The History of the Upper Rhymney Valley
The Rhymney Valley takes its name from the River Rhymney, which rises on the moors to the north and runs for 30 miles until it reaches the Severn Estuary near Cardiff. The name probably comes from the Welsh word “rhwmp” which means auger or borer – an apt description of the way in which the river has cut through the land. The name has been spelt in many ways but was formalised as Rhymni in 1843 when the town was established.
Located on the edge of the South Wales Coalfield this windswept remote area was sparsely populated. The more sheltered areas were used for the raising of sheep and some of the old farm names are still used. In the 18th century tenancy agreements showed rents that included “loads of coal” as part payment, showing that simple patch mining of coal was already taking place. In 1752 the first indication of the industrial future of the area was documented - in a new 99 year lease for a parcel of land known as Bryn Pwllog, Gwyn y Menyth, Pen-y-Vedw and Nant Melyn to Herbert Moses, Evan Moses and Charles Herbert right to mine coal and iron ore were included. The future was further detailed in 1763 when Thomas Lewis of Newhouse, Thomas Price of Watford and John Jones of Bristol were referred to as Iron Masters in another lease for property that became vested in the Dowlais Iron Company.
Those early farmers must surely not have realised the mineral wealth that lay below his land, when he would simply dig and take coal from the surface to warm his home.
The Rhymney Valley
Find out more in:
- Upper Rhymney Valley through time by Ewart Smith, Amberley Publishing
- Echoes of Rhymney by EE Edwards
- Rhymney Valley Album by Hilda Evans
Bute Town is just 100m from A465, on A469. Leave A465 at The Twisted Chimney!!