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Cefn Coed y Cymmer

Merthyr Tydfil.


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Cefn Coed y Cymmer means ‘wooded ridge at the river confluence’ and was once a large wooded area.  Originally it was a ‘dormitory’ village dependent on the Cyfarthfa Works and the nearby quarries for employment. The village of Cefn Coed in the 1880s consisted of 600 houses with a population of 2,500. Cefn Coed had its own police station, although the police force here came long after Merthyr Tydfil and Glamorgan had one. It was in the Parliamentary Borough of Merthyr Tydfil ( until 1915 ) and in the Merthyr Registration District but for County Council purposes it was in the County of Breconshire until 1974. The local nickname for this village is ‘bucket’ town. In Victorian times there were once a large number of old cottages here lacking in sanitation. However, here are some impressive late nineteenth century houses/villas built in upper Vaynor for the more affluent inhabitants. Rose Mary Crawshay is reputed to have founded one of the first libraries open to the public here and the first ‘public’ library open on Sundays.

The Cefn Coed Viaduct was built in 1866 to carry the Brecon and Merthyr Railway across the river Taff at Pontycapel. The design was by A. Sutherland, a friend of Robert Thompson Crawshay, and it was built by Messrs. Savel and Ward It consists of 15 openings, each one 39 feet 9 inches, a length of 725ft. and a maximum height of 115ft. It was built on a curve and this curve is the viaduct’s main point of architectural interest. The origin cost of the bridge was Ł25, 000 and it is the third largest viaduct in Wales.

There were a number of religious buildings here. Hen dy Cwrdd Unitarian Chapel in Cefn Coed, tucked behind the main High Street, is one of the oldest surviving chapels in the borough and a beautifully restored building. The present building dates from 1853 and is well worth visiting. The roots of the Unitarians can be traced back directly to the famous Cymyglo Chapel in Heolgerrig, where met for worship the first Protestant non-conformists within the Parish of Merthyr Tydfil. Other chapels here included Carmel, Cefn Coed (1844), the  Pentecostal Mission, Tabor (Welsh Independent,1845), Aaubrey Chapel (Wesleyan, 1876), Moriah (Welsh Calvanistic Methodist, 1807) and Ebenezer (Welsh Baptist, 1838). The parish church is St. John’s built by Robert Thompson Crawshay in 1874 which has a graceful spire.

Until recent years there was a thriving Cefn Choir Male Voice Choir, which had links with the lowlands of Scotland and arranged regular trips there to coincide  with rugby matches. There was a large brewery here called the Pontycapel Brewery.


Public houses here included:- the Cefn Hotel, Drovers Arms, Crawshay Arms, Lord Raglan, Gwynne’s Arms,  Plasnewydd Hotel,  Rising Sun (demolished 1962), Green Dragon, Bell Inn (demolished 1970s), Station Hotel, Castle Inn, Cross Keys, Royal Oak, George, Railway, Globe, White Horse, Greyhounds Head, Farmers Arms and the Corner House.

The school here, the Vaynor and Penderyn School, Old Church St. closed in 2006. Originally there was a school here in 1861 built by Robert Thompson Crawshay. An infant’s school was built in 1868 and was replaced by a new building in 1910.


His village was joined to Merthyr Tydfil by a good transport system and from 1910 the first electric tram ran from Cefn Coed to either central Merthyr Tydfil or Dowlais.


Once stagecoaches travelled regularly through Cefn Coed to Swansea or Brecon. In later years the Brecon and Merthyr Railway line ran through the village and there was a busy station just off the top of the High Street. The last train passed over Cefn Coed Viaduct in 1964

Carolyn Jacob.


<Click on the photo to enlarge>

Aerial View Of Cefn Coed.

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The old lime kilns, just north of Cefn on the Brecon Road.

(Photograph courtesy Gareth Hopkins)

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Cefn Cemetery Buildings.

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The first burials at Cefn took place on the 16th April 1859. The Fford portion of the cemetery opened in 1905.





The Hunt at the Cefn Hotel - 1915

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The Cemetery Lodge and the Cefn Hotel.

(Postcard courtesy of Mrs Gill Thomas)


The Cefn Hotel in the 1990s.

(Photograph courtesy of Dave. Boucher)


The Regent Petrol Station in the 1980s.

Now demolished, and a private house built on the site.

Tramcar No 9 at the Morning Sun Terminus.  

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The Morning Sun. Free house.

The Morning Sun.

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Cefn Coed, The Villas. No 024 From the Ernest T. Bush Series

Just beyond the telegraph pole was the Morning Sun pub, this was the terminus of the 

Trams from Merthyr. (Postcard courtesy of The Leo Davies Collection)

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Tabor Welsh Independent Chapel.

Grawen Lane.

(Photograph Courtesy of Bill "Engine" Jones)

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Grawen Lane in the 1990s.

(Photograph courtesy of Dave. Boucher)




The Lido.

The Taff Fechan and the old Gurnos Quarries.The man-made stream in the middle of the picture supplied water to the Cyfarthfa lake, which in turn supplied water to the Cyfarthfa Ironworks.

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The Lido

Cefn Coed.

The Drovers Arms in 1951.

Official Opening of Maesygarreg Prefabs - Late 1940's.

Cefn Coed,  High Street, from the railway bridge.

Corner Cafe on left with entrance to station .The Drovers Arms is just out of view on right. 

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Cefn Coed.

The Railway Inn - 1938

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