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'
English English Welsh Welsh
only search

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

The Official Kenfig Community History Project
About | Contact | Location | Sitemap | Newsgroup / Facebook | Old Guestbook Local Community Group

Member Member Login Member Login
The Kenfig Corporation Trust

Search Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) Website

History Section

The Kenfig Corporation Trust

Kenfig Corporation Trust Contact Details: Contact Details (Charity Commission)

The Kenfig Corporation Trust

Administrative & Biographical History

The Borough of Kenfig (Glamorgan) was founded in the early 12th century; the earliest surviving charter dates to c.1396. The borough suffered from the encroachment of sand dunes and was forced to move to Pyle in 1471.
The borough had several courts (The Court Leet & View of Frankpledge) was held bi-annually in May & October with responsibility for the administration of justice in the borough & the election of officials. (The Court Baron & Court of Pleas) were held monthly before the portreeve.
The courts fell into decay with the rise of county courts. Before the Reform Act 1832, Kenfig borough joined the boroughs of Cardiff, Cowbridge, Llantrisant, Aberavon, Neath, Swansea & Lougher to send a member to Parliament. Subsequently, the Borough formed part of the Swansea parliamentary district and later the Aberavon district.
The ancient borough virtually came to an end when its corporation was dissolved in 1886 as a result of the Municpal Corporations Act 1883. The Charity Commissioners empowered to deal with its affairs set up the Kenfig Corporation Property, formed of a committee of 12 people (including representatives from local authorities) charged with the administration of the Borough property.
Under a new scheme of management issued by the Charity Commissioners in 1998 the Kenfig Corporation Property was renamed the Kenfig Corporation Trust.
Source: Glamorgan Archives

The Town Hall of Kenfig The upstairs room at the Prince of Wales Inn

Donations to Local Community

The Kenfig Corporation Trust is a registered charity through the Charities Commission for England & Wales. The Trust owns land which includes the Kenfig Nature Reserve, most of Pyle and Kenfig Golf course as well as the Prince of Wales Inn.
The revenue from the trust's holdings must be distributed to groups and organisations (not individuals) from within the area of benefit which is now the Cornelly community twice each year. An advertisement is usually placed in the Glamorgan Gazette.

Borough Mace & Seal
Kenfig Trustees - 1971

The High Court Case

Kenfig Corporation Property V The Margam Estate (June 1971)

See below for full details...


The Kenfig Seal
The old borough of Kenfig was dissolved in 1886 as a result of the Municipal Corporations Act 1883. The Charity Commisioners set up the Kenfig Corporation Trust which consisted of a committee of 12 people. These were 4 burgesses, 4 others from the Rural Sanitary Authority, Bridgend and 4 from the Margam Local Board. They were responsible for the administration of the corporation and the adoption of the scheme of adjustment of powers.
The Charity Commissioners empowered to deal with its affairs set up the Kenfig Corporation Property which was formed of a committee of 12 people whcih included representatives from local authorities. This new committee was charged with the administration of the Borough Property. Under a new scheme of management issued by the Charity Commissioners in 1998, the Kenfig Corporation Property was renamed The kenfig Corporation Trust.

Biographical History

The Borough of Kenfig was founded in the early 12th century, its earliest surviving charter dates c.1396. The Kenfig Borough suffered from the encroachment of sand dunes and was forced to move to Pyle in 1471. The Kenfig Borough had several courts, these comprised of:
  • The Court Leet & View of Frank Pledge - These were held bi-annually in May and October with the responsibility to administer justice in the borough and with the election of officials
  • The Court Baron & Court of Pleas - These were held monthly before the portreeve

Reform Act 1832 & decline of Courts

The Courts fell into decay with the rise of the County Courts. Before the Reform Act 1832, the Kenfig Borough joined the Boroughs of Cardiff, Cowbridge, Llantrisant, Aberavon, Neath, Swansea and Lougher in order to send a member to Parliament in London. Subsequently, the Kenfig Borough formed part of the Swansea Parliamentary District and later the Aberavon District. The ancient Borough of Kenfig virtually came to an end when its corporation was dissolved in 1886 as a direct result of The Municipal Corporations Act 1883.

