About the Society
Historical Notes



The Cynon Valley History Society was founded in Aberdare in 1971. Our objects are to promote, encourage and maintain an active interest in the history of the district in all its aspects; to arrange talks and lectures; to undertake original research and assist in the collection of local material such as manuscripts, books, artefacts and photographs, and to publish titles on local history.

The Society presents a programme of 10 lectures each season and publishes a quarterly newsletter HANES (The Welsh word for History).

Please click on the links above to find out more about us, our publications and programme of lectures.

  1. The winter edition of Hanes, No. 77, will be issued during the Society’s February meeting, and thereafter to those who receive their copies by post.
  2. CVHS Letter Cards The Society has recently launched a set of four cards, three depicting views of the old Cynon Valley and a fourth depicting the Kangchenjunga painting. These will be on sale during the meeting on December 15th. If you are unable to attend that evening and you require some packs, will you please contact Haydn Williams on 01685 879793 or email on
    The cost of each pack is £4.00 with p&p at £1.30.
  3. Geoffrey Evans a former member of the society who has written several local history books and who has held various positions on our committee has been elected a Member of the Royal Historical Society in recognition of his contribution to historical research. We congratulate him on this achievement.
  4. Member Obituaries We regret to inform you of the deaths earlier this year of two of our valued members:
    • Raymond (Ray) John Davies (Lt. Cdr., RD, RNR) Ray, died on July 9, 2016, aged 85. He was born in Cwmbach in 1930, and following school he initially trained as an engineering draughtsman with the NCB and at the Treforest School of Mines for his HND. He became a full-time student and acquired a formal teaching qualification from the University of London, 1956–57, and subsequently an M.Ed. from Cardiff University. There followed appointments at Llanelly Technical College, 1957, then in 1961 he moved to a similar post at South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education. Next he embarked upon a completely new career in the Royal Navy where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He returned to civilian life in 1970, when he took up a teaching post in Marine Engineering at Llandaff Technical College. In the summer of 1959, Ray married a local girl, Margaret Shirley Phillips.
      Ray had a range of interests that were well developed: in literature, history, in many sports – he was a qualified football referee – and in music. The old Coliseum Operatic Society, Ebenezer Choral Society, Cwmbach Male Voice Choir and Mountain Ash Choral Society all benefited from his enthusiastic support. He was also involved in the ‘Cynon Valley Talking News’ which ensured that local unsighted people had access to taped readings of The Leader. He was also a keen Rotarian, and was well known in south Wales as a quizmaster and organiser of the club’s competitions. Ray was also celebrated for his lecture on The Sinking of the Titanic, which he must have delivered hundreds of times to various clubs and societies. He was also to be seen at the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies at Aberdare Cenotaph as Senior Officer. Ray was a faithful member of the Church, both as a choirboy at St Mary Magdalene, Cwmbach and in later life at St Elvan’s, a church that was almost full for his funeral on July 19th, 2016.
    • Alun Jenkins Alun died suddenly at his home on 23rd June, at the age of 72. He was celebrating the eighth anniversary of his kidney transplant in the week he died. His funeral service took place at Llwydcoed Crematorium on July 8th, 2016. Alun became a member of the society five years ago, and after joining the committee at the last Annual General Meeting, immediately took over the vacant position of Programme Secretary. Therefore, all of the lectures in the current season have been organized by him. Born in 1944, Alun lived all of his life in the village of Abercwmboi. He married Anne Winnan in 1965 and there were three children. Alun was a man of many parts: a Baker at Café Mona, The Co-operative Bakery and at Parry’s Butterful Cakes, having received a Hovis medal for baking; and Manager of Atkinson’s in Aberdare. He was also a representative of several life insurance companies; and once owned his own double-glazing company. He was also an acknowledged expert at repairing stained glass windows. Together with his family, he researched his family history, and his last project was finding, recording, and visiting the graves of the men from Abercwmboi who paid the supreme sacrifice during The Great War of 1914–1918. His son, Dean, will present the results of this research at the meeting on 19th, November, as a dedication to Alun.
  5. Mrs Gweno Lewis
    We are grateful to Meic Stephens the writer, and obituarist of The Independent newspaper, for permission to publish his obituary of Gweno Lewis, widow of the poet Alun Lewis. It can be found in the Historical Notes section of this website.
  6. Cynon Valley Museum Trust
    The Cynon Valley Museum Trust re-opened the Cynon Valley Museum on Saturday, September 3rd this year. If you are interested in volunteering to help with keeping this facility open, please see the ‘Expression of Interest Form’ — download here.
    The Trust is seeking any assistance, now or in the future, in the following areas :
    • Admin Support
    • Fundraising
    • Café
    • Training
    • Research and Development
    • Marketing and Social Media
    • Collections
    • Events
    The Cynon Valley History Society was at the forefront of the campaign to retain the Cynon Valley Museum, an institution, indeed, which was founded after many years of campaigning by our Society.

St Johns
Commercial Place

Commercial Place, Aberdare

small tithe map

Aberdare village according to the
Tithe map of 1847