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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 ; [kʰəmˈraiɡ](
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.
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.During the Napoleonic Wars the land around Carn Y Wiwer was cultivated by farmers to produce additional crops. Prior to industrialisation, the area that would become Wattstown was known as Pont Rhyd Y Cwch or Pont-Y-Cwtch.
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.
A cairn is a man-made pile of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn[ˈkʰaːrˠn̪ˠ].
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.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 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 was an English industrialist who became one of the great iron-masters of 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.
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.
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.
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.
Wattstown is home to Wattstown RFC, a rugby union club with over a hundred years of history.
Maerdy is a village and community in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, and within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan, Wales, lying at the head of the Rhondda Fach Valley.
Porth is a town and a community in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan, Wales, lying in the Rhondda Valley and is regarded as the gateway to the Rhondda Fawr and Rhondda Fach valleys because both valleys meet at Porth. The Welsh word "porth" means "gate". Porth is a predominantly English-speaking community.
Llwynypia is a village and community in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, near Tonypandy in the Rhondda Fawr Valley. Before 1850 a lightly populated rural farming area, Llwynypia experienced a population boom between 1860 and 1920 with the sinking of several coal mines after the discovery of large coal deposits throughout the Rhondda Valleys.
Ynyshir is a village and community located in the Rhondda Valley, within Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales. Ynyshir is pronounced (ənɪs-hiːr) according to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and means "long island" in Welsh. The village takes its name from a farm in the area, falling within the historic parishes of Ystradyfodwg and Llanwynno (Llanwonno). The community of Ynyshir lies between the small adjoining village of Wattstown and the larger town of neighbouring Porth.
Ferndale is a small town located in the Rhondda Valley in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. Neighbouring villages are Blaenllechau, Maerdy and Tylorstown. Ferndale was industrialised in the mid-19th century. The first coal mine shaft was sunk in 1857 and was the first community to be intensively industrialised in the Rhondda Valley.
Aberaman is a village near Aberdare in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, south Wales. It was heavily dependent on the coal industry and the population, as a result, grew rapidly in the late nineteenth century. Most of the industry has now disappeared and a substantial proportion of the working population travel to work in Cardiff and the M4 corridor.
Penrhiwceiber is a small Welsh village and community in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf that lies south of the town Aberpennar and north of the village of Tyntetown, and is one of many villages that lies within the Cynon Valley. Prior to 1870 the area was heavy woodland, but the opening of the Penrhiwceiber Colliery in 1878 saw its rapid expansion into a thriving village.
Ton Pentre is a village in the Rhondda Valley in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. Historically part of Glamorgan, Ton Pentre, a former industrial coal mining village, is a district of the community of Pentre. The old district of Ystradyfodwg was named after the church at Ton Pentre. Ton Pentre is, perhaps, best known for an event in 1924, when the Duke of York played a round of golf with Trade Unionist Frank Hodges.
Cilfynydd is a village in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, a mile from the South Wales Valleys town of Pontypridd, and 13 miles north of the capital city, Cardiff. Cilfynydd is also an electoral ward for the county council and Pontypridd Town Council.
Penygraig is a village and community in the Rhondda Valley in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. As a community Penygraig contains the neighbouring districts of Dinas, Edmondstown, Penrhiwfer and Williamstown. Penygraig is within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan,.
Blaencwm is a village in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, lying at the head the Rhondda Fawr valley. Two collieries were opened here during the Industrial Revolution, the Dunraven Colliery in 1865 and the Glenrhondda Colliery in 1911. Both had closed by 1966 and the sites have since been landscaped, leaving little trace of their industrial past. It is in the historic county of Glamorgan.
Pentre is a village, community and electoral ward near Treorchy in the Rhondda valley, falling within the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. The village's name is taken from the Welsh word Pentref, which translates as homestead, though Pentre is named after a large farm that dominated the area before the coming of industrialisation. The community takes in the neighbouring village of Ton Pentre.
Blaenrhondda is a village in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, lying at the head the Rhondda Fawr valley. Blaenrhondda is a village and is part of the community of Treherbert.
Gelli is a village in the Rhondda Fawr valley, in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales, situated on the southern bank of the Rhondda Fawr River. Gelli is a former coal mining village which is a district of the community of Ystrad.
The Afon Clun is a 14-mile (23 km) long tributary of the River Ely, in the counties of Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. Its bedrock is predominantly of sandstone. Beginning on the western slope of The Garth the river is fast-flowing, in clear shallow water with a hard substrate, flowing to the south of Llantrisant and generally west to its confluence with the River Ely at Pontyclun, falling 715 feet (218 m) over its course.
Tynewydd is a village located in the County Borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, south Wales. With Treherbert, Blaencwm, Blaenrhondda and Pen-yr-englyn it is part of a community of Treherbert. The village lies in the former industrial coal mining area at the head of Rhondda Fawr, the larger of the Rhondda Valleys.
Maerdy Colliery was a coal mine located in the South Wales village of Maerdy, in the Rhondda Valley, located in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, and within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan, Wales. Opened in 1875, it closed in December 1990.
Cwm Clydach is a community and electoral ward to the northwest of Tonypandy in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. The community and ward covers the valley of the Nant Clydach, which includes the cojoined villages of Clydach Vale and Blaenclydach.