The Formation of The Kenfig Corporation Property

Now known as The kenfig Corporation Trust

The Charity Commissioners empowered to deal with its affairs set up the Kenfig Corporation Property which was formed of a committee of 12 people whcih included representatives from local authorities. This new committee was charged with the administration of the Borough Property. Under a new scheme of management issued by the Charity Commissioners in 1998, the Kenfig Corporation Property was renamed The kenfig Corporation Trust.
The 700 year old borough of Kenfig was dissolved in 1886 as a result of the Municipal Corporations Act 1883. The Charity Commisioners set up the Kenfig Corporation Trust which consisted of a committee of 12 people. These were 4 burgesses, 4 others from the Rural Sanitary Authority, Bridgend and 4 from the Margam Local Board. They were responsible for the administration of the corporation and the adoption of the scheme of adjustment of powers.

Common Land

The remaining 46 burgesses and their sons and widows were allowed to continue to exercise their rights but after their deaths, the inhabitants of Kenfig would enjoy the privileges of the boroughs common land. Everyone of the burgesses who shared Waun y Cimla were to be paid 11 shillings annually. After the cost of the scheme had been covered and all expenses paid for, the burgesses shared the residue.

The Town Hall & The Seal of Kenfig

The schedule of property invested in the Trust included the Prince of Wales Inn, the interest of Kenfig Down (1,200 acres) and the right of free warren on part of it. Also included were the borough's mace, seal, weights, pint measure and 1,700 in investments. A Mr Mccay was paid 9d for engraving the corporation seal.


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


    Court Presentments


    The records of the local courts contain a wealth of interesting material and provide us with a valuable mirror of contemporary social life. Manorial courts held before early feudal lords or his representative were known as Courts Baron. Herein they exercised the prescriptive right of jurisdiction within their estates. Both free and customary or copyhold tenants had to attend and the recorder noted the rents, services, and heriots due from them in the court rolls.
    Eventually seperate courts arose from the Courts Baron, one being the Court Leet, which assumed the particular function of administering justice within the district or leet. They were, in effect petty criminal courts where offences were presented to the jury, each presentment being duly noted and fines up to 40 shillings imposed. Manorial Courts of Pleas were also established for the purpose of dealing with personal actions and others relating to land.
    The business of the Court Baron in later times merely related to administration of the customs of the manor and the admission of new tenants. All 3 of these courts were held in the manors of Pyle and Kenfig, the Leets being held twice yearly and the others monthly, being presided over by the stewards and portreeves. Eventually some of their powers were delegated to parish officers and with the rise in importance of the county courts they fell into decay. Towards the end they dealt mainly with routine affairs such as the appointments of the borough officials.
    The following excerpts are taken from the records of the manorial courts of Pyle and Kenfig in the Margam MSS and from the Court Records of Kenfig Borough.
    Source: The Story of Kenfig (book) - A. Leslie Evans





