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Merthyr Tydfil

"The Welsh population of Merthyr is gathered in large part from the mountains and wildish valleys hereabouts, and includes some specimens of the race who (as the saying goes) have no English, with a very large number of specimens who have but little and utter it brokenly. Those of the lower class who can read --- and almost all Welshmen, however poor or primitive, can read --- generally read Welsh only; and in that respect, as indeed in most respects, are far in advance of Englishmen of the same state in life, who often can read nothing. To hear a poor and grimy Welshman, who looks as if he might not have a thought above bread and beer, talk about the poets and poetry of his native land, ancient and modern, is an experience which, when first encountered, gives the stranger quite a shock of agreeable surprise." (Wirt Sikes, 'Rambles and Studies in Old South Wales', 1881)


Archives and Libraries

  • Merthyr Tydfil Central Library
    High Street
    Merthyr Tydfil
    CF47 8AF
  • Merthyr Tydfil Free Library
    1886-1938: minutes, register of borrowers, list of papers and periodicals supplied to Penydarren Reading Room
    [Merthyr Tydfil Central Library]


Here is a substantial reading list of books which relate to Glamorgan, either county or parish.

References to the town of Merthyr Tydfil at

Business and Commerce Records

  • Merthyr Tydfil Gas Company
    1868-1949: minutes, reports, accounts, wages books, correspondents, specifications, plans, photographs [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]
  • Brecon & Merthyr Tydfil Junction Railway Company
    • 1859-1922: minutes, staff records, contracts, miscellaneous papers, accident records, Board of Trade papers, correspondents with other railways and with Railway Clearing House, correspondents and papers relating to property, gas and water supplies etc
      [Public Record Office, Kew, London - Reference: RAIL 65, 1057]
    • 1860-69: act, general accounts and receipts, notes and plans etc
      [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: 736-740]
    • 1860-1882: legal papers
      [National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records]
  • Evan Davies, grocer
    1916-39: accounts
    [National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records]
  • WP Davies, grocer
    1900-10: ledgers, vouchers
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]
  • Dowlais Gas Company
    1855-1949: articles of association, register of shareholders, minutes, accounts
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, cardiff]
  • Dowlais Iron Company, iron and steel manufacturers and colliery proprietors
    • c1783-c1930: letter books, correspondents, balance sheets, accounts, legal papers, agreements, patents, staff and wages records, plans, leases, deeds, photographs
      [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/DG]
    • 1837-20th cent: Dowlais and East Moors Works records
      [British Steel Records Centre, Shotton, Shotton Works, Deeside CH5 2NH - Reference: HMC list]
  • Dowlais Savings Bank
    1852-1890: records
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/DG section I box 4]
  • JL Francis, chemist
    1847-c1960: records
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]
  • Jeremiah Homfray & Company, ironfounders
    • 1786-1833: corresp and papers, mainly relating to internal dispute
      [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/D Pe]
    • 1786-88: accounts and correspondents
      [National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records -Reference: MS 15593E]
    • 1788: bills of lading
      [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/D Xhy 1/1-5]
  • Rees Lewis, printer and publisher
    1857-71: correspondents
    [National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records - Reference: NLW MS 22436B]
  • Plymouth Ironworks & Collieries
    • 1809-41, 1891: account book, letter book
      [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/D X 357]
    • 1852: printed business diary of Anthony Hill
      [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/D X 123/4]
    • 1786-1813: letter book and furnace accounts
      [National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records - Reference: NLW MSS 15334-38]
    • 1805-19: partnership papers
      [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]
    • 1883-93: managers' diaries
      [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/D NCB]
  • Simons family, solicitors
    1849-1927: diary 1849, papers 1849-1927
    [National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records]
  • David Williams & Co Ltd, brewers
    1833-54: ledgers
    [Enquiries to Business Archives Council, The Clove Building, 4 Maguire Street, Butler's Wharf, London SE1 2NQ]

The Glamorgan Family History Society have produced a set of microfiche containing Monumental Inscriptions for the following burial grounds :-

  • Parish Church of St. Tydfil's Well

Images of Pant Cemetery, near Merthyr Tydfil, by Brian Wagstaffe

Ynysgau Cemetery, Merthyr Tydfil (NB. - this site disappeared in June 2006) - here (was) is a list of names from headstones later moved to other cemeteries.

