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Duffryn/ Troedyrhiw

Duffryn/ TroedyrhiwEven in 1841 when the correspondent of the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian took the first train to run on the Taff Vale Railway, his journey south of Merthyr Tydfil, was ” through the wild and picturesque defiles of the beautiful vale of Taff”. In 1804, we can be certain that Richard Trevithick would have seen no industrial development or despoliation of the countryside after passing the Plymouth Furnaces. The impact of his locomotive accompanied by its celebratory throng, moving through such a rural landscape is very difficult to imagine.

The site of an ancient bridge of Pontyrhun reminds us of the area’s links with Tydfil after whom our town is named. It is reputedly the location of an ancient ford and the site where Rhun, brother of Tydfil made a gallant effort to fend off raiders and save the lives of his sister and family. A farm map drawn before the construction of the turnpike road between Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil in 1771 shows Troedyrhiw, to the east of the River Taff, to be comprised of a large farm on the site of present Afon Taf High School, a corn mill near to the site of the junction of Cardiff Road and Bridge Street and only three other dwellings.

Duffryn/ TroedyrhiwThe parish road from Merthyr crossed the river at Pontyrhun, passed through Troedyrhiw farm and climbed back up the hillside toward the hill top farms above Merthyr Vale and Treharris. This road, which is still well defined, is known as Troedyrhiw Gymrwg and crosses the Penydarren tramroad just south of the village. Minor changes occurred with building of the turnpike to Cardiff and the tramroad in 1802, but it was not until the building of the furnaces at Duffryn in 1819 and the opening of the coal levels and pits nearby that workers’ cottages began to be built and the village of Troedyrhiw started to grow.

Anthony Hill paid for the building of Troedyrhiw church in 1852 and he was buried there after his death ten years later. The five blast furnaces at Dyffryn along with the blowing engines and water wheels would have had a massive impact on the surrounding area and it remained an important part of the Hill’s Plymouth enterprise until it was offered for public auction in 1882.

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