Local History

The Aber Valley, which was originally part of Glamorgan, but now in its post-mining era is part of the County Borough of Caerphilly, is made up of Abertridwr village and the more northerly village of Senghenydd both original mining communities with an extensive history of events that made the Valley what it is today.

The valley has subsequently been in decline since the closure of the pits, the major employer in the area for over a century. This has continued, exacerbated by the economic decline within the valley itself.

Despite this the spirit of the valley has always remained strong and it’s this strength that has enabled the Aber Valley to overcome difficult times. It’s this strength that has enable the local communities to be at the forefront of a series of regeneration projects in the area over recent years.

Abertridwr

(aber+tri+dwr)

The name means 'mouth of the three brooks', these being Nant Cwmceffyl, Nant Cwm Parc and a stream running down from Eglwysilan church.

The village is situated in a valley where three streams merge into one, Nant yr Aber, which flows out of the valley and joins the River Rhymney.

Senghenydd

(orginally from the name Sangan +
the suffix "ydd")

A settlement in the Aber Valley, the place name comes, in all likelyhood from 'land or territory associated with Sangan' and the suffix 'ydd' is often used following a personal name in Welsh to indicate that the land belongs to this person e.g. 'Meirionydd' or 'Eifionydd'.

The name refers to the 'cantref' or hundred that stretched from Whitchurch to Merthyr Tydfil. A hundred was an area of land supposedly containing one hundred commots, or settlements.

The name appears in many different forms over the centuries, including 'Seinhenit' (c1179), 'Seighenith' (c1194), 'Seynghenyth' (1271), 'Senghenyth' (1314), 'Seynthenneth' (1476), 'Seignhenith Suptus et Supra Cayach' (1578-84). It is possibly the spelling of 'Seint Genith' in 1326 has led to many believing that the name comes from 'Saint Cenydd' and the local church and comprehensive school have taken this name, as has the nearby 20th century settlement of 'Trecenydd'.

Senghenydd is well known in terms of coal-mining history as the location of two tragic mining disasters. On Friday, 24th May 1901, 78 men lost their lives in the Universal Mine, the first coal mine in the Aber Valley, which had only been in operation for 18 months. The disaster occurred at 5.30am as the night shift were leaving the pit and the three explosions were heard 3.5 miles away, with gas and huge rockfalls at the bottom of the shaft preventing rescuers from reaching the trapped men.

Twelve years later, on 14th October 1913, there was another far worse disaster when over 400 men were trapped underground by an explosion and fire just after 8am, just 2 hours into the morning shift. The explosion was so loud that it was heard in Cardiff, 11 miles away.