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St. Tydfil's Church

The Parish Church, Merthyr Tydfil.

<Click On The Photograph To Enlarge>

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Some buildings seem to be ageless, one such building is a prominent feature of our town, the Old Parish Church with its clock dedicated to St Tydfil, a female Celtic saint of whom nothing is known for certain, it is thought that some form of church has stood on this spot for over 1500 years. Julius Caesar Ibbetson an artist of repute travelled around Wales in the 1790’s, he painted various scenes one such scene that took his eye was situated near to the original Plymouth Works site looking towards the village of Merthyr Tydfil, this painting is the oldest view of Merthyr Tydfil, in the distance the village of Merthyr Tydfil can be seen with St Tydfil’s parish church tower and its clock prominently viewed. St Tydfil’s Parish Church was closed for worship in 1968 when St. David’s Church became the new Parish Church. St Tydfil’s church was built in 1808, after restoration at a cost of £1K it was re-opened on June 6th, 1894. The clock was replaced in 1936, which was donated by Lord Camrose and Lord Kemsley in honour of their father Alderman J M Berry. A poem was submitted anonymously to the Merthyr Telegraph and published in the 18th, October 1856 edition,




O’h! The Merthyr Church Clock

It is of a hard stock,

For it giveth untimely warning,

And if late at night,

With the time it be right

It is often found wrong in the morning.


When my workman comes late,

He is sure to state,

That to the Church Clock, he’s a martyr

When to breakfast I go

My wife lets me know

That “The clock is to fast by a quarter”


When a dog’s a bad

He’ll be always be to blame

And his days will prove pregnant with sorrow

And some people oft slight

The Church Clock its right

And wish for a new one tomorrow


Carl Llewellyn



Parish Church.

From an unusual angle, clearly showing the massive tips on the other side of the river Taff.

(Postcard courtesy of Mrs Gill Thomas, West Grove.)


St. Tydfil's Church Exterior

(Photograph Courtesy of the Kenneth J. Gunter Collection)



Parish Church 1896. A very rare picture of the church before it was rebuilt a few years later.

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Mr Nicholas Jenkins sent this watercolour of the church painted by one of his family in the 1880's.

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Parish Church Interior.

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Parish Church Interior.
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The Parish Church.

(Photograph Courtesy of Martin Sullivan)

Jungle & Hut Play - St. Tydfil's Church - 1954/54.

Back Row L-R:                   Mrs Connolly(?), John Knott(?), David Knapp,Terry Chamberlain(?),?,?, Rev Cox(?),?,?,

                                          Pam Williams, behind her left shoulder,her fiancee Bill ?,Barbara Jones(now Mrs Tony Galleozzie)

Middle Row L-R:                Peter Wilsdon, ?,? Valerie (nee) James.

Front Row L-R:                   ?,?,?.

(Photograph Courtesy of Iestyn - Celtic Pride; Names Courtesy of John Knott)


Jungle & Hut Play - St. Tydfil's Church - 1954/54.

Back Row L-R:                        Gwyneth Evans(I think became a teacher at Afon Taf), Peter Wilsdon, Pam Williams, ?,?,?,

                                               Mari Wilsdon (she was married to organist and choirmaster Phil Wilsdon), ?,?,?,  Rev Cox(?).

Front Row L-R:                       ?,?, Megan Wilsdon, Roger Howell(?), ?.

(Photograph Courtesy of Iestyn - Celtic Pride; Names Courtesy of John Knott)


From the "Cardiff Times" 13th May 1899

(Courtesy of Carl Llewellyn)





