Fountain and Canopy
Eight fluted columns carry eight semi-circular arches. Pierced foliage spandrels, dragon finials and a hemispherical dome of pierced foliage panels, crowned with a statuette of Samson, emblematic of strength. Decorative shields in the spandrel arches depict figures of miners and other symbols of the coal industry. The fountain is painted black and gold.
The fountain was inaugurated in 1906 to mark the granting of the town's charter. It remained in position until 1966 when it was removed as part of a road improvement scheme. By this time the original drinking troughs had been removed and the canopy needed restoration. It was relocated in 1966 within the Caedraw redevelopment area outside St. Tydfil's Church although the whereabouts of the original drinking fountain and five of the eight shields is unknown. In 1993 as a result of a refurbishment programme, the fountain was moved to its present position immediately south of St. Tydfil's churchyard. In 1995 the local council awarded the project to restore the fountain to Acorn Restorations Ltd and the resited and refurbished fountain was officially opened in July 1996.
The fountain was commissioned to celebrate Robert Thomas (1770-1829) and Lucy Thomas (1781-1847) of Waunwyllt. They successfully mined the deep-seam coal around Merthyr and marketed it in the expanding steam-powered industries in Wales and England. One of the donor's of the fountain, Sir W.T. Lewis, married Thomas's granddaughter.
Inscription on plate in one of the spandrel arches: ERECTED BY / SIR WILLIAM T. LEWIS / AND / WILLIAM THOMAS REES / OF ABERDARE / AND PRESENTED TO THEIR NATIVE / TOWN, IN COMMEMORATION OF / ROBERT AND LUCY THOMAS / OF WAUNWYLLT THE PIONEERS IN 1828 / OF THE / SOUTH WALES STEAM COAL TRADE IN THIS PARISH
Related works : A comparable statuette of Samson stands in Tredegar Grounds, Risca; see CAER001.
PMSA recording information