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Rhymney Wales

Can you actually hear the bells of Rhymney (not the song) when you visit Rhymney, Wales? My itinerary will be affected by your answers!! Thanks.

Posted by
2444 posts

I have never heard of the Bells of Rhymney. Rhymney is in the former coal mining area of south Wales and I would not advise any tourist to visit the place. However, the scenic Brecon Beacons National Park lies just to the north.

Posted by
6113 posts

I have never heard of the song or the place. It’s not the most salubrious of areas - it’s a long time since I have seen somewhere with so many properties for sale for under £100,000!

There appear to be 2 churches and a chapel in Rhymney - the chapel doesn’t have bells and the RC church of St John’s doesn’t mention bells, which leaves the Anglican St David’s. There was a 2011 newspaper article on Google that indicated that the church had been refurbished and they were hoping to restore the bells and the bell tower at some future date. Nothing has been subsequently mentioned.

If it is key, I suggest that you contact the vicar there. Bells are only likely to be rung on a Sunday morning. It’s not the area to spend much of your precious holiday time.

Posted by
1296 posts

I think there may be some (over) romanticising of the song, the lyrics of which commemorate a mining disaster and the failure of the 1926 General Strike (see Wikipedia) so a grim subject in a grim area. However, as the poem is based on ‘Oranges and Lemons’ there are lots of other bells mentioned in different and possibly more salubrious spots so maybe try and have a listen to see if you can hear them.

If heading to London ‘Oranges and Lemons’ will give you a whole other set of bells to track down!

Fun fact 1: If you’ve been listening to the version of the song by The Byrds, you are probably pronouncing ‘Rhymney’ incorrectly!

Fun fact 2: Re ‘Oranges and Lemons’, true Cockneys are said to be those born in earshot of the bells of Bow.


Posted by
1923 posts

Very few churches actually ring their bells now. They may ring them for a short while on a Sunday before services, but you won't get the 'proper' peel of bells which can last for quite a long time.

Having done a google image search for Rhymney, I wouldn't bother!

Posted by
729 posts

Rhymney is known to many outside Wales due to folk singer Pete Seeger's song "The Bells of Rhymney". The lyrics to the song are drawn from a poem by Idris Davies, and the poem was first published in Davies' 1938 anthology Gwalia Deserta. The poem was inspired by the failure of the 1926 General Strike and by the Marine Colliery disaster of 1 March 1927. In addition to Rhymney, the poem also refers to the bells of Merthyr, Rhondda, Blaina, Caerphilly, Neath, Brecon, Swansea, Newport, Cardiff and the Wye Valley.

The song has been covered by a number of acts over the years, including Judy Collins, Cher, the Alarm, the Ian Campbell Folk Group, John Denver, Robyn Hitchcock, Oysterband and Ralph McTell. Arguably the most widely known rendition of the song, however, was that recorded by the American band the Byrds for their 1965 album Mr. Tambourine Man.