There was another excellent turnout at Troed-y-rhiw Local History Forum last Thursday for the latest in its programme of talks held at Carmel Chapel in the village. The speaker was Richard Morgan, a former archivist at Glamorgan Archives. Richard gave a most interesting and engaging presentation based on his long-held interest in the origins and meanings of the names of our towns and villages and how these have changed over time. He shared with us some examples drawn from the research that he conducted for his book ‘The Place-Names of Glamorgan’. The talk included fascinating and sometimes amusing instances from across the county and dealt with quite a few from our local area. Ideas were also provided of ways in which we as individuals or as a group could pursue this topic further.
The entry for Troed-y-rhiw in Richard Morgan’s book includes the following:- historical references:-
This year marks the bicentenary of the founding in Troedyrhiw of the ‘cause’ that was to become Saron Welsh Independent Chapel in the village. A History of the Welsh Independent Churches (Thomas Rees & John Thomas 1871+) tells us that members of Bethesda Chapel, Merthyr came to Troedyrhiw in around 1820 to start a Sunday School which was held from house to house. By 1835 the first chapel had been constructed and this was replaced by a larger building on part of the same site in 1852.
From its elevated position on the valley side Saron looked down confidently, through good times and bad, as the village grew and developed below. It was to here that many local people came to find spiritual support, for educational, cultural and other community activities and, finally, to be laid to rest in the chapel graveyard in what they expected would always be tranquil and undisturbed surroundings. Saron Chapel, Troedyrhiw closed in 1983 and was demolished in 1990. Its historic graveyard was abandoned to its fate and had become a shameful and embarrassing blot on the village until the community group Friends of Saron intervened. As a group of volunteers with no religious, political or other affiliations we are working hard to create Saron Memorial & Wildlife Garden as a community asset that we can all be proud of. PLEASE SUPPORT US BY EITHER JOINING OUR VOLUNTEERS ON SITE OR IN SOME OTHER WAY. WHY NOT SEND US A MESSAGE?
I recently posted an item about the ways in which council-run cemeteries in Wales deal with gravestones that they class as unsafe. Many people regard the ‘solutions’ that are adopted as being unsightly, disrespectful and deeply upsetting. In burial places that are ‘closed’ (‘abandoned’ would be a better description of many) including churchyards and particularly the graveyards of former nonconformist chapels the situation is often much, much worse.The photographs show the condition of two graveyards in the Merthyr Borough as they were in 2009. In the case of Saron, Troed-y-rhiw something IS being done almost entirely through the efforts of a small group of dedicated volunteers. Graig, Abercannaid had, sadly, already reached the point of no return.The questions that I want to ask are do we as a society care, should we care and what, if anything, should be done? Please respond.
Troed-y-rhiw Local History Forum returns on 13th February for the first of three talks that make up this spring’s programme. This talk promises to be an extremely interesting and informative look at the unique heritage of place-names of Glamorgan including examples from our local area. We really hope that you will be able to make it to this event and look forward to seeing you there.
A worrying report on the BBC Wales website explains that gravestones in cemeteries across Wales are being classed as ‘unsafe” following a number of incidents including fatalities in various parts of the UK. This could lead to memorials being removed, laid flat or staked. In some cases gravestones have been wrapped in yellow plastic carrying warning labels including “danger”, “unsafe” and “keep away” causing at least one visitor to remark that this made the situation look like a “crime scene”.This is clearly a very emotive subject for affected families but it also raises questions about how a civilised society should treat its burial places, both those that are still in use and others that are closed but are part of our cultural heritage.
someone who grew up in and regularly returns to TROEDYRHIW (more properly
TROED-Y-RHIW) I have submitted the following information about this place, to
“According to the authoritative ‘Place-Names of Glamorgan’ by Richard Morgan ‘TROED-Y-RHIW’ translates into English as ‘(land at) foot of the slope’ from the Welsh (tir) troed, y, rhiw. Historical references include:-
Tire Troed rywe gunrowyd 1598,
Thre troid Gymrugge 1615,
(ho.) Troed rhiw gwmwrg and Melintroed y rhiw 1813,
One of our volunteers took these pictures last Saturday in Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw. This Robin was a very curious little fellow checking out everything that we were doing and possibly being a little upset that we had invaded his territory. Or could it be that he was responding to our appeal for new volunteers? If he can do it then so perhaps can you! We would love to see you at a future volunteer day. You will be made most welcome. Why not send us a message today?
It now seems likely that, in the coming months, some extensive structural work will be carried out on the boundaries of SARON GRAVEYARD, TROEDYRHIW. Keep an eye on this page and on the graveyard itself for further details! Our small band of volunteers have made significant improvements to the inside of the graveyard over the past few years as we work towards realising our vision of creating SARON MEMORIAL & WILDLIFE GARDEN as a community asset. If you are able to help in any way then please get in touch.
Last Thursday Troed-y-rhiw Local History Forum held a meeting at Carmel Chapel in the village. Despite the wet weather conditions well over 20 people were not disappointed by the talk that was delivered by Clive Thomas. The topic of the talk was ‘Heritage Lost and Heritage Saved’. It dealt with early industrial housing in the local area by focusing on The Triangle, Pentrebach and Rhyd-y-car Cottages, Merthyr. From the wealth of his research and personal experience Clive was able to share with us his knowledge and understanding of this subject in a most interesting and informative way.