.    This edition concludes with a plea (dated1978) from naturalist Dr Mary Gillham re the old Forge feeder.    The eminent scientist deplored the loss of the old waterway that had once fed the forge because  it had been a paradise for wildlife.                                               44 pp. 

54. MISCELLANY 29 (December 2011). This edition begins with comprehensive coverage of one of the most influential  in local life during the last century and a half: the family Phillips (y Philipiaid). The coverage starts with the arrival of John Phillips at y Lan in about 1829. He was soon to become known as ‘Sion o’r Lan’.  His descendants were destined to be  extremely prominent in village life not only in the Gwaelod but also the rest of Pentyrch parish.  Businessmen, lawyers both male and female, and men of the cloth, broadcasters and actors too were offshoots of this dynasty.  Active in local politics mostly of the Liberal persuasion they were led in modern times by the august figure of John Phillips Tynewydd, who, whilst he was chairman of the Cardiff Rural District council had a new bridge named after him.  It is still known today as Pont Sion Philip.  Much of the information which has come to light about this illustrious local family came from ‘Cronicl y Philipiaid’ a local  history study carried out 75 years ago by family member Evan Phillips of Gwaelodygarth.   A memoir from Lynn Davies recounts the horrendous time he had when he was hospitalized at the age of five. At three he had suffered severe scalding in a domestic accident. But was to suffer even more under care.  His recollections are heart-rending but his honest account is devoid of blame or recrimination.    Items from the log-books of Pentyrch Board School indicate a life far different from that of today. Reasons for absence varied from illness to a desire to watch the local hunt! The arrival  date of the new headmaster Morgan Thomas who was to be influential in establishing cricket and rugby locally is confirmed as 1976.  Photographs of staff and pupils which accompany the section date from the 1890s and 1900s.   The opening of the new museum/information centre established by the Community Council and our History Society is covered in full – also the attention the event received from television news.                                                           44 pp.

55. MISCELLANY 30. (March 2012)    Law enforcement in the Garth area … some tales of local bobbies.  Many handed-down tales show  the evolution of law-protection in our area; we  hear of individual officers who have left an impression through their dedication but also in some cases their eccentricity:  from the village constable (cwnstab) who was a formidable figure in Victorian times commanding obedience if not universal respect to the slicker but no more successful modern bobby.  The old rugby players of  the early part of the century describe an event involving card-playing for money, the capture of the miscreants and the subsequent disappearance of their hero Twm Lee for three months! A policeman’s notebook  names rabbit poachers and newspaper articles tell of robberies at Taff’s Well and the Gwaelodygarth Inn. Derek Thomas describes a confrontation with a certain village Special Constable.    Alan Lock has some delightful confessions. John Williams living in High Wycombe recalls his early rustic upbringing at Cefn Colstyn farm.  The editor writes about the reunions which take place bringing together old pals for lunch every few months to reminisce about their idyllic early years.  A special reunion took place in 1972 when old friends gathered at the Castel Mynach pub to celebrate Norman Follis’s academic success.  The singing and hilarity were recorded.  A transcript of what was said by all present appears here.                                                                                                    44 pp.

56. MISCELLANY 31  (JUNE 2012).     The Warriors from Warren House by Ellis Davies recalls his uncles Richard and Edgar Watkins, and his brothers Edgar and Bert and their military careers. Coming from farming and mining stock an earlier ancestor Richard Watkins was killed in a fall at a bell-pit at Craig Gwilym in 1798.  His namesake, a later Richard (Ellis’s other brother) served in the Royal Engineers in the Boar War and rose to the rank of Captain and afterwards found himself assisting in the excavations at Pompeii.  Ellis’s other uncle Edgar Watkins was a sapper in the first world war digging battlefield trenches.  He was near his pal Twm Lee when an exploding shell took one of Twm’s legs. The eldest of Ellis’s two brothers – another Edgar  lost his life when his ship the HMS Bonaventure was struck by torpedoes from an Italian submarine Ambra in the Mediterranean Sea.  Ellis’s other sibling Bert, also a captain, was awarded the Military Cross.  After the war Bert held positions of high authority in the electricity supply industry. John Phillips of  Whitchurch gives a comprehensive account of his family associations with Pentyrch.  His forebears include the redoubtable land agent of the Victorian era Evan John.  There is also a family connection with Ephraim Turner who founded the firm which built most of the Cardiff Civic Centre. There are references to Blaenbielly, Pentwyn, Southfield, Temperance Road, Drysgoed as well as Carmel Methodist Chapel at Upper Boat.    Christopher Evans writes about his memories of the pleasure he had from walking the countryside.  In ‘A Garthside Memoir’ the editor (Don Llewellyn) recalls his own childhood days.  ‘A Tale from Temperance’ is a charming story of village mischief by Denzil Thomas.                                                                                                                                44 pp. 

