Research into Pentyrch History

 “Stories abound with regard to the colourful characters of the 19th Century who found the Garth area receptive to their unorthodox behaviours…”

 Fortunately I happen to possess a huge stack of publications called The Garth Domain, which chronicle the history of Pentyrch and the Parish.  There are at least four Bronze Age burial mounds on the Garth, and during World War II there was a small anti-aircraft unit based on it’s ridge.  Pentyrchians also appear to have believed in things of a more supernatural nature, such as fairies and ghosts.  There are stories from Pentyrch from hundreds of years ago that have been retold to me in remarkable detail, despite the fact that they have never been written down or formally documented.

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I’ve found information on several Pentyrch ‘characters’, all of which are fascinating reads.

From issue no.8 ‘Pentyrch Characters’ – “The hillside community of Pentyrch had long since combined its rural traditions with substantial industrial activity, and was well used to both prosperity and hardship.  An independent spirit still prevailed and the age old sayings ‘Bit rhyddoch chwi gwyr Pentyrch’ and ‘Rhywng gwyr Pentyrch a’l gilydd’ indicated that people from these parts were best left alone.  The collective psyche referred to Pentyrch people as cuckoos.  It was thought that the soil and the air combined to produce the natural conditions from which eccentrics emerge, and certainly the 19th Century gave us personages of marked individuality.  By no means was it essential to have been born in the parish to acquire such an ‘individuality’.  As inter-village rivalry ensured that both natives and newcomers alike would be tarred with the same brush of notoriety.”

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“Those not bolstered by church or chapel still clung to superstition for their explanation of life’s twists and turns.  The historian Edgar. L. Chappell said ‘Pentyrch residents were great believers in fairies, ghosts, corpse candles, phantom funerals and similar apparitions’.  Y Brenin Llwyd (King of the Mist) was believed to live in the old iron-ore mine in the Lesser Garth, and that on All Hallows Eve the Bendith Y Mamau (fairies) used to dance all night through in the woods at Cwm Llwydrew, not to mention Y Ladi Wen (white lady).”

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“The King of the Mist who lived in the mining pits was very important to the people of Pentyrch, even it seems to those who normally put their faith in more orthodox religion.  They firmly believed that he looked after their lives and they tried to do nothing to displease him.  From time to time when something happened such as a ffynnon running dry for a while, or a prize bull passing away, it was interpreted as an expression of the King of the Mist’s wrath.”

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