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)

The Official Kenfig Community History Project
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History - Kenfig & surrounding areas from Prehistory to the Present Day

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Kenfig & surrounding areas from Prehistory to the Present Day

The old Kenfig Borough / Old Bro Cynffig

The Complete History

Kenfig and its surrounding area is steeped in history from prehistoric times through to having strong Roman and Viking influences on a more modern historical timescale. The surrounding neighbourhoods of Kenfig grew up from the incursion of sand that eventually engulfed the city of Kenfig. The ancient city of Kenfig's real history probably begins around the time of the Normans with the building of Kenfig Castle in the 12th century. Learn about Kenfig and its surrounding areas. From The Buried City of Kenfig, Kenfig Castle, and Kenfig Pool, through to the Geological Make-up of Kenfig and its surrounding areas in general.

Where is the ancient Borough of Kenfig?

Locate Kenfig and its buried city together with a host of other important local travel and tourist Information here on [ Location Guide ] ...see map opposite.

Kenfig Timeline c.1147-1886

A Timeline of Kenfig's History from 1147 - 1886 A Timeline of Kenfig's History from 1147 - 1886

Kenfig Timeline c.1147-1886

The earliest reliable reference to the town of Kenfig comes in a document dated c.1141-7 in which a reference to a burgage indicates that Kenfig was already then a Chartered Borough. The Kenfig History Timeline is categorised into the various centuries it was associated with. The information has been cross-referenced with integrated associated website links making this section a unique repository of local historical facts that can be used as a research platform.
Kenfig History Timeline c.1147-1886 ...Includes links to Welsh wills for the Diocese of Llandaff 1568-1857 (Parish of Kenfig) provided by the National Library of Wales.


The Town Hall - Prince of Wales Inn

The Town Hall - Prince of Wales Inn

The Prince of Wales Inn

The Town Hall of the Ancient Borough of Kenfig replaced the old guild hall of the ancient Borough which once stood in the old medieval town and is the focal point of the Borough both within its present and former transitions. The building is owned by The Kenfig Corporation Trust; its upstairs room has been in continuous usage for centuries and it was within this very room that the Burgesses exercised their rights granted by the Kenfig charters.


St James' Church - Kenfig

A Norman Church built c.1147-1154

St James' Church - Kenfig
Built between c.1147-1154 - William, Earl of Gloucester petitioned the Abbot of Tewkesbury to permit Henry Thusard (Clerk and first Incumbent) to build a church in the town of Kenfig.
With the encroachment of sand at the town of Kenfig, St James' church was moved and erected in Pyle.

Kenfig Castle

The remnants of a Norman Castle built c.1140

Kenfig Castle
Built c.1140 AD by Robert Fitzhamon, Lord of Gloucester this Norman castle was at the heart of Kenfig's infrastructure as an important maritime trading town.
Controlled by the Normans Kenfig was seen by the Welsh as an economic and political threat and was attacked at least nine times or more.

Local News Stories

Ancient Footprints at Kenfig

Ancient Footprints at Kenfig

Ancient Footprints at Kenfig

Discovered in 2007 below the high tide mark, between Gwely'r Misgl and Sker Point, the dating of footprints at kenfig are estimated between the beginning of the 1st century BC to the beginning of the 2nd century AD.
This information is kindly supplied by Steve Maitland Thomas, who, in addition to John Blundell discovered the footprints on Kenfig Sands in January 2007.
Photo: Glamorgan Gwent Archaelogical Trust

New Fossils in Kenfig Area

Dinosaur jawbone - Stormy Down

Dinosaur Fossils found at Stormy Down

Zanclodon Cambrensis

Found at Stormy Down in 1899 this sketch is reproduced from Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London & illustrates jawbone from a Zanclodon (a two legged reptile with large head, short arms, standing upright with long tail) which belongs to late Triassic Period. This was 1st of its species recorded in Wales.

Remains are on display in National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.


Barrie Griffiths (1942-2009) - A fitting Tribute to a local Historian

Barrie Griffiths (1942-2009) - A fitting Tribute to a local Historian
This section is dedicated to Mr Barrie Griffiths who was a prolific local historian & mainstay of Kenfig History Society; his research was thorough & his works and publications well respected throughout both the local communities and the world.


