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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This website project documents the entire history of Kenfig & surrounding areas from prehistory to the present day. This website is permanent & is continually being updated.


War Years



The Cornelly Chronicles

Kenfig Times - Echos from the Past

Charity Events

Famous Visitors

Pictorial History

The Kenfig Community

Neighbouring villages & towns around Kenfig

Pubs, Inns & Alehouses

Sports & Pastimes

2012 Olympic Games

Local Genealogy

Interactive Burial Plots & Alphabetical Listing

Heritage Exhibition 2012


The Coast


Nottage - An Ancient Village (Notais meaning The Pollard Ash Tree)

The original village of Nottage was sited on a small hill lying above the level of the Wilderness marshland and near a stream which flowed southwards through the Rhyll to an inlet of the sea. Artifacts found in and around Nottage indicate that Beaker Folk, Celts and Romans inhabitaed the area. There are links with Nottage and St David, the Patron Saint of Wales, including a well in Moor Lane called St David's Well.
During the early 12th century, William Earl of Gloucester awarded his faithful supporter Richard of Cardiff 'for his services, New Town in Margam' (Ricardo de Kardif pro suo Novam Villam in Margam). The boundary of Novam Villam extended from the sea northwards through Dewiscumbe (The Rhyll) to Park Newydd Farm.
Nottage was outside Novam Villam possibly due to the presence of a Celtic Church. Influences of Norman occupation became more apparent through the centuries. Activities of the Roman Church, extension of Monastic farming and religious activity, grants of land, marriage and inheritance all combined to create one Parish and by the year 1300, the Ecclesiastical Parish of Newton-Nottage had been formed.

GHOSTLY goings on in Nottage (Ghost Stories, Superstitions, Legends & Fairy Tales)


This lane is documented on maps since the 16th century & legends refer to its earlier times of significance.
A section of Nottage Court wall pours over lanes original path; the wall was divided to allow trams & horses access to surrounding area - this was known as the Dyffryn Llynfi tramway (horse drawn trams transporting coal & iron to pwll cawl bay by an Act drawn up 1825)
Cuckoo Bridge, Nottage
Ffynon Dewi Well, Nottage


The halt was a sub-station to the main Porthcawl train station. It was built in 1897 & had the adopted nickname of "Golfer's Halt" as golfers would leave the train & use horse-drawn carriages to reach their destination. Porthcawl railway line was discontinued in 1964 due to the Beeching Act resulting in Nottage Halt & track being demolished.


There is a ghostly noise of an invisible steam train that has been heard on many occasions in the vicinity of Nottage Halt - it is considered lucky to hear this by locals.


This is a stone bridge in Moor Lane near Nottage which was commissoned by Royal approval under an Act of Parliament on June 10, 1825. The bridge was opened in 1828 and used as a tramway for horse drawn carriages as part of the Dyffryn Llynvi Porthcawl Railway.
The bridge was later widened to make way for second line, which never materialised. In 1861 a new track was erected to accomodate steam trains when the tramway made way for railway tracks which were laid by John Hodgkinson of Newport.


The illusionary noise of horses hooves thundering across the bridge have been heard & the misty vision of a headless horseman have been reported galloping across the silent bridge.
Legend has it that its unlucky to make a sound whilst passing under the bridge as the demons of our past consider it disrespectful - this myth has yet to be proven.
A mystery hitch hiker dressed in old fashioned clothing seems eager to accept a lift from unsuspecting drivers in the vicinity of Cuckoo Bridge. He is seen standing by the bridge before jumping into the back seat of the passing vehicle.


The Welsh Patron Saint visited this place in the 6th century and drank from the well. He declared it to be of sacred ground proclaiming water had important healing powers. The well gets its name from ancient dell of dewiscombe (david's valley) mentioned in 12th century grant by william, earl of Gloucester to Richard of Cardiff from Novum Villiam in Margan.
An inscription on a stone next to the well was erected in 1903.


The well has its own unique tale of ghostly apparition. The misty but serene face of a little girl peering up from the depths of the water at dusk has been seen on a number of occasions - it is not known who she was but legend maintains she drowned in a tragic accident.


This was a valley just below St David's Well (Ffynon Dewi) which once consisted of a stream & lake which sank through cracks formed in limestone rock - this formed an underground stream which extended down to the wilderness marshland on right hand side of this lane.


A circular walk from Nottage Village Green through the countryside around Nottage - provided by Bridgend's Heritage

website researcher/author: Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2015. Source: The History & Hauntings of Porthcawl, Hayley Williams, Bridgend County Borough Library & Information Services.

The Kenfig National Nature Reserve Centre Notice Board currently reads as follows:


Vistor Centre Closed

We are very sorry but the reception and shop are no longer open due to staff cuts. A warden works out on the reserve and the centre is still available for school groups and other bookings.

Warden's mobile: 07817 178636
Reserve office: 01656 743386
Council offices: 01656 815333


This website has nothing to do with the Kenfig Nature Reserve - We are NOT able to reply to you

If you are trying to contact the reserve please use the following contacts


Dave Carrington (Reserve Manager)

Kenfig National Nature Reserve
Ton Kenfig
CF33 4PT
Tel: 01656 743386

Bridgend County Borough Council

Countryside Department

Civic Offices
Angel Street
CF31 4WB
Tel: 01656 815333

Please use the above to contact Kenfig Nature Reserve - Bridgend County Borough Council are responsible for Kenfig National Nature Reserve

Photo Journal 2015 - Kenfig National Nature Reserve

All photos by Rob Bowen (ODPDS Creative -

Wales Coast Path - Thu 30 April
Keeper of the Dunes - Fri 6 Feb
Sunset at Kenfig - Tue 30 June


Map Ref: SS 88 SW & OS Ref: SS 819 823

Llanmihangel Mill is located north of the River Kenfig on a lane from Marlas Road, Pyle, to Llanmihangel Farm. The south end of the mill abuts Llanmihangel Mill farmhouse its north end is built into the bank known as Coed-y-Gollen. The mill is built of rubble sandstone with a slate roof supported on machine-cut timbers. The waterwheel is sutuated at the north end of the mill in an arched chamber accessible only from the tail race.


Llanmihangel Mill or Saint Michaels Mill as it was originally called was part of the Grange of Saint Michael the second largest grange of Margam Abbey. It covered an area of 7 carucates. Margam Abbey was founded in 1147 AD & was endowed with a large tract of land between the rivers Avon & Kenfig by Robert Earl of Gloucester.

This charter is no longer extant but its text is preserved in an inspexium by Hugh le Despenser dated 9th October 1338 in which William, son of Robert conforms his father's gift. Also granting them, the monks the fishery in Kenfig water provided that my mill of Kenfig be not affected by it. Pope Urban III's Bull of 1186 which was signed in Verona on 11th November mentions the Grange of Saint Michael & its appurtenances, this is possibly the earliest mention of Llanmihangel Mill.

An apostolic mandate in 1326 required the Abbot of Margam Abbey to draw up a detailed account of properties, income & monies held by the Abbey. In this account under the heading Saint Michaels Grange dated Thursday next after the octave of Easter 1326 the yearly value of a fulling mill is given as £1-0-0 and water mill as 13s-4d. The conculsion from this that the manufacture of cloth was more important & of greater financial advantage than the grinding of corn & the making of bread. Both mills were sited near the River Kenfig, the fulling mill at Ynys-y-Pandy. This was demolished c.1850 when the railway embankment was constructed.

Further reference to Llanmihangel Mill or to be precise, the mill leats can be found in the charter of Thomas le Despenser Lord of Glamorgan dated 16th February in the twentieth year of the reign of Richard II (ie. 1397) In this he describes part of the boundary thus: and these are the bounds of their liberty, namely, between the place called Newditch and the place called Taddulcrosse and a certain boundary leading from Newditch to Taddulcrosse between the lands of Margam Abbey and the lands of Teakeburie on the east of a certain stream called Blaklaak.

In 1527 John ap Thomas David ap Hoell and John ap John his son were admitted tenants of the watermill called Seynt Mizchells is mylle - the rent being 40 shillings and court suit, two capons or four pence for entry at Kenfig by Sir Cradock, Knight, a steward on the 15th October 1527.

Margam Abbey was surrendered to the crown on 28 February 1537, its buildings & land were disposed of by Crown Sale. Sir Rice Mansel, Knight, Councillor to the King purchased land including the Grange of Saint Michael for the sum of £500-0-0 being part payment of £938-6-8 dated Westminster 22nd June 1540. The acquittance for £438-6-8 being due on the 1st October 1540. Llanmihangel Mill was not purchased until 1546 when other granges & properties were bought for the sum of £678-1-6 dated Hampton Court 28th August 1546.

By the middle of the 18th century cast iron gears were being used in watermills and by the 1820's there must have been a number of foundries in South Wales capable of producing gearing. This was not the case at Llanmihangel Mill.

Mill Accounts 1771-1799

Hopkin Llewellyn, steward of the Margam Estate & lessee of Llanmihangel Mill kept accounts for the mill from 1771-1799. During this period it appears the mill had a timber waterwheel & gears - this is borne out by entries in this account book. A watermill is not just the building, waterwheel & gears but also includes the weir, leats & the mechanisms used to control the flow of water to the mill. Considered in its entirety maintenance of the mill was on-going.

By the turn of the 19th century it is reasonable to assume that the mill had wooden cogs & waterwheel. The cutting of rounds indicates lantern type stone-nuts which would been in permanent mesh with the great spur wheel. The only way of stopping & starting the mill stones was by controlling the flow of the water onto the waterwheel. It is assumed the wooden cogs were replaced with cast iron ones at the same time as the pit wheel on which the name of the Eaglebush foundary appears - however, no other cog bridging box or other cast iron item in the power train bears this manufacturers name. The waterwheel would still be timber at this time & in good condition.

A large area of Margam Estate was agricultural land & considering the importance of the waterwheel for grinding cereals for flour & animal feed, references to the mill are few & far between. The mills importance would have decreased as the Margam Estate's income relied less on that from the farms & property but more on the copper, coal & iron industries of South Wales.


The earliest map on which Llanmihangel Mill appears is one of a series drawn in 1814 when the Margam Estate was surveyed by Robert Wright Hall of Cirencester on the instructions of the trustees of the estate. This is followed by the 1881 25 inch Ordinance Survey map & subsequent issues. A Tythe Map for Margam was not drawn possibly because of its previous monastic associations.

Webpage Researcher/Author

Copyright © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2015 Source: Llanmihangel Mill, A Brief History & Survey - Richard Alan Rowe, 1999. Bridgend Library & Information Services.

A new section on the Monastic Granges of Margam will be included on our new website, this includes details of The Grange of Saint Michael at Pyle as outlined above
Information sourced from An inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Glamorgan Vol.2, Vol.4. by the Royal Commission on the Ancient Monuments in Wales.


A brand new version of this website is currently being created & will be integrated into this website over the coming months

We also have some very important news in relation to a brand new heritage project in the Bridgend County launching soon that we are also involved within... Coming Soon

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

Kenfig Social Networking Centre - Communicate & Interact with the online Kenfig Community

Log into Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with new material including old Newspaper Articles, Photos & lots more on the history of Kenfig & surrounding areas - Kenfig Times, Cornelly Heritage, WWI around Kenfig & Margam Estate
Click on rhe drop-down menu and/or the links above on our New Kenfig Social Networking Centre

Cornelly or Corneli

The Story of a Village, its history, its people, events and lots more...

South Cornelly

South Cornelly came into being as an Anglo-Norman settlement in the second half of the 12th century. It is the ‘original’ Cornelly, though a document of the time indicates that it narrowly escaped being known as ‘Thomastown’ after Thomas son of William who was an early Lord of the Manor here. His descendants subsequently adopted the name ‘De Cornelly’ and their house is believed to have stood where the mansion called Ty Maen stands behind high walls on the main road through the village.

The earliest elements of the present building date from around 1650 and it incorporates many unusual features. Above the main door is carved the war cry of the Knights Templar ( Non Nobis Domine, Non Nobis) whilst a pane of glass in one of the windows depicts a coat of arms believed to be those of Bishop Law of Carlisle – neither he nor the Templars are known to have any connections with this locality.

A Priest’s hole was discovered in an upstairs bedroom concealed behind an old cupboard. The site of the old church was in a field where the present day house ‘Meadowrise’ is located which stood by the wall nearlest the road opposite Ty Maen House.

