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Gurnos

Merthyr Tydfil

 

At one time the Gurnos was a wooded area and the largest farm in the Borough of Merthyr Tydfil, with a number of farm cottages and a mill with a stream. Gurnos could be a form of curn = cairns and has been translated in books of place names as 'the place of cairns'. Charles Wilkins in his book, 'History of Merthyr Tydfil', suggested that gyrnos meant 'night fold'. Tir y Gyrnos was the name of an ancient land-holding in the hamlet of Garth in the parish of Merthyr Tydfil. In 1449 Morgan ap Gwilym ap Meurig occupied Tir y Gyrnos and paid an annual ground rent to the lord of the manor of 7s 4d. According to the 1716 Gyrnos Sale Document, John Richards, sold  Y Gyrnos for £500 with all accessories including a water grist mill called Melin y Gyrnos with a small dwelling house and garden, as well as several parcels of land. Edward Edwards was reputedly the last of the family to live at Gyrnos before the property was transferred to William Crawshay. In 1771 the Cyfarthfa Iron Works took out a lease for limestone at Craig Fawr y Gyrnos at £2 2s 0d annual rent. The Farm itself was later leased by the Crawshay Ironmasters. The 1850 Tithe Map indicates that the Gyrnos was merged into ‘Cyfarthfa’. The Gurnos Farm was linked to the Cyfarthfa Ironworks and the farm supplied Cyfarthfa Castle with fresh food stuffs, meat, eggs, milk and the woods provided fuel to burn on the great fires of Cyfarthfa Castle. Limestone quarries developed on the Gurnos land and old photographs show tall trees in this area. The Gurnos quarry supplied of limestone to the Cyfarthfa Ironworks and the Gurnos Limestone Tramroad connected the two. 

A succession of farmers lived in the Gurnos farmhouse and managed the land for their Ironmasters. In 1881, the farm homestead was occupied by William Charles from Breconshire. The 1901 census names David Lewis, originally from Carmarthenshire, as the farmer, together with his son Lewis. The land is now dissected by the Heads of the Valley road and the ancient homestead easily seen from passing vehicles. At the beginning of the twentieth century the farm was owned by Lord Buckland. The first sheep dog trials in the Borough were held here, however, on 23rd September, 1923 the Merthyr Express, contained the headline ' Sale of Stock at Gurnos Farm' and the news that Lord Buckland was giving up farming at the Gurnos. As this was the largest farm in the area, a new tenant was son found and John Williams took over. Thomas William Parry farmed the Gurnos Farm from the early 1950s to the 1970s and he bred award winning Welsh mountain ponies here.

The Gurnos Farm area was the largest stretch of clean, uncontaminated land in the Borough of Merthyr Tydfil. There are no tunnels, underground workings or dumping of industrial waste in this area; making it the ideal site for a new housing development following slum clearance. It has been said that the architects were inspired by the Italian hill-side villages. Gurnos Housing Estate was established in the early 1950's and it has been extended, becoming the largest housing estate in Northern Europe. Many of the initial streets were named after trees; Oak, Acacia, Rowan etc. The design of the Gurnos estate was based on the Radburn system; with common areas, small  gardens and homes packed closely together. In 1968 it was decided to build a new hospital in the Gurnos. The Prince Charles Hospital covers a site of 32 acres. The first phase of 362 beds was opened in 1978 by H.R.H. Prince Charles. In the 1970s the Gurnos was made into a separate Ward. A number of amenities developed within the ward including a shopping precinct and a community centre. There are three schools within the ward Pen-y-dre High School, Goetre Infants & Junior and St. Aloysius Infants & Junior. The public house was called The Matchstick Man, after late boxer Johnny Owen. There is now a police station within the ward.

 
 

 

Building The Gurnos Estate 1950s

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Gurnos Farm Cottages.

MerthyrTydfil_Gurnos_GurnosFarmCottages.JPG (96882 bytes)

 
   

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Gurnos Farm

   
 

'The Gurnos Tower' - May 2010

As the ground was once owned by the Crawshay Family it could have been a shooting tower for hunting parties.

Does anyone have any information on the Gurnos Tower? If so, please contact us.

The Notorious Goitre Pond.

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The Goitre Pond, September 1963 - Photo Courtesy of Clive Bevan.

Goitre Lane is here now.

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Building Prince Charles Hospital - June 1975.

(Photograph courtesy of Robert Thomas).

 

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Prince Charles Hospital

 
 

Flooding caused by the storm 25th December 1979

Pen-Y-Dre houses in the background.

(From the Merthyr Express)

 
Hawthorn Avenue in the early 1960's.

 
Cherry Grove Soap Box Derby - 1960's
 

 

 
 
The Gurnos Shops in the 1980's.

 
  Oak Road in the snow - 1982   1982

 

  2010

 

 
       
  Oak road garden in the snow - 2010   2010      
         
 
 
Goitre House. Click here to view the Goitre Farm.

 

This picture shows the area at the bottom end of Oak Road,

looking North up Gurnos Road, before the Gurnos Estate was built.

The little boy is John Smith. The man is Walter Halt who worked for Tom Vaughan.

(Photograph Courtesy of Mrs. Cross & Information Courtesy of John Smith)

 
Gurnos - Bottom Road

 

Gurnos S.C.

Marilyn Davies sent us this clip from the Merthyr Express,

does anybody have anymore information on this Gurnos football club?

 
   

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Goetre School

   
   
   
 

   
 

Do you have any photographs or information relating to Gurnos, Merthyr Tydfil?

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