    We (the jury) doe presente the river of Kinfigg to be out of reparation by stoping by the sand.
    We present Robert Thomas his forge out of repaire. (Manor of Pyle)
    We doe present Wenllian Richard her hous wants thaching.
    They do present a way called ye wigmore... This appears to be a road leading to the sea at Sker. Wigmore or kelp burning was once a profitable industry along the Glamorgan coast; large seaweeds like Bladder Wrack were used for this purpose to provide an excellent fertiliser.
    We doe present Watkin Evan and Jenkin Thomas Ris for selling ale and beere less than measure contrary to the stature.
    We do present ye decease of John Turberville Esq and Christopher Turberville Esq his son, tenant in his stead. These were Turbervilles of Penllyne, successive Lords of North Cornelly.
    They present Hugh Howell and Cecill Price for not grinding att the mill called new mill in the manor of Kenfigge. Several others were presented for the same offence. The New Mill was Y Felin Newydd at the southern end of Water Street; it may have superseded the old windmill referred to previously. One Jenkin Tho. Rice was also presented for 'stopping the footway leading from ye Cross at pile towards the house of Anne Wm. widow'.
    They present the death of Margaret Rees and an heriot to the Lord (Sir Edward Mansel of Margam) according to the Custome. Endorsed: A brasse pan seized.
    They present the footway leading from the roade or highway to the south side of Joseph Lewis's house to the well or fountain called ffynnon pen y kae and to the meadowe adjoyning to hewl y dillaid (deiliaid) called Morfa Kaled.
    They present the tenants of pile for not repairing the highway leading from pile to Newton down.
    They present the way from pile towards Keven Kribwr being out of reparation.
    We do present Robert Tho. Rees for not performing his suite of mille where he was appointed by licence to Grind in lanmihangells mille in the manor of pile.
    They present John Morgan, Tenant in the right of his wife, in ye manor of Pyle and 5s in lieu of a her upon her marriage with him.
    Wee doe present ye Tenants of Pile for not keeping the comon pound in reparation. This was the pound near Pyle Cross - Ffald - which gave its name to Ffald Road.
    We do present the inhabitants of Pile for not repairing the bridge called by the name of pont Rytherch. The name of this bridge has now been forgotten, but from an examination of Margam MS 4733 I infer that it was the original name given to the bridge which spans the River Kenfig at Pyle.
    They present Blanch Turbervill tenant to ye Lord of 2 tenements called by ye name of Ballas ycha and Ballas ysha.
    They present Anne William for not rep'ring her bakehouse.
    We do present all defators (defaulters) that oud Sutt and Service in this Courtt for not apeering heare this day.
    We do present Thomas Hopkin Thomas for Letting his Cattalle on the highways of the said Mannor to the anoyance of the Lords tenants.
    We do present the Houses of Robert Thomas Prit'd to be out of Reparation.
    The death of Christopher Turberville was presented. He was succeeded by his brother John. Both were of the Penllyne family.
    They do present the Tucking mill in Kenfig to be out of repaire. This mill was the old Pandy, sited on Ynys y Pandy, near Llanfihangel Farm, which was demolished when the old South Wales Railway was built in c.1850.
    We present ye mill pond to be out of repaire.
    Apointed the Burgesses to meet on fryday the 20th of this instant at ye mount on ye south side of ye castle to plant sedges according to ye Ancient Custome.
    We do present Hopkin David, Edward Howell and Mary William for selling ale at the time of Divine Service.
    We do present Evan John Morgan for Incroging on the Burgesses freedom.
    Memorandum that Evan Lyddon late portreeve of this Burough Town have this day passed made good unto the said town the Sume of ten pounds being what is due to ye said Town for the four years portreeveship he served in ye years beginning at Mich'as 1725 ending at Mich'as 1729, being what is usuall to be paid by the portreeves for ever yearly, viz.: 2/10/-
    We present a white shipe (sheep!) that came astray within the liberty of this court. Four innkeepers were presented for selling ale 'less than measure'.
    We do present all those that did not assist to plant sedges. Fined one shilling each.

    Related Website Links

    Portreeves of Kenfig Borough (1339 - 1886)

    The following is a list of the Portreeves of the old Kenfig Borough.

    Source: The Story of Kenfig (book) - A. Leslie Evans

    Year (1339-1825)


    Year (1832-1886)


    John Robyn
    John Ferrour
    William Mors
    Henry Ayleward
    Griffith Gethin
    Gro. Blethyn
    Griffith Gethyn
    Thomas ap William
    Thomas ap Ievan
    Ievan Gitto (Evan Griffith)
    Ievan Gitto
    William Bevan
    Rice Thomas
    John ap Ievan
    Richard Thomas
    Lewis Began
    John Morgan
    Lewis Aylward
    Charles Aylward
    Evan Lyddon
    Thomas Griffith
    Evan Lyddon
    William Lewis
    Henry Aylward
    Edward Harris
    Richard Jenkins
    Richard Williams
    Richard Yorwerth
    Richard Williams
    Richard Yorwerth
    Daniel Rees
    Rees Rees
    Hopkin David
    Evan Jenkin
    William Henry
    Rees Thomas
    John William
    John Rees