1982 - 1st Local History Booklet Published

1st Local History Booklet Published
Some 7 years before the Kenfig History Society was founded, a local history booklet was published by the Kenfig Press of Arthur Smith at Heol Fach, North Cornelly. A tribute to his grandfather who was the 1st Kenfig Councillor to be Chairman of Penybont Rural District Council & who was made a J.P. in the Coronation Year of 1937.
Only around 200 free copies of this booklet were ever published. This website project has managed to obtain a copy & is now digitally publishing this here so that it can be archived.
... View Coming soon


The Seal of Kenfig Borough

The Seal of Kenfig Borough

The seal was used by Alice, the widow of John Peruat, (former Burgess of Kenfig) for her gifts of land & 2 burgages in the town of Margam Abbey in 1320 & 1321 because 'her seal is unknown to many persons'. In August 1325 the seal was used by John Nichol of Kenfig when he quit-claimed to the monks all his land & burgages in the town.

This wasn't the only seal used by the burgesses. John (son of Henry de Bonville) used the Kenfig Borough Seal on a receipt for payment in lieu of arrears on a pension he was receiving from the monks. Instead of an ornamental cross between 4 pellets, the seal outlined displays the device of a fleur-de-lis.

Kenfig Corporation Trust

A charity charged with administration of Borough property since 1886

Kenfig Corporation Trust - A charity charged with administration of Borough property since 1886
History of trust including High Court Case of 1971 over ownership of Kenfig Common; Pyle & Kenfig Manorial Court Presentments from 1676 and list of Portreeves of Kenfig Borough 1339-1886.

A Brief Background

Archaeological evidence has suggested that there has been a settlement at Kenfig since Roman times. Pieces of Romano-British pottery, a roofing tile and a coin depicting the emperor Constans (337 – 350 A.D.) have been found. Additionally, a Roman road runs through the Borough complete with mile stones. These mile stones are situated in Margam and Pyle and they carry inscriptions to the emperors Postumus (259 – 268 A.D.) and Victorinus (268 - 270 A.D.) respectively. In the wider landscape Neolithic arrowheads, scrapers, a dwelling and a burial urn have also been uncovered suggesting that Kenfig has been a home to people for at least 4000 years.

The Iron Age

Iron Age settlements were constructed to the North and to the East of Kenfig providing a continuity of occupation into Roman times. The Iron Age people of Kenfig were known as the Silures and they were led by Bodvoc, son of Caitegern, great-grandson of Eternalis Vedomavus. Bodvoc was killed in the struggle against Rome by legionaries commanded by Julius Frontinus. The ‘Bodvoc Stone’, a tribute to the Silurian leader, now stands in the Margam stones museum.

The Romans

The Romans were converted to Christianity by the Emperor Constantine in 313 A.D. and the pagan tribes of Kenfig were forced to abandon their gods and worship the god of Rome. As Christianity took hold among the Silures, and Britain as a whole, monasteries were built, including an early structure at Margam. To this day, an abbey exists at Margam, thus providing a link to those early Christian founding fathers.

Irish, Angles, Saxons & Vikings

By 410 A.D. the Roman Empire was in decay and the troops stationed in Britain were called back to defend Rome. The vacuum left by the Romans was filled by numerous raiders over the coming centuries, including the Irish, the Angles, the Saxons and the Vikings. It is suggested that the Vikings settled in the area and that local place names such as Sker, and Kenfig itself, are of Viking origin.

The Normans

By the 11th century a new power had emerged in Europe: descendants of the Vikings, the Normans invaded Britain and led by Robert Fitzhamon they took control of Kenfig, c1100 A.D. A castle was built, initially of wood, to help suppress any local opposition and that was followed by a church, dedicated to St James. A town was established, made up of Norman and English settlers, and a system akin to apartheid was set in place. Needless to say, the indigenous people, who were largely excluded from the town, took exception to this imposition and the town was raided on the 13th January 1167. As a result of this, and subsequent raids, the wooden castle was replaced by a stone tower and the donjon that would come to dominate Kenfig for the next 300 years was born.


Ben, the Hermit of Kenfig Sands - View Story

The Story of a Welsh 'Robinson Crusoe', the difference being that he was cast up from a coal mine and not by the sea.

