Tag Archives: Saron graveyard

Call in to support us or to join in this worthwhile project

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Want to get involved in a worthwhile community project? Interested in our local heritage and environment? If so, please think about popping into SARON GRAVEYARD, TROEDYRHIW on SAT 14 JULY at any time from 10.00am onwards to see what has been going on and learn what the next stage might be.

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Please support this project

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The next meeting to discuss the Saron Graveyard Project will be held at the ANGEL INN, BRIDGE ST., TROEDYRHIW, on THURS 12 JULY at 6.30pm. Further progress is being made so why not come along to find out what has been happening and have your say about the future direction of this project?


Our volunteers make things happen again.

As mentioned in a previous post the volunteers that work on Saron Graveyard Project, Troedyrhiw are a highly motivated group. This was made clear, yet again, last Saturday when Steve, Simon, Mark, Sheila, Andrew, Phil and David tackled a number of tasks including tree stump removal and resetting of headstones. WHY NOT POP IN TO OUR NEXT VOLUNTEER DAY TO SUPPORT US AND SEE WHAT WE ARE DOING?


Friends of Saron A.G.M.

Thank you to everyone that attended the Friends of Saron AGM at the Willows Centre, Troedyrhiw last Friday. Since the project to rescue our historic graveyard was launched in 2009 following the presentation of a 1,250 signature petition from the people of Troedyrhiw to the Council a great deal has happened. Our small but highly motivated group of volunteers have made significant improvements to the condition of the graveyard but there is much still to be done. Our main challenge is to unlock funding for some major structural work on the boundary walls. For reasons associated with the conditions of the lease and the leaseholder’s objections to approaching the Heritage Lottery Fund the usual sources of funding are closed to us. We are hopeful that the landowner and their tenant will be able to come up with a solution to this problem. Meanwhile, this group will continue to work hard to realise our vision of creating a Memorial and Wildlife Garden on the Saron site. PLEASE GIVE US YOUR SUPPORT.


Friends of Saron AGM 2018

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This group has worked hard since 2009 to rescue an historic and sensitive part of the village from the effects of many years of neglect.
We will hold our AGM on Friday 27 April and, if you are able to make it, your attendance will be greatly appreciated. You will be sure to receive a warm welcome. Light refreshments will be provided.


A quotation from Gladstone to ponder

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“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.”
What do you think of this well known quotation from 19th century prime minister William Gladstone?

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.

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.


Drizzle, Mud, Graves & Wildlife

Despite the drizzle and mud another successful Volunteer Day was held at Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw on Saturday. Many thanks to Stephen, Simon, Sheila, Steve, Andrew, David, Phil, Jake, Frances and Chris for supporting this event.

All the graves at Saron are, in our view, equally important and Saturday’s work brought one or two back to the best possible condition. At the same time our volunteers made a few additions to the site that will, we hope, improve its wildlife value.