King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Tuesday, February 26

Local History

Last night, I spent a delightful hour along with about 50 others in Ystradgynlais library learning about local history. A local historian, and father of one of my mates Daffy, was giving a talk on the local history, and prides himself on being able to justify his anecdotes with hard fact. The talk happened much too quickly, but some things I learned were invaluable.
  • Oliver Cromwell was Welsh, really being a Williams.
  • Ystradgynlais was home to one of the oldest Iron Foundrys in the world.
  • Cwmtwrch is not only famous for it's joke, but also a great flood of 1652.
  • Local churches managed most of the local hostelries, to stem the epidemic of drunkeness that seemed to be happening on Saturdays and Sundays. It didn't work.
And most interestingly, the area was almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. The nearest shop was in Neath, and the route was described.

The map above shows two routes to Neath From Ystradgynlais. The yellow route is realistically the quickest way today, is about 10 miles, and takes 10-15 minutes (although admittedly I once did it in 6 in the old T5). The red route was the only way to Neath about 300 years ago, and would take a whole day to get there. To be honest, the local bus service isn't much better today, taking up to 3 hours.
I will post more as I learn it.