(The graveyard was attached to Ynysgau Independent Chapel, which was built in 1749 and inaugurated in 1750. The graveyard was one of the oldest in Merthyr with some tombsones/monuments dating back to 1773 and 1776. The Chapel was demolished in March 1967 as part of the Merthyr Town Improvement Plan. The remains of those buried at Ynysgau Chapel were exhumed between 10th - 27th October 1969, and re-interred at the Ffrwyd section of the Cefn Cemetery. Many of the old tombstones were indecipherable with age and only some 49 names were legible. Unfortunately, the chapel registers have not survived, it appears that they were lost when the chapel was flooded (the chapel was adjacent to the River Taff). Further unidentified human remains were found at the site during excavation for a new road and were re-interred at Cefn Cemetery on 6 March 1998.
Allan Harrison, June 2004)


The Glamorgan Family History Society have produced a set of microfiche containing an enumerated transcription and a personal name index. These are available for the years :

  • 1841 - (Registration District of Merthyr Tydfil, includes Aberdare and Gelligaer)
  • 1851 - HO107/2458 (Merthyr Tydfil Lower RSD)
  • 1851 - HO107/2459 (Merthyr Tydfil Higher RSD)

Visit their website for information on how to purchase.

NB. "Merthyr Tydfil is divided into Upper and Lower districts for census and registration purposes and Upper Merthyr Tydfil is 'officially' missing for 1841.
The Public Record Office cannot say whether it is lost or destroyed.
The missing section includes all of the parish of Vaynor, most of Penydarren, the top section of Cyfarthfa and most of Dowlais.
A part of Dowlais is actually in the 'lower district" situated to the far east of the main town and Dowlais High Street, the area north of the top of Twynrodyn".(Adrian Hedges, March 2013)

The People's Collection Wales site has much material for Merthyr Tydfil, use the onsite search box

See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph of St Tydfil's Church


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Merthyr Tydfil area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

Chapels Database  - a  list of all known non-conformist chapels or other non-Anglican religions in the parish

Church Records

For full and up-to-date details of their holdings see the sites of Glamorgan Record Office and/or West Glamorgan Archives

See Bap/Mar/Bur data on  FreeReg

The church is dedicated to St. Tydfil's Well, is in the Benefice of Merthyr Tydfil, St. David, and Diocese of Llandaff. Details of the present incumbent of this benefice can be found at the Church in Wales website. The church can be found at grid reference SO050063 .

A transcription of the registers is available from the Glamorgan Family History Society for the years: Baptisms, 1703-1837, Marriages, 1717-1837, Burials, 1704-1838.


Anglican Parish Registers Held at the Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff
Baptisms Marriages Burials Banns Bishops Transcripts
1704-1960 1704-1843, 1846-1946 1704-1888 1792-1832 1717, 1724-1738, 1740-1837

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Merthyr Tydfil Ecclesiastical Parish records         " ....... including facsimiles of parish registers, 1704-1873; papers relating to church affairs, 1920-1948; accounts, 1921-1965; churchyard schedule, 1911; photograph, 1928; personal papers of the Reverend Charles Edward Thomas Griffith, 1885-1900; miscellaneous records, 1874"

Modern Parishes & Chapels of Ease :-

Non Conformist Registers Deposited
Chapel Baptisms Marriages Burials OS Map Ref Deposited/
Tabernacle, Baptist - 1981-1984 - SO 04750667 GRO
Zion, Baptist 1794-1837 - 1831-1838 SO 05230586 NLW
Adulam, Congregational 1831(33?)-1837 - - SO 05100620 PRO/
Bethesda, Congregational 1809-1837 - - SO 04770645 PRO/
Ynys-gau, Congregational 1786-1837 - - SO 04770619 PRO/
Zoar, Congregational 1810-1837 - - SO 04970645 PRO/
Quakers 1878-1909 - - - GRO
Shiloh, Wesleyan 1837-1906 - - SO 05040626 NLW
Shiloh, Wesleyan 1906-1933 - - SO 05040626 WGAS

Merthyr Tydfil Welsh Wesleyan Circuit






GRO - Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff
NLW - National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
WGAS - West Glamorgan Archive Service
PRO - Public Record Office, London

A set of fiche have been produced by the Glamorgan Family History Society covering the registers of Ebenezer Chapel, Merthyr Tydfil, for the period 1793-1837. Visit their website for information on how to purpose the fiche.

The following Religious Institutions are covered in the Mormon International Genealogical Index (IGI) :-

  • Merthyr Tydfil, St. Tydfil's Well - Christenings (BT's), 1820-1858, Marriages, 1820-1837
  • Merthyr Tydfil, Ynysgau Presbyterian - Christenings, 1786-1837
  • Merthyr Tydfil, Zoar Independent - Christenings, 1810-1837
  • Merthyr Tydfil, Adullam Independent - Christenings, 1833-1837
  • Merthyr Tydfil, Bethesda Chapel Independent - Christenings, 1809-1837
  • Merthyr Tydfil, Wesleyan Methodist - Christenings, 1807-1837
  • Dowlais, Christchurch - Christenings (BT's), 1839-1863
  • Dowlais, Bethany Independent - Christenings, 1825-1837
  • Dowlais, Bryn Sion formerly Bethel Independent - Christenings, 1829-1837
  • Dowlais, Hermon Calvinistic Methodist - Christenings, 1828-1837
  • Pont Morlais, Calvinistic Methodist - Christenings, 1807-1837
  • Pont Morlais, English Wesleyan - Christenings, 1804-1837
  • Georgetown, Bethel Baptist - Births, 1810 & 1821-1837
  • Twyn-yr-odyn, Presbyterian or Unitarian - Christenings, 1804-1836

