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Rhymney ( ) is a town and a community located in the county borough of Caerphilly, in south-east Walesmarker, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshiremarker. Along with the villages of Pontlottynmarker, Fochriwmarker, Abertysswgmarker, Deri and New Tredegarmarker, Rhymney is designated as the 'Upper Rhymney Valley' by the local Unitary Authority, Caerphilly County Borough Council. As a community, Rhymney includes the town of Rhymney, Pontlottyn, Abertysswg, Butetown and Twyncarno.


The town was founded with the establishment of the Bute ironworks in 1802. The Rhymney ironworks were later established from a merger between the . The ironworks used local coking coal, iron ore and limestone. From the mid-19th century, steam coal pits were sunk to the south of the town. The ironworks closed in 1891, and the collieries employed nearly the entire local population in the early 20th century.

The history of Rhymney is described in Rhymney Memories, a book by Dr Thomas Jones, who was born there and whose daughter, the Labour Party politician Eirene White was later granted the title Baroness White of Rhymney.

The Bells of Rhymney

Rhymney is known to many outside of Wales due to the poem "Bells of Rhymney" by Idris Davies, which was included in the book Gwalia Deserta in 1938. The poem, which follows the pattern of the nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons", was written about a coal mining disaster and the failure of the 1926 General Strike. In addition to Rhymney, the poem also refers to the bells of Merthyrmarker, Rhonddamarker, Blainamarker, Caerphillymarker, Neathmarker, Swanseamarker, Newportmarker, Cardiffmarker and Wye. Folk singer Pete Seeger used the poem as lyrics for his song "The Bells of Rhymney" which was first released on his and Sonny Terry's 1958 live album, Pete Seeger and Sonny Terry, recorded at New York's Carnegie Hallmarker. The song was also included on the 1967 compilation album, Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits. In 1963, the song was covered by folk singer Judy Collins on her third album, Judy Collins 3.

Arguably the most famous rendition of the song, however, was recorded by the American folk rock band, The Byrds, on their 1965 album Mr. Tambourine Man (see 1965 in music). "The Bells of Rhymney" was a relative new comer to The Byrds' stage repertoire at the time, having first been performed by the band during their pre-fame residency at Ciro's nightclub on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The Byrds' lead guitarist, Jim McGuinn, had first become familiar with the song during time spent as an arranger on Judy Collins' third album. Although The Byrds were anxious to pronunce the Welsh place names in the song's lyrics correctly on their recording, the band actually mispronounced the word "Rhymney". As well as being popular among the band's audience, The Byrds' recording of "The Bells of Rhymney" was also influential on The Beatles, particularly George Harrison, who constructed his own song, "If I Needed Someone" from the Rubber Soul album, around the same guitar riff that The Byrds had used on the song.

"The Bells of Rhymney" was covered by Cher, soon after the release of The Byrds' version, on her All I Really Want to Do album. The song has also been recorded by many other artists over the years, including The Alarm, The Ian Campbell Folk Group, John Denver, Robyn Hitchcock, and Ralph McTell.

Education and transport

The town's secondary school, Rhymney Comprehensive, serves a catchment area that includes Fochriwmarker, Pontlottynmarker and New Tredegarmarker.

In 1999 Ystrad Mynach Collegemarker launched its sister campus in Rhymney to serve the top end of the Rhymney Valley under the name The College Rhymney. The College Rhymey has undergone rapid growth since its opening with over 700 students enrolled on various courses in the academic year 2007-2008.

Rhymney railway stationmarker is on the Rhymney Line.

Notable people and organisations

The celebrated Welsh poet, Idris Davies (1905 - 1953), was born in Rhymney. After leaving school at the age of 14 he worked as a miner in the nearby Abertysswgmarker and Rhymney Mardy Pits. After participating in the failed General Strike of 1926, Davies moved to London where he worked as a teacher at various schools. During his lifetime, four volumes of his poetry were published: Gwalia Deserta (1938), The Angry Summer: A Poem of 1926 (1943), Tonypandy and other poems (1945), and Selected Poems (1953). He returned to Rhymney in 1947 and died of cancer on April 6, 1953.

The professor, civil servant, administrator, and author, Dr Thomas Jones CH (1870 - 1955), was also born in Rhymney. After leaving school at 14 he became a clerk at the Rhymney Iron and Steel Works. He was admitted to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1890 and later migrated to Glasgow University in 1890. Between 1904 to 1905 he lectured in Irelandmarker and upon returning to Wales in 1910 became Secretary of the Welsh National Campaign against Tuberculosis. He was appointed Secretary of the National Health Insurance Commission (Wales) in 1912 and transferred to London in 1916 as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, eventually becoming Deputy Secretary. He suffered a serious fall indoors at his home in Kentmarker in June 1955 and died in a private nursing home on October 15, 1955.

The town is also home to the Rhymney Silurian Male Choir, which was formed in 1951 to renew the tradition of male voice singing in Rhymney. During its history, the choir has won four National Eisteddfod titles and raised money for a number of charities. Other notable people born in Rhymney include the Major League Baseball trainer, John D. Reese, and Wing for Cardiff RFC, Tom James.

Major employers

Williams Medical Supplies Ltd

See also

External links



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