    The High Court Case (June 1971)

    Kenfig Corporation Property V The Margam Estate

    The Court Case

    The dispute over land ownership between the Trustees of the Margam Estate and the Trustees of the charity known as the 'Kenfig Corporation Property' was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, before Mr Justice Goulding in June 1971. The action had started in 1959, the dispute having gathered momentum from the early part of the 20th century.

    Case Timeline

    Tents on the Dunes
    The Margam Trustees disagreed with the Kenfig Trustees' claim to be able to authorise the erection of tents on the dunes
    Military Authority
    Military authorities got permission from both the Margam and Kenfig Trustees to use the dunes for training
    Excavation of Kenfig Castle
    The Margam Trustees were alone in granting permission for the excavation of Kenfig Castle
    Trespass Notices / Forestry Commission
    The Kenfig Trustees asked the Margam Trustees to remove notices from Kenfig forbidding trespass - they refused to do so. There was a proposal by the Forestry Commission to plant on part of the dunes - the Trustees passed a resolution:
    • Lease for 999 years at 1 shilling per acre, per annum, half the proceeds to go to the Kenfig Trustees and half to the Margam Trustees.
    • The Forestry Commission did not, in the end plant on the dunes.
    Electricity Cables
    The Kenfig Trustees were consulted with regard to the laying of a line across the dunes by the Central Electricty Generating Board.
    Rare Plants at Kenfig
    Cardiff Naturalists Society was concerned to let the Kenfig and Margam Trustees know about the presence of certain very rare plants growing at Kenfig.
    Fishing in Kenfig Pool
    The Kenfig Trustees gave Major Boycott permission to fish for pike in the pool. They also granted a club fishing licence in 1948, 1954, 1955 and 1957 - The Margam Trustees objected.
    Serving of Notices
    The Kenfig Trustees put up notices to forbid vehicles and camping on the dunes. The Margam Trustees approved this measure offering a contribution to the cost.
    Proposed Caravan Site
    The Margam Trustees rejected Penybont District Councils proposal to put a caravan site on the former American Army camp. The Kenfig Trustees' consent had been given in principle at an early stage.
    Steel Company of Wales
    The Kenfig Trustees gave permission to the Steel Company of Wales to sink boreholes on the North West part of the dunes with a view to possible construction of a reservoir.
    The Steel Company sought permission for a pipeline and water extraction from the pool from both the Kenfig and Margam Trustees.
    Both parties realised the financial potential ofsuch a venture - they took up firm and competitive positions on this proposition.
    From this issue arose the court action concerning the ownership of the land, which technically prevented the Steel Company from abstracting water from the pool.

    The Court Case - In Depth

    Mr Justice Goulding

    This action is brought to try the title a tract of unenclosed land now called Kenfig Common or Kenfig Burrows. The land is in Glamorganshire, between the Margam steel works and the sea. It contains approximately 1600 acres, and I shall refer to the whole contested area as 'the disputed land'.
    For the purposes of my judgement I shall divide the disputed land into four parts. Two of those parts, forming respectively the north-eastern and south-eastern portions of the whole irregularly shaped area, are edged blue on a plan annexed to the statement of claim.

    At the High Court

    Defence: Margam Trustees V Kenfig Trustees

    The Margam Trustees claimed they were the freeholders of the Kenfig Burrows and tried to stop the Trustees of the Kenfig Corporation Property (the charity descending from the burgesses of the Ancient Town of Kenfig) from acting as if they were the owners of the land.
    The Kenfig Trustees claimed that at least since 1660 the burgesses were the true freeholders. Their evidence for this was based on a document of 1663 which was earlier than any evidence presented by the Margam Estate. Documents from 1330 & 1572 were also used to support the Kenfig Trustees' case.
    The Margam Estate claimed that the title to Kenfig had descended to Thomas Mansel Talbot, Earl of Pembroke, Philip Herbert, who had sold the land to Edward Mansel in 1668. The Earl died in 1813, having made his will in 1810 and it was from then that the Margam Trustees claimed their title to the land.
    The Margam Tustees further claimed that builders throughout Glamorgan had sought their permission to take sand from the area, without there having been any challenge to their right to sell it.

