In 1841, Twyn-giden was a 50 acre farm on the hillside of the Bargoed Taff valley. Twyn-giden Farm is the name given on the modern OS map but in 1841 the farm was recorded under a variety of names, ‘Twyn Celyn’ on the 1841 Tithe map, ‘Tir Rees Griffiths’ in the Tithe schedule which gives the field names, and ‘Twyn Gudyn’ in the 1841 census return. It is also recorded under the name of Pen Craig Vargoed in Senghennydd Manor documents of 1756 to 1780. The name in 1670 is given as Tir Rees Griffith after the owner/occupier in the late 16th Century. The only available deeds relating to the farm date from the 1590s when about 10 acres of the farm was sold, this became the 8 acre small-holding Ty or Cae Llwyd owned by descendants of the Prichard family of Llancaiach.
In the 1540 Senghennydd Manor survey “Twyn-giden” is identified as the property owned and occupied by Griffith Llywelyn who paid a rent of 22½ pence to the lord of the manor, (This may be an error as in 1570 the rent is shown as 34½ pence, no other property showed this rent increase between 1540 and 1570). Little else is known of Griffith Llywelyn, he is shown as paying 12 pence in a 1545 tax on goods as opposed to land which would indicate he was relatively affluent compared to the size of his property. We also know that he had a son, as the 1570 Senghennydd Manor survey records the property as being owned and occupied by “Rees Griffiths Llywelyn son of Griffith Llywelyn”.
In a Senghennydd Manor document of about 1610 containing a list of over forty encroachment it says:
Rees griffith llen of Kelligare hath incroached one acre of arrable land, and builded a howse thereuppon. and sould the same to James ap John Welym of Lanvabon, after whose desease the same descended to John James his sonne and heyre who sould the same to Edward Prichard esquire, who nowe claimeth the freehould therof, and John Mathewe …? is his undertenant for yeares
Evidence of the sale is in the Llancaiach estate archive:
Conveyance for £20, 20 September 1592;
Rice Griffith Llewelyn of Gelligaer, yeoman, to James ap John Wylym (alias Wilym) of Llanfabon, yeoman;
A messuage and curtilage, and two closes of land called Cayer Coed (1½ acres), and Caye lloyd (3½ acres); all in Gelligaer. [The acres here would be the local Welsh or Llath Blethin measure which was 2.3 standard acres. So this would be approximately 12 acres]
Caye Coed is described as being in the tenure/occupation of Richard Wm John, and Caye lloyd as being between the land of Rees Griffith llen on the east, the land of Roger Rees Jevan on the south, the brook called hendre lawre on the west and the way called Keven forth on the north. It is uncertain why James ap John Wylym purchased these fields, they are on either side of “Twyn-giden”. Seven years later his son sold the fields to Edward Prichard of Llancaiach as shown by the following deed:
FINE levied at Michaelmas Term, 41 Eliz.  whereby John James John William and Elizabeth his wife convey, for £40 to Edward Pritchard, esquire, a messuage, etc., in Kellagaer [co. Glamorgan] [The “leavying of a fine” was part of the ‘registration’ of a land transaction. Most such ‘fines’ record a value of £40.]
These are the fields that became the small holding of Ty Llwyd. There is one other early reference to the farm, in the 1605 sale documents of neighbouring “Clwyd Trawscae”. The boundaries of “Clwyd Trawscae” are defined as having “The lands of Edward Rees Griffith on the West”. From which we can conclude that Rees Griffith had died and been succeeded by his son Edward. There is an earlier deed amongst those of the Thomas family of Llanbradach telling us something of the family. The catalogue entry for the deed says:
10 Aug 1596 Covenant to levy a Fine
Edward Rees, yeoman, and Gwenllian verch William, wid., both of Gelligaer
to Edward howell of Eglwsilan, yeoman
Property in Gelligaer
Examination of the document shows that the property was “late of Rees Griffith llen of Kelligare late father of the said Edward Rees” and is to be transferred in trust to David hoell of Lanfabon yeoman & William Griffith of Kelligare yeoman “to the use of the said Edward Rees & Susane Edward his now wife” and their heirs. It seems likely that the document refers to a marriage settlement and that Gwenllian verch William was the wife of Rees Griffith llen and Edward Howell, of Eglwysilan, the father of Susane Edward. But what became of the family is not known.
The 1630 Manor survey shows no trace of the family, it records “William Williams and Thomas Prichard for one tenement late the landes of Rice Griffith”. Thomas Prichard was a younger son of Edward Prichard of Llancaiach and was bequeathed a few properties in Gelligaer (the others being Blaenllwynau and Tirphil) and it is presumed that it is his ownership of the smallholding “Ty/Cae Llwyd” that warrants his inclusion here – although he does not appear to pay any lords rent on it. William Williams lived at Tophill in the neighbouring hamlet of Cefn and the family had been buying up many properties in Gelligaer, he was an uncle-in-law to Thomas Prichard, and it must be presumed that he bought the farm some time in the early part of the century. However the family did not retain it for long.
