means 'bottom' like godre and the place name probably meant
the 'bottom' or 'lower end' of the hill called Cefn y Garth, which
hill lay between the later-named Gwaelod y Garth House and Tir Bryn
Cae Owen homestead. This is a large and complex land-grouping in the
hamlet of Garth which incorporated several adjoining land-holdings.
The Gwaelodygarth Estate north of the Brecon Road was once
all farmland. Originally William Morgan purchased the Gwaelodygarth
and Gwaunfarren Estates for £1,500. A toll house built in 1842 on
the Brecon Road still stands opposite the entrance to Gwaelodygarth
Lane. The Gwaelodygarth Estate was bordered on 3 sides by iron
works, Penydarren and Cyfarthfa bordered the land, which were linked
by the road between Dowlais and Brecon. An important link road ran
through the estate. Gwaelodygarth became an important area for the
provision of housing for industrial workers. Building in
Gwaelodygarth started between 1798 and 1809. The houses were built
here specifically for rent and leased by the rather better off
inhabitants of the town, including the higher paid ironworkers.
Pen y Darren House was built in 1786 on former
Gwaelod y Garth land. Charles Wilkins in 'The History of Merthyr
Tydfil', recorded that William Forman came to live at Pen y
Darren House and his son, Edward Forman, lived at Gwaelod y Garth
Fach Cottage, a place he built with great care and expense. The
pillars of the gateway were cited as marvels of masonry by Charles
Wilkins. The Gwaelodygarth Estate was alongside the
Penydarren Works and the enormous tip created by the Penydarren
Works which was called the British Tip.
Originally built for the
Crawshay family, Gwaelodygarth House dates from the early 19th
century and was probably built by Richard Crawshay around 1809,
possibly for his son-in-law Benjamin Hall. It was a classic mid
Georgian building of generous proportions and balanced design.
William Crawshay II lived here before Cyfarthfa Castle was built and
then it was sold to the local lawyer, Meyrick. There was a rumour
that Gwaelodygarth House is haunted by the ghost of one of
Crawshay's mistresses who was locked in the attic here to keep her
away from his wife.
On the edge of the Cyfarthfa
Estate, the house stood in its own grounds of parklands and
ornamental gardens, surrounded by a great deal of farmland, The
approach was by 2 driveways, from the east and from the west, one of
which was adjacent to a period lodge. The house was home to the
Berry family and Lord Buckland in 1912, until he sold it to Guest
Keen and Nettlefold. It became a domestic training institution and
then a school for female evacuees during WWII. In September 1950
Gwaelodygarth House was opened as a Training School for Nurses by Dr
Stuart Cresswell. In June 1979 it became a Mental Health Day Unit.
The house was in reasonably a good condition until a serious fire in
August 2003 destroyed part of the building. In order to ensure the
restoration of the property it was suggested in 2005 that
Gwaelodygarth House be converted into 3 townhouses.