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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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Little Known Legends - The Birth of General Picton


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The Birth of General Picton

Little Known Legends

The Birth of General Picton


Background

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton GCB (August 1758 18 June 1815) was a Welsh British Army officer who fought in a number of campaigns for Britain, and rose to the rank of lieutenant general. Picton was "respected for his courage and feared for his irascible temperament." He is chiefly remembered for his exploits under the Duke of Wellington in the Iberian Peninsular War and at the Battle of Waterloo, where he was mortally wounded while his division stopped d'Erlon's corps attack against the allied centre left, and as a result became the most senior officer to die at Waterloo.
Source: Wikipedia

The Birth of General Picton

General Sir Thomas Picton, one of the Duke of Wellington's divisional commanders who was killed at the battle of Waterloo had several connections with Porthcawl. One of the town's streets has been named after him, likewise a public house and one of his relatives, Mary Caroline, married James Brogden who built the docks and the early town. The story of his birth, a true account is now almost legendary. This is how General Picton entered the world.
Miss Cecil Powel (heiress of Llandow) was beauftiful and talented and as a direct result had many admirers and suitors both young and old; being highly spirited she steadfastly refused to get married before enjoying herself. Many tried to be her one and only escort but one suitor however, was so persistant that she devised a scheme that was to be both hilarious and effective.
She consented to marriage but only on one condition: that the ceremony should take place in St. Tresilion's Cave, St.Donats in the Vale of Glamorgan. This cave was situated in a lonely spot on the coast and had already been the scene of a romantic marriage many years previously. It was also the place that it was said where the body of a notorious Bristol Channel pirate had been buried.
She arranged for a bogus ceremony to be performed bribing a local man to act as the clergyman. All the guests were to be masked including the parson. When it was all over she would announce that the marriage must be annulled for it had been a sham from start to finish.
The earnest groom would then find himself defeated and everyone would burst into laughter.
Everything was arranged and the wilful girl appeared at the cave in a beautiful wedding dress accompanied by bridesmaids. The ceremony was dutifully performed and then when it was over the clergyman removed his mask to reveal himself as the Reverend Edward Powel, Rector of Llandow and father of the bride. He and the suitor had heard of the plot, paid off the hired man and conspired together to make the real thing of it. The bride found herself properly and irretrievably married.
Recovering from her shock Cecil Powel relented and saw the humerous side of things, she and her husband remained happily married all their lives giving birth to a son who was christened Thomas Picton - later to serve his country well and fall at Quatre Bras.
Source: Legends of Porthcawl & the Glamorgan Coast - Alun Morgan







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Acknowledgements


Bibliography

  • Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services
  • Legends of Porthcawl & the Glamorgan Coast - Alun Morgan
  • BBC - Photo, General Picton
  • Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group

Webpage Author

  • Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2011


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