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Merthyr Tydfil which are provided by:

Places, villages, farms etc within Merthyr Tydfil parish  as shown on the online parish map from the CD of  Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. (Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R.). (Extracted by John Ball)

  • Taf [70] - Aber-canaid, Aber-fan, Cefn-glas, Cnwc, Coal Level, Craig-yr-Efail, Glamorganshire Canal, Hafod-tanglwys, Nant-y-maen, Perth-y-gleision
  • Gellideg [71] - Aber-canaid, Blaen-canaid, Clwyd-y-fagwyn, Cwm Glo, Cwm Pits, Dynefor Arms Inn, Gelli-deg, Glamorganshire Canal, Graig, Heolgerig, Iron & Steel Works, Ochr-y-mynydd, Pleasant View, Rifle Range, Tai-mawr
  • Garth [72] - Bryniau, Cyfarthfa Castle, Dowlais, Garth, Goitre Pond, Gyrnos, Madoc's Castle, Merthyr Tydfil, Morlais Castle, Pant Station, Pen-y-darren, Pwll Glas, Tower, Water Works
  • Heol-wermood [73] - Cae-Harris, Clyn-mil, Cwm Bargoed Station, Cwm Blacks, Dowlais, Dowlais Top Station, Ffos-y-fran, Iron Works, Merthyr Common, Merthyr Tydfil, Mountain Hare, Pentre-bach, Pen-y-darren Pits, Pen-y-garn-ddu, Pen-y-lan, Pitwell Pond, Pont-ysgallog, Rifle Range, Trecatty, Twyn-y-Waun
  • Cynon [74] - Begwns, Blackbrook, Cwm Bargoed, Cwm Cothi, Dyffryn Colliery, Edwardsville, Fforest, Garth House, Merthyr Vale, Mount Pleasant, Nant-y-fedw, Pen-y-graig, Tir-Cook, Troed-y-rhiw, Ynys Owen

Descriptions of the parish from; A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833) by Samuel Lewis   and    A Topographical Dictionary of The Dominion of Wales by Nicholas Carlisle, London, 1811 

Merthyr Tydfil on the spartacus site

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council site

Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney  - on Wikipedia

The People's Collection Wales site has much material for Merthyr Tydfil, use the onsite search box

A Photographic Tour of Old Merthyr - lots of photographs on Alan George's site

Alan George's site (places not shown elsewhere on these pages)


Brecon Road



Cwm Woods






Galon Uchaf





Morlais Castle






Penydarren Locomotive









Torpantau Station



Building the sliproad

Merthyr Buses

Merthyr's Chapels and Churches

Merthyr's Ironworks

Merthyr Pubs

Merthyr Railways

Merthyr Schools

Merthyr Tramcars

The Glamorganshire Canal




Transcript of name listing for Merthyr Tydfil, from Commercial and Trade Directories, for the years:-


1822-1823 (Pigot's Directory)   1858-1859 (Slater's Directory) (105k)



  • Ancient Order of Druids: Merthyr district
    1839-49: records
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Merthyr Tydfil has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Some of the hamlets, towns and villages within this parish


Description, with image, of Morlais Castle at www.castlewales.com by Jeff Thomas

Recollections of Merthyr Tydfil in 1877 by W Edwards - on the People's Collection Wales site (use search box)

A brief history of the Merthyr Tydfil uprising, 1831-1832 has been provided by Bob Sanders

Historical snippets re Merthyr Tydfil. Various contributors

The Merthyr Tydfil Turkish Baths

Election pamphlet for S O Davies in Merthyr Tyfil by-election in 1934 - on the People's Collection Wales site (use search box)


'A Sanitary Survey of Glamorganshire' by the County Medical Officer, William Williams, published in 1895. Extracts relating to MT by Brian Comley, 2000

Fox, Kenneth Owen. The Merthyr Election of 1906, National Library of Wales journal. 1965, Winter Volume XIV/2.

Williams, Gwyn A. The Merthyr Riots: Settling the Account. National Library of Wales journal. 1959, Winter Volume XI/2.

