About the Society
Historical Notes


This map shows the village of Aberdare as it was in 1847. It is taken from the Parish Tithe Map of that date. The purpose of the map and a schedule that accompanied it (drafted in 1844), documents drawn up under the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836, was to reform an ancient obligation under which every eligible person in the parish had to pay one tenth of the produce of their land in kind to the Established (Anglican) Church.

After the passing of the Act, and the survey that resulted in the drawing-up of the schedule and map, the Tithe was replaced by a monetary payment based on the septennial value of corn. This new system became known as Corn Rents. The amount payable to the church by the parishioners of Aberdare under this new legislation totalled £352.18.6d.

The Survey of 1844-47 determined that the extent of the parish was 13,000 acres (approximately 250 times the size of Aberdare Park). The population of the whole of Aberdare at that time was just over 6,471.

The scale of the Tithe Map is 8 chains to one inch.

As can be seen from the map, Aberdare in 1846 presented a different aspect to the one we know today. It is virtually undeveloped, and the Aberdare we see before us is as it was on the eve of industrialisation. Documents of that time still referred to it as the village.

A good half of the area shown is taken up by the Gadlys Ironworks, which was opened in 1827 on George Rowland Morgan’s Gadlys Isha Estate. The Glebeland of 17 acres (the area marked Dean and Chapter of Gloster) was set aside for the benefit of the parish priest at the same time as the building of St. John’s Church, that is around the year 1200. It can be seen how the reservation of this land caused a pattern of settlement away from the parish church. The first buildings to be erected on the Glebeland were public houses, The Queen’s (Burton’s the tailor), The Gloucester Arms and The Hen and chickens, (now The Whitcombe).

The River Dare flowed through the centre of the village, unculverted as it is today. In 1846 it could only be crossed by means of a bridge, the Welsh Harp Bridge, near the former F.W. Woolworth Store. This can be seen near enclosure No.1977. Canon Street and Market Street did not exist at this time, and only one side of Commercial Street was developed. Urbanization of the Glebeland (No.1976) was completed by 1855, providing us with enduring links with Gloucester Cathedral through such street names as Canon, Dean, Gloucester etc.

The land parcel numbers shown on the map correspond with the Tithe Schedule, which identifies each one.

Large Aberdare Tithe Map

Key to Some Of The Parcel Numbers Shown On The Map

1943. The furnaces of Gadlys Iron Works. (At the rear of the Museum).

1948. Gadlys House (Elm Grove) originally a farm, then a ‘Grand House’.

1949. Ornamental Plantation.

1950. Cae Wayne.

1974. St. John’s Church.

1980. The hillock upon which St. Elvan’s Church now stands. This land, owned by the Marquis of Bute, was reserved for Church building purposes. Mining operations below the land were not permitted.

1988. ‘Bryngolwg’ (Until recently Aberdare Ex-Servicemen’s Club).

2029. The square enclosure in this field was the village pound.

2031. The Black Lion Hotel and Brewery.

NOTE. There are cottages with frontal gardens in Victoria Square and Commercial Street where there are now shops.

The tramroad, connecting the Hirwaun, Llwydcoed and Gadlys Iron works to the Aberdare Canal, passes through 1274, and the settlement known as The Trap. The Aberdare Railway can be seen between enclosures 1942 and 1941. The River Cynon flows between 1275 and 1274.


The names of a few of the landowners of the time are discernable, George Rowland Morgan (The Gadlys Estate), The Dean and Chapter of Gloucester, David Davies of Ynyslwyd, and The Marquis of Bute.
The development of The Ynyslwyd Farm gave us Davies town (c/f Foundrytown), and streets bearing family names such as Griffith (Davies), and his children Catherine, Mary, Elizabeth, John, David Price and of course Ynyslwyd Street.
The Bute interest is recalled by Bute Street, The Bute Arms, Marquis of Bute Inn, Dumfries Street, Nith Street (a river in Dumfries), and Stuart Street.
To explore all the tithe maps of Wales visit the National Library of Wales page Welsh Tithe Maps

Tithe Map extract reproduced by permission of the vicar and churchwardens of the parish of Aberdare.
Photography by Douglas Williams.
Text by Geoffrey Evans.
© Cynon Valley History Society 2006.