Education in Cornelly

Former Corneli Council School, Cornelly Cross

North Cornelly

Originally a sub manor of the Kenfig Borough which lay outside the boundaries of the Borough itself, its earliest holders were the Lupellus family who later adopted the name Lovel.

The earliest recorded name of the village from a document that dates from before 1183 is the rather cumbersome ‘The Vill of Walter Lupellus’. The name Cornelly arose probably due to its close proximity to the crossroads (Cornelly Cross) where the road to the original village of Cornelly (Present South Cornelly) branched off from the main road. The village adjoining the Cornelly junction therefore became known by that name and ‘North’ and ‘South’ were added to distinguish between the two.

History of Education throughtout the Kenfig Area

Cornelly Education including old photos, newspaper articles & individual accounts from former pupils and teachers alike.

COMING SOON... Cornelly - The Story of a Village, its history, its people, events and lots more...

Search Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

The First World War around Kenfig

As the World marks the centenary of the outbreak of WWI this website is creating a special online resource on the First World War & how it affected Kenfig & surrounding areas... this will be included in the War Years Section

The First World War & The Margam Estate

As the lands throughout the majority of the Kenfig and surrounding neighbourhood were owned by the Margam Estate throughout the First World War, we are also creating a special online resource on the First World War & The Margam Estate... this will be included in the War Years Section

We are beginning our quest with the poignant story of a Kenfig Hill man who sacrificed his life for us all, he was only 21 when he died on the battlefields of the Somme and The Margam Estate receieved news that two young and promising lads from that village had been killed at the Dardanelles, one being the son of the head coachman to Miss Talbot at Margam Castle and the other being the son of Mr J.V.Morgan, clerk of the works to Miss Talbot.

What the Papers Said...
WWI - Kenfig

The Glamorgan Gazette, Friday 15 September 1916

Kenfig Hill Soldier's Death - Pte "Jack" Bowen

One of the most popular young men that Kenfig Hill has given to the Army has made "the great sacrifice." Official news has come to hand that Pte. Thomas John Bowen, of the Post Office, Kenfig Hill, has been killed in action. "Jack" as he was known to his many friends, was a universal favourite, his quiet, winning manners endearing him to all. He was a regular attendant at St Theodore's Church and was also a member of the Y.M.C.A.

He joined the 20th Welsh ("Pals" Company) on November 1st, 1915 and was stationed at Kinmel Park, Rhyl, before being drafted to France. He was later transferred to the 15th Welsh Regiment. He met his death in the "great push" at Mametz Wood on July 10th last, at the early age of 21. Prior to enlistment, he acted as town postman at Kenfig Hill.

The following letter was received from his commanding officer: "I regret to say Pte T.J.Bowen was killed in the great fight in Mametz Wood. Please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of a man who was a credit to his platoon, and who fought a good fight." Needless to say , the greatest sympathy is felt in the neighbourhood with his parents and relatives in their sad loss.

What the Papers Said...
WWI - Margam Estate

The Herald of Wales & Mid Glamorgan Herald & Neath Gazette - Saturday Dec 25, 1915

A Margam War Tragedy

Information reached Margam on Monday that two young and promising lads from that village had been killed at the Dardanelles, viz, Privates Cyril Ogden and Percy Morgan, of the Royal Engineers.

The former is the son of the head coachman to Miss Talbot at Margam Castle and the other is the son of Mr J.V.Morgan, clerk of the works to Miss Talbot.

Both lads are about 22 years of age and joined together. They were at school together, played cricket with the Margam Club together and enlisted at the same time and in the same regiment and both were killed with the same shell.

Percy Morgan was a very promising cricketer and had done well for the Margam Club and keen sympathy will be felt with the relatives of both in their bereavement.

website researcher/author: © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2014. All rights reserved. Learn more.. [ Intellectual Property ] All information researched, edited, collated, authored & published (including photos & graphics)
Source: National Library of Wales 'The Welsh Experience of the First World War' ( & National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (

The First World War around Kenfig - War years Section

Margam Estate Murder - Gamekeeper shot dead, culprit tried & executed at Swansea Gaol in 1898

What the Papers Said...

Cardiff Times & South Wales Weekly News - Saturday 03 September 1898

Title: Margam Murder - execution of Lewis at Swansea

Crime Committed: Thursday June 9th 1898

Execution Date: 30 August 1898

History of the Crime

The murder which Lewis has expiated on the scaffold was committed on Thursday June 9th on Margam Estate, the victim being Robert Scott a gamekeeper in Miss Talbot's service. Between six and seven o'clock in the evening of the day named Scott and Kidd, two underkeepers were in the deer park to the south east of a woodland known as Cwm Philip and on rising ground.

Hawtin, a police constable employed by the estate was also out some distance away from Kidd and Scott.

The latter saw a man coming down the mountain side a mile or so away and took counsel with his colleague and PC Hawtin whose attention had been directed to the approaching stranger. The keepers formed a plan for the arrest of the tresspasser, Scott being told off to go towards the farmhouse of Blaenmallwg whilst Kidd and Hawtin kept along the mountain wall. Scott was seen by the two other keepers going in the direction of Cwm Philip and Joseph Lewis (for the tresspasser was none other than the man who committed the murder) was watched until 30 yards distant from the turnip field gate in the neighbourhood of Cwm Philip.

Scott was Unarmed

Lewis carried a loaded double-barrelled gun. Looking over the mountain wall, Lewis must have had his victim within easy range - 14 yards or so away and putting up his gun he fired at the defenceless gamekeeper. The shot was not fatal and poor Scott badly wounded in the face, crawled along the gutter towards a gap in the wall and then exhausted by the loss of blood, swooned away.

Lewis pursued his victim and discharged the remaining barrel, the shot striking the other side of the face of the dying man. Not content with the terrible work already done, Lewis went up to his victim, whom he kicked on the head in order to make sure that the awful crime should not fall short of fatal issues.

The murderer proceeded up the gulley on the mountain side and some distance from the scene of the tragedy hid his gun and ammunition in some brushwood. Dilligent search was made for the body of the victim all through the night, but it was not until about 9 o'clock on the Friday morning that the mangled form was found in the dyke where Lewis had done his victim to death.

Having got rid of the rifle with which the murder was committed, Lewis made his way down the dingle and near Brombil Farm he spoke to tow witnesses who gave evidence at his trial. Proceeding on his way, the wretched man arrived at Aberavon where he found shelter for the night and in the morning obtained a change of clothing from his home in Maesteg.

Lewis was released after the first arrest, the clothes he wore not corresponding with those described as being worn by the man seen in the vicinity of the murder when the crime was committed. Explanation of this circumstance being soon forthcoming, Lewis was re-arrested.

On Tuesday August 9th, the accused was tried before Mr Justice Wills at the Glamorganshire Assizes, Swansea.

When the charge was read over to him of feloniously killing and slaying Robert Scott, the prisioner answered in a firm and clear voice "Not guilty." The most damaging evidence tendered against Lewis was that of witmesses to whom he had practically confessed the crime and the jury, after tow days' trial, found the accused guilty.

Sentenced to Death

In pronouncing the death sentence Mr Justice Wills said, Joseph Lewis you have been found guilty by a jury after the most patient deliberation and I am sure the fullest consideration of your case.

Everything has been said for you that could possibly be said in such a case and the result has been, I should think, to leave no shadow of a doubt on the mind of anybody who has listened to this long trial that the jury have arrived at a perfectly just and right conclusion. There can be no doubt that yours was an act that murdered the unfortunate man. There can be no doubt that you sent him to his last account without a moment's warning.

The law is more merciful to you. I implore you to spend the remaining days of your existence in trying to prepare yourself for the great change that must come on you for such a crime as you have been guilty of there is but one sentence known to the law and that sentence it is now my duty to pronounce - that you be taken hence to the place whence you came, and then to the place of execution, and that there you be hanged by the neck till you are dead. And that your body be buried within the precincts of the gaol at which you shall last have been confined and may the Lord have mercy on you soul.

The prisoner heard the sentence with great firmness.

The Closing Scene

On Tuesday morning in the presence only of the prison officials, Joseph Lewis who murdered Robert Scott, gamekeeper on the Margam Estate under such appallingly cruel circumstances expiated his terrible crime on the scaffold within the precincts of Swansea Gaol. The tolling of the bell a few minutes before 8 o'clock conveyed to the knot of morbidly curious spectators who had assembled outside the gaol that the grim sentence of the law pronounced by Mr Justise Wills was being carried into effect, while the running up of the black flag shortly afterwards was the signal that poor Scott's awful death had been avenged.

To be Continued...

website researcher/author: © Rob Bowen, Local Community Group, 2014. All rights reserved. Learn more.. [ Intellectual Property ] All information researched, edited, collated, authored & published (including photos & graphics)
Source: National Library of Wales, 'Welsh Newspapers Online' (

Iron Age hill fort found by TV Crew near Kenfig

Archaeologists have found the remains of an Iron Age hill fort in Bridgend county. The discovery at Maudlam village near Kenfig was made during filming for S4C programme Archaeoleg. Read more ....BBC News South East Wales

Latest News: updated 29 October 2013

During the past week (Mon 21 - Fri 25 October 2013) an archaeological dig has been ongoing at Kenfig searching for remains that could pre-date the lost Norman town and/or city of Kenfig by centuries.

A Welsh tevelvision production company, Trisgell is producing a 6-part history series to be shown on S4C in 2014 were invited by the Kenfig Corporation Trust - they chose to dig at a site near to the Angel Inn in Maudlam after viewing aerial photographs that show an oval feature, possibly a windmill lying under the sand. Ground scans confirmed the existence of ditches & possibly an entrance to an iron-age settlement.

The lead Archaeologist & presenter Dr Iestyn Jones dubbed the site called 'Twmpath Y Felin Wyllt' meaning Windmill Hill "enigmatic". He also said that the site is obviously closed, there are banks & ditches all the way around but the sand hides everything that was here originally.

Dr Jones also said, "If it's Iron-Age we're looking at something between 500BC & the Roman occupation - if it's Bronze Age it might be even before that, but we don't know. This would have pre-dated the village by some considerable time & might have been one of the earliest settlements in this area." The archaeological dig hopes to uncover pottery which can be analysed to provide an exact date for the settlement in the territory of the Silures Iron-Age tribe.

Further information on this archaeological dig & when the television programme will be screened on S4C will be published on this website in the future.

Source: Glamorgan Gazette newspaper (25 October 2013)

Royal visit to the Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig - LEARN MORE...


John Bedford, Ironmaster (c.1720-1791)

Born in the Midlands, England in the early 1770s John Bedford had an ambition to make the area known as 'Waun Cimla' the centre of an industrial empire. He built an ironworks, brickworks, collieries/mines & a grand house overlooking his realm. Bedford Road, Cefn Cribbwr & the Iron Works are named after him.

The ironworks were abandoned during the mid 19th century & fell into decay. The ironworks were acquired by the former Ogwr Borough Council (now Bridgend County Borough Council) & a programme of conservation occurred between 1991-1995. Funding was provided by Ogwr Borough Council, CADW-Welsh Historic Monuments, Welsh Development Agency, Welsh Office & the European Union.

These works have continued since the inception of Bridgend County Borough Council in 1996 with funding from the Welsh Government & in partnership with Y Cefn Gwyrth.

The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument of National Importance.

The Bedford Ironworks

The repaired stone buildings at the Bedford Ironworks (Cefn Cribbwr) are the remains of the ironworks started by John Bedford, a Birmingham businessman c.1770-1780s - they were abandoned from the mid 19th century. All the structures found are in a typical late 18th to early 19th century iron works. These include:

1 - Calcining Kilns
2 - Tramways
3 - Charge House
4 - Engine House
5 - Blast Furnace
6 - Cast House

Raw materials (roasted iron ore, coke & limestone) were taken by trams & loaded into the top of the furnace. In the coke ovens, coal was partially burnt to drive off impurities. This left a tough but light porous fuel called coke. All the buildings at the same level as the coke ovens are linked by tramways which once had iron fish bellied rails to the wide gauge of 4'6". Only the stone sleeper blocks were left but a new rail & tram have been placed on the site.

The ironmasters found that iron ores could be improved by roasting them in calcining kilns to remove impurities particularly sulphur which made brittle iron. There are 2 calcining kilns with a tramway passage between them which are also preserved.

The main function of the charge house (a building located at the level of the top of the furnace) was to lead a tramway to the platform so that all the raw materials (roasted ore, limestone - for further purification & coke) could be loaded directly into the top of the furnace.

