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Gwernymilrw Hotel - Senghenydd (1977)


(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.

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