The main route into Merthyr Tydfil from Brecon
was the Brecon Road.
This was once a thriving commercial area. There
was a thriving shopping centre here and a large number of public
houses. The Bernstein Family lived here at number 86; apparently
Moses Abraham went off to Australia for the good of his health
leaving his wife with the children to earn a living through their
pawn shop business but he then returned after 7 years and they had 4
The Pandy Farm
The original name suggests the building was
originally a fulling mill but the mill was probably nearer the
river. The present farm was built in 1816 and then the clock tower
was added in 1856. The original clock had 3 faces with one facing
the ironworks. The mechanical clock, which could have been heard up
to half a mile away was replaced by an electrical one in 1962.
The Tollgate House
Cattle, sheep, pigs and geese would all be
walked in Merthyr via this route to feed the growing industrial
population. The placing of toll-gates, bars or chains at strategic
points enabled a good deal of revenue to be extracted from
travellers. The charges applied to livestock also and farmers taking
their animals and produce to market objected to the heavy tolls.
Conflicts around the toll houses would often erupt into violence and
the ‘Rebecca Riots’ against the tolls were famous in West Wales. The
Pandy Farm was once used as a Toll House until a new toll-house was
established in 1842. This building, once the Old Toll House, Grawen,
Brecon Road, still stands today and is called the Round House.
St Tydfil’s Well
St Tydfils’ Well Church is linked with the
Parish Church of Cyfarthfa, Christ Church
There was once a well in Well Street, (legend
says to be ‘Tydfil’s healing well) from which the local population
obtained their water, and this has given rise to the place name.
However, generally speaking the old wells started not to be used as
much after Merthyr Tydfil adopted the Public Health Act in 1850 and
each property had to have its own water supply.
Bryant’s Field was the name of the
area, immediately north of the former fishpond on
present-day Brecon Road between Cae Pant Tywyll and Pen y Darren
Park, now occupied by Tudor Street, Cromwell Street and The Walk. It
was very clearly marked on the 1836 Street Map and the 1876
Ordnance Survey Map both showed a pond immediate south of
Brecon Road, called Old Brewery Pond and Merthyr Brewery was
alongside. It seems that the Brewery here was owned by a Mr. Bryant
at the beginning of the 19th century.
Between Georgetown and Caepanttywyll, this
building was once a small iron foundry
but it also housed the Chartist printing press.
It was here that Morgan Williams and David John produced the Welsh
language paper Udgorn Cymr, Trumpet of Wales and a English language
Chartist news sheet, the Advocate and Free Press in the 1840s. In
spite of the short existence of both papers, they nevertheless
moulded the radical mind
of the Chartists in the borough. The house
dates form the early 19th century and there is an
original carriage arch which leads to the rear yard.
There was a tragic accident
in the foundry in the late nineteenth century when a new boiler
exploded and killed the owner of the business.
Tabernacle Welsh Baptist Chapel,
This religious building on the Brecon Road was
built in 1897 and is a mixture of ornate, classical and Romanesque.
The original chapel in Cae Brynant was built in 1835,
modified, altered or rebuilt in 1842 and in 1897 it was replaced by
the present building, designed by architect George Morgan at a cost
St Mary’s Church
This splendid large Church dates from 1893 and
was the second religious building used by the Roman Catholics of the
town, the first was a simple chapel in Georgetown which became a
lodging house for the Spaniards.