The Blast Furnace

The Blast Furnace was 32 feet (9.8m) square at the base tapering slightly with the height to rise 10.6m from the hearthstone with a wide but short circular chimney.

This tapping (casting) arch where iron was run out was the focus of the iron-making process. To melt iron the temperature in the furnace would have to been around 1,140 degrees Centigrade.

The inner wall & hearth is well preserved, a brick-built foundary furnace to cast iron made in another works was constructed in the tapping arch by Bedford's successor, William Bryant c. 1830-1840s.

Air to provide the blast was pressurized in the engine house & piped to the 3 blowing arches in the sides of the furnace. The pipes ended at the tuyeres (pronounced tweers) or iron nozzles set in square openings in the inner walls of the blowing arches.

Next to the Blast Furnace was the Cast House where the molten iron was run out into channels cut in a casting pit full of sand. These channels were likened to a sow & her piglets - hence 'Pigs' of iron. The small building attached to the east side of the cast house appears to have been used for further processing of the iron, perhaps by a smith.

To be Continued...

Source: Bridgend County Borough Council, Photos by Rob Bowen, Amazon.

History of Education around Kenfig - Coming Soon
Bryndu School, Kenfig Hill (c.1914)
About 1857 C R M Talbot MP, of Margam Estate (Owner of Bryndu Slip Colliery) started a temporary school in colliery stables; known as Bryndu Works School. In 1860's Bryndu School was built at the end of School Road, Kenfig Hill - it was demolished in 1957.
Throughout Kenfig & surrounding areas, leases, wills and other legal documents were being signed by local inhabitants as far back as the mid 17th century – furthermore, these signatures were not only from particularly well-to-do families that had been sent away to be educated, but from the local peoples of the area as well. In a deed dated 1659 relating to a house called Ty Mawr – now known as Haregrove farmhouse, there was mention of a room called “The Skoole”.
Cefn Cribbwr School c.1910

Cefn Cribbwr School

This was built in 1894 as Cefn Cribwr Board School in a single small building on the site of its present infant section.
In 1902 the so called 'mixed department' referred to as the 'Big School' was added; the 2 schools soon had several hundred pupils between them which became inadequate & c.1914 this original building was demolished being replaced by its present one. At that time the school motto was inscribed on the fron wall of the school - it reads... Esgyn Yw Nod Ysgol - To achieve is the aim of the school.
The school board was abolished & Cefn became a Council School operated by the Glamorgan County Council. The school was refurbished in the 1930's with a playground & initial corridor for the 'big school' being introduced and a school canteen & central heating were added in 1957 - internal toilets were added after this date. The early Headmasters appear to have been Welsh baptists - Mr Idris Williams (Headteacher during & after WWII) was a devout Anglican being the first to break this tradition.

Source: Cefn Cribbwr Primary School, Bridgend County Borough Council.

History of Education around Kenfig - Coming Soon

The History of Sport around Kenfig
Pyle RFC 1947-48 Season
Pyle RFC Logo

Kenfig Hill RFC (The Mules) Logo

The History of local Rugby & Football clubs (Past & Present)

Cornelly United Football Team 1932-33 Season

Kenfig / Cynffig - The Complete History

An important part of Wales documentary Heritage
Identified by The National Library of Wales An important part of Wales documentary Heritage
Identified by The National Library of Wales website listed within Wales on the Web Curriculum Cymreig guide website listed within Wales on the Web Curriculum Cymreig guide The Sandville Self Help Centre The Sandville Self Help Centre

Kenfig (Welsh: Cynffig)

Sunset at Kenfig Pool
Sker House c.1900
Explore the history and importance of the Kenfig / Cynffig Borough - a medieval and now buried city on the South Wales coastline, United Kingdom - a location historically represented within the British governmental establishment and steeped in myth & legend.
Learn about the history & development of the entire Kenfig and surrounding areas and its peoples throughout the ages together with viewing a unique and envious Pictorial History of the entire area exclusive here on Kenfig - The Complete History website.
Experience local ghost stories and folklore, tales of smuggling & shipwrecks and learn of the beauty & turbulent past of Sker House together with its lovelorn maids.
Experience what it was like during WWII throughout the entire area together with personal oral accounts from local people and from individuals both here in the UK and throughout the world who have special memories of the area and the former RAF base at Stormy Down located nearby.
Exclusive to our Members Area are detailed oral accounts of the area from local people together with personal photographs, documents, and information donated by local peoples themselves to this website project. View our Famous People and Sporting Halls of Fame sections along with a unique local family tree section aimed at encouraging the research of these areas especially by local peoples with the overview of creating an totally unique database of the true history of the Kenfig and surrounding areas.
Welcome to Local Community Group website
We hope you find your visit enjoyable, informational and an enlightening experience. This website is a long-term, ongoing resource for learning about local history around the Kenfig and surrounding areas.
Location Guide
Locate Kenfig and its buried city together with a host of other important local travel and tourist Information... Location Guide
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - Raising an Awareness to PSP PSP - Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (The PSP Association) Learn More

A 21st Century online Educational Resource

Welsh Assembly Government Bridgend County Borough Council

National Library of Wales
Kenfig Castle

A Government Sponsored Project

Welcome to Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
Founded in March 2003 Learn more.. [ Community Organisation] this online website project documents the entire factual history of the old Kenfig Borough / old Bro Cynffig from pre-historic times to the present day providing a comprehensive digital documentary of life in South Wales. The website has undergone an extensive new look with improved usability/navigation together with containing more specialist information on the Kenfig area that should be accessible across all Internet & mobile web browsing platforms. Learn more.. [ Internet Technology] Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) was founded by Rob Bowen [Biography - Rob Bowen]

This website project is operated as a not for profit organisation which is part sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government & Bridgend County Borough Council and which has kindly recieved grant funding through BAVO (Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations) for the purchase of computer equipment to enable us to develop, design & manage this website.
This website has been granted Heritage Status by the National Library of Wales and is being archived for posterity through both the National Library of Wales and the UK Web Archive ( Kenfig - The Complete History) which is provided by the British Library. This website is also listed as an online educational resource that can be used for the teaching of local history that forms a part of the Curriculum Cymreig in Wales. Our website aims are to provide a World Class online Educational Resource that will aide both the Nations Heritage and Education network in Wales.
The website currently attracts around 2.1 million worldwide visitors per year and is used by Schools, Colleges, Universities & Government Educational Departments around the world.
Rob Bowen - Chair/Author/Webmaster - Rob Bowen (Author)
BAVO (Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations)

Tide Timetable - Porthcawl 2015


Whole Year *Tide Time Tables (Porthcawl 2015)
LATEST UPDATES: January (full month); February (full month), March (full month), April (full month), May (full month), June (full month),
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Tide Timetables 2015

Courtesy: National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool. Copyright Reserved © Time Zone: BST - High Tide = larger number in meters



The Kenfig Heritage Project

Documenting Kenfig's Rich & Colourful History Digitally Since 2003
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Curriculum Cymreig


Details where information on this website can be used especially by local schools in the Bridgend County Borough for the teaching of local history that forms a part of the Curriculum Cymreig will be listed here in the near future.


The Curriculum Cymreig is apart of the curriculum that is special to Wales. It is designed to reflect the history, geography and culture of Wales and your locality. The Curriculum Cymreig helps develop:
  • a sense of place and heritage
  • a sense of belonging
  • an awareness of the importance of language and literature in the history and life of Wales
  • an understanding of the creative and expressive arts in Wales

Curriculum Cymreig :: e-Resources

The National Library of Wales aims to direct users to Internet resources within Wales on the Web that maybe of use to the teaching of the Curriculum Cymreig and to schools in general. The website has been vetted for its suitability and hence has been included within the Wales on the Web Curriculum Cymreig guide.

Local History Curriculum Guide

Calendar - Local Events 2012



The Cyhiraeth

The Cyhiraeth is a ghostly wailing and shrieking sound - this brings fear to all who hear it. It's a certain harbinger of a coming storm or wreck.

Spectre on a White Horse

A spectre on a white horse - if this is encountered on a night of a new moon, the beholder has the certainty of a dreadful end before 12 months have passed.

The Bottomless Pool

In 1857 a story was told in the kenfig area of an Evan Lewis who attempted to cross Kenfig Pool in a horse and carriage. The wheels of the coach snagged in the remains of the old town beneath the waters, and man, horse and carriage disappeared and were never more seen.
Inquest records and the parish registers show that in 1837 thirteen year old Evan Lewis was drowned in kenfig Pool on 2 September whilst washing a coach elonging to his master. His body was buried two days later.

Sker House

The spectre of the ill-fated Maid of Sker frequently appeared in an upstairs room, wherein she was said to have been confined by her father. Her appearances are supposed to have been accompanied by the clanking of chains and other curious phenomena.
R.D.Blackmore's Maid of Sker also featured a ghostly apparition, this time in the guise of a monk. "Abbots walk" within Sker house was the home of a quarrelsome fellow who fell out with his Holy brethren and came to an untimely end. His spectre groans in the middle of the night.

The Tolaeth...

The Cyhiraeth sometimes brought the "Tolaeth", another sound, less frightening but more ghostly. This was the noise a carpenter would hear at night after making a coffin when nobody else was in his workshop but himself. It's associated with the sound of hammering.

The Ghost of Pyle Church

Visiting Pyle Church on All Hallows Eve you will hear the ghost relating incidents which were to happen during the ensuing year. It commenced by reciting a list of parishioners who were destined to die during the year. Then followed the names of those to be married. It is still a mystery of whether young men would secretly enter the church to make the announcements or whether so great was the superstition of the local people many would implicitly believe it was a ghost.

Gwyneth and Owen

This tale is from the medieval period when Owen, who was a novice at Margam Abbey, had the misfortune to fall in love with a local girl named Gwyneth, the grand-daughter of a sorceress named Maud living in Cwm Kenfig.
The couple had a regular meeting place near the banks of the river Kenfig, but one day their tryst was brought to an abrupt end by a sudden and violent storm. As the couple struggled to find shelter they got hopelessly lost and above the raging of the storm and the roar of the swollen river, heard the frightful screams of the Gwrach Y Rhibyn (Hag of the Mist) mocking the futility of their efforts to reach safety.
All who heard the cry of the Hag knew that some dire misfortune awaited them.
As night fell the doomed couple struggled on, but a demon known as the Torrent Spectre appeared and swept the two into the swollen waters of the river Kenfig. Later the same night fishermen at Sker were disturbed to hear the eerie keening of the Cyhiraeth whose cry was said to herald the arrival of a corpse on the beach.
As dawn broke it was to reveal the bodies of the two lovers lying on the sands clasped in one another's arms.

Bwci Bo

The field on the north side of Pyle Church, now occupied by a small private housing estate, was once known as "Puckwall".
The name probably dervives from the English sprite Puck, which in turn perhaps originates from the Welsh "Bwca" or "Bwci Bo". It was believed that Bwci Bo was a goblin or elf who haunted certain farmhouses and if well fed with milk left out for him at night, would help with the housework whilst the good people slept.
If he were spied upon or ill-treated in anyway, he would bring ill luck to the house and find a new abode for himself. He was sometimes known as "Bwca'r Trwyn" from his long nose, which differentiates him from the button-nosed Puck of English legend.

A Skeleton from Our Past...

The location of the church of St.James that served the former town of Kenfig buried beneath the sand dunes is thought to be approximately 300 yards south of the remains of Kenfig Castle. The basis for this if from various finds of human bones in the dunes.
One such discovery at the begining of the 20th century is recorded in the book "Annals of South Glamorgan" by Marianne Robertson Spencer, published in 1913.
The graveyard of the old church is buried under the sands and numbers of coffinless skeletons have been found there from time to time - these exposed by the shifting sands.
Not so very long ago, some boys coming over the sand dunes early one morning and crossing the old burial place found an entire skeleton resting on the sub-soil from which the sand had just been blown. There was no sign of any coffin and every bone was in place... The remains were taken up and interred in the present grave yard.

Kenfig Pool - Vengence is coming!

A local chieftain wronged and wounded a Prince and the latter, with his dying breath, pronounced a curse against the wrongdoer. The curse was forgotten until one night the decendants of the chieftain heard a fearful cry; "Dial a ddaw! Dial a ddaw!" (Vengence is coming!).
At first it passed unnoticed, but when the cry was repeated night after night, the owner of Kenfig asked the domestic bard what it meant. The bard repeated the old story of revenge, however this was dismissed and a great feast was undertaken with music and song.
In the midst of the carousal the fearful warning cry was repeatedly heard, and suddenly the earth trembled and water rushed into the place.
Before anybody could escape, the town of Kenfig, with its palace, houses and people was swallowed up and only a deep dark lake or pool remains to mark the scene of the disaster. In the early part of the nineteenth century traces of the masonary could be seen and felt with grappling irons in the pool...



