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Title: Penygraig  
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Subject: Glyncoch
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Rhondda Cynon Taf
Population 5,877 (2001)[1]
OS grid reference
Principal area Rhondda Cynon Taf
Ceremonial county Mid Glamorgan
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CF40
Dialling code 01443
Police South Wales
Fire South Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Rhondda
Welsh Assembly Rhondda
List of places
Rhondda Cynon Taf

Penygraig (Head of the Rock) is a village and Wales. As a community Penygraig contains the neighbouring districts of Dinas, Edmondstown, Penrhiwfer and Williamstown.

Early history

The original settlement which in now Penygraig was called Ffrwd Amos, though as with the rest of the Rhondda before industrialisation the only settlements were farmsteads. In 1832, Soar, one of the first baptist chapels in the Rhondda was built at Penygraig by preacher David Williams.[2]

Industrial Penygraig

Coal mining began in Penygraig in 1857 when Thomas Ellis sank a drift mine. In 1858 Moses Rowlands and Richard Jenkins discovered a seam at Penygraig and would later form the Penygraig Coal Company. The Company sank the first deep pit in the village, The Penygraig Colliery; after which the village would be named. After the Penygraig Colliery showed a successful profit the Naval Colliery Company opened a second deep pit, The Pandy, which reached the steam coal seam in 1879. The Pandy was then sold to the New Naval Colliery Company after three disasters, which then opened three more deep mines The Ely, the Nantgwyn and the Anthony Pits. The New Naval company would then become part of the Cambrian Combine, owned by Viscount Rhondda. The Ely Colliery would be the centre of the Cambrian Combine dispute, which in turn would lead to the Tonypandy Riot.[3]

The Naval Colliery pit disasters

The first of three disasters to occur at the Naval Colliery happened on 4 December 1875 when a flood broke through into the mine, resulting in two miners drowning and the lives of many others placed at risk. Then on 10 December 1880 a gas explosion took the lives of 101 miners out of the 106 who were working in the mine at the time. This was followed on 27 January 1884 when another explosion led to the death of fourteen men.[4] These disasters are likely factors in the Naval Colliery Company selling the mine in 1887.

Sport and leisure

Penygraig is home to rugby union team Penygraig RFC, which during the late 19th and early 20th century was one of the most notable rugby clubs in the Rhondda, producing Wales international players Dai Evans and Jack Rhapps, and was the early club of British Isles rugby representative Percy Bush.

Notable people

Penygraig, like many of the villages of the Rhondda, also produced notable boxers, including Tom Thomas, who in 1908 became the first British national middle-weight champion, and in 1909 was the first winner of the Lonsdale Belt at the same weight.

Leanne Wood, the current leader of Plaid Cymru was born in Penygraig.

External links

  • Rhondda Cynon Taf Library Services, Heritage Trail:Penygraig


  1. ^ National Office for Statistics
  2. ^ Davis, Paul R. 'Historic Rhondda' Hackman (1989) pg.32 ISBN 0-9508556-3-4
  3. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg560 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  4. ^ Welsh Coal Mines website: Naval death toll figures
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