Glamorgan Paranormal - Paranormal Activity In Wales

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Cyfarthfa Castle
Merthyr Tydfil




The Crawshay family of Cyfartha were one of the greatest families of iron makers in the 19 th century.

Richard Crawshay (1739-1810) was a Yorkshire man who bought the lease of the ironworks at Cyfartha near Merthyr Tydfil. He became the sole owner of the works in 1794.

William Crawshay I (1764-1834), was the son of Richard Crawshay and had less interest in the works and so oversaw the company's selling agency in London. However, William Crawshay I son, William Crawshay II (1788-1867) expanded the works at Cyfartha and became manager of both the Cyfartha and Hirwaun works. He also bought other ironworks at Treforset and the Forest of Dean.

It was William Crawshay II who built the family home at Cyfartha Castle in 1825, designed by architect Robert Luger in 1824, and also a mansion at Caversham Park in Berkshire. He was known as the ‘Iron King'.

Cyfartha Castle is a Grade I listed building surrounded parkland. It was built to overlook the Crawshay family's ironwork business.

When it was sold to the local Council in 1909, it was converted into a museum, art gallery and school. The basement has been converted into an area where the social and industrial history of Merthyr Tydfil is explained.

When William Crawshay died in 1867, he left the Treforest Ironworks to his son Francis; the Forest of Dean to his son Henry and the Cyfartha works to his youngest son Richard Thompson Crawshay.

Richard Thompson Crawshay was born in 1817 at Cyfartha and was the son of Richard Crawshay II and his second wife Elizabeth Thompson. He took a great interest in the works, and on the death of his brother, William became acting manager of the works.

On the death of his father in 1867, Richard Thompson Crawshay became the sole manager of the business. He extended and improved the works and the coal mines.

However, the business started to decline in the face of the revolution of the iron industry with the growth of steel production and in the last 2 years Richard Thompson Crawshay took little interest in the works. He died in 1879.

fter Richard Thompson Crawshay's death, Cyfartha changed from Iron production to steel production. Richard had left the business to his three sons, William Thompson, Richard and Robert, who continued under the name Messrs. Crawshay's Bros. until their absorption by Messrs. Guest, Keen and Nettlefold in 1902


William Crawshay II is said to be one of the ghosts that haunt Cyfartha Castle.His apparition is reported to have been seen regularly around the castle.

There was also a Chinese vase found in the cellar of the Castle, which was found by a member of staff. On leaning over the vase, the worker felt a strange feeling of falling into the vase. A few days later, while with a colleague, he leant over the vase again to see if the effect would be the same. Again, he felt he was falling into the vase. While investigating the vase, it was found to have been used in the Boxer rebellion in China, to catch the severed heads of the executed rebels.

Many staff, visitors and pupils have reported various unexplainable experiences over the years, including hearing footsteps when no one is around, items falling or being moved in a classroom thought to have been William Crawshay's bedroom.

Chairs have been seen to move on their own, doors in the Library have been locked from the inside, heaters have turned on themselves, windows have slammed closed, when there has been no draught or breeze and the feeling of being constantly watched when experiencing ‘cold spots‘.

It is thought one of the Crawshay's also haunts a hotel in Rhymney. A serving maid who worked at the property in the 1700's, had an affair with one of the Crawshay's and became pregnant. It is thought she committed suicide by jumping out of her bedroom window, where her body was later discovered in the gardens well, although her bedroom was situated at the front of the property and the well is situated behind the property.

William Crawshay II is buried in Pontsticill, and there are rumours that he was buried upside down as a way to stop his ‘evil soul' from escaping.

There have been numerous reports of an ‘eerie and strange feeling' experienced around his grave, whether it be daytime or nigh time.



Richard Crawshay I - 1739 - 1810 Buried at Llandaff Cathedral

William Crawshay I - 1764 - 1834 (Son of Richard Crawshay I)

Charlotte Crawshay - (2 nd Daughter of Richard Crawshay). Married Benjamin Hall (creator of Big Ben), the Samuel Hawkins.

William Crawshay II - 1788 - 1867 (Son of William Crawshay I). Commissioned Cyfartha Castle.

He married 3 times:

1) Miss Homfray 2) Miss Isabel Thompson 3) Mrs Johnson.

William Crawshay II had 4 sons:

1) William Crawshay - born and died 1839

2) Francis Crawshay - 1811 - 1878. He had 4 sons. The 4 th son was Tudor Crawshay who had a son Owen Tudor Crawshay who married Barbara Mary Nichol-Carne.

3) Henry Crawshay - 1812 - 1879.

4) Robert Thompson Crawshay - 1817 - 1879. Married Mary Rose Yeates, and resided at Cyfartha Castle. They had 3 sons:

1) William Thompson

2) Richard Crawshay - had only 1 son.

3) Robert Crawshay - last of the 4 generations of wealthy iron-makers.


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