The Porthcawl Branch


Map of Porthcawl Branch & associated lines
Map of Porthcawl Branch & associated lines
Source & Photos: D.S.Barrie/British Railways, The Railway Magazine (March 1954)
Site of former passenger station at Porthcawl (looking towards Pyle)
Site of former passenger station at Porthcawl (looking towards Pyle)
Porthcawl railway station looking towards buffer stops
Porthcawl railway station looking towards buffer stops
Porthcawl stands on a low headland at the far edge of a series of small bays to the west of the mouth of the river Ogmore and a few miles below the sourthern outcrop of the South Wales coalfield.
The railway that served Porthcawl was notable for it was owned by 5 successful undertakings and at various times embodied 3 different gauges.
Porthcawl was the obvious choice for a harbour when in the early 19th century the development of the iron & coal industries along the Cefn Cribbwr ridge and at Maesteg in the Llynfi Valley created the demand for a shipping outlet.

The Tramroad

The creation of the Duffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway Company in June 1825 (Read more... ) was a tramroad having rails spiked direct to stone blocks & reputedly constructed to the unusual gauge of 4ft 7in with its starting point at Dyffryn Llynvi about 1 ½ miles north of Maesteg.
This tramroad crossed Maesteg from the east to the west bank of the river Llynfi then passed down the valley through Troedyrhiw, Garth and Tondu where it followed the north side of Cefn Cribbwr before passing round the west flank of Kenfig Hill to Pyle, Cornelly and Porthcawl.
The total length was 16¾ miles in which there was a fall of 490 feet giving an overall average gradient of 1 in 180 descending towards the sea.
The tramroad is reputed to have been opened for horse-drawn traffic in 1829 and 5 years later became connected from Park Slip (west of Tondu) to the town of Bridgend (about 4 miles south eastwards) by another horse-worked tramroad known as the Bridgend Railway.
Porthcawl branch platforms of Tondu Station May 1949
Porthcawl branch platforms of Tondu Station May 1949
With the development of industry and traffic the Llynfi Valley Railway Company was incorporated in 1846 & took over the Porthcawl tramroad in 1847 and the Bridgend Railway in 1854.
in 1855 a further Act was obtained authorising the conversion of both the Porthcawl & Bridgend tramroads into locomotive-worked broad gauge railways connecting at Bridgend with the South Wales Railway which was opened to Swansea in 1850.
To be continued...

This section to be Continued in full... together with Exclusive Coverage of First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative which was launched on Friday 06 July 2012 at Ysgol yr Ferch o'r Sger School in North Cornelly.

... First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative
First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative
First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative

First Great Western Schools Rail Safety Initiative will be visiting schools throughout the Kenfig & surrounding areas delivering a powerful safety message aimed at school children and rail safety in general. This website will not only be documenting the history of local railways but also helping to promote this unique & informative rail safety message for all to learn from. is pleased to announce that it has exclusive & 1st hand coverage of all these school visits.

The schools rail safety initiative was launched by Geraint Llewellyn, a local high speed train driver in July 2012 after a near-miss with two children sitting on the railway tracks at Briton Ferry; the project has the full backing of First Great Western, British Transport Police, local Councillors, South Wales AM's & the Welsh Government and has already been heavily covered by the Press & Media including the BBC & ITV News networks together with local & national Radio/Newspapers.

Further Information -



The Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl

Brief History

Perspective view of Grand Pavilion 1931
Perspective view of Grand Pavilion 1931
Source & Photos: Keith E Morgan, The Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl
Construction of Grand Pavilion 1931
Construction of Grand Pavilion 1931
Construction of Grand Pavilion Octagonal Dome 1932
Construction of Grand Pavilion Octagonal Dome 1932
Official Opening of Grand Pavilion 08 Aug 1932
Official Opening of Grand Pavilion 08 Aug 1932
The Grand Pavilion was built on a piece of land known as 'Brogden's Field' by the Porthcawl Urban District Council & was the brainchild of Cllr Russell Mabley JP. The building was designed by architect E.J.E.Moore on 07 Dec 1931 being fabled to have been based on a similar styled building in Singapore. The cutting of the 1st sod was on 9 Oct 1931 when the site was cleared & foundations began. By early 1932 its structure had taken shape & work started on the erection of the ferrous concrete octagonal dome.
Due to the importance of the use of ferrous concrete in the construction of the dome, the Grand Pavilion was given a Grade II listed status in 1998. The Grand Pavilion & Winter Gardens were built at a cost of £25,000.00 - The 2-faced clock situated atop the front facade of the building is known as the Queen Alexandra Memorial Clock & was erected by public subscription.
The Grand Pavilion celebrates its 80th birthday today & is operated by Bridgend County Borough Council's Arts & Culture Service.


Local Boxing - Sporting Hall of Fame

Local Boxing Sporting Hall of Fame - Peter Delbridge
Local Boxing Sporting Hall of Fame - Peter Delbridge
Photo: Lyn Smith, MCK Newsletter Team 2004

Peter Delbridge (born Pyle 07/12/1934)

Peter Delbridge was born in Pyle and boxed between 1959 & 1962 in 20 Professional contests.
He started boxing at the age of 13 at Pyle Amateur Boxing Club. At 18 years of age he was the N.C.B. Flyweight Champion, at 19 N.C.B. Bantamweight Champion and at 20 N.C.B. Featherweight Champion. He fought all the top amateurs in Europe at those weights and in 1956 was voted top boxer in Wales.
At the age of 25 he turned professional and boxed for a further 4 years in about 200 matches.
He worked in the Steel Works in Port Talbot for 22 years.
He played darts around the local pubs & clubs as well as coaching youngsters at Porthcawl A.B.C.
Source: Lyn Smith, MCK Newsletter Team 2004

Ron Cooper (born Kenfig Hill 05/02/1928)

Welsh Middleweight Champion. Details coming soon...

Bryn Lewis (born Porthcawl 22/12/1943)

Welsh Lightweight Champion. Details coming soon...

External Links:

Ron Cooper Biography WELSH WARRIORS
Bryn Lewis Biography WELSH WARRIORS is not responsible for the content and/or accuracy of external website links
A-Z of Sports (Around Kenfig & Surrounding Areas)... Coming Soon
New THE COAST - HISTORY - ON THIS DAY (23 April 1947)

The Samtampa / Edward Prince of Wales Lifeboat Tragedy

The Samtampa - Sker Rocks
Frontpage local newspaper coverage of Tragedy
The Samtampa - Sker Rocks

The Samtampa

On this day, 23 April in 1947 (68 years ago) one of the worst maritime disasters in living memory along the South Wales coastline happened. The Samtampa cargo ship with all 39 crew along with all 8 Lifeboatmen of Edward Prince of Wales Lifeboat from Mumbles perished on the rocks at Sker in attrocious weather conditions. The Samtampa was broken into 3 parts - the Mumbles Lifeboat found smashed and upside down on the rocks.

The Tragedy

The Samtampa, a former Liberty Ship, was on a voyage from Middlesborugh to Newport, in ballast. A strong westerly gale was in progress when she entered the Bristol Channel where the ship developed an engine fault. It was decided by her Captain, H. Neale Sherwell to drop anchor in Swansea Bay to carry out repairs to the engine. The weather was deteriating by the minute and at 4.38pm the starboard anchor chain parted and 12 minutes later the port cable snapped. The Samtampa was taken eastwards in the hurricane force winds and within 20 minutes she was on the rocky ledges near Sker Point.

The Mumbles Lifeboat

EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES was launched just after 6pm to go to the rescue. William Gammon, who had been Lifeboat Coxswain for 7 years, was at the helm of the lifeboat as they headed across Swansea bay to Sker.
At the same time the Porthcawl Coastguards and rocket team were attempting to get a line to the wreck from the shore. The wind speed was said to have been in excess of 100 mph and in less than 5 minutes of the Samtampa hitting the rocks she started to break up.
Around 2 hours later she was a total wreck, the 10m waves having broken her into large pieces. The rocket apparatus became ineffective due to the extreme high winds and a line out to the stricken vessel failed. It is said that some of the rockets were driven back so far by the ferrocious wind that they landed in fields behind the rocket operators themselves.
All crew of the Samtampa were drowned - the full disaster was realised by the morning of 24 April. The Mumbles Lifeboat had failed to return, and instead was found smashed upside down on Sker Rocks. When the town of Mumbles, Swansea learned of the news, the whole town was in mourning.

The Crew of S.S. Samtampa

25 of the crew of the Samtampa were from the North East of England. 10 of whom were from Middlesbrough, 4 from Whitby, 2 each from Stockton, Redcar and Staithes and 1 each from South Bank, Skelton, Bishop Auckland, West Hartlepool and Thornaby.

In Memory of all who perished on that fateful day

Samtampa Memorial - Sker Rocks
To the Memory of the Captain And the thirty eight Crew Members Of the Freighter S.S. SAMTAMPA Who perished on these rocks In the Great Storm of April 23rd 1947, And of the Cox'n and Crew of Seven of the Mumbles Lifeboat, "EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES" Who lost their lives in their valiant rescue attempt. This Plaque marks the final Resting place of The Mumbles Lifeboat.
Memorial - final resting place of Lifeboat on Sker Rocks (GPS coordinates- SS79177941)

The Samtampa

Cargo Steamship
Port of Registry:
Official Number:
Previous Name:
7219 tons gross
1943, Portland, US
423 feet
57 feet
Date of Sinking:
23 April 1947
Sker Rocks, Glamorgan

Edward, Prince of Wales

RNLI Motor Watson Lifeboat
Official Number:
RNLI 678
16 tons
1924, Cowes
45 feet
12 feet
Date of Sinking:
23 April 1947 On Service
Sker Rocks, Glamorgan

Related Links

Mumbles Lifeboat Crew Remembered
Stained Glass Window, All Saints Church, Oystermouth, Swansea
Lifeboat Disaster Photo Found
A forgotten photo of the widows of the 8-strong Mumbles Lifeboat Crew which turned up in a shack in Alaska. Read about this remarkable story.
Mumbles Lifeboat
Learn the history of the Mumbles Lifeboat Station and its crew.
Board of Trade Wreck Report
No. 7946 SS Samtampa - The Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. Report of Court on the formal investigation of the wreck of SS Samtampa held at the Guildhall, Swansea on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th days of August 1947.
Pathe News
Views of Sherman tank, various shots of the Samtampa wreck & of Fred Winstanley and workmates using oxyacetylene apparatus to dismember sections of wreck - the tank was used for towing the sections over the beach.

The Crew of S.S.Samtampa - We Remember these gallant sailors

William Mensworth (35)

Ship's Fireman - served in the war on a munition ship torpedoed in a Russian convoy.

R Weatherill (29)

Donkeyman of 6 Sayers yard, Whitby, married with two children, served in Royal Navy during war as a petty officer.

Arthur Callighan (30)

Donkeyman greaser, of North Ormesby was in the Merchant Navy from the beginning of the war.

Ralph Chester (17)

Deck boy, was on his third trip since joining the Merchant Navy. He was at home for his 17th birthday and his brother's wedding on Easter Monday.

Joseph Griffiths (24)

Assistant cook, was on his second trip since his return to the Merchant Navy. He married a South Bank girl only seven weeks previous. He had been a prisoner of war in Japan for 3½ years.

Harry Garside (23)

He was on his first voyage in the Merchant navy less than a year after leaving the Royal Navy, he was married but no children.

John Strangeway (22)

Assistant Steward - had been at sea since he was 15.

L F Davidson (24)

Able seaman, a single man, he had been in the Merchant Navy since he was 15.

Donald Hill (26)

Able seaman, during the war he served for six years in the Royal Navy and was in the first flotilla of minesweepers which swept the way for the invasion force on D-day.

Charles Frederick Shinner (20)

Was on his fifth voyage, previously he had worked at Dorman Long's and taken a prominent part in local athletics.

H Lees (24)

Came from a seafaring family, his home was formerly at Birkenhead, he was married with two children.

Patrick McKenna (47)

Went back to sea after an absence of 20 years because he could not get over his wife's death, it was his first voyage.

