Aber Valley Heritage Museum
Gwern Avenue
CF83 4HA
Tel: 02920 830445


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Striking the bells for Senghenydd


St Martin Church100 years after the largest British mining disaster in history, bellringers at St Martin's Church, Caerphilly, will attempt to ring the church's 8 bells in a special way normally reserved for Remembrance Sunday.

Monday 14th October marks the 100th anniversary of a disaster that ripped apart nearly every household in the Aber Valley. 439 men and boys perished that morning in an explosion that ripped through Universal Colliery, Senghenydd.

On the evening of the centenary, a full peal of the method Grandsire Triples will be attempted on the 8 bells of St Martin's Church Caerphilly. This requires the bells to be rung half muffled with a piece of leather covering one side of each bells clapper so that on alternate strokes a muted echoing sound is emitted, creating a reflective and resounding mood into the ringing.

The ringers will attempt to ring a peal consisting of all 5040 possible combinations of bells 1 to 7 with the heaviest bell, the tenor, always striking the "last beat of the bar" and providing a steady rhythm.

The peal will be performed from memory with no "score" being used. If successful the ringing will last for approximately three hours and will be the 100th peal at St Martin's. The first was rung on 25th March 1911.

The bellringers of South Wales are always willing to receive enquiries from those who would like to learn more about this fascinating hobby. For more information please see or contact

A full programme of events have been planned to honour those who lost their lives in the Senghenydd disaster, including the unveiling of a Welsh National Mining Memorial on the former colliery site.

For full details of what has been planned to mark the 100th anniversary of the worst mining disaster in British history and to find out more about the National Mining Memorial go to the Events page.


A typical act of bravery took place on 17th August 1917 when Sgt Gilbert Lloyd, (Senghenydd), South Wales Borderers who, together with five others soldiers, held an isolated position until his battalion had been relieved and then brought out their wounded whilst still under fire.

He was awarded the MM at a local ceremony held on “The Rec” in August 19, 1919.  At this same ceremony where the villagers turned out in their thousands to see Colonel H E Morgan Lindsay, CB, DSO award the decorations to Sgt Lloyd and the men and also to the families of those Killed in Action (KIA). All listed below.

Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)   Military Medal (MM)

Cpl. Tom Locke Sapper Robert Jackson

Pte. William Higgs Bdr. H C Fleet

Dvr. R G Taylor

Gnr. David Davies

Sgt. King Humphries

Pte. Syd Edwards


Distinguished Conduct Medal Military Cross (MC)

Sgt. T H Brown (KIA) Lt. J A Roberts(KIA)

(accepted by his wife) (accepted by his father)

Photo of Sgt Gilbert Lloyd


Wounded on three occasions before winning the MM in 1917.  Became a


Lieutenant in Home Guard, Aber and

and Senghenydd Platoon 1940-46.

Secretary of local Ex-Servicemen’s

Club for over 50 years.