    Documents Submitted

    Among documents submitted by Mr Balcombe, the representative for the Margam Estate were:
    • The Will of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot who left everything in trust to his son Theodore (who died in a hunting accident at the age of 21)
    • A Terrier Map compiled on the instructions of Mr Talbot, showing hunting areas
    • A Tithe Map showing local taxable land
    The latter showed that the sumof 103.16s was payable to Mr C.R.M.Talbot from parishes in Pyle & Kenfig.
    It showed he was owner of Kenfig Pool and 1042 acres of warren, sand and pasture. However, the survey presentment of 1660 states that the freehold of two-thirds of Kenfig Common was in the hands of the Kenfig burgesses, while the other third was owned by Mr Turberville of Sker House.

    Evidence: Submitted by Kenfig Trustees

    Under an ordinance of 1572, the Kenfig burgesses were given the freehold of Gwaun y Cimla Common at Cefn Cribbwr because their land at Kenfig Common had become covered in sand. At Cefn Cribbwr they had rights to grazing and coal extraction. This land was later sold to Mr Talbot in the 19th century for 1600 for coal extraction. The Kenfig Trustees claimed they still owned the land at Kenfig Common. The Kenfig Trustess, in support of their claim to ownership, showed they had the following:
    • Old stone from Kenfig quarry (the ruins of Kenfig Castle have been referred to as a quarry, but it is also thought there may have been one near Kenfig Pool)
    • Received payments for sheep dipping in the Pool (the remains of sheep dipping sites can still be seen at the edge of the Pool)
    • Received fees for angling and yachting on the Pool
    • Received rental for the Pyle & Kenfig Golf Course

    Witnesses Callled

    They called two witnesses: Mr Edward Plumley, their clerk, who gave historical and documentary evidence and Mr John Thomas who was the last remaining burgess (he was 79 at the time of the case and died in 1972). Mr Thomas described the state and character of the Common in his young days and its use for rabbiting, grazing and watering cattle. He recalled when, at the age of ten, he accompanied his grandfather to plant sedge to stabilise the sand.

    Buried City's Trustees Celebrate Victory

    Source: Reg Matthews, Kenfig (booklet) - Arthur Smith (1982) - (Glamorgan Gazette 18/06/71)

    They were ten trustees of the Kenfig Corporation Property Trust and their clerk assembled in jubilant mood at the guildhall (Town Hall) of the old buried city of Kenfig, to hear first-hand reports from their representatives who attended the High Court case. Their rejoicing was tempered by realisation of the possibility of an appeal against the High Court decision. Meanwhile, the trustees' jubilation is being shared by the public whose interests they safeguard.
    But only when they know for sure that there will be no appeal will they be able to proceed with plans they have in hand for the area.
    Unfortunately two of the 12 trustees were not able to attend the celebration meeting but, like several members of the public, they sent their congratulations. All but one of the party charged their glasses with good Scotch whiskey for the toast. The odd man out was the Chairman, 84 year old Mr Lewis Jones, MBE a confirmed life-long abstaine, who drank a glass of milk. It was an historic occasion.

