Garth Olwg

Some Info about Church Village

History

There has been a settlement in the Church Village area since before medieval times; we know this because St. Illtud’s Church, which was started in the 13th Century, was built on an ancient Celtic site.

Church Village is three miles from the historic market town of Pontypridd, famous for its Old Bridge & the home of James James & Evan James, composers of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the Welsh National Anthem. Other famous people born in & around Pontypridd include – Music: Sir Tom Jones, Sir Geraint Evans & Stuart Burrows. Literature: Catrin Collier, Elaine Morgan & Meic Stephens. Sport: Rugby players Neil Jenkins & Gethin Jenkins, World champion boxer Freddie Welsh, Professional Golfer Jamie Donaldson and Jenny James, the first Welsh woman to swim the English Channel in 1951 and it was actually in Church Village that Giles Smith and Bernard Friese started building their Gilbern cars in 1959.

Originally Church Village was the main local government centre for Newtown Llantwit, Efail Isaf, Tonteg, Church Village and Upper Church Village, these once had separate identities but today they are merging into one. In 1906 the Carnegie Library on the main road was built, in 1965 an extension was built on the side to house a new library and the main building was used as a Parish Hall. It is now used for various local activities, including a nursery and we have a new library on the Garth Olwg Community Campus, which includes the Lifelong Learning centre and Welsh primary and secondary schools.

Garth Mountain
Garth Olwg is Welsh for Garth View and refers to the Garth Mountain, which, at 1,007 ft high, is just high enough to be classified as a mountain (over 1,000 ft). On a very clear day you can see Cardiff to the south and across the Bristol Channel to Weston-Super-Mare, while to the north Pen y Fan is visible, but as the old saying goes "if you can see the Garth it’s going to rain; if you can't see the Garth it’s already raining".

There are various mounds visible on the ridge of the Garth Mountain, these were the inspiration for the book (and later the film) 'The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain’ by Christopher Monger. Set in 1917, the film tells the story of two English cartographers arriving at the fictional Welsh village of ‘Ffynnon Garw’ who cause local outrage when they reveal that their mountain is in fact only a hill because it just falls short of the required 1,000ft. Villagers then construct a tall cairn to ensure that the hill is high enough to be classed as a mountain.
In fact the mounds are tumuli (ancient burial sites), dating back from the early to middle Bronze Age, around 2000 BC. There are about five in total and the largest mound has a triangulation point on top of it.