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East Fforest Fawr and Mynydd-y-Glôg
Historic Landscape

Historic Landscape Characterisation

East Fforest Fawr and Mynydd-y-Glôg


The historic landscape area is remote from centres of population and consequently has few significant historical or cultural associations.

A number of early antiquaries, including Theophilus Jones, the Breconshire historian, associated Cwm Cadlan with a battle between the forces of Iestyn ab Gwrgan and Rhys ab Tewdwr in the 11th century. The association is most probably mythical, however, and no doubt a speculation based on the second element of its name, the Welsh cadlan meaning ‘battlefield, battle’, and the presence of numerous carneddau or burial mounds in this area, which today are considered to be most probably of early prehistoric date.

Cwm Cadlan is more reliably thought to have associations with the notorious Lewis Lewis, a figure of some significance to the social history of south Wales in the early 19th century. Lewis, also known as ‘Lewsyn yr Heliwr ’ and ‘Lewsyn Shanco Lewis’ was the son of Jenkin, butcher, and Margaret Lewis of ‘Blaencadlan’, Penderyn, born in 1793. He took a leading role in the Merthyr Rising in 1831, a popular protest brought about by rising prices, hardship and poor working conditions. ‘Blaencadlan’ is possibly to be identified with the farm Beili-Helyg (which though shown by this name on the Penderyn tithe map of 1840, is named as ‘Blaen Cadlan’ on the accompanying schedule) rather than the now-derelict cottages on the moorland edge at Blaen-cadlan-uchaf and Blaen-cadlan-isaf. At the time of the riots Lewis was employed in carting coal from the pits at Llwydcoed to the limekilns at Penderyn, hence the origin of his soubriquet ‘Lewsyn yr Heliwr’ (‘Lewis the haulier’). At the subsequent Cardiff assizes he was charged with instigating the attack on the house of Joseph Coffin, the clerk to the Court of Requests on 2 June, and inciting the crowd to seize the arms of the soldiers of the 93rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot outside the Castle Inn in Merthyr on the next day. He was seized in the Penderyn district a few days later, and alongside Richard Lewis (‘Dic Penderyn’) was condemned to death for riotous assembly and the destruction of the house and property of Joseph Coffin. In Lewis Lewis’s case the sentence was commuted to transportation for life.

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