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Gwaun Cae Gurwen > Area History

The story of Gwaun-Cae –Gurwen began in the 17th Century – It was was part of the Caegurwen Manor and was initially open common land surrounded by mountains. The meaning of Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen is ‘White Hemlock Moor’ and was once known as Gwaun Ceger Wen: Gwaun=Moor, Ceger/Cegyr=Hemlock, Wen=White. Other commonly used names for Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen is ‘Y Waun’ and G-C-G.

The most influential family in the development of Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen was the Jones family who owned most of the land and Pwll y Wrach Farm Estate. There used to be a small water powered mill near Pwll-y-Wrach falls which ran from 1841 – 1918. Above the Pwll-y-Wrach falls is the picturesque Viaduct which was built in 1911, it has 5 arches, 30 feet high and 66 yards long.
There is a well known myth that witches lived in the Pwll-y-Wrach estate and would often haunt the locals.

Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen is clearly defined by the coal industry with 3 pits in the community – Steer Pit, 1922/3-1959, East Pit 1910-1962/3 and Maerdy Pit 1886-1948. It is with pride the community acknowledges the memory of their forefathers and a memorial was erected in the village square in 1924. Due to the development of industry in the area, the Great Western Railway expanded lines in 1908. 

A well known landmark of Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen is Carreg Ffylfan – It is situated on Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Common. It was a stopping point for Drovers when taking animals from one place to the other carrying iron-ore to Ystalyfera and Ystradgynlais.

Our village has an excellent primary school teaching pupils between the ages of 3 to 11 years of age. Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen was initially sited on Water Street on the Pwll-y-Wrach Estate but moved to its new site next to Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Common in January 1993 which created new opportunities for the school and the wider community.

On the 1st of April 1928, the Old Public Hall burnt down and the new Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Hall and Library was built in 1931 and was officially opened on the 1st of October 1932. It has since been demolished and is now the home of Cwmgors Rugby Club. 

A great deal has changed with the times and those who live here think of Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen as a very special place with a community spirit.

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