    Great Storm

    The High Court case concerned the ownership of Kenfig Common (or burrows) and Kenfig Pool. It was the culmination of a 12 year old dispute between the trustees of the Margam Estate, acting on behalf of a company of land agents and professional developers and the trustees of Kenfig Corporation Property, a public body set up to manage the burgesses' affairs when the ancient Corporation of Kenfig was dissolved uunder the Municipal Corporation Act.
    The land in dispute included the ancient buried city which, before it fell victim to the drifting sands, a fate finally completed by a great storm in 1607, was a busy commercial centre. Some 800 years ago, the city had its regular weekly markets and 2 annual fairs, a navigable river and large seaport, military station and a Portreeve, with 12 publicly-elected Aldermen governed well.
    The trustees of the Margam Estate claimed they were freeholders of the 1042 acres of land and 83 acres of water and sought injunctions to stop the defendants - the trustees of the Corporation Property, a charity deriving from the ancient town of Kenfig, from acting as if they were the owners of the land.
    The defendants claimed that throughout the centuries and certainly since 1660, the Burgesses were the true freeholders. They relied heavily on a document of 1663, a survey presentment, made by a jury of 12 local people under oath which preceded any document presented as evidence by Margam Estate's trustees.
    The action came about when, in 1959, the Margam trustees tried to sell water from Kenfig Pool to the Steel Company of Wales for use at the Abbey Works. This was opposed by the Kenfig trustees.

    Earl's Will

    The Margam trustees claimed their freehold title from the will of Thomas Mansell Talbot, Earl of Pembroke, who died in 1813. The will was made in 1810 and the Margam trustees since that date had done various acts of ownership, including the leasing of land to Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club.
    In the High Court, the Judge, Mr Justice Goulding, held that Kenfig Common belonged to the trustees of the Kenfig Corporation Property. he dismissed with costs the action brought by the Margam Estate's trustees to uphold their claim to the freehold ownership as Lords of the Manor. Thus ended a case which started in 1959 and which is estimated to have cost 15,000.00
    When the case resumed, following an adjournment sought by the Margam trustees, Mr A.J. Balcombe QC, for the Margam trustees, said his clients did not shrink from their original claim that they were the owners of the whole area known as Kenfig Common (or Burrows) and Kenfig Pool comprising 1600 acres between the Bristol Channel and Port Talbot. But, he said, there was some evidence that in the 16th century, the Burgesees had owned an area called Kenfig Down.
    The Kenfig trustees now asked the Court to rule that the Down was the whole area but there was good evidence that Kenfig Down could be defined as an area of about 200 acres, most of whose boundaries could be well defined.

    Dead Trustees

    An amended list of defendants, the Kenfig trustees was then handed to the Court. The list covered not only the present 12 Trustees but also those who have retired or who had died since the start of the action. The latter had been retained as defendants because of the possibility of apportioning costs. In the case of those who had died, their personal representatives would then have been involved.
    The defendants were:
    • Mr Lewis Jones of Pyle Inn Way, Pyle
    • Mr William John of Collwyn Road, Pyle
    • Mr Edwin J.Davies of Heol Ton, Kenfig (district councillor)
    • Mr Evan Harold David of St. Christopher Road, Newton, Porthcawl
    • Mr John Thomas of Gwynfryn, Maudlam, Pyle
    • Alderman Graham Griffiths of Margam
    • Mr Frederick Jones of Heol Fach, Cornelly (parish councillor)
    • Mr William Henry Lewis of Welfare Avenue, Bryn, Port Talbot
    • Mr Mostyn Jones of Waunbant Road, Kenfig Hill (county councillor)
    • Mr Graham Harries of Pil-y-Kenfig, Pyle (district councillor)
    • Mr Elwyn Davis of Curwen Terrace, Cornelly
    Those who had died or had been replaced as defendants were:
    • Major Llewellyn David of Ffynnore, Llantrithyd
    • Mr Taliesin Mainwaring of North Street, Port Talbot
    • Mr Edward John Morris of Ynysgwas, Cwmavon
    • Mr W.Kenneth Jones of Heol Fach, Cornelly
    • Mr John David of Sea View, Maudlam, Pyle
    • Mr Daniel Rees of Kenfig Farm, Kenfig
    • Mr David Thomas of Heol Maindy, Cornelly
    The Kenfig Corporation Trustees, June 1971
    Kenfig Corporation Property trustees 1971
    From left to right, back row: Evan H.David; Howard Overfield; Graham
    Harries; Elwyn Davies; Mostyn Jones MBE, DL; Fred Jones.
    Front Row: William John; John Thomas; Lewis Jones MBE; Edwin
    J.Davies CBE, JP; ED Hennys Plumley MBE.

