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Rhondda Cynon Taf
51°38′03″N3°25′11″W / 51.634101°N 3.419632°W / 51.634101; -3.419632 Coordinates: 51°38′03″N3°25′11″W / 51.634101°N 3.419632°W / 51.634101; -3.419632

Wattstown (Welsh : Aberllechau) is a village located in the Rhondda Valley in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. Located in the Rhondda Fach valley it is a district of the community of Ynyshir. Prior to mid 19th century industrialisation the area was once little more than a wooded area, sparsely populated by farmsteads. With the coming of the coal industry Wattstown became a busy, densely populated village, but with the closure of the collieries Wattstown suffered an economic downturn that still affects the village today.

Welsh language Brythonic language spoken natively in Wales

Welsh ; [kʰəmˈraiɡ](listen)) or y Gymraeg is a Brittonic language of the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is spoken natively in Wales, by some in England, and in Y Wladfa. Historically, it has also been known in English as "Cambrian", "Cambric" and "Cymric".

Rhondda Valley region in Wales

Rhondda, or the Rhondda Valley, is a former coal mining area in South Wales, previously in Glamorgan, and now a local government district, consisting of 16 communities built around the River Rhondda. The Rhondda is actually two valleys—the larger Rhondda Fawr valley and the smaller Rhondda Fach valley. The singular term 'Rhondda Valley' and the plural 'Rhondda Valleys' are both commonly used. In 2001, the Rhondda constituency of the National Assembly for Wales had a population of 72,443; while the National Office of Statistics described the Rhondda urban area as having a population of 59,602. Rhondda is part of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough and is part of the South Wales Valleys.

County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control. They were abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales, but continue in use for lieutenancy and shrievalty in Northern Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland they remain in existence but have been renamed cities under the provisions of the Local Government Act 2001. The Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 re-introduced the term for certain "principal areas" in Wales. Scotland did not have county boroughs but instead counties of cities. These were abolished on 16 May 1975. All four Scottish cities of the time—Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow—were included in this category. There was an additional category of large burgh in the Scottish system, which were responsible for all services apart from police, education and fire.


Wattstown is named after Edmund Hannay Watts, who at one time owned the National Colliery in Wattstown.

Early history and industrialisation

The earliest evidence of human activity around what would become Wattstown is found on the hillside at Carn Y Wiwer, overlooking the village; a small grouping of Bronze Age cairns are present and in the same vicinity are the remains of five platform houses; rudimentary, Medieval seasonal farm houses. [1] During the Napoleonic Wars the land around Carn Y Wiwer was cultivated by farmers to produce additional crops. [2] Prior to industrialisation, the area that would become Wattstown was known as Pont Rhyd Y Cwch or Pont-Y-Cwtch.

Bronze Age Prehistoric period and age studied in archaeology, part of the Holocene Epoch

The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, and in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.

Cairn man-made pile of stones or burial monument

A cairn is a man-made pile of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn[ˈkʰaːrˠn̪ˠ].

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

Compared to other areas in the Rhondda, Wattstown was slow to be developed as a mining area. The first deep mine, the National Colliery, originally known as Cwtch Colliery before being renamed the Standard, was sunk sometime in the late 1870s by Richard Evans and first appeared on the Inspectors' Lists of Mines in 1880. [3] The land on which the colliery was built, belonged to Crawshay Bailey and William Bailey, but the mine was owned by several different concerns, including the National Steam Coal Company and Watts & Company, who would give the village its name. Although Wattstown expanded to fulfill the working requirements of its colliery, it never expanded at the same rate as other areas. The village had its own church, dedicated to St. Thomas, built in 1896, schools, chapels and public houses, but its number of private residents was much lower than other similar settlements in the South Wales Valleys.

Mining in Wales

Mining in Wales provided a significant source of income to the economy of Wales throughout the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. It was key to the Industrial Revolution.

Crawshay Bailey British politician

Crawshay Bailey was an English industrialist who became one of the great iron-masters of Wales.

South Wales Valleys Group of industrialised peri-urban valleys in South Wales

The South Wales Valleys are a group of industrialised peri-urban valleys in South Wales. Most of the valleys run north–south, roughly parallel to each other. Commonly referred to as "The Valleys", they stretch from eastern Carmarthenshire to western Monmouthshire; to the edge of the pastoral country of the Vale of Glamorgan and the coastal plain near the cities of Swansea, Cardiff, and Newport.

National Colliery 1887 disaster

Wattstown would suffer two mining disasters at the National Colliery. The first was on 18 February 1887, when the village was still known as 'Cwtch'. The accident occurred in-between the day and night shifts, which probably saved many lives as 200 men were yet to make their descent into the mine. The explosion was so powerful it damaged the winding gear which delayed the rescue by several hours. Once the rescuers were able to descend they managed to bring to the surface 38 men, 29 of whom were uninjured. In total, the death toll counted thirty nine men and boys, with a total of 6 injured. Although an inquest jury could not come to a conclusion to the cause of the explosion, in his report to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, F.A. Bosanquet, placed the cause of the disaster as an explosive cap being fired in an area where there had been a buildup of flammable gas. [4]

National Colliery 1905 disaster

On the 11 July 1905, just four months after the Cambrian Colliery disaster at Clydach Vale, an explosion at the National Colliery in Wattstown resulted in the deaths of 119 men and boys. Only three people were rescued from the mine, but two would later die of their injuries, leaving Matthew Davies as the lone survivor. The report into the cause of the disaster was undertaken by the Inspector of Mines, which concluded that the explosion was caused by illegal use of blasting material underground. Shortly before the explosion occurred, the master sinker had requested blasting cable and a battery to charge the shot. The manager, Mr. Meredith, had entered the mine a quarter of an hour before the explosion and was amongst the list of fatalities. [4]

Clydach Vale Village in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales

Clydach Vale is a village in the community of Cwm Clydach, northwest of Tonypandy in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, within the Rhondda Valley, Wales. It is named for its situation on the Nant Clydach, a tributary of the River Rhondda.

Amongst the messages of condolences received at Wattstown was a message from King Edward VII. On the day of the funeral, the streets were lined by thousands of mourners and the funeral cortège was reported as being over four miles (6 km) long.

Sport and leisure

Wattstown is home to Wattstown RFC, a rugby union club with over a hundred years of history.

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  1. Davis, Paul R. Historic Rhondda, An Archaeological and Topographical Survey 8000 BC - AD 1850, Hackman: Ynyshir (1989) ISBN   0-9508556-3-4
  2. The Rhondda Valley, E.D. Lewis, London (1959)pg. 18-20
  3. Rhondda Collieries, Volume 1, Number 4 in the Coalfield Series; John Cornwell. D.Brown and Sons Ltd, Cowbridge (1987) pg. 67 ISBN   0-905928-82-2
  4. 1 2 Rhondda Cynon Taff Library Services Heritage Trail - Wattstown