On Sunday afternoon the dedication of five stained glass memorial windows which have been placed in the restored parish church of Merthyr took place at a service conducted by the rector (Rev. Di. Lewis). The west window in the tower was given by Sir W. T. Lewis, Bart., in memory of the local captains of industry;" the south aisle window was presented by Mr. and Mrs. Frank James, in memory of the late Miss Florence James, their daughter. and the three chancel windows were the gifts of Miss Williams, Maesgrnddiad, and Mrs. Brewer, Danygraig, Mon. In the chancel, which is of an apsidal form, and the roof of which is groined, the lancets are about nine feet high, in the three central lancets are, placed three stained glass memorial windows by the well-known artist, Mr Kempe, London. The subjects are the Crucifixion. The central window is divided into three panels above is a canopy of peals of bells ringing, whilst the central panel depicts Our Lord on the Cross, the lower of the panels showing a pelican which is represented according to the old myth as feeding its young with its own blood by picking its breast, this being meant as emblematical of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. The right hand window has a canopy with bells ringing, the second panel is that of the Blessed Virgin at the Cross, and the third or lowest panel has an angel holding a shield on which are painted some of the instruments of the Passion. The left hand window has also a similar canopy of bells, the central panel depicting St. John at the foot of the Cross. In the third panel there is an angel holding a shield, on which again are painted the other instruments of the Passion. In these three panels there are scrolls with suitable texts in Latin from Holy Scripture. The windows pre' sent a very pleasing appearance, and are regarded as a very becoming decoration of the sanctuary. They were given by Miss Williams and Mrs. Brewer, in memory of some of the members of the Maesgruddiad family. In the south aisle is a handsome window divided into three panels. In the central panel is depicted St. Cecilia playing on an instrument of music. This window has beautiful Romanesque decorations. It was presented by air and Mrs. Frank James, The next window in the tower was given by Sir W. T. Lewis, Bart., and is considered to be a very interesting work of art. It was de- signed by Mr. Newbury, London. It incorporates subjects characteristic of the industries of the district, and is in that respect a bold departure from the conventional treatment of subjects in memorial glass. It is mainly the conception of the rector, but it appears there are ancient examples of such treatment. The stained glass window is divided into three panels formed by a light framing of Norman detail. The upper panel, which comprises the main portion of the window, illustrates Luke ii. 1-4, where Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, and has two angels above holding a scroll on which is written the first portion of the Lord's Prayer, and on the panel below the picture continues, Give us this day our daily bread." The smaller panels, which form a base to the window, are filled with subjects relating to the industries of the district. The left panel indicates a pit's mouth with machinery, on which is inscribed The thing that is hid bringeth He forth to light," and on the right blast furnaces are illustrated " As for the earth, out of it cometh bread " and underneath the wharfing and loading of coal and iron are depicted. These two panels are decoratively treated, and it has been the artist's endeavour to combine the many interesting details as the space permits. At the sill of the window are the arms of the donor, Sir Wm. T. Lewis, Bart. Underneath is a hand. some brass plate three feet square, on which are engraved the names of 37 of the captains of industry. The inscription reads as follows


Efe a gyffwrdd a'r mynyddoedd a hwy a fygant "

Psalm 104, v. 32.

The above Window is erected to the Glory of God

and to perpetuate the memory of the following




With whom Sir William Thomas Lewis, Bart.

has been associated in the development of the Minerals

of the District, i.e.


William Adams, Ebbw Vale Works.

George Brown, Nixon's Collieries.

Crawshay Bailey, Nantyglo and Aberaman.

William Southern Clark, Aberdare.

The Crawshays of Cyfarthfa and Hirwain Works

Tom Curnow, Plymouth Works.

The Davies of Blaengwar.

William Davies, Lewis Merthyr Collieries.

Sir George Elliot, Bart., Aberaman.

The Evans' of Dowlais.

The Forman's of Penydarren Works.

Anthony Hill, Plymouth Works.

Thomas Howells, Lletty Shenkin Collieries

Christopher James, Llwyncelyn, Rhondda.

William Jenkins, Consett (formerly Dowlais).

R. Johnson, Rhymney.

William Jones, Cyfarthfa Works.

The Josephs, Plymouth Works.

The Kirkhouses. Cyfarthfa Works.

Lewis Lewis, The Graig and Lletty Shenkin Collieries

Lewis Thomas Lewis, Plymouth Collieries.

Lewis Thomas Lewis, Cadoxton Lodge, Neath.

The Llewellyn's of Hirwain and Pontypool

The Martins of Dowlais and Penydarren Works.

William Menelaus, Dowiais.

John McConnochie, Cardiff Captain Ralph Pomeroy, Cardiff.

Robert T. Rees, the Graig and Lletty Shenkin. Collieries.

Daniel Rees, the Graig and Lletty Shenkin Collieries.

The Thomas' of Waunwyllt

The Waynes, Gadlys Works.

David Williams, Ynyscynon.

Edward Williams, Middlesbrough (formerly Dowlais),

John Williams, Lletty Shenkin Collieries.

William Williams, Cyfarthfa Works.

W. H. Williams, Lewis Merthyr Collieries.

George Wilkinson, Cwmpenhar Collieries.


Heddwch i'w Llwch

Dlolchus Anrheg Syr William Thomas Lewis.

Barwnig, Mardy, Aberdar, 1896.




Parish Church, January 1967.


The Stained glass window, by R.Newbury, presented to the church by Lord Merthyr W. T. Lewis.

(Photograph 1995 by David Thomas)



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From Chas Wilkins' Merthyr Illustrated.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Parish Church June 1970.

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St. Tydfil's Church from the old Caedraw School yard.

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