1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pontypridd

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PONTYPRIDD, a parish, market town, and urban district, in the eastern parliamentary division of Glamorganshire, Wales, situated on the Taff at its junction with the Rhondda, on the Taff Vale railway, and on the Glamorganshire Canal, 12 m. N.N.W. from Cardiff, 12 S. from Merthyr-Tydhl, and 169 by rail from London, It is also connected with Newport by a Great Western line 181/4 m. long. Pop. (1901), 32,316. It receives its name from a remarkable bridge of one arch spanning the Taff, erected in 1755 by William Edwards, a self-taught mason. The bridge is a perfect segment of a circle, the chord being 140 ft., and the height at low water 36 ft. A three-arched bridge was erected close to it in 1857. The town is built at the junction of the three parishes of Llanwonno, Llantwit Fardre and Eglwysilan, out of portions of which Glyntaff was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in 1848, and from this Pontypridd was carved in 1884. The urban district was constituted into a civil parish in 1894. The church of St Catherine, built in 1868, enlarged in 1885, is in early Decorated style; other places of worship are the Baptist, Calvinistic Methodist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels. The principal secular buildings are a masonic hall, town-hall built above the market, free library (1890), county intermediate school (1895) and court-house. Near the town is a far-famed rocking-stone 91/2 tons in weight, known as the Maen Chwyf, round which a circle of small stones was set up in the middle of the 19th century under the direction of Myvyr Morganwg, who used to style himself archdruid of Wales. The place became, for a time, famous as a meeting place for neo-Druidic gatherings. Pontypridd was an insignificant village till the opening of the Taff Vale railway into the town in 1840, and it owed its progress chiefly to -the development of the coal areas of the Rhondda Valley, for which district it serves as the market town and chief business centre. It also possesses anchor, chain, and cable works, chemical works, and iron and brass foundries. Pontypridd has, jointly with Rhondda, a stipendiary magistrate since 1872.