Ben, the Hermit of Kenfig Sands - View Here


The Buried Medieval Town of Kenfig - 3 day Archaeological Dig (August 2011) - View Time Team Visit to Kenfig

The Channel 4 Time Team spent 3 days at Kenfig (Wed 10/Thu 11/Fri 12 August 2011) on an archaeological dig/filming expedition to locate the medieval buried town of Kenfig in the sand near Kenfig Castle. This section on Kenfig's website is aimed at documenting Channel 4 Time Team's actual visit to Kenfig in 2011 as this website project is being archived for posterity through both the National Library of Wales & British Library.

EXPLORE TIME TEAM AT KENFIG - Learn about Time Team, cross-referenced information on Kenfig town's history, Live Time Team Twitter News Feed, photos of day 3 and Official embedded Time Team video footage from YouTube.

New CHANNEL 4 TIME TEAM AT KENFIG - View Time Team Visit to Kenfig

Channel 4 Time Team at Kenfig - View Here


History of Kenfig & surrounding areas - Prehistory to the Present Day


  • Bronze / Iron Ages & Roman Era
  • The Monastic Era (1147-1536)
  • The Mansel Era (1536-1750)
  • Talbot Era (1750-1941)
  • War Years / Sir David Evans-Bevan
  • The County Council Years




    • Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services
    • Steve Maitland Thomas (Ancient footprints at Kenfig)
    • Mr Steve Parker of Kenfig - Rare photos of Kenfig Sand Dunes c.1904/Prince of Wales Inn Photos
    • Barrie Griffiths (1942-2009) - Tribute to a local Historian
    • Kenfig History Society
    • Porthcawl Museum & History Society
    • Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council
    • Neath Port Talbot Libraries
    • West Glamorgan Archive Service, County Hall, Swansea
    • Glamorgan Archives, Cardiff
    • Rob Bowen - Local Community Group

    Webpage Author

    • Rob Bowen - Local Community Group, 2011

    Related Sections

    Margam Abbey (1147-1536)

    Margam Abbey
    Founded in 1147 by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, Margam Abbey was a Cistercian Abbey of the Mother House Clairvaux - its dissolution came about in 1536 and was the first abbey to fall under the Dissolution of the Monastries by King Henry VIII... Margam Abbey

    Margam Castle

    Margam Castle
    Built for Sir Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot owner of the Margam Estate. This Tudor style mansion was built in the early 19th century and remained in use until the end of World War II. Now a part of Margam Country Park owned and managed by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council... Margam Castle

    Capel Mair (c.1470)

    Capel Mair
    The medieval chapel known as Hen Eglwys or Capel Mair stands on the east side of Margam woods on a grassy knoll below Graig Fawr at 107m OD. Built c.1470 it appears to have served the local community who lived near to Margam Abbey; the Abbey Church being restricted to the monks... Capel Mair

    The Margam Estate

    With evidence of over 4000yrs of continuous human habitation at Margam, learn history of the Estate & its owners through the centuries. Glimpse a Timeline of Margam Estate from the Bronze/Iron Age & Roman, Monastic, The Mansels, The Talbots, War Years/Sir Evans-Bevan & The Council Eras through to a an indepth study of all the above - this latter section will be on-going & updated at regular intervals.
    ... The Margam Estate

    The Coast

    The Coast
    The South Wales coastline around Kenfig & Porthcawl to include shipwrecks from 1583, tales of smuggling, wrecking/looting of vessels ...Learn more

    Folklore Section

    An assortment of local tales and supernatural occurances from around the Kenfig Borough - Learn of Phantom funerals, Cwn Annwn, the Cyhiraeth, haunted pubs, ancient wells and local customs ...Learn more

    Sker House & Maids of Sker

    Learn of the history & turbulent past of Sker House together with its lovelorn maids ...Sker House ...Maids of Sker

    New Sport in the Kenfig Area

    Boxing - Coney Beach, Porthcawl

    British Pathé

    Big Fight, Big Brawl - 05/09/1960

    European Heavyweight title match between Dick Richardson & Brian London at Coney Beach Arena, Porthcawl. A legendary boxing match that saw a mass brawl at the end of round 8 - View Video Newsreel Film

    Newsreel Courtesy: British Pathé Ltd

    Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - An important part of Wales' documentary heritage



    War Years



    The Coast

    Pictorial History

    Exclusive Pictorial History of the old Kenfig Borough ENTER