George Webster (21)

Fireman - made his first sea trip to Normandy on D-day.

Joseph Gilraine (22)

Had just recovered from yellow jaundice and his widowed mother did not want him to make the trip.

Francis Cannon (30)

Donkeyman greaser the son of a sailor. His father, was on a voyage, lost another son at sea during the war.

Arnold Nicholson (19)

Galley boy - had been at sea for nearly four years. He was a well known member of Redcar Literary Institute and this was his fourth trip.

Joseph Croft (19)

Assistant steward went to sea almost straight from school, his mother thought he would give it up after the war but 'it was in his blood.'

James John Bell (29)

Boatswain - he lost two brothers also at sea in the war.

Isaac Longster (35)

Able seaman - he lost two brothers at sea during the war.

J Thompson (32)

John T Souter Jnr

Ordinary seaman.

K K Richardson

Second engineer.

Stanley Daritis (19)

Ordinary seaman.

William John Davis (53)

Able seaman.

C Jackson (32)

Ship's carpenter.

Names of other men who were not signed on in Middlesborough

Capt H N Sherwell, D Lowe(First officer), G L Murray(Second officer), P MarshallL(Third officer), W E Thompson(Radio officer), W A Atkinson(Chief engineer), J Riley(Third engineer), B McDonald(Fourth engineer).

Other members of crew

P Allam(Chief steward), R N Lythel(Second steward), B Jones(Chief cook)


J Ellis, P Ferns, J Wilson
UK-NORTHEAST-L Archives (Evening Gazette, Thursday 24th April 1947), Pauline Gregg (York UK), Researching: Brown, Searle, Olvanhill, Gregory, Huskinson (all Middlesbrough area)

The Lifeboat Crew Remembered :: Edward, Prince of Wales

William Gammon - Coxswain
William Gammon - Coxswain
William Noel - Second Coxswain
William Noel - Second Coxswain
Ernest Griffin - Mechanic
Ernest Griffin - Mechanic
William Lewis Howell - Mechanic
William Lewis Howell - Mechanic
William Davies - Mechanic
William Davies - Mechanic
W R S Thomas - Mechanic
W R S Thomas - Mechanic
W R Thomas - Mechanic
W R Thomas - Mechanic
R Smith - Mechanic
R Smith - Mechanic
Images: / Glamorgan Gazette

Croes Y Ddadl (Cross of Dispute)

Background - Location near to Maudlam Cross

Base of Croes Y Ddadl (Cross of Dispute)
The base of this cross stands almost completely buried by sand in the dunes a little north east of the crossroads formed by the junction of Heol Fach (North Cornelly) with the road from Marlas to Maudlam near Maudlam Cross; this was once a trackway which crossed Mont Mawr near Maudlam Cross. The cross itself has long disappeared but its socketed base (a moulded Sutton block) is still visible. It presumably marks the original site of this crossroads which has been 'pushed' inland away from it by the advancing sand - its name seems to imply that it was originally a place used by local people as a meeting point at which differences and disputes between them could be settled.

Historical Information - The Kenfig Charters c.1397

Croes y Ddadl or the Cross of Debate is referred to in Thomas le Despenser's Charter to the Kenfig burgesses c.1397 where its called Taddulcrosse. Tradition has it that minor differences between the burgesses were thrashed out there, a belief that might have some glimmer of truth as crosses played an important part in the lives of the peoples in medieval days which were objects of veneration and when set up in market places, traders were aware of their presence & conducted their business in an honourable fashion.

Turnpike Trust Dispute - 1843

The Croes y Ddadl was centre of serious deliberation on 26 October 1843 when a crowd of over 500 angry local farmers & freeholders assembled there to protest against the burdens imposed by the toll-gates set up by the Bridgend Trust. After a heated discussion, Jehosophat Powell of Eglwysnunydd was chosen to present a petition to the Trust requesting the removal of the gates at Redhill, Pyle (Stormy Down) and Taibach, Port Talbot. The disputes arose that merchants were attempting to bypass the Borough Markets by utilzing the Pont Velin Newydd crossing (Water Street). As documented in the Swansea Journal of 01 November 1843, there were 2 trouble spots at Pyle - these were:
Toll bar set up in 1834 above the old Dyffryn Llynfi Railway
Toll gate placed at Pyle Cross in 1840 to exact tolls from people using the parish road to Maudlam
In addition to this a chain was placed across the main road running from Bridgend to Aberavon.
Source: Bridgend Library & Information Services, The Story of Kenfig (A.Leslie Evans)

Local Archaeological Finds

History - General - Archaeology (Roman Coin found near Kenfig in 2011)


The above coin was found near the Roman coastal road 'Julia Maritima' (Water Street) not far from Kenfig in 2011, the person who found the coin wishes to remain anonymous, however, the coin was verified for its authenticity by the National Museum of Wales in 2011. We were privilaged to be able to take photographs of the coin which appear here courtesy of its finder. The following information was kindly supplied by the National Museum of Wales
The coin is a radiate and of (late) 3rd century AD date, the emperor is Probus (276-82) and it was minted in Antioch, in modern day Turkey.
The reverse inscription reads: 'CLEMENTIA TEMP' and it depicts the emperor receiving a globe from Jupiter.

The Kenfig Ordinances (Bye-Laws)

Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig (The Town Hall)
Kenfig Castle
The ancient medieval town of Kenfig's bye-laws or Ordinances make for interesting reading at the beginning of the 21st century as they reflect the customs of that point in time together with the pattern of life within medieval Kenfig showing it to be a well regulated community. A copy of the Kenfig Ordinances that were drawn up & revised dates from c.1330 - these would have been made by the Portreeve or chief municipal officer & his aldermen at Kenfig.

Bakers, Brewers & Tanners

The town's bakers who were licenced by the Portreeve were ordered to bake wholesome bread of a standard weight fixed by the corporation 'on pain of grevious amerciament (fine) and further punishments provided by his Majesty's laws & statues for such heinous and intolerable offences. Similar ordinances applied to brewers and tanners.


Butchers were forbidden to sell meat on Sundays or to slaughter or scald animals in the High Street; if they were burgesses they had to conduct their business under the town shambles. Non-resident butchers could only conduct business on Fridays & Saturdays.

Fighting or Brawling

Brawlers in the town who drew blood were to be amerced 3s.4d. for the offence with additional fines for the affray at the Portreeve's pleasure.


To ensure a measure of sanitation butchers were fined for casting heads & feet of animals and any other offal into the High Street or elsewhere in the town.

Latest News: Channel 4 Time Team episode was broadcast on Sunday 18 March 2012 - the episode is now available on Channel 4oD online at Channel 4oD online - Time Team at Kenfig

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

The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway c.1825-1860

The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway c.1825-1860
Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway
Signal Box, South Cornelly
Signal Box, South Cornelly
Horse drawn coal dram
Horse-drawn coal dram
Seal of the Duffryn Llynvi & Porthcawl Railway Company
Seal of the Duffryn Llynvi & Porthcawl Railway Company


Built between 1825 and 1829, The Dyffryn Llynfi & Porthcawl Railway connected a new harbour built at Porthcawl with iron works that had sprung up further inland at Cefn Cribbwr, Aberkenfig and Maesteg.
The railway covered a total distance of 16¾ miles descending some 490 feet from its starting point near Caerau, Maesteg. Designed for horse-drawn traffic it was a single track line with passing places and was built to a 4ft 6inch gauge with the rails fixed to stone blocks rather than wooden sleepers so as to leave a clear path between which horses and handlers could walk along.
A time-table dating from 1855 shows that it took 6¼ hours to travel from the terminus in the valley to Porthcawl and that the return trip was about 2¼ hours longer.
The trains brought iron and coal to the coast for export to worldwide destinations and on the return trip stopped at South Cornelly to collect lime for use at the iron works. As lime was an effective fertilizer, several farmers in the Maesteg area with arrangement with the railway company, operated their own trams on the line to collect supplies for their own use.


Map of Kenfig Hill area
Map of Kenfig Hill area
Passenger traffic started on the line as early as 1836 and became increasingly important when the track was converted to use by steam trains in 1861 making Porthcawl a popular destination for day trippers and holiday makers alike. This section of line from Porthcawl to Cefn Cribbwr junction remained operational until the 1960's when it was closed as a result of the Beeching Act.
At south Cornelly where a lane crossed the railway by a manned level crossing - the former gate keeper's house still survives as a modernised private dwelling whilst opposite it stands the former local public house known as The Three Horse Shoes (Originally called The Horse and Tram).
The public house fronted onto the railway and offered welcome refreshment for hauliers working the line before setting off on the long return journey back to Maesteg. This public house is now a private residence.
Last section of the Tramroad Track still in position at Porthcawl Pier
Last section of the Tramroad Track at Porthcawl

Read more... coming soon

Source: Bridgend Library & Information Serices, The Kenfig Hill & District Music & Art Society

Margam Abbey - (c.1147-1536)

Margam Abbey (c.1147-1536)
Margam Abbey c.1147-1536
On this day in 1537 (477 years ago) Margam Abbey was surrendered to King Henry VIII under the Dissolution of the Monastries Act.

Historical Background

Margam Abbey - Reconstruction (A.Leslie Evans)
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. The Abbey is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and dates from the 2nd half of 12th century. There is no documentary evidence relating to Margam prior to the arrival of the Normans, however, carved & inscribed monuments nearby indicate an earlier Christian presence. The Abbey is believed to have been built on or near the site of an important Celtic monastic house.

History of Margam Abbey - Read more...Coming soon

Religion throughout the Kenfig & Surrounding Areas
Kenfig Calvinistic Methodist Sunday School at Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig  c.1950's
Kenfig Calvinistic Methodist Sunday School at Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig c.1950's

The Sunday School

Formed by Mr & Mrs Richard Bowen c.1863 together with Mr Evan Howell, Mr Edmund Thomas & Mr William Rees. Initially the Sunday School was held at Mr & Mrs Bowen's house at Ton Kenfig but transferred to the upstairs hall at the Prince of Wales Inn, Kenfig. The sunday school was held at this location up until recent years. The average attendance in 1963 was 40 pupils when the school celebrated its centenary. A record 75 pupils attended the school in August 1923.

HISTORY - GENERAL - RELIGION ( Learn more... )

Learn about the history of local Churches & Chapels & other religious centres together with Sunday Schools, Religious Events/Celebrations, Parish Records and more including Interactive Maps outlining burial plots at various locations, this section aims to help those tracing family tree information throughout the area.

Cefn Cribbwr

Siloam Chapel

Siloam Chapel, Cefn Cribbwr c.1910
Built in 1827, this was the first chapel to be built in Cefn Cribbwr. It is the oldest of the six places of worship in the village. It is located at the top of Bedford Road and is set back off the road itself. The present day chapel is not the original as the structure was rebuilt in 1855. It is a large structure with a cemetery to the front and rear. The original congregation were Welsh speakers, many of whom were local miners.

Kenfig Hill

St Theodore's Church & Vicarage

St Theodore's Church & Vicarage, Kenfig Hill
The Vicarage was born out of the vision & inspiration of Rev. Joshua Pritchard Hughes and was known locally as 'Bryn Eglwys' which was probably erected in 1882 before the church of St Theodore's alongside was built in 1889. It didn't become a vicarage until 1923 when Kenfig Hill became a Parish in its own right - the building was demolished in 2007 for the development of housing after serving its community for over 125 years. St Theodore's Church was supported & built by the Talbot Family of the Margam Estate and was named in honouring CRM Talbot's only son & heir who had died following a riding accident in June 1876. More... St Theodore's Church & Vicarage, Kenfig Hill
Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836)
Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
Twyn Cottage, Water Street - where early baptists worshiped
Twyn Cottage, Water Street
The Second Chapel 1857-1913
The Second Chapel 1857-1913

Pisgah Baptist Chapel (Founded c.1836)

Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836) - The 1st Chapel opened Christmas Day 1836, 2nd Christmas Day 1857 & the 3rd present day building on 30 April 1913. Early Baptists worshiped at Twyn Cottage, Water Street, Caegarw Farm & Pwllygath Barn, Kenfig Hill before the chapel(s) were built. A Famous visitor was Pastor Niemoller (former German U-Boat Commander in WWI).
This section contains the history of the chapel together with an Interactive map of Pisgah Chapel graveyard & an alphabetical burials listing that will aide local Genealogy Studies together with the Kenfig Heritage Website Project Family Tree section.

Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836)

Tracing your Family Tree around Kenfig? Visit

Interactive Map: Burial Plots & Monumental Inscriptions - Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
Interactive Map: Burial Plots
Alphabetical Burials Listing - Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
Alphabetical Burials Listing

HISTORY - GENERAL - RELIGION: Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill (founded c.1836)

North & South Cornelly (sub-manors of the ancient borough of Kenfig)
Ty Maen, South Cornelly
Ty Maen, South Cornelly

South Cornelly - Brief History

South Cornelly came into being as an Anglo-Norman settlement in the second half of the 12th century. It is the 'original' Cornelly, though a document of the time indicates that it narrowly escaped being known as 'Thomastown' after Thomas son of William who was an early Lord of the Manor here. His descendants subsequently adopted the name 'De Cornelly' and their house is believed to have stood where the mansion called Ty Maen stands behind high walls on the main road through the village.
The earliest elements of the present building date from around 1650 and it incorporates many unusual features. Above the main door is carved the war cry of the Knights Templar ( Non Nobis Domine, Non Nobis) whilst a pane of glass in one of the windows depicts a coat of arms believed to be those of Bishop Law of Carlisle - neither he nor the Templars are known to have any connections with this locality. A Priest's hole was discovered in an upstairs bedroom concealed behind an old cupboard. The site of the old church was in a field where the present day house 'Meadowrise' is located which stood by the wall nearlest the road opposite Ty Maen House.

Lamb Row (Rhes Yr Oen)

Lamb Row, South Cornelly
Lamb Row, South Cornelly
Lamb Row was the original main street which led from the main road up to the small medieval chapel at the foot of a rocky outcrop. Legend has it that the chapel was connected to Ty Maen by an underground passage - the chapel was dedicated to a Breton saint named Cornelius from which the village took its name. The chapel was turned in to a cottage but now is a forlorn ruin in the garden of a private house.
Not apparent when seen from the village, the entire back of the hill against which the chapel stood has been quarried away over the past two centuries to supply lime for the iron and steel industry. It was one of several such limeworks in the area and in the past South Cornelly and the surrounding countryside were perpetually coated with light grey dust from the quarries and kilns.

North Cornelly - Brief History

Cornelly Cross
Cornelly Cross
Originally a sub manor of the Kenfig Borough which lay outside the boundaries of the Borough itself, its earliest holders were the Lupellus family who later adopted the name Lovel. The earliest recorded name of the village from a document that dates from before 1183 is the rather cumbersome 'The Vill of Walter Lupellus'. The name Cornelly arose probably due to its close proximity to the crossroads (Cornelly Cross) where the road to the original village of Cornelly (Present South Cornelly) branched off from the main road. The village adjoining the Cornelly junction therefore became known by that name and 'North' and 'South' were added to distinguish between the two.

North Cornelly Cross

Once known as Croes y Green, this crossroads which stands at the heart of modern-day North Cornelly has been here for well over 700 years. The original village lay some distance away from the cross to the north east in the area between the manor house (Hall Farm) and the present day New House Inn. A blacksmith's shop was built on North Cornelly Cross about 1738 which continued in use until the early part of the 20th century.
Hall Farm North Cornelly
Hall Farm North Cornelly

Hall Farm - The Hall Manor

Map of Kenfig / Pyle District (A. Leslie Evans)
Map of Kenfig / Pyle District (A. Leslie Evans)
This house in North Cornelly was built by Roger Gramus in 1245AD and preserves features of the Tudor building owned by the Turbervilles of Penllyne [ Prominent Parish Surnames - Turbervilles ] - Thomas Gray (c.1909) suggested that it occupied the site once owned by the Grammus family who flourished in the area in the 12th & 13th centuries. The courtyard at the rear is bounded by the battered walls of a ruined building of an earlier date.

Local Roads - Street Names

Heol Fach (Little Road)

Heol Fach, North Cornelly
Heol Fach, North Cornelly
Despite its name (perhaps acquired when the 'Big Road' through Pyle was opened in the 15th century), Heol Fach during the medieval period was part of the main highway through the coastal plain of Glamorgan.
Analysis of medieval documents shows that this road descended from Stormy Down along what is now 'Heol Y Sheet' on Broadlands Estate, as far as Cornelly Cross and then headed towards the town of Kenfig. It was probably from this earlier period that it acquired the name of 'Cartway' which is often given as an alternative in 17th century documents.
At the 'Croes Y Ddadl' road junction, (Maudlam Cross), Heol Fach connected with the ancient trackway leading down from Cefn Cribbwr to the coast. The road to Pont Velin Newydd (certainly in being in the 13th century) and presumably a road leading direct to the town of Kenfig.

Water Street

Water Street which was part of the Roman coastal road, via Julia Maritima was called 'Heol-y-Troedwyr' (Road of the foot soldiers).

Julia Maritima

The Julia Maritima from Gloucester to Carmarthen passed Stormy Down, Cornelly, Maudlam and Kenfig to the south of the main road as far as Cwrt-y-Defaid.
London 2012 Olympic Games - Official Website London 2012 Olympic Games - Official Website London 2012 Paralympic Games - Official Website London 2012 Paralympic Games - Official Website
London 2010 (The Olympic Movement) - Official Website The Paralympic Movement - Official Website
British Paralympic Association British Paralympic Association

Table Tennis Ace from North Cornelly chosen for Paralympian Team

Paralympian Paul Davies
Image source: Glamorgan Gazzette
Paul Davies of North Cornelly is among 4 Welsh athletes chosen to take part in the Paralympic Games by the British Paralympic Association (BPA).
It's a dream come true for Paul Davies who was paralysed in an accident in 1986. It will be the first time the World-Ranked Number 9 is to go to the Paralympics and something he's dreamed of for many years. 'It was a fantastic moment to be told that I had been selected to ParalympicsGB', he said. It's a real honour and a very proud moment for my family. I have been working towards this moment for many years and it is the highlight of my career.
Davies who trains at Pyle Leisure Centre has trained for 5 Paralympic Games over a period of 20 years before being selected to compete in London 2012.

Career Highlights

World Ranking: 9
Silver Medal at 2001 European Championships (beating 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist)

Source: Glamorgan Gazette & GEM Newspapers


A Special Section on the 2012 Olympic Games will be made available on this website over the coming months where we will be documenting all local athletes competing in both the able-bodied and Paralympic Games. We will also be documenting the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay that passes through our locality on the A48 at Pyle enroute from Cardiff to Swansea on Saturday 26 May 2012.
New ON THIS DAY - 30 January 1607

Life in 17th Century Kenfig

In the early 1600's, the population of Kenfig was around 200. A church and village at Maudlam, a few scattered houses at Ton Kenfig and Sker Farm.

The Great Storm 1607 - Tsunami in Bristol Channel

On this day in 1607 (407 years ago) there was a great storm and many people lost their lives in the county when lowland areas became flooded. (Experts now believe this was caused by a Tsunami in the Bristol Channel and not a storm or high tides.
At Kenfig, the sand made further inroads - times were also hard; there were bad harvests in the 1620's and 1630's due to excessive rain. This also caused increased mortality of livestock, thus pushing up the price of all foodstuffs. Homes at this time were often workshops, peasant farmers having to exploit every means possible to make ends meet.

Cottage Industries

Looms were set up in cottages where the whole family would help with the spinning, combing, weaving and stocking-knitting. People made their own clothes and also sold garments at local fairs and markets. Tanning was also often carried in conjunction with small-scale farming. It required a plentiful supply of oak bark, water and lime, all of which were available within the Kenfig area.

Some local People

William Reese of Pyle and Kenfig was a cordwainer (Shoemaker) who also owned a cow, horse, lambs and ewes, grain and corn. Richard Thomas of Kenfig was able to earn his living solely by being a cordwainer. In 1634 tanned hides were regulary exported from Newton.
In 1654 John Leyshon held a lease of all veins and mines of coal in Rugge (Cefn Cribbwr) lying 'Within the liberty of the Borough of Kenfig'. He was a registered seaman and it is thought that coal was transported on the backs of horses or mules from Cefn to Newton to be shipped out. The coal would have been cut out of the bottom of shallow bell pits and carried in baskets up ladders to the surface.

Kenfig during Civil War Years (1642)

When Charles I became King in 1625 he believed he could rule by divine right without advice from Parliament. When civil war broke out between his supporters and Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarians, Wales was mostly Royalist in sympathy, the Kenfig area being no exception. After Cromwell's death in 1658 his son failed to maintain politcal stability and Charles II was welcomed back from exile since people were tired of the restrictions imposed by Puritan rule. By the summer of 1659 there had been a weeding out of political figures in Glamorgan who had supported Cromwell's Protectorate.
In 1662 the Act of Uniformity was passed, compelling people to conform to rules of the Established Church and to use the Book of Common Prayer. Lewis Aylward (Portreeve of the Kenfig Borough) was an ardent non-conformist and his house (either present day Kenfig Farm or Pool Farm), was used for meetings after the passing of the Act. In 1664, a troop of soldiers arrested Jacob Christopher, a preacher at the house but he was later released. He continued to use Aylward's house for meetings from 1672-75 but died a year later and was buried at Maudlam.
James II became King in 1685 and was unpopular with many people and with Parliament because he was suspected of trying to revert the country to the Catholic faith. When the Duke of Monmouth tried to displace James, the same Lewis Aylward, along with Thomas Lougher of South Cornelly (Constable of Kenfig Castle), was imprisoned in Chepstow Castle on the grounds he was sympathetic to Monmouth's cause. After Monmouth was beheaded in 1685 they were both freed.
Some Roman Catholic priests were executed for their faith in James' reign. Parliament ordered the local Justices of the Peace to seek them out. Philip Evans was arrested at Sker House (Owned by Christopher Turberville) in 1678 and was later hung, drawn and quartered in Cardiff. He was canonized in 1970.

Kenfig - The 1660 Survey

In the mid 17th century it is known that only one cottage near the old Kenfig castle was occupied. A survey of the Borough was made in 1660 for it's lord, the Earl of Pembroke, by a jury of burgesses. It defined the Borough's boundaries.
At this time burgesses were sworn in by the portreeve without payment. Anyone could be a burgess as long as the portreeve and his aldermen agreed. The portreeve, sergeant, constable of the castle, heyward and two ale-tasters were elected each year by all the burgesses. This resulted in rather a confused situation, especially when several burgesses were sworn in at the same time. The jurors admitted they did not know how many burgesses were within the Borough who ought to perform their 'suit of court' obligation. Furthermore, they did not know how many houses or how many acres in the Borough had been overcome by sand.
Within the Borough and under the Lordship were two manors of free socage tenure.
(socage = rent; free socage tenure meant held by free men on payment of rent)
These were the Paschall Hill holding (129 acres) and another unnamed holding of 145 acres. There were 19 people who rented various acreages of the Paschall Hill holding at two and a half pence per acre. The 145 acres was divided between 20 tenants who again held various amounts at the nominal rent of one red rose and three peppercorns a year. The tenants of the above holdings may or may not have been burgesses.
The 1660 survey also stated that one third of Kenfig Down (at Sker) which had been held by the monks of Neath Abbey was now held by Thomas Turberville and enclosed. The rent of this unknown acreage was five shillings a year and paid to the Earl, but Thomas Turberville received the profit and benefit of that land. The other two-thirds of the Down had been rented by the burgesses for ten shillings a year 'time out of mind' but now some of it was enclosed by them and they could rent it to non-burgesses and receive the profit. They held an unknown quantity of enclosed land in the common called Rugge (Cefn Cribbwr) in the same way. The fishing rights of Kenfig Pool were also theirs.