57. MISCELLANY 32 (SEPTEMBER  2012)    The First World War diaries of Albert Powell.  Remarkable account of action in the trenches and life as a P.O.W. in Bavaria before he emigrated to Rhodesia.  Albert had fist come to our notice when Mrs Morfudd Thomas told us in a recorded chat that he had regularly sent a cheque in support of  Penuel chapel from his new home in southern Africa. Albert’s daughter Marion kept in touch with their relatives in Wales and we hear from John Williams now of Bristol (but formerly of Whitchurch and Morganstown) who recalls his uncle coming home for visits in the pre-war years.   The ‘changing face’ of Pentyrch is illustrated by reference to the so-called Rest Centre built in 1939 and intended as temporary accommodation for bombed out families.  After many decades of use as a dance-hall, meeting rooms for committees, fruit and vegetable shows, whist drives, receptions of all kinds and latterly the headquarters of the local scout troop, it fell into decay and has been replaced by a modern dwelling.  ‘A Childhood in Taff’s Well’ by Peter Lewis tells us of the affection he retains for the place and his idyllic early life there.  He recalls the privations which at the time were taken for granted: the lack of a sewerage system, electricity, gas and even running water.  Kids spent hours walking the Graig in those days and swimming in the pond – or else making rafts and floating them on the same little lake which had been constructed many years before to supply the Glamorganshire Canal.  Peter and his brothers actually made a canoe. They fished for trout in the brook, built dens and swings in the woods.  They visited the dungeons in Castell Coch and marvelled at the Blue Waters in Forest Fawr.  The edition ends with a gallery of photos from old carnivals in Taff’s Well.                       44 pp.

58.  ‘Jones the Butchers’ and ‘John Llewellyn a true Rugby Star’.(December 2012)   Full coverage of the family firm of Jones the Butchers which started in Pentyrch in the 1930s by Cadwgan Jones who came from the Welsh-speaking household at Penllwyn Farm.   With four daughters and four sons the family became well-known in various fields of activity, particularly in the equestrian world.  David and Rufus went off to farm elsewhere whilst Cadwgan entered the butchery trade and opened a shop at Southfield, Temperance Road Pentyrch.   The growth of the business against the backdrop of village life makes it an interesting local history document.  The years of son Henry and grandson Vaughan are chronicled in full.  Cadwgan’s younger brother George had stayed to farm Penllwyn until it was eventually swallowed by Creigiau Quarry, whilst his brother’s butcher’s shop became quite a social hub in the village (affectionately referred to as the Information Centre!)  Henry gradually superseded his father Cadwgan at the shop and developed his customer base to cover parts of the Vale of Glamorgan  as well.  Henry’s marriage to Eira Bassett of Tongwynlais is covered; their son Vaughan slipping smoothly into the family’s traditional butchery business. For a while THREE generations were represented at the shop!  Several locals learned the trade there and Simon Mansfield from Croesfaen was an assistant at the shop for many years until his untimely death in 1994.  Simon was well-known for his interest in local history and was an avid collector of documents and other items.  One of the most successful local sportsmen making his mark in both rugby and cricket was John Llewellyn of Taff’s Well but whose family came from the Colliers Arms on the Garth.   His son Richard tells us of his dad’s exploits on the rugby field and especially of his star performance for Cardiff when they beat the New Zealand All Blacks at that epic encounter in 1953.                                                                                  48 pp.

59. NOTES AND QUOTES (March 2013).    In celebration of the twenty years existence of our Society this edition reproduces a large number of items which are said to have captured the spirit of our past in the pages of The Garth Domain since the first issue which came out in 1998.  Among the ‘notes and quotes’ are  numerous expressions of affection for the Garth Mountain – the local feature which still appears to be held in the highest regard by ‘exiles’ and present residents alike.   A tour of Taff’s Well is recounted and a walk through Tongwynlais.  We hear what Wirt Sykes the USA Consul had to say about the area in 1879.  Also the glorious Taff, the magnificent Viaduct, The Old Pub Festival, gipsy camps, the Ton Fair and William Evans’s shop are all recalled in a random collection of unabashed nostalgia.   The edition concludes with a scholarly piece by Richard Llewellyn taking us back to the very distant past as he examines the geology of the Garth Domain.                                                                                                                          44 pp. 

60. ‘A LIFE BEHIND THE CAMERA’   (June 2013)  Several articles in previous issues of The Garth Domain have described the careers of local men and women in various fields of activity.   I have now yielded to pressure and agreed to put down the story of  my own working life.  Therefore, I complete this, the last regular issue of The Garth Domain with coverage in pictures (and some words) of my 38 years working in television.  I admit that to have had such an enjoyable career was down to my immense good luck more than anything else.  Learning as I went along in  a field that was not without challenges I managed to progress from being a film editor to a position of producer/director/writer.  Making television programmes was a truly privileged experience – establishing friendships with many famous personalities and travelling to several parts of the globe including the USA, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Israel, Greece, Malta,  Bulgaria and New Zealand – not to mention England, Scotland and Ireland!   I humbly hope that this collection of memories will convey at least some idea of the sheer pleasure that blessed my chosen path through life.                                                       50 pp.

 61. A POTTED LOCAL HISTORY (March 2018)  Compiled by Don Llewellyn.

This special Silver Jubilee edition of the publication marks the 25th anniversary of the formation of our society.  It is a ‘potted’ history of our area that includes several items reproduced for the first time in colour.

