Aberdare

Green Street : This street which no longer exists, and the chapel which still bears its name, were named after the old village green close to the medieval St. John’s Church, in what was the pre-industrial village of Aberdare. Based on the English ‘village green’ the word ‘green’ was adopted by the Welsh-speaking populace – and the area surrounding the original hamlet became known as ‘Greenfach’ – little green. Ironically, even though neither the ‘village green’ or the old ‘Green Street’ have survived, the name ‘Greenfach’ for the area has been retained locally to the present day.

Canon Street : The name of this street has only one ‘n’ – it does not have anything to do with artillery, but rather refers to an ecclesiastical office. A ‘Canon’ in the Anglican Church refers to a senior cleric who is a member of a Cathedral’s ‘governing committee’, known as a ‘Chapter’. This street is named after a gentleman who was a Canon at Gloucester Cathedral when the street and the nearby dwellings were developed on fields which were ‘glebeland’ in the 1850s. ‘Glebeland’ meant that they were owned by the Anglican Church – in this case, by Gloucester Cathedral. The nearby streets are still known collectively as ‘Maes-y-dre’ –  the town’s field or plain – which is another remnant of the town’s pre-industrial existence – and when the only locally spoken language would have been Welsh.


Griffith Street : This was named after Griffith Davies, a member of the Davies family who owned Ynys-lwyd Farm on which this part of Aberdare was built in the 19C.

Monk Street : This is one of the town’s main streets, which winds its way upwards towards Mynydd y Graig (not Maerdy Mountain, as stated recently on local  RCT signs). This street leads from Aberdare towards Maerdy, in the upper part of Rhondda Fach. It is an ancient name, whose roots are thoroughly Welsh. The street’s original full name was ‘Craig Rhiw’r Mynach’ – Monk’s Hill Rock. This was shortened during the 19C and 20C to ‘Rhiw’r Mynach’ – Monk’s Hill – and the old Welsh name is still recognised. ‘Monk Street’ is an English translation which dates  from the mid 19C. A plethora of chapels stand on this street, namely Calfaria, Carmel, Elim, Highland Place and the Roman Catholic Church, which is dedicated to St. Joseph.

Wind Street : Although no one would think so now, this narrow, meandering street was once the original ‘high street’ which led to the pre-industrial village of Aberdare, prior to the later development of the present Cardiff Street and Victoria Square in the 1850s and beyond. Three chapels stood on this street, Soar, which was an Independent chapel, Seion, a Wesleyan Methodist chapel and Bethania, which belonged to the Calvinistic Methodists.

Trecynon

Alma Street : this is the location of yr Hen Dŷ Cwrdd, the area’s oldest Nonconformist chapel, which was established in 1751 by members from the very early Nonconformist congregation which met in the Blaencanaid, Merthyr area from around 1650.

Mill Street : It is said that the name ‘Trecynon’ (meaning Cynon Town) was devised by the Revd. Williams Edwards, the minister of the local Ebeneser Welsh Independent Chapel around the 1870s, as a name for the entire area that developed to the north of Aberdare, between Gadlys and the lower outskirts of Hirwaun. Prior to that – and indeed for many subsequent years – the small handful of houses in the vicinity of the old mill on the bank of the Cynon River at the end of a narrow street, was known as ‘Heol-y-felin’ (Mill Road or Street) for that reason. The earliest Baptist cause predates the name-change – and was known as ‘Heol-y-Felin Chapel’ – even though it was not located particularly close to the old mill. The name ‘Mill Street’ is simply a translation of the Welsh Heol-y-felin, the Welsh being undoubtedly the earlier name. By the present day however, ‘Trecynon’ has totally eclipsed ‘Heol-y-felin’ as the name of the wider village (apart from the Baptist chapel) and ‘Mill Street’ has displaced the Welsh name for the narrow street which once led down towards the mill itself. To conclude, Heol-y-felin was originally the basis for the name of both the village and the street – but neither remain in current local use.

Mount Pleasant Street : This came into being at around the same time (or a little later) than the nearby pub, which was open by 1837. The First Eisteddfod about which details are known was held there during that year. The pub was known both as the ‘Mount Pleasant’ and by its Welsh equivalent, ‘Bryn Hyfryd’ at the time. The name ‘Bryn Hyfryd’ however does not seem to have been attributed to the street itself, and the pub is currently known only by its English name, ‘Mount Pleasant’.


Ebenezer Street : The Welsh Independent chapel, Ebeneser on this site dates from 1810. Although this chapel, which had an elegant interior and an unusual exterior has now fallen into disrepair following its closure some years ago, the cause continues with the congregation now worshipping at the school room opposite. This street was one of the oldest and narrowest in the original hamlet of Heol-y-felin.

David Leslie Davies, October 2021