The Senghennydd Manor survey of 1670 shows the property as being owned by David John and occupied by Edward John. It is not known who David John and Edward John were. Edward John is among the tax-payers in Garthgynydd hamlet in 1660, whn he was assessed for 1 shilling – this being standard for a tenant farmer of this size. He is also shown as being assessed for one hearth for the Hearth tax of 1671 and 1672, although was recorded as being in arrears in 1671 and in 1673.
Like most properties in Gelligaer, there is limited information between 1670 and 1750. But from 1747 onwards there are Senghennydd Manor records. These show that in 1747 the owner and occupier was Edmund Evan. Edmund Evans voted in the election held on January 2nd 1744/45 which would indicate that he owned the property by 1745. In fact it is probable that he was the Edmund Evan who was bequeathed a property in the Will of Morgan William, written on 12th May 1740:
…. I give unto Edmond Evan my nephew one Messuage in the tenure and occupation of William Watkin situate lying and being in parish of Kellygare in the county of Glamorgan and in as large an ample manner as the same are held by the said William Watkin with houses, Barns, Cowhouses and all privilege and appurtenances unto the said Edmond Evan and his heirs forever, and I order that twenty pounds be paid out of the profitts of the said Lands to William Lewis my nephew by Edmond Evan in three years next after my decease; ……
Probate was granted to William Evan, nephew, 12th June 1740
Morgan William was a member of the family that owned Cwm Lwydrew in Ysgwyddgwyn Hamlet, how he came to own the property is not known. The farm remained in the family’s hands at least until 1841 when the owner is again an Edmund Evans. The Manor rental information shows the owner/occupier of “Twyn-giden” as being Edmund Evan from 1747 up to sometime between 1788 and 1793 when Lewis Evan becomes Owner/Occupier. However the rentals do not call the property Twyn-giden but Pen Craig Vargoed. The name Twyn-giden is not found until 1788. From 1783, land tax returns providegive more precise information. Edmund Evan was the owner up to 1794, after which Lewis Evan is was the owner. Edmund did not leave a will, nor is there any evidence of his burial. Lewis Evan was shown as the tenant from well before this, and he was also the tenant of neighbouring Lan isaf and Cae Llwyd. The lease by which he held Cae Llwyd is among those in the Dynevor archive, and is catalogued as:
Lease for 3 lives (of Wm. Evan aged 20, Lewis Evan aged 15 and Rachel Evan (children of lessee)), on Surrender of former Lease, annual rent £2 2s. 0d.; 16 Oct. 1771;
William earl Talbot, to Edm. Evan of Gelligaer, yeoman
A messuage, croft, and land (8 acres) formerly divided into 3 parcels
This tells us that Lewis Evan was born about 1756 and was the son of Edmund Evan. A Dynevor estate survey of the 1790’s shows Lewis Evan as tenant under the same lease with Lewis and Rachel still living, indicating that William the elder son had died, so leaving Lewis as the heir. The land tax returns show Lewis was replaced as owner of Twyn-giden by Amy Evans in 1800 (the returns for 1797-99 are missing). Lewis did leave a Will which was written 24 July 1800 and proved 27 November 1800, and tells us that his wife’s name was Amy and he had two children, Margaret and Edmond, who were under 21. Amy outlived her husband by only five years. Administration of her estate was granted to “David Lewis of Bedwellty, yeoman, and William Evans of Kelligare, yeomen legal guardians of Margaret Evans spinster, a minor, and Edmund Evans an infant children of Lewis Evans”. The Poll book associated with the election of 1820 has Edmond Evans of Bedwellty, farmer, owning property in Garthgynydd hamlet called Twyn cidin let to William Lewis. This suggests that the orphans had gone to live with their guardian David Lewis of Bedwellty, and continued to live there. Lewis Evans had married an Amy Lewis of Bedwellty so David Lewis was probably her father or brother.
After 1805, the land tax returns show the tenant to be a Thomas Jones from 1806 to 1816, and a William Lewis from 1817-1831 when the land tax return cease. Edmund Evans continued to be shown as the owner and was the owner in the tithe return of 1841. The census return of the same year show the occupier as William Walters, who had not been born in the county of Glamorgan.
1540 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Archive SC6/HENVIII/7493
1545 Tax: National Archive E179/221/238
1570 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute S1 & S2
1592 Part Sale: Glamorgan Record Office Dynevor D/DD 337,338
1605 Deed : Gwent Record Office Hanbury Archive JCH 1842
1610 Encroachments: National Library of Wales Bute M37/32
1630 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute M37/39
1660 Tax: National Archive E179/264/47
1670 Senghenydd Manor Survey : National Library of Wales Bute M37/41 & S11
1671 & 72 Tax: National Archive E179/221/294 & 296
1740 Will : National Library of Wales LL/1740/53
1744/5 Glamorgan Elections : Glamorgan Record Office DX/GC265
1755 Glamorgan Elections : Glamorgan Record Office DX/Q/D/R1
1747-1840 Senghennydd Manor Rentals : National Library of Wales Bute R6/2-5 & 32
1771 Lease : Glamorgan Record Office Dynevor D/DD 442
1783-1831 Land Taxes : Glamorgan Record Office Q/D/LTA/CAE
1800 Administration : National Library of Wales LL/1800/36
1805 Administrations : National Library of Wales LL/1805/38
1841 Tithe Schedule : Glamorgan Record Office P/1/2/13