    Medieval Town

    Giving judgement, the Judge said that acts of owenrship exercised by the Margam trustees had taken place over the past 50 years. Documents going backto 1397, 1660 and 1886 were sufficient links to show that the whole area of the common and Pool at Kenfig was held by the Kenfig trustees. The Lordship of the Manor of Kenfig, said the Judge, had been bought by Sir Edward Mansell in 1668.
    The Plaintiffs were owners of a large property called the Margam Estate. The title of the disputed land was claimed since the will of Thomas Mansell Talbot who died in 1813 gave a general demise of his real estate in Glamorgan. The defendants, the Kenfig trustees contended that this did not cover the disputed land. The Margam trustees submitted that various deeds and conveyances, a survey of 1814 and tithe apportionment documents proved the title of the Margam Estate. The disputed land contained the remains of the medieval town and castle. The Kenfig trustees claimed that in a 1397 Charter they had been granted the freehold of Kenfig Down.


    In a 1660 survey, the Kenfig trustees claimed it was again stated that they held Kenfig Down by right of 'free socage tenure'. Further, they relied on the property being vested in them under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners in 1886. The Margam trustees contended that, if they were not entitled to all Kenfig Common and Pool, there was sufficient evidence to show that all the Kenfig Corporation had owned was an area called Kenfig Down and there was sufficient evidence to show that that was a clearly definable area.
    Mr Justice Goulding said it was impossible to identify any particular area as Kenfig Down but undoubtedly the Down of Kenfig in Charter of 1397, the Kenfig Down mentioned in the 1660 survey and the Kenfig Common or Down mentioned in the 1886 scheme were substantionally the same common. On the evidence the Court had no hesitation in upholding the claim of the Kenfig Corporation trustees to be owners of the soil. On the question of costs of the action, the Judge said that because the Kenfig trustees had not been as co-operative as they might have been, they should not have 100 of their costs.

    Town Hall Toasts

    At the guildhall celebration meeting, held within two hours of the clerk, Mr Ted Plumley and vice-chairman, Coun.Ted Davies JP, returning from London the chairman Mr Lewis Jones presiding and the landlord of the Prince of Wales, Mr Jack David was in attendance. Among the trustees was the last surviving Burgess, Mr John Thomas aged 79, who gave evidence in the High Court.
    Mr Jones said the meeting had been hurriedly convened at the earliest possible moment to hear the reports of the tremendously important decision. The trustees were entitled to hear the wonderful news at first-hand as quickly as possible. 'This is a great victory', he said, and as trustees at this time we have seen history made by the result of this case. As trustees, we stand to gain nothing from what we have brought about but the result is of immense importance to the people of Kenfig, of Glamorgan and of Wales.


    The activities of the trustees and all they wanted to do to improve amenities for the people had been bedevilled for a very long time because of the duel ownership of the Kenfig Common, said Mr Jones. Now they could go ahead, unhampered in any way, in the knowledge that Kenfig Corporation Property Trust owned the whole area. On many occasions in the past we have wanted to do a variety of things but we have been told by other people in the field that we were not entitled to do them. The question of whether we could do things was always present and frustrated our efforts. Indeed, during the 30 years that I have been a member of the trustees, we have had a very difficult time trying to preserve the interests of the area and the benefits conferred on the people through the Charter, mainly because some of our predecessors as Trustees, were not quite as interested as we have been in trying to retain their rights.
    We have received many requests for improvements of amenities but were prevented through the duel ownership claim. It was when the Steel Company of Wales wanted water from Kenfig Pool that the matter came to a head and it was necessary to decide who the owners really were. In this connection, we did not prosecute the Margam Estate's trustees.
    It was they who proceeded against us and made out they were the owners. Now the issue has been settled for all time. Proof of ownership would have been less difficult if former trustees had been more diligent in looking after their historic documents and handed them on for safe-keeping to succeeding generations.