Land and Property

  • Merthyr Tydfil tithes
    1778-95: tithe account books
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/DE]

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Canal Navigation   1790-1869  "The series consists of accounts, schedules of memorials of purchase of land, and other papers associated with the Glamorganshire Canal, 1790-1869."   
     "The Glamorgan Canal Act was granted Royal Assent in June 1790, enabling the construction of a canal from Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff. Part of the Act specified that papers relating to the company should be deposited with the Clerk of the Peace and kept with the County Quarter Sessions records. The canal was opened in 1794, and traffic reached its peak in 1851. After this time, competition from the railways led to its gradual decline"
  • Finance Act 1910 domesday books    "The Finance (1909/1910) Act (or Finance Act 1910) included provisions for taxing any increase in the value of land, by undertaking a baseline valuation of all land owned in England and Wales in 1909 against which subsequent sale prices could be compared................and involved the compilation of Field Books and maps listed all property; a 'Domesday' book summarising this information, ............... listing all holdings of a particular individual). The Welsh Region was divided into 11 districts, including the Abergavenny, Newport and Merthyr Tydfil Districts, which included Monmouthshire"


This diagram shows the position of this parish within the county of Glamorgan - click on this to see a full size diagram of the county

Glamorgan Parish Map

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SO051061 (Lat/Lon: 51.745492, -3.376017), Merthyr Tydfil which are provided by:

Medical Records

The People's Collection Wales site has much material for Merthyr Tydfil, use the onsite search box

  • Hillside Surgery
    c1869-c1967: prescription and surgery books, accounts, papers etc
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]

Military History

Merthyr Tydfil Boer War Memorial - on the Roll of Honour site


The People's Collection Wales site has much material for Merthyr Tydfil, use the onsite search box

Local Collieries not shown elsewhere on this site;

Plymouth Ironworks on Alan George's site

1871 census - Pubs, Inns, etc, for Merthyr Upper and Lower  with details of head of the establishment, location, head, age, occupation, birthplace.  Compiled by Barrie Jones

Politics and Government

  • Merthyr Tydfil borough elections
    20th cent: correspondents and papers of Dr AWL Seaman rel to biographies of MPs c1880-1914
    [National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records, Reference: Minor lists 1986]
  • Merthyr Tydfil (Brecon Road) Liberal Association
    1888-1919: correspondents
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff - Reference: D/DXes

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

The People's Collection Wales site has much material for Merthyr Tydfil, use the onsite search box

Merthyr Tydfil - on Peter Higginbotham's site

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Merthyr Tydfil Poor Law Union, Workhouse/Public Assistance Institutions and Cottage Homes records     1836-1970


The Population of Merthyr Tydfil was as follows, and a more detailed breakdown is available.

1841 - 34,977 1851 - 46,378 1861 - 49,794 1871 - 51,949 1881 - 48,861 1891 - 58,080

Public Records

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Merthyr Borough Petty Sessional Division records    1895-1964
  • Merthyr Tydfil Borough Police records   1908-1971
  • Merthyr Tydfil Borough Records       1852-1973
  • Merthyr Tydfil Civil Parish records     " ........ comprising valuation list, 1915; vestry minute books, 1799-1919; overseers minute book, 1904-1924"
  • Merthyr Tydfil Local Board of Health      1850-1894
  • Merthyr Tydfil Urban District Council records     1895-1903
  • Merthyr Tydfil/Mid Glamorgan East coroner records       1959-1992


The People's Collection Wales site has much material for Merthyr Tydfil, use the onsite search box

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Merthyr Tydfil Division Elementary/Primary schools records        " ...... including log books and admission registers relating to Abercanaid Board school, 1872-1926; Aberfan school, 1888-1968; Abermorlais school, 1868-1970; Brecon Road school, 1902-1959; Caedraw school, 1875-1957; Clwydyfagwyr board, 1896-1943; Cyfarthfa school, 1971-1989; Dowlais British/Central school, 1873-1949; Gellifaelog school, 1888-1984; Georgetown schools, 1874-1969; Heolgerrig school, 1877-1928; Merthyr Vale Board school, 1879-1968; Mount Pleasant school, 1912-1952; Pant school, 1882-1962; Pantglas school, 1902-1966; Pengarnddu school, 1865-1958; Petrebach school, 1865-1942; Queen's Road school, 1873-1968; St. Cynon's National school, 1876-1915; Sandbrook House Rheumatic Hospital school, 1937-1959; Treharris school, 1881-1958; Troedyrhiw school, 1876-1966; Twynyrodyn school, 1875-1901; Woodlands school, 1905-1936; Ynysowen school, 1968-1990"  
  • Merthyr Tydfil Intermediate/County Secondary school records         1890-1914
  • Merthyr Tydfil School Board and Education Committee Schools records       1863-1931
  • Merthyr Tydfil School Board records   1871-1907

Social life and Customs

The People's Collection Wales site has much material for Merthyr Tydfil, use the onsite search box

  • Ancient Order of Druids: Merthyr district
    1839-49: records
    [Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff]

Town Records

  • Merthyr Tydfil Turnpike Trust
    1829-1841: records
    [Glamorgan Archive Service, Cardiff]