Category Archives: Latest News

Merthyr Tydfil, The Crucible of Modern Wales

If you are interested in our local history then please put this date into your diary and turn up to what is sure to be a very interesting event which will be held at the Red House (old Town Hall) in Merthyr.

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Anyone for cake?

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Friends of Saron volunteers spotted these curious fungal growths on an old ash stump in the graveyard.

They turn out to be the fruiting bodies of a fungus which is variously called the coal fungus, carbon balls, cramp balls or King Alfred’s Cakes (Daldinia concentrica).

King Alfred was a terrible cook. In fact (but really in legend) while hiding from the Danes, he’d left a whole batch of cakes in the oven. They were suitably burnt and naturally ruined. So we can only guess he went to the woods and scattered them everywhere on dead ash trees to try and cover up his mistake and pass them off as some kind of fungus. Or something!


Further progress in Saron Graveyard

With the happy sounds of last Saturday’s Youth Carnival drifting across the village from The Willows our small band of volunteers put in another good day’s maintenance and improvement work in the graveyard. The main tasks were:-

1. removing the rapeseed-like weed that had sprung up across most of the site in recent weeks;
2. general tidying up including raking up dead leaves and picking up broken glass across the graveyard;
3. continuing to build up a low wall along the low edge of the chapel ‘footprint’ which, at a future point, will allow backfilling to make this area more level.
Many thanks must go to Steve, Mark, Simon, Sheila, Andrew, David, Phil and Rachel.

Troed-y-rhiw Local History Forum

Advance notice of what is sure to be an interesting and enjoyable event. We look forward to seeing you there.

Local History Forum 6


IF YOU’VE SOME FREE TIME ON 12TH AUGUST IN TROEDYRHIW

Volunteer Day

OUR NEXT WORKING SESSION IN THE GRAVEYARD IS SCHEDULED FOR

SATURDAY, AUGUST 12TH, 2017 FROM 10AM

AT THE SARON GRAVEYARD, TROEDYRHIW.

WHY NOT POP IN TO SEE WHAT WE ARE DOING

OR TO LEND A HAND FOR A WHILE?


A MEETING FOR YOU IN TROEDYRHIW

Meeting

THE NEXT FRIENDS OF SARON MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR

THURSDAY, AUGUST 10TH, 2017 AT 6:30 PM

AT THE ANGEL INN, TROEDYRHIW.

ALL ARE WARMLY INVITED

WE WOULD REALLY VALUE YOUR INPUT INTO OUR DISCUSSIONS ON THE GRAVEYARD PROJECT


Troedyrhiw’s Brass Band Heritage

The sight, and the sound, of brass bands are evocative of industrial, working-class Britain. The Cyfartha Band, established in Merthyr as early as the 1840’s by the “iron king” Robert Thompson Crawshay, was amongst the foremost of its day. In the years that followed many smaller bands were set up in local communities. These included the Troedyrhiw Town Silver Band which was founded in the autumn of 1920.

Saron Graveyard contains an interesting link with Troedyrhiw’s brass band heritage as this is where the Silver Band’s long serving conductor Joseph Williams is buried. As this grave is in a state of disrepair Friends of Saron volunteers have targeted this for restoration work in the near future.

Under Joseph Williams baton the Troedyrhiw band enjoyed considerable success. They were regular prize winners, most notably at Belle Vue Gardens, Manchester, the National Eisteddfod at Pontypool in 1924, the South Wales Band Festival at Pontypridd in 1931 and at the British Championships at Crystal Palace in the same year. The Merthyr Express reported that “there was great jubilation in the village when the news of the band’s achievement at Crystal Palace spread through the streets and the greeting that it received on its return to Troedyrhiw was beyond description.”

The Silver Band played a full part in community life in the village and beyond. Overcoming recurring financial problems, particularly through the economic depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s, they performed at many notable events and celebrations. These included fundraising concerts during the coal trades dispute and General strike of 1926, other charitable events, funerals, fetes, sporting fixtures, mayoral inaugurations, street parades, eisteddfods and radio broadcasts.

The early 1950’s saw Troedyrhiw take the lead in the Borough in organising celebrations for the Festival of Britain (1951) and the Coronation (1953). An extremely successful International Music and Art Festival was held in 1952. Despite their involvement in these events as the decade progressed the Silver Band experienced increasing difficulty in retaining and recruiting members and, by its end, the sad decision was taken to disband.

Many thanks are due to Paul Williams for the photograph of his great grandfather Joseph Williams in his bandmaster’s uniform.

It should be noted that Troedyrhiw had, at one time, two additional brass bands the Salvation Army Band and the Mission Band.


Volunteers defy the heatwave

Conditions were far too hot last Saturday for outdoor physical work but, despite this, our volunteers got a great deal done. Their spirits were lifted by the beautiful display of rose blossoms on the shrubs that were planted in the graveyard only a year or two ago.
As part of our efforts to attract wildlife three bat boxes were erected and it is hoped that they will be occupied in due course.
Several gravestones that were leaning over and had become unstable were firmly reset.
During work to level some uneven ground two previously unrecorded gravestones were unearthed. Interestingly the dates on these go back as far as the 1820’s and these will require further research.


Lovely Little Liverworts!

We don’t always appreciate the wonders that lie just beneath our feet. Take a look at this ‘liverwort forest’ spotted yesterday by volunteers working in Saron Graveyard. These plants have been around for 470,000,000 years (that’s 470 million); well before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Amazing!


Love your community, its heritage, its present, its future.

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The Troedyrhiw community has always participated in and supported a whole range of activities. The village once had an unrivalled reputation locally for sport, music and drama with its chapels and schools playing an important role. There is much still to be proud of with some very active agencies and community groups working hard to bring about environmental and social improvements with all the benefits in health and well-being that this will bring.

PLEASE GIVE THEM YOUR SUPPORT.