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Welsh: Aberpennar
Thorn Hotel, Abercynon
Grid reference: ST083948
Location: 51°38’40"N, 3°19’36"W
Population: 6,428  (2001)
Post town: Mountain Ash
Postcode: CF45
Dialling code: 01443
Local Government
Council: Rhondda Cynon Taf
Cynon Valley

Abercynon is a village and parish in the Cynon Valley of Glamorgan. It lies approximately sixteen miles north of Cardiff and approximately forty miles from Swansea. The rivers Taff and Cynon converge at Watersmeet near Martin's Terrace. Abercynon used to have many churches, chapels and pubs. There are now only five public houses left - The Thorn Hotel, The Royal Oak, The Celtic Carvery, Brownies Bar and the Carne Park Hotel. The only churches still left are St Donat's Church in Wales, its daughter church, St Gwynno's, St Thomas' Roman Catholic Church and the Methodist church in Martin's Lane.

Historic transport links


The village was the terminus of the world's first steam railway journey when on 21 February 1804 the inventor Richard Trevithick drove a steam locomotive hauling both iron and passengers travelled from the Penydarren ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil to the basin of the Glamorganshire Canal at Abercynon.[1] There are memorials to Trevithick's journey at Penydarren and outside the fire station at Abercynon.

Abercynon Colliery was sunk by the Dowlais Ironworks in 1889 to supply a steel works in Cardiff. Employing nearly 3,000 men and part of the Powell Duffryn empire pre-World War II, it was in 1973 joined with the Lady Windsor Colliery at Ynysybwl. Known as the Abercynon Lady Windsor Colliery, it closed in 1988.

The village developed as a transport interchange being at the junction of the Merthyr and Aberdare branches of the Glamorganshire Canal and the Merthyr and Aberdare branches of the Taff Vale Railway. For a time it was known as "Navigation" and the Navigation Hotel, which was originally the headquarters of the Glamorganshire Canal, still bears this name.

Unusually for a village, until early 2008, it had two railway stations. One was on the line from Cardiff to Aberdare, namely 'Abercynon North'. The other, 'Abercynon South', was on the Cardiff to Merthyr Tydfil line. Following major work, the North station was closed and its services moved to the South station, now named simply 'Abercynon'.


Abercynon's rugby league side are called the Valley Cougars and play in the Rugby League Conference.

The local rugby union team is Abercynon RFC and during the 1970s the team won the Glamorgan County Silver Ball Trophy on two occasions.

Buildings and locations of note

Llancaiach Fawr Manor, a Tudor manor house, lies nearby.

The village of Abercynon is also home to the Thorn Hotel, which was once used by Tom Jones to practice his performances.

Abercynon Workingmen's Hall was once the largest in the South Wales coalfield, but was demolished in 1995.[2] Being built on a steep hillside the height of the pine end wall was over 70 feet from base to roof apex, whilst the front wall was just 35 feet.

The River Cynon flows into the River Taff at Abercynon

Notable people

  • Vic Crowe, Welsh international footballer, who played for and later managed Aston Villa was born in Abercynon.
  • Dai Dower, ABA flyweight boxing champion.[3]
  • Writer John Edwards of 'Talk Tidy' fame comes from Abercynon. He has written a number of books documenting his observations on 'Wenglish' (a dialect of Welsh English).
  • George Ewart Evans, folklorist and oral historian.
  • John Ewington, railway worker whose unfair treatment led to the Taff Vale Case which in turn was a central cause in the creation of the Labour Party.
  • Howard Radford, a former goalkeeper for Bristol Rovers was born in Abercynon.
  • Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West grew up in Abercynon.
  • David Thomas Jones attended the Navigation school 1902 to 1909 and was Member of Parliament for the Hartlepools 1945 to 1959.
  • Paul Mansell author of (When kids could play outside) Is written about a boy growing up in Abercynon in 1970's-80's pen name (Tom Evans).


  1. Davies (2008), p.4
  2. Davies (2008), p.751
  3. BoxRec.com Profile


  • Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel; Menna, Baines et al., eds (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6. 

Outside links