Tonyrefail shown within Rhondda Cynon Taf
|OS grid reference|
|Principal area||Rhondda Cynon Taf|
|Ceremonial county||Mid Glamorgan|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Tonyrefail is a village and community in Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough, Wales. It is situated 4 miles (6.4 km) north west of Llantrisant at the head of the Ely Valley, south of the Rhondda, being around 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from Trebanog and around 2 miles (3.2 km) from Williamstown. It is also around 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from the village of Gilfach Goch. Historically Tonyrefail was the site of a rural hamlet, it evolved into an industrial village during the second half of the 19th century, when coal and steel became synonymous with the South Wales Valleys. It now has a population of 11,035.
Early records show Tonyrefail to be a dairy farming and livestock raising area, and many early farmhouses still exist in some form today. This was in stark contrast to the nearby valleys, that were forced to adopt arable and sheep farming activities due to their hilly geography. Early industrialisation began in the late 18th century around a corn mill and woollen factory, but it wasn't until deep coal mining began that employment grew on a large scale. At its peak Coedely Colliery employed nearly 1,800 men which not only changed the face of Tonyrefail, but also created the establishment of nearby colliery settlements such as Coedely, Thomastown and Bryngolau.
It is widely believed that King Edward II was captured by forces loyal to Queen Isabella near Tonyrefail in 1326.
Buildings of note
One of the most notable buildings in Tonyrefail is Collenna House, a three story mansion originally built in 1093, which overlooks the village. The house is believed to have been built by the Welsh noble, Einion ap Collwyn who after a dispute with Iestyn ab Gwrgant, married Iestyn's only daughter, Nest. The two are said to have set up home at Collenna House and it was around this time that they founded the old church of St. John. Collenna House would eventually become home to the Prichard family, who trace their line back to the house's original Norman occupants. One of the more notable members of the Prichard family, who would eventually die at Collenna house, was Reverend Richard Prichard, Vicar of Llandaff. His son, John Prichard was a renowned Welsh architect who was responsible for restoration work at Llandaff Cathedral and many other local churches. To the southwest is Mynydd Maendy, a hill top which contains a wind farm; the admin offices are situated in Tonyrefail. During May 2013 the listed Savoy Theatre, situated on Collenna Road, received permission from Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council's Development Control Committee to re-open, having been closed for some 10 years before.
- Matthew Rees, Wales and British Lions international RFU player
- Tonyrefail & District Community Council Website
- Tonyrefail local website
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Tonyrefail and surrounding area
- Welsh Coal Mines website
- Tonyrefail Rugby Club website
- Lewis, Dillwyn (1971). A History of Tonyrefail. Risca: The Starling Press Limited.
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Rhondda Cynon Taf Retrieved 9 January 2010
- The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg874 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
- Lewis (1971), pg 4.
- Lewis (1971), pg 9.