Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage' Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage'
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Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)


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Well Known Local Legends - Story of Cap Coch


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Well Known Local Legends

Story of Cap Coch (True Story)

The following is a true story, so macabre it has become a legend.
Wooded lane from A48 to Merthyr Mawr Dipping Bridge
The New Inn once stood in a little hollow on the track that led from Bridgend to Merthyr Mawr not far from the main A48 bypass of modern times.

Old Highway

The main road stopped at the river Ogmore where passengers on stage coaches travelling from the west had to alight, cross over at the ford and catch another coach at Ewenny for London - due to the break in the road most travellers went by foot or on horseback.
A lot of passengers were packmen carrying merchandise such as flannel, wool, skins and stockings as Bridgend at this time was the centre of the South Wales wool and stocking industry - the New Inn was a natural stopping place for these journeymen; none of them suspected that the night spent there was to be teir last on earth!

The New Inn

The licencee of the inn was known as Cap Coch due to the headgear he wore - this was a red stockinet cap of the so-called freedom fighters involved with the French Revoluntionary movement. He was a very powerful man with red hair and a bland face who attracted a gang of smugglers and outlaws - these made frequent raids on the main road, usually picking on the odd lone traveller, but their richest harvest was gleaned within the inn itself...

Suspicion

PANT Y LLADRON or THE ROBBERS HOLLOW

There were many curious traditonal stories to be gleaned from the older inhabitants in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Pant y Lladron or the Robbers Hollow translated into English is a lovely isolated spot situated within the Parish of Llantrithyd to the east of Stalling Down near Cowbridge.
There is an old story that in the old days a gang of notorious thieves made this their favourite hunting place in order to intercept and rob people who passed that way.
We are told that these highway robbers had trained a dog, a very large ferocious animal to jump behind any horseman who the robbers wished and thought fit to stop on the highway.
The dog is said to have held the person quite secure until the highway robbers arrived on the scene and captured their victims in order to rob and plunder them of any money and other property of value which they possessed.

Cap Coch

A man known by the name of Cap Coch was among the chief notorious highway robbers in the Vale of Glamorgam in the old days a century or more ago, and it was always said and asserted that certain people living in the neighbouring villages at that time used to give him the special tip when any especially eligible and profitable victims were expected to be travelling.

Extract from "History of the Vale"
Glamorgan Gazette - Friday June 11, 1915
Suspicion firstly fell on the inn when bodies were discovered at the mouth of the river Ogmore - the finding of bodies always coincided with the disappearance of packmen. There was no police force around during this time therefore suspicion remained conjecture.
Cap Coch and his associates became richer and richer, the goods of the murdered travellers finding a ready market with the people of the local town.
The mysterious disappearances went on for may years until, as legend has it, Cap Coch died peacefully in 1820 at the age of 90. Historical fact however, shows that he was hanged on Stalling Down near Cowbridge on the charge of stealing a sheep. The main bridge (A48) was constructed and opened in 1825 and the purpose of the New Inn was lost, falling into decay in this wooded dell.

Merthyr Mawr Dipping Bridge

An ancient bridge crosses the river near to where the inn had been situated; this is known as the Merthyr Mawr Dipping Bridge.

Discovery

At the beginning of the 20th century the dilapitated remains of the inn were demolished and the truth of the matter came to light.
A cave was found near the kitchen and in it were the remains of some of the booty Cap Coch and his murderous associates had gained. The garden was dug up revealing the bodies of murdered victims in rows of twos and threes at every conceivable spot. In one grave several skeletons were unearthed - the search continued beyond the confines of the house to reveal many more corpses, even in the fields some distance away.
Cap Coch had heeded the rumours over the finds in the Ogmore river and disposed of his victims in a safer place - safe enough for his guilt not to be proved until 80 years after his own death.

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Acknowledgements


Bibliography

  • Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services
  • Legends of Porthcawl & the Glamorgan Coast - Alun Morgan
  • Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group
  • National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (http://welshnewspapers.llgc.org.uk/en/home)

Webpage Author

  • Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2016


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