    • Glamorgan Archives - Borough of Kenfig records (c.1396-1998)
    • Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services
    • The Story of Kenfig (book) - A. Leslie Evans
    • Kenfig (booklet) - Arthur Smith (1982)
    • Rob Bowen - Local Community Group

    Webpage Author

    • Rob Bowen - Local Community Group, 2014

    War Years War Years Pictorial History Pictorial History
    Folklore Folklore The Sport of Bando The Sport of Bando
    Graffiti Artists - Is this art or vandalism? Graffiti Artists - Is this art or vandalism?

    Related Sections

    The Town Hall

    The Town Hall - Prince of Wales Inn

    The Prince of Wales Inn

    The Town Hall of the Ancient Borough of Kenfig 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.
    ...Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig

    Kenfig National Nature Reserve

    Kenfig Reserve Centre
    A long and bitter dispute between the Kenfig Corporation Trust and the Margam Estate over the ownership of the common land surrounding the Kenfig area culminated in 1971 at the High Court in London. The Kenfig Corporation Trust won the day and a nature reserve was established to protect and preserve the wildlife of the area. The Kenfig reserve centre was officially opened on 20 May 1980.
    ...Kenfig National Nature Reserve Local Community Group & Kenfig Corporation Trust

    Since 2004 (when the website became a registered community group; a not for profit making organisation, within the area of North Cornelly), the Kenfig Corporation Trust has refused to accept the fact that we operate this very website project in this capacity - certain trustees will not accept this and deem this project as an individual one rather than a being a community group; even though they have been presented with official documentation stating otherwise.

    Grant Funding

    Since 2004 the Local Community Group has made applications to the Trust for help and support towards this community heritage website project only to have had the door slammed in our faces on every occasion.

    Area of Benefit

    The local community group resides within the Trust's area of benefit, is entitled to help and support and more so, to recognition as a matter of courtesy to say the least; yet has been singled out by the Trust with no explanation what so ever. The Kenfig Corporation Trust will not accept the FACT that the Local Community Group exists and has refused to communicate with us forthwith.

    Bizarre Local Politics

    The entire trustees and clerk to the Trust all know that this website project is operated as a community group, yet fail to acknowledge this fact due to some old fashioned and bizarre local politics that still reside within the trust itself. Some continue the illusion that they own Kenfig, its history and its peoples... as once believed by a previous chairperson of the trust itself.
    By believing this doctrine the Kenfig Corporation Trust are living in a fantasy world and need to realise and seperate fact from fiction - we all now live in the 21st century. (The Kenfig Borough ceased to be in 1886... the Kenfig Corporation Trust is merely a registered charity overseeing the management of land allocated to its keeping by the Charity Commission) Local Community Group

    The Local Community Group does not wish to benefit financially from the Trust, but does demand some respect in the local community from this Trust, which after all, is only but a registered charity responsible for administrating land ownership in the immediate Kenfig vicinity - they do not own the history nor the peoples of the Kenfig area.
    The Trust has to date, refused to communicate with the Local Community Group via all means. It has totally ignored written correspondence sent to the trust by Local Community Group.

    Current Trustees

    Current trustees of the Trust are members of the local community, one being a current County Borough Councillor for North Cornelly with Bridgend County Borough Council and who is the current Mayor of the Borough, Cornelly Community Councillors and local business people.
    Two of the Kenfig Trustees are councillors on Cornelly Community Council; Cornelly Community Council themselves fully supporting the Local Community Group with this very website project.
    The Clerk to the Kenfig Corporation Trust has addressed all correspondence to the Local Community Group by our full title as that of a community group which is highly commendable under the circumstances.

    Formal Government Complaint

    A formal complaint has been made with the Welsh Assembly Government about the conduct and management of the Kenfig Corporation Trust by the Local Community Group.

    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