Local Fashions

During this century of Stuart rule fashions changed considerably. Men's hair was long and curled, cavalier's dress was elaborate with long lace collars and cuffs, loose breeches with ribbons at the knees and wide leather boots.
Women's skirts were high waisted and often looped up. The puritans, in marked contrast wore plain dark garments with white collars and aprons. They wore their hair short. When Charles II came to the throne, rich people dressed even more elaborately and expensively but the poor still wore simple wollen garments.
The homes of the poor were draughty and smokey as chimneys were dispensed of due to Chimney Tax. Glass was also taxed so windows were made with paper soaked in oil. The better off people had comfortable homes with four-poster beds and padded chairs in contrast.
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

The Kenfig Heritage Project - MAIN HISTORY SECTION

Documenting entire history of Kenfig & surrounding Area from Prehistory to Present Day

The Beginning of The Margam Estate - 1668

The Earl of Pembroke sold his manor of Kenfig to Sir Edward Mansel of Margam for £525 (five hundred and twenty five pounds) in 1668. It included decayed castle, all property, lands, woods, mineral rights at Cefn Cribbwr, waters, warrens, fishing, rents and other rights.
Sir Edward's descendants, the Mansel-Talbots inherited these until the estate was broken up and sold in 1941.
Learn more... The Margam Estate

Manorial Courts at Kenfig

Early records of manorial courts held in the Pyle and Kenfig district begin in 1676. They were presided over by the stewards and portreeve and there were three types:
  • Courts Baron - were held monthly to deal with the rents, services and heriots due from tenants.
  • Courts Leet - Petty criminal courts, these were only held twice a year.
  • Court of Pleas - these heard actions pertaining to land and were held monthly.
Petty offences included selling ale at short measure, not grinding corn at the mill where 'suit of mill' licence was held, not repairing the highway, not assisting in planting sedges and shooting partridges within the Borough precinct. The courts continued in the area until 1816.

Court Records

  • Court records show that in 1676 the River Kenfig was blocked with sand.
  • In 1682 there is reference to a 'Wigmore Road' leading to the sea at Sker.
Wigmore was the burning of seaweed to provide fertiliser for the land. It is also known that lime-burning went on at Cornelly - there being a plentiful supply of limestone as well as coal not too far away. Often lime was applied far too liberally as it was thought of as a fertiliser.
New Heritage Exhibition

Bethlehem Church Life Centre, Cefn Cribwr

Saturday 21 January 2012

Bridgend Farmers' Market, Capital Region Tourism
Bridgend REACH
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) was one of many exhibitors at a successful 'This is Your it today!' exhibition held at Bethlehem Church Life Centre, Cefn Cribwr on Saturday 21 January 2012. This event was promoted by Bridgend REACH (The Bridgend Rural Development Program, Bridgend County Borough Council).

History & Heritage Steering Group Local Community Group who is responsible for this webiste is pleased to announce its association with Bridgend REACH with its History & Heritage Steering Group which aims to help promote the history, heritage & tourism aspects of the Bridgend County together with the nation of Wales as a whole.

Collabarate Working

This heritage exhibition has paved the way forward to collaborative working between like-minded individuals & organisations in forging long-term relations & business opportunities in addition to promoting both the heritage & tourism aspects of what the county has to offer. The Local Community Group found the exhibition very rewarding and is looking forward to extending our services as time goes by. We would like to thank the management & staff at both the Bethlehem Church Life Centre & Bridgend REACH for hosting such a great event.

Further Information

Some of the Exhibitors
Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust
Glamorgan Archives, Cardiff
Ogmore Valley History & Heritage Society
Llynfi Models
Bridgend Beekeepers, 1940s Swansea Bay, Conservation & Design, BCBC
New FOLKLORE - The Cefn Riders & The Red Goblins

Local Folklore:

The Cefn Riders & The Red Goblins

Cefn - Welsh for back or ridge & Pyle (Pil in Welsh) means Stronghold

The Cefn Riders

Gangs of men known as the Cefn Riders & the Red Goblins have become legendary figures in local folklore within the Kenfig & surrounding area.
Cefn Cribbwr is a sprawling village running along the top of a spur or ridge whose height & shape give it a commanding position in the area. From anywhere in Cefn the surrounding countryside can clearly be seen and the potential for defence was spotted by its earliest peoples; the ancient Britons built a camp or fort here which was known as Castell Kribor, defences were also built on the appproach routes to Cefn eg. Pyle.
From the top of the ridge the people of Cefn were able to look about them and feel quite secure. By the 19th century they had almost become a people apart & any stranger visiting the area would be eyed with silent hostility and suspicion & at worst attacked so fiercely they would think twice before venturing there again.
The soil on the ridges was so poor that it was impossible for any large community to remain there and so bands of tougher men descended upon the lowlands taking what they required. No farm or building was safe, sheep and cattle began to disappear in large quantities. From this small step to plain thuggery the Cefn Riders as they came to be called roamed far & wide attacking strangers and packmen.
Travelling mostly on foot but sometimes on horseback they became greatly feared as far afield as Merthyr and the Vale of Glamorgan; showing little mercy to their victims - there is a very good description of 1 of their attacks in Alexander Cordell's, 'The Fire People' in which the Riders indulge in a favourite pastime of leaping on a traveller's back & forcing them to carry them some way along the journey.

The Red Goblins

The Red Goblins lived in the mountainous area between the Garw & Maesteg, these too were a band of ruffians living on what they stole from peoples living in the lowlands. From their caves on the mountainside they travelled in sweeping raids. Their favourite hunting ground was from the Vale of Glamorgan to the coast.
On one occasion they caught the Carmarthenshire Drovers on their way to the meat markets of London & stole their entire herd, on another occasion they captured an aristocratic lady of the Carne family & held her to ransome.
The Red Goblins appear to have been capable of gallant acts & they always treated women honourably. Sometimes 'men of good breeding' joined the gang in search of adventure - in spite of this, mothers were able to make their children behave with the phrase... Hush! or the Red Goblins will get you.
Sources: Bridgend County Borough Library & Information Services, (Books - Legends of Porthcawl & the Glamorgan Coast - Alun Morgan, Buried City of Kenfig - Thomas Gray, Folklore & Folk Stories of Wales - Marie Trevelyan)

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - The Kenfig Heritage Project
NewKenfig Times - Echos from the Past

The Kenfig Community - North Cornelly, Maudlam & Kenfig

Kenfig Times - Old Shops of North Cornelly, Maudlam & Kenfig

Court House, Blue Street

Owned by Mrs Caroline David - this was a dark room with uneven flagstones, fitted out with counter, drawers & brass scales; the shop sold materials such as cotton, buttons, fastners & boots (not shoes) which were hanging up on nails from a raftered ceiling. The shop also had bee-hives on the front lawn & sold beeswax in the shape of a basin mould & honey. Some sweets such as Fry's Cream chocolate was usually on the counter.

The CO-OP, Blue Street

Built next door to Court House this was at one time Harris's Photographic Studio & a grocery shop owned by Willie Thomas of Tymaen.

David's The Butchers, Maudlam

This was a village shop in what was formally the Butcher's Arms - it was also a Post Office.

Jenkin Morgan, Maudlam

Firstly this was a shop in the parlour at Fir Tree Cottage and later across the road at Heol Las Farm - the shop sold sweets.

Miss Vaughan's, Ton Kenfig

This shop was formally operated by Mrs Skinner & later by Miss Vaughan - its was situated behind the former Windrush Restaurant.

Mrs Jenkin's, Ton Kenfig

A wooden shop adjacent to Pen y Lan.

Marie Vaughan's, Near New House, Cornelly

This shop was situated between Fairfield House (4 new houses today) & the New House Inn - this is where the so called 'Parish' was paid out.

Pear Tree Cottage, Old Road

Parlour type shop situated behind the New House Inn

Mrs Powell's, Grit Hill, Old Road

Small parlour shop on the then main road to Pyle (Ffordd y Eglwys) - Mrs Powell also had a wooden cabin shop at Pyle station.

Dampier's, Heol Fach, Cornelly

George Dampier built a shop in the early 1920's - it was the only newsagent's in the area (the nearest newsagent was at Kenfig Hill). A Fish & Chip shop was opened in Belmont House, Heol Fach, prior to this William's Fish & Chip shop was next door before Belmont House had been built. Before both these food shops, a Fish & Chip Cart used to operate around the district.
Bill from Willie John Butcher's Cornelly - 1938
Bill from Willie John Butcher's Cornelly - 1938
Bill from Evan John Butcher's, (Willie John's Father) - 1883
Bill from Evan John (Willie John's Father)- 1883
The above bill was to Mrs Jenkins (Chemist) Bryn Eglwys, Maudlam.

Granny Bowen's, Pearl Cottage, Blue Street

This was a small parlour shop operating from chest of drawers. The 4 cottages were apparently at one time: a private house, the 1st cottage being the stable, the 2nd the kitchen, the 3rd the living room & the 4th the lounge. At one time there was a tailor's in the upstairs of the first cottage.

Old Post Office, Curwen Terrace, Cornelly

Built c.1911 by Will Evans as a shop. It was made the Post Office c.1922. This also was Thomas & Evans, Peglar's, & Jeff Roberts Electrical.

Blacksmith's Shop, Cornelly Cross

William John's stone built shop on the cross - this was later re-built across the road as a tin-built forge.

School Terrace, Cornelly

Carpenter's shop at Cornelly Court, Saunder's shoe shop & Roger Evan's Fish & Chip shop.

E.W.John, Butcher, Heol Fach, Cornelly

Built in early 1920's by Evan John, father of Willie John & grandson Arwyn. This butchers closed sometime ago.

Glen Rosa Cafe, Heol Fach, Cornelly

Started by Mrs Elizabeth Hughes at Ton Kenfig as a summer shop in the late 1920's - its was incorporated into the house at Heol Fach and run for many years by her daughter Betty Jenkins. It had a long room with a billiard table & was used at one time as a meeting place for the Kenfig Women's Institute, Church Sunday School & as a local political meeting place. There was a wooden seat on the verandah and was always the haunt of youngsters of the area.

Webb's, Heol Fach, Cornelly

A grocery/sweet shop opened in the late 1920's. This shop was next to Edward's newsmarket which is presently a hairdressing salon.

Broad's, Heol Fach, Cornelly

Opened in early 1930's by Sammy Evans as a sweet shop.

Roach's Fruit Shop, Heol Fach, Cornelly

Mrs Davies started a shop in Brecon House which was later opened as a fruit shop by Tom Roach & later still as the doctor's surgery.

Old Cottages, top of Blue Street

In the 2nd of the two old cottages that once stood at the top end of Blue Street, Mrs Jack Carter sold home-brewed pop made from herbs etc from nearby fields.
NewSt John Ambulance

The Kenfig Community - Kenfig Hill

St John Ambulance Kenfig Hill Division - started c.1909

St John Ambulance Kenfig Hill Division c.1920
St John Ambulance Kenfig Hill Division c.1920
The Ambulance Hall Kenfig Hill c.1937
The Ambulance Hall Kenfig Hill c.1937

The St John Ambulance Movement

The movement in Kenfig Hill started c.1909 when the first class was held at Kenfig Hill School for the purpose of rendering First Aid to the injured. After 2 years a committee was formed which met at the home of Dr Cooper. First Aid grew to such an extent that classes were held at the Talbot Institute from 23 March 1912 - the Kenfig Hill Division was officially formed in this year with the Cefn Cribbwr Division being formed in 1913.
Prize draws & concerts were organised to raise funds to purchase uniforms with equipment & stretchers kindly donated. There were an average of 120 injuries treated each year by the Kenfig Hill Division.

The Ambulance Hall

This was built in 1914 at a cost of £190. It was located to the north of Mynydd Cynffig Junior School on the site presently occupied by the Air Training Corps Headquaters (2117 (Kenfig Hill) Squadron - Air Training Corps). When the division celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1937 it consisted of 23 Ambulance men, a nursing division of 14 & a cadet force of 25. The division had a fine team which won many cups & shields at the National Eisteddfod Ambulance Competitions.
In 1924 the St John Priory of Wales stationed an Ambulance Car at Kenfig Hill which was initially housed near the Ambulance Hall but was moved to a garage on Pisgah Street opposite Pyle Welfare (Pyle Life Centre) when the ambulance hall was taken down. The Ambulance Hall was demolished in the late 1970's and the division was wound up for practicable purposes in 1984.
New Llanfihangel Mill & Farm

The Kenfig Community - Pyle / Pil

Llanfihangel Mill & Farm - Mentioned in 1186

Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle c.1920's
Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle c.1920's
One of the Granges of Margam Abbey - The Mill was fed via a sluce from a dam & waterfall upstream at the Collwyn. The mill was still working in 1926.
Stone Bridge over River Kenfig
Stone Bridge over River Kenfig
Stone Bridge over River Kenfig
Stone Bridge over River Kenfig
The old mill is situated in a hollow below Marlas and is approached via a stone bridge over the River Kenfig. In former times it was held by the monks of Margam as one of the Granges of Margam Abbey (St. Michael's) and was attached to the nearlby farm - mention to this is made in 1186. The mill was leased by lay tenants and served the needs of the people around Pyle until 1926. The Mill was fed via a sluce from a dam & waterfall upstream at the Collwyn.
The earliest known lay tenant was Thomas ap David who secured a lease upon the mill in 1527.
Following the dissolution of Margam Abbey the mill was acquired by the Mansel family (1536 - 1750) at this time there were 3 other corn mills operating in the area but by 1700 Llanfihangel was the only 1 still operational. Between 1724-1725 considerable renovation work were carried out and by 1739 a drying kiln had been added. In 1751 machinery for a second mill had been installed. (The tenant at this time was Edward Harris (d.1756) who was Portreeve of the Kenfig Borough for 14 consecutive years between 1742 & 1756 - Kenfig Portreeves 1339-1886)
The farm which is screened from view from the highway has labelled & mullioned windows which date from the late 16th century. When new windows were inserted in the south wall in 1959 sections of a small moulded & cusped 14th century window were found. Scores of pigeon holes can be seen in the northern pine end and nearby stands a large ruined building believed to have been used as a tithe barn. In 1358 and abbey lay brother named Meuric who worked at the grange was indicted for harbouring felons there.

