Parc yr Orsedd, Ystradgynlais
Ystradgynlais shown within Powys
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Mid and West Wales|
|UK Parliament||Brecon & Radnorshire|
Ystradgynlais (Welsh: [ˌəsdradˈɡənlais], English //) is a town on the River Tawe in south west Powys; it is the second largest town in Powys, Wales. The town grew around the iron-making, coal-mining and watch-making industries.
Up until the mid 18th century most of the Swansea Valley was thickly wooded and sparsely populated. The placename Ystradgynlais, meaning 'vale of the river Cynlais' - Cynlais may be a personal name, or derive from cyn ('chisel') and glais ('stream') - is first recorded in 1372.
In the 1600s there were only a couple of houses by the church and a pub (now the rectory). In 1801 there were only 993 residents in Ystradgynlais living in only 196 houses. The first documented written evidence of iron working in the area was at Ynyscedwyn and is of a deed of release dated 1729. By 1750 there were only 7 furnaces in south Wales, one of which was at Ynyscedwyn.
The first written evidence of coal workings in the area was in 1780 in Wauclawdd. Most of the coal dug up in the area was sent to the blast furnaces of the iron works. By 1790 the full extent of the mineral resources in the valley were known and it was realised that to exploit these to the full transport would have to be essential. A bill was passed in 1793, which allowed the construction of the Swansea valley canal. This means of transport remained the only mode of transport for 60 years.
The greatest increase in population was from 1821-41 which coincides with the coming of George Crane and the development of the Ynyscedwyn iron works. By 1870 however the industrial development was in decline due to the various economical factors. Although coal mining carried on in the area a few light ones have replaced the heavy industries.
Ystradgynlais hosted the 1954 National Eisteddfod, an annual Welsh festival of literature, dance, and music.
The century-old award-winning Ystradgynlais Public Band competed in the 2005 National Eisteddfod. Ystradgynlais is one of the few areas within old Brecknockshire, which has a high proportion of Welsh-speakers, indeed, according to the 2001 census, over half of all the Welsh-speakers within Brecknock district live in Ystradgynlais itself.
National Cycle Route 43 passes though this village.
Ystradgynlais's Parc-yr-Orsedd has a monument to the fallen heroes of both World Wars from Ystradgynlais, Abercrave, Cwmtwrch, Cwmgiedd, Glyntawe and Coelbren.
Ysgol Maesydderwen is the town's secondary school.
Ystradgynlais is also home to the Miners Welfare Hall, which hosts plays to a cinema. It also has a number of traditional pubs.
It's the home of Ystradgynlais F.C. and Ystradgynlais RFC, which was established in 1890; they hold a fierce rivalry with Ystalyfera RFC and Abercrave RFC. Players who represented their countries whilst playing for Ystradgynlais and notable players: Vernon Cooper, Anthony Buchanan, Steve Bayliss representing Wales; Jonny Koloi for Tonga, and Stan Wright for the Cook Islands.
- 2011 Census
- Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. 3rd Ed.
- Wyn Owen, Hywel; Richard Morgan (2007). Dictionary of the Place-Names of Wales. Llandysul: Gomer Press. p. 504.
- Welcome - The National Eisteddfod of Wales
- Sonia Williams
- Hughes, Brendan (2012-10-28). "The childhood killer on falling in love with his prison teacher - Wales Online". Wales Online. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
- Ystradgynlais Information Website
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Ystradgynlais and surrounding area
- History of Palleg manor, Ystradgynlais