The historical market town of Maesteg is nestled in the heart of the Llynfi Valley and surrounded by the neighbouring villages of Llangynwyd, Garth, Cwmfelin, Nantyffyllon and Caerau. According to the latest Census statistics (2011), Maesteg has a population of some 20,612 inhabitants.
Maesteg has a number of ‘claims to fame’.
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of my Father’s, the Welsh National Anthem) was first publicly performed at the Calvinistic Methodist Chapel of Tabor on 1st March, 1856. Composed by James James and his father, Evan James, of Pontypridd, it was sung by 16-year-old Elizabeth John – also from Pontypridd – as part of a St David’s Day concert under its original title, ‘Glan Rhondda’.
Aside from Maesteg’s strong musical and choral repertoire, the surrounding mountains pay tribute to the valley’s historial past, from early burial mounds and the earthworks of a Roman camp to the last remaining signs of the once great and powerful iron mining industry which sustained the people of the valley.
Nearby in the historical village of Llangynwyd (though not under the jurisidiction of Maesteg Town Council) is the ancient church and the Old House Pub, dating back to the year 1147. It is said that Wil Hopkin wrote the song ‘Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn’ (Watching the White Wheat) at this pub and here, you can still witness the famous ‘Mari Llwyd’ tradition on New Year’s Eve. The Old House, together with The Corner House pub (the home of Wil Hopkin) both feature in the legend of The Maid of Cefn Ydfa.