Merthyr Dyfan

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Merthyr Dyfan
District of Barry and parish/ward
The parish church of St Dyfan and St Teilo
The parish church of St Dyfan and St Teilo
Merthyr Dyfan is located in Barry, Wales
Merthyr Dyfan
Merthyr Dyfan
Location in Barry
Coordinates: 51°25′14″N 3°16′15″W / 51.42056°N 3.27083°W / 51.42056; -3.27083
CountryUnited Kingdom
CountyVale of Glamorgan
 • Total5,166
Time zoneUTC+0 (GMT)
Area code(s)CF

Merthyr Dyfan or Dyfan is a northeastern suburb of Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, in south Wales, formerly an independent medieval village. It is also an ecclesiastical parish[2] and a formal[clarification needed] electoral ward of the Vale of Glamorgan. It borders Colcot to the west, Buttrills to the southwest and Gibbonsdown to the southeast. Its main roads are Merthyr Dyfan Road, a hilly road leading down from the A4050 road (Port Road) which leads into Wenvoe and Cardiff; and Skomer Road which separates it from Gibbonsdown and eventually also leads to the A4050 road. Merthyr Dyfan contains an old parish church, Barry Rugby Club, Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School and the Master Mariner Pub and Holm View Leisure Centre, although the last two could be considered to be in northern Gibbonsdown. Watercolour artist Thomas Frederick Worrall lived in Barry from 1913 and painted several scenes of Merthyr Dyfan. A depiction of Merthyr Dyfan Road, viewed from where the road curves and looking towards the coast, has been deposited at the National Library of Wales. It is to be digitised and made available on their web site. The Church in Wales has a small painting of his of the church.


Although the usual modern meaning of the Welsh word merthyr (from the Greek μαρτυς, μαρτυρος "witness") is 'martyr', the word formerly also indicated a martyrium, a martyr's grave or a structure or church erected at such a grave.[4][5] Similar examples, all in south Wales, are Merthyr Cynog, Merthyr Tydfil, and Merthyr Mawr. Of the Dyfan who presumably inspired the name, nothing seems to be known, although the Iolo Manuscripts collected by Edward Williams have led to his popular conflation with the St Deruvian who was added to the King Lucius legends in the 12th century. Owing to Williams's numerous forgeries and additions to other texts, however, this identification is now generally discredited.[6] Baring-Gould notes Deruvian's "whole history, from beginning to end, is a pure fabrication, and the church of Merthyr Dyfan has been made to serve as a peg to hang it on".[7] The earliest historic church at the site was credited (and then dedicated) to St Teilo in the 6th century.[8] The current church is Norman, built in the early 13th century, and was consecrated by Bishop William de Burgh of Llandaff in 1250.[9] The church fell into neglect during the Reformation period but was fully restored in the late 19th century.[9] In 1970 it underwent renovation: amongst other things, the windows were reglazed and the church was reroofed in Welsh slate.[9] It is now formally dedicated to both Saints Dyfan and Teilo[10] and as recently as 2010 the local parish continued to claim it to be the oldest Christian site in Wales, citing the legends concerning King Lucius.[11][12]

The village of Merthyr Dyfan grew up during the medieval period. The centre of the original village and church are located in what today is the southwestern-most part of Merthyr Dyfan district. It was originally located around 53 to 68 m (174 to 223 ft) above sea level.[13] The centre of the medieval village was excavated by a local man, G. Tyley, between 1968 and 1978.[13] In 1969 he excavated and examined an old corn-drying kiln at the site. The Merthyr Dyfan Chapel is located near the Barry Cemetery to the south, which is actually in the district of Buttrills.

Housing development grew up along Merthyr Dyfan hill, north of the original village, in the early 1950s, and the area to the northwest became a council estate, Colcot. Further extensive development took place between the 1960s and the 1980s, with the building of Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School, and housing estates to the east and southeast (Lundy Park). Holm View Leisure Centre was built around 1990.


  1. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  2. ^ Merthyr Dyfan L084, The Church in Wales. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  3. ^ University of Wales Dictionary, vol. III, page 2436.
  4. ^ The Cornish and Breton language equivalents, in place names, are merther and merzher.[3]
  5. ^ Y Geiriadur Mawr just gives bedd (sant) for the obsolete meaning.
  6. ^ Bartrum, Peter C. "Duvianus (1)", in A Welsh Classical Dictionary: People in History and Legend up to about A. D. 1000, p. 236. National Library of Wales, 1993. Emended 2009.
  7. ^ Baring-Gould, Sabine & al. The Lives of the British Saints: The Saints of Wales and Cornwall and Such Irish Saints as Have Dedications in Britain, Vol. II, pp. 394–395. Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (London), 1911.
  8. ^ Rees, Rice (1836). An essay on the Welsh saints or the primitive Christians ... founders of churches in Wales. Longman. p. 87. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  9. ^ a b c "Parish of Merthyr Dyfan, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan". Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  10. ^ The Church in Wales. "St Dyfan and Teilo". Representative Body of the Church in Wales, 2014. Accessed 3 February 2015.
  11. ^ The Church in Wales. "The Parish of Merthyr Dyfan: Barry, South Wales". Parish of Merthyr Dyfan (Merthyr Dyfan), 2010. Hosted at the Internet Archive. Accessed 3 February 2015.
  12. ^ In fact, the Lucius legends never accorded such a place to Merthyr Dyfan, were developed as a means of buttressing the antiquity of Glastonbury, and (when places in Wales were mentioned) involved foundations at Llandaff rather than Merthyr Dyfan. See Lucius of Britain and Saints Deruvian and Fagan.
  13. ^ a b Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales (1976). An inventory of the ancient monuments in Glamorgan. H.M.S.D. Retrieved 27 January 2011.

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