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Merthyr Tydfil




Penywern was a typical  industrial village built for the workers of the Ivor Works in 1839. Here was the permanent barracks for the Volunteers. After the Merthyr Rising of 1831 soldiers were permanently barracked at Penywern to keep an eye on the growing town of Merthyr Tydfil. On the tithe schedule of 1850 the owner of the land here was the Dowlais Iron Company. At first all there was in Penywern were the Barracks, as is shown on the 1850 tithe map, however by the 1875 ordinance survey map Penywern had developed and Lower Row and Upper Row are shown. The reservoirs and ponds which once fed water into the Dowlais Works are situated in this area. These are now of great historical significance, especially as so little now remains of the great Dowlais Works.  There are 2 large and 2 small ponds east of Penywern and also a reservoir to the south. This was a self-sufficient community and there were a number of shops here. Late nineteenth century directories show that Morgan Evans was a baker, grocer, tea dealer at number 4 Penywern. The working men of the area were mainly employed in coal mining. The community built their community church vestry during the General Strike of 1926, when so many skilled men were force to be idle due to the national economic climate.

The famous historian Gwyn Alf Williams was born in Lower Row in a cottage belonging to his grandmother, Mrs Morgan. In 2005 the Dic Penderyn Society and the Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Trust erected a plaque on the walls of this property in commemoration of the birth of Gwyn Alf  .There was quite a large Spanish community here before the First World War. The Spaniards who settled here from 1900 onwards built Alphonso Street and King Carlos Street. The exposed height of this area means that it is very vulnerable when there are any falls of snow.  During the severe winter of 1947 a train at Penywern became snowbound for several days. This village has undergone many changes in recent years; the Tre-ivor Arms public house, now closed was once called the Ivor Arms. Penywern Chapel, was an Independent Chapel, but it was demolished in the late 1990s, and today modern houses are on its former site.



<Click on the photograph to see a larger version>


Penywern From the 'Black Coal Tip' Above the Slip Road

The prefabs can clearly be seen.

Tre-Ivor Arms, Penywern.


Lower Row in the Early 1900's

(Photograph courtesy of the John Owen collection)

Penywern Chapel.

(Photograph E-mailed by Judith Jones of Lafayette)

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In later years the Vestry was added at the front of the chapel.



Penywern - Wedding Party for Freda Thomas & Alec Winsor - September 1963

Mr. J. Winsor tells us:         "The bride and groom are Freda Thomas and Alec Winsor, Freda was from Cross St, Alec was from Kent via the Midlands.

                                           Alec was a foreman on the two opencasts nearby (Dowlais Top which were known as the Royal arms and then Trecatti sites)"

(Both Photographs Courtesy of John Winsor)

Page Boys and Bridesmaids:

L - R:   Lauren Davies, Jennifer Jane Winsor, Phillip Harris, Glynis Davies, Beth James, now Rees (a teacher in a Dowlais Infants School)



Penywern Chapel performance of 'Zurika, the Gypsy Maid' in the 1950's

Back Row L-R:  Willie Rosser, Johnny Rosser, ?, Llewelyn Pritchard, Ceridwen Adams-Morgan, Morleisydd Morgan

Front Row L-R:  May Llewelyn, Christine Rosser, Glenys Kinsey, Mary Jenkins (Teacher at Twynyrodyn Infants School).

(Photograph courtesy of Lynda Pritchard Newcombe)



Fairies -

Back Row L-R:   Christine Jones, Lynda Pritchard, Ann Thomas, Jacqueline Love,

Front Row L-R:   Glynis ?, ?, Jean Arriaga, ?, ?.

(Photograph courtesy of Lynda Pritchard Newcombe)



Main Cast.

Back Row L-R:   Willie Rosser, Johnny Rosser, ?, Llewelyn Pritchard,

Front Row L-R:  Christine Jones, Glenys Kinsey.

(Photograph courtesy of Lynda Pritchard Newcombe)



Penywern sisterhood outing to Weston-Super-Mare in the 1950s. 

Left to right: Minnie Rosser, Miriam Hughes, Eunice, Abigail Pritchard, Gwen, ?, Jenny Evans.

(Photograph courtesy of Lynda Pritchard Newcombe)



Penywern & Dowlais Ladies on a Trip - 1970s

Mrs Winnie Lynch, formerly Thomas, is on the far left and her daughter Freda is on the far right.

(Photograph Courtesy of John Winsor)



Alphonso Street


This street of single storey houses, was built by the Dowlais Iron Company for the Spanish settlers who came to settle in Dowlais, mainly from Bilboa, following the company's decision to import Iron Ore from Spain. It was named after Alfonso XIII of Spain and was locally known as "Spaniards Row".


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Alphonso Street, from the other direction. - 

(Photograph courtesy of Viv Bayliss of South Woodham Ferrers in Essex.)

Dowlais_Penywern_Alfonso Street - Penywern.JPG (140836 bytes)

Alphonso Street - 1977


Penywern - 31 Cross Street - John Harris and his Bike.

Mr. J. Winsor tells us:    

" The man on the bike is Mr John Harris who is seen still wearing his battle dress( from the Fleet Air Arm), he had very recently been Demobed.

On the rear of the bike is Freda Thomas 5yrs, on the front is her brother John (John died of cancer just after his 15th birthday)."

(Photograph Courtesy of John Winsor)


Christening at Penywern Chapel - 1943

Left:                Peggy Arriaga with Pat.

Right:              Mrs. Francis with David (From Queen Street, Pant).

(Photograph Taken by Joe Arriaga, Courtesy of Pat Fearn).


Penywern - Upper Row Street Party - June 1944 - V.E. Day - End of the War in Europe

The first lady on the front left, in her Sunday Best is Mary Jones of 25, Upper Row.The second man and the lady standing

on the left side are Bill and Emma Gage.

(Photograph Courtesy of Pat Fearn)


Penywern - Sunday School - Circa 1947

(Photograph Courtesy of Pat Fearn)


Joanne Fearn's Christening - May 1971

Joe and Pegga Arriaga (Grandparents) and Paul Fearn (Brother).

(Photograph Courtesy of Pat Fearn)

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