Cyfarthfa Iron Works, Records

Scope and Content

Cyfarthfa Iron Works account books and index, 1791-1846 (with gaps).

Administrative / Biographical History

Iron production at Cyfarthfa (Glamorgan) was started by Anthony Bacon (1718-86) in 1765. In 1786, the ironworks were leased to Richard Crawshay (1739-1810) and in 1794, he became the sole owner. By 1803, the Cyfarthfa works employed 1,500 people and was said to be the biggest in the world. When Richard Crawshay died in 1810, the works passed to his son William Crawshay (1764-1834), who was deeply immersed in his work as an Indian merchant and had no time for the Cyfarthfa works. He in turn appointed his son William II (1788-1867) to manage the concern. It was during this period that the works achieved its greatest production levels. Robert Thompson Crawshay (1817-79) took over in 1847, but his refusal to change to steel production eventually brought about the closure of the works in April 1874. Following his death in 1879, the works were converted to a steel production plant, and continued in operation until 1902, when it was bought out by Guest, Keen and Nettlefold of the Dowlais works. The works closed in 1919, and dismantling was commenced in 1928.


Arranged in chronological order.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the Merthyr Tydfil Library, 1962.

Other Finding Aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the Glamorgan Record Office.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Hayden Burns for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Glamorgan Record Office, Catalogue of records for Cyfarthfa Iron Works; Ince, Laurence, The South Wales Iron Industry, 1754-1885, (England, 1993); Hayman, Richard, Working Iron in Merthyr Tydfil, (Cowbridge and Bridgend, 1989); Addis, J. P., The Crawshaw Dynasty, (Cardiff, 1957); Taylor, M. S., The Crawshays of Cyfarthfa Castle, (London, 1967

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Normal Glamorgan Archives conditions apply.

Appraisal Information

All records have been retained.


Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

Related units of description held at the Glamorgan Archives: DCR, Crawshay of Trefforest and of Bonvilston House.

Geographical Names