The Garth area is rich in surviving evidence of early human occupation and this fact is covered by detailed text and illustration.  Artefacts from the Stone Age discovered in the Lesser Garth Caves are shown, also implements from the Bronze Age that followed including a palstave found amidst the bracken on the mountain. Amongst the most important artefacts is a 2,000 years old terret found at the Steetley Quarry.  This is a loop through which the reins of an Ancient British chariot would have passed.  A Roman coin from the rein of Emperor Constans takes us back to the 4th century AD.  To give a feel of how old these things are the point is made that when Romans stood on the Bronze Age burial tomen we call ‘the Pimple’ that mound had already been there two and a half thousand years! The coming of St Catwg to the area around 500 AD marks the beginning of the modern community.  When, centuries later, Christianity  came under the new Norman system,  St Catwg’s church was controlled firstly by Tewkesbury and Gloucester and later by the See of Llandaff. Determined local resistance to the invaders contributed to a degree of independence under the noses of the Normans.  However the influence of Gilbert de Clare and Henry de Sully is well recorded.

In Tudor times the Mathew family in particular flourished as landowners and ironmasters. Due recognition is given to the remarkable 17th century farmer’s son John Jones of Llwyndaddu for his lifetime’s work in various fields including the Arts, Law, Medicine and Science. We learn how life was rapidly changing in the 18th century with the reopening of the Ironworks and the founding of a Gruffydd Jones Circulating School. Towards the end of the century the building of the Glamorganshire Canal would transform local industrial life.  The Nantgarw China Works greatly benefited from this new boon to the transporting of goods. Amongst the other thriving concerns in the area was the clock-making firm run by the Phillips brothers John and David.  A list of names on the Pentyrch Militia Roll is shown. It is noted that no ironminers appear on the list. The healing powers of the water flowing from the Ffynnon Taf brought many visitors to the area thus putting Taff’s Well on the map. The colourful vicar of Pentyrch fom 1834 to 1880 Horatio Thomas is duly described as are the societies to some of which he belonged and others he did not.  In fact in the period several well-supported social groups were formed either in favour of or condemning the use of alcohol.  The Rechabites Society was the biggest anti-drink group whilst the equally big Ivorites (Iforiaid) were dedicated to the pursuit of enjoyment through conviviality!  The Ivorites met at the Collier’s Arms on the Garth whilst the Oddfellows Friendly Society gathered at the King’s Arms.

Due coverage is given to the mining disaster that occurred at the Llan Colliery on the Garth in 1875 and the newspaper reports that described it at the time. The Lewis dynasty reached its peak during its final occupation of Greenmeadow Mansion in Tongwynlais.  The popular Henry Lewis who was regarded as the local ‘Squire’ is described and the Disraeli connection is also covered. The amazing discovery in 1974 of documents known as The William Evans Papers that relate to life in Victorian times is once more described.  Found locked away and placed upon the rafters above the shop’s stables by the shopkeeper they remain a hugely rich source of information for the local historian. The formation of Pentyrch Rugby Club in 1883 is described as a momentous event (foreseen by a local Welsh poet decades earlier).  ‘Pentyrch RFC A Club for All Reasons’ was published in 1983. The success of harpists John and Tom Bryant of the Carpenter’s Arms Efail Isaf is recalled together with photographs from the period, one showing the Bryant family in the 1890s. Other cultural activities covered include Amateur Dramatics and male voice choral singing.  The local Welsh custom the Mari Lwyd that has persisted since ancient times is described with a photograph of Tom and Trevor Davies (Caewal).

The loss locally of thatched-roofed dwellings is lamented and a few samples of such houses from earlier times are shown. Other illustrations include a random selection recording people, places and events.   Victoria Cross winner John Wilson Baynes is shown with his medal from World War One also Twm Lee who lost a leg in that conflict.  The Second World War is remembered in photos of a bombed local house, Land Army girls and Pentyrch ‘Dad’s Army’ (the Pentyrch Cavalry Home Guard!).  Two once prominent features of the local landscape now remain only in the memory:  Creigiau Railway Station and the Walnut Tree Viaduct. The difference between the old and the new Pentyrch is graphically obvious from photos of the old stone terraced houses which had no gas, electricity or sewerage system.  In fact people had to carry water to their homes.

There are some examples of the work of local Welsh beirdd gwlad (country poets).  In every case the words reflect that special sense of humour that has for long characterized local people.  One favourite is the description of the funeral of a much-loved pig!  Another recalls the ‘castle’ where the ‘King of the Tomcats’ lived!

Of crucial importance in  maintaining a closely-knit community has been the part played by the Village Hall. The way in which newer residents have shown their interest in our Local History was evident in 1999 when 350 people turned up for the unveiling of the information plaque built on top of the Garth to deter visitors from causing damage to the ‘Pimple’. Edition 61 of The Garth Domain ends with a description of the marvellous Pentyrch Museum/Information Centre established by the Community Council in harness with our Local History Society.                                                                                                 56pp.


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