Ffynnon Collwyn Spring

Along the Collwyn behind St James' Church a flight of steps leads down to a small spring at the very edge of the river. This is known as Ffynnon Collwyn and was formally a healing well, the waters of which were claimed to have medicinal properties.

Unusual Story Connected with the Mill

In 1833 an 11 year old girl named Ann Thomas was at the mill when her clothing became caught in the machinery "which machinery whirled her about with such violence as to mangle her whole frame in such a shocking manner as caused her instantaneous death". The girl was the daughter of a carpenter named Thomas Thomas from Pyle - 8 years later he was employed to carry out repairs to the waterwheel; "His foot slipt or entangled in the said water wheel, so that his head went between the said water wheel and the wall, by means whereof the said Thomas Thomas then and there instantly died".
NewHistory of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
Learn the history of each of the neighbouring villages and towns that surround the old borough of Kenfig. In this section you can learn of the history of each individual area.

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) THE KENFIG COMMUNITY

History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
New ON THIS DAY - 28 December 1781

Local Shipwrecks:

CATERINA - lost at Sker Point on 28 December 1781

Image source: The Shipwreck 1772 (Claude Vernet) Marine Art - Wikipedia
On this day in 1781 (232 years ago), the vessel CATERINA was lost at Sker Point. Hundreds of local people converged upon the wreck with a lawless attitude totally indifferent to the sufferance of her crew. The newly formed fellowship put a guard on the ship and a pitch battle broke out - 3 people were killed.

Hanged for Plundering

The plunderers were later caught and jailed but tranferred to Hereford to prevent the locals from freeing them. One of these, John Webb was later hanged.
The cargo of the CATERINA consisted of cotton, several casks of wine, brandy, currants & other goods.


Some 28 years before the wreck of the CATERINA in 1753, a similar occurrence of the shameful plundering of wrecks by local people happened with LE VAINQUEUR again at Sker and in the same month. Outling the severity with which the authorities meant to deal with offenders by affixing noticies to local parish church doors advising, "that the looting of wrecks was punishable by death" this didn't seem work as a deterent to the practise of looting wrecked vessels.

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

King Henry VIII & Kenfig

King Henry VIII Wikipedia
King Henry VIII
King Henry VIII
Photo: Wikipedia
The overwhelming of Kenfig by the sands in the late 15th century was just a memory by 1538 when Leland, the Kings Antiquary visited the area. He wrote of the castle and village being in ruins and 'almost shokid and devourid with sand that the Severne Se castith up'. He referred to the Kenfig River as Colebrooke and mentioned good corn and grass at Sker.
At this time, King Henry VIII dissolved the monastries. Margam was the first to go in Glamorgan and when the monks left, all their property, which included some burgages at the site of the old town of Kenfig, fell to the Crown. The lands were sold to various buyers and Margam, Pyle, Stormy, Kenfig Higher (the area north of the Kenfig river) and coal pits in Cefn Cribbwr were acquired in 1546 by Sir Rice Mansel of Oxwich and Penrice in the Gower.
He settled at Margam a little later. The Lordship of Kenfig Borough itself was Henry VIII's since he was Lord of Glamorgan, but by 1550 it was sold to Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke.

Life in 16th Century Kenfig

Tudor Period (1485-1603) / Elizabethan Era

During the Tudor period, houses in some areas were constructed of a timber framework (usually of oak) with wattle and plaster in between and topped with a thatched roof. Many great oaks grew at Margam and it is known that some were transported as far as Plymouth for ship building.
It is probable that most of the houses in the area now known as Ton Kenfig and in the village of Maudlam were built of local stone. The Guildhall, the present 'Prince of Wales Inn' dates from the 16th century as does Sker House.
Glass was expensive so was only seen in the houses of the wealthy. Homes of farmers and merchants contained furniture such as settles, wooden armchairs, carved beds with feather mattresses lain across ropes and wollen blankets.
Peasant's huts were more sparsely furnished with just a few stools, pots and a wooden chest. The hut floor was of earth and the fire was built on a hearthstone with a basket hood to take the smoke out through the smoke hole.
Poor people wore rough cotton or wollen clothes while a well-off farmer dressed in leather doublet and hose. Wealthy women had tight-bodied dresses with padded sleeves and cloaks were worn in cold weather. The climate deteriorated over western Europe during the latter half of the century and there was a succession of bad harvests and a famine in 1556.

Working in the area

Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle c.1920's
Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle c.1920's
One of the Granges of Margam Abbey - The Mill was fed via a sluce from a dam & waterfall upstream at the Collwyn. The mill was still working in 1926.
Although iron and coal working was gradually on the increase in Glamorgan, most of the people worked on the land including those of the Kenfig area. Many died from malnutrition and there was also an influenza epidemic.
In Elizabeth I's region, laws were made to help the poor since the closing of the monasteries meant there were no monks to provide charity and the practice of keeping sheep had resulted in fewer people required to work the soil. More corn was grown and the numbers of cattle increased. At this time there were water mills for grinding corn at Llanfihangel Farm and at Pont Felin Newydd.

Catholic Counter Reformation and Kenfig

Mary I of England
Queen Mary I of England
Photo: Wikipedia
Elizabeth I of England
Queen Elizabeth I
Photo: Wikipedia
King Philip II of Spain
King Philip II of Spain
Photo: Wikipedia
Elizabeth I was determined to thwart the Catholic Counter Reformation which had begun in the reign of Mary Tudor. Those who refused to attend Church of England services were fined twenty pounds a month and then two thirds of their estates were fortified if the fine was not paid. In 1585 it was high treason for Popish priests to remain in the country.
Despite these measures the people of Kenfig and surrounding areas remained faithful Catholics - maybe due to the lasting influence of the dissolved abbey at Margam and the activities of the priests harboured by the Turbervilles of Sker. Mary Tudor had also been respected by the people of South Wales since she was seen to be Henry VIII's true heir while Elizabeth was the daughter of the unpopular Anne Boleyn.
Thomas ab Ieuan ap Rees (c.1510-60) was a bard from Tythegston who sang before the dissolution of the monastries - he was a devout Catholic and composed a verse on the accession of Mary Tudor. One of his other poems tells of his imprisonment in the town of Kenfig.

King Philip of Spain & Margam

There is a story which tells of King Philip of Spain, a suitor for Elizabeth's hand, sending her a gift of orange and lemon trees. The ship was wrecked on Kenfig Sands but the trees were saved and planted at Margam. They were not formally presented to the Mansels of Margam until Queen Anne's time and it was not until 1785 that the Orangery was erected for their protection. It is debatable whether the cultivation of orange trees would have continued in Margam for such a length of time before the orangery was built.

Important Dates

28 Feb 1537
Margam Abbey was surrendered to King Henry VIII under the Dissolution of the Monastries Act
29 Mar 1542
Richard William received the land of Sker from King Henry VIII by Letters Patent
The sale of Sker by Richard Williams, great grandfather of Oliver Cromwell, to Christopher Turberville of Pendine.
Earliest surviving survey of the manor of Kenfig Borough
More in-depth information on Kenfig during the 16th century can be viewed on the Kenfig History Timeline c.1147-1886 ...Read more

Kenfig Timeline c.1147-1886

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

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

The Kenfig Heritage Project - MAIN HISTORY SECTION

Documenting entire history of Kenfig & surrounding Area from Prehistory to Present Day

1570 Survey

A survey of the Kenfig Borough in 1570 mentioned several free tenants holding land within the borough.
  • Richard Thomas held the Grange at Marlas and fifteen burgages in the old town.
  • Rees Thomas ap Ieuan had a burgage at Millhill.
  • William Jenkin Armiger held ground at Kenfig Pool.
The annual burgage rent was twenty shillings. Thirty-three shillings and four pence was payable by each burgess when the heir of a deceased lord took possession.
Free tenants and burgesses owed 'suit of court' (an obligation to attend the hundred court and another two yearly courts). The hundred court was granted by the Crown to a lordship and all free men 'assembled in their hundred'. These tenants were excused obligations such as suit of mill (having to grind their own corn at the manorial mill) and heriots (payments made to the lord on the death of a tenant). An ordinance of the Borough added in 1572 descibed the enclosing and ditching of part of the free common at Cefn Cribbwr - this common apparently extended from Cattpitt (Pwll-y-Gath, Kenfig Hill) to the ridge of Coity. The enclosed land was given to the Borough by the Lords of Glamorgan to replace ground at Kenfig covered by sand. 29 burgesses shared the area.
New ON THIS DAY - 17 December 1753

Sker House Rear View
Sker House Rear View

Local Shipwrecks:

LE VAINQUEUR - lost at Sker Rocks on 17 December 1753

On this day in 1753 (260 years ago), the French Merchantman, Le Vainqueur struck Sker Rocks. She was enroute from Lisbon to Le Harve when her captain entered the Bristol Channel under the belief it was the English Channel, a fatal mistake made by others before and after. In her holds were 789 chests of oranges, 650 frails of figs, 240 boxes of lemons and 84 planks of Brazilian hardwood. Of her 10 man crew, 8 survived, yet her Captain and the first mate, both brothers were drowned.

Shameful Plundering

The shameful plundering executed by the local people with much of the cargo destined for the banqueting halls of the French nobility, was to provide a clandlestine Christmas feast for the people of Margam and Kenfig. News of her plight spread through the county like wildfire and within hours, hundreds of people were swarming over the stricken vessel grabbing whatever booty they could. Some hacked at the woodwork and even set it alight in an attempt to recover the nails - everything had salvage value.
The Captain's body was rifled of 17 Portuguese gold pieces, his silver shoe and knee buckles and a silver watch - this last item was recovered from a Pyle watchmaker to whom the thief had taken it with a view to repair.

Local Arrests

17 people were arrested for looting and several accussed, cited Issac Williams of Sker as having a hand in the plundering of the wreck. Better known as the father of ' Elizabeth Williams, The Maid of Sker ' - he was at this time both the Constable for the Hundred of Newcastle and a local magistrate.
He was to claim that he simply removed as much cargo to Sker House as possible to protect it, while this maybe correct, his cause wasn't made any stronger by the fact that some of these goods were stolen during the night, despite having been put under guard. During the subsequent enquiry, two witnesses gave statements as to William's conduct and whilst there was insufficient evidence for Williams to be brought to trial, it is said that local people never trusted him again and that he went in some fear of his life.

The Outcome

Of those arrested, 1 was hanged and to help bring the severity with which the authorities meant to deal with offenders, notices were affixed to local parish church doors advising, "that the looting of wrecks was punishable by death".

Le Vainqueur

Background Information

Further Information

Le Vainqueur, a French vessel belonging to Harve de Grace was returning home from Lisbon. Her Captain, John Masson made the mistake of entering the Bristol Channel instead of the English Channel. His ship became stranded at a place called 'ye Scar' - she became completely wrecked and was extensively looted by crowds of people. When the ship struck, it started to break up quickly. Captain Masson, his brother, The Mate and a passenger were all drowned. 8 of the crew, however, were saved. An eye witness accounts of a wreck on Sker Rocks with a crowd of 400 people swarming all over the vessel is noted. It also said that the wreckers tried to set fire to the hull so that any iron could be recovered.


Many people regarded a wrecked ship as a divine gift - some believed that ships wrecked on those rocks were the right of the local populous. The authorities were shocked at the wrecking, one officer stated 'that if they had known sooner they could have caught the villans'. Another report said that when a baliff went to recover some of the cargo an angry mob threatened him with his life. He promptly left the scene and said he would not return even if he was offered £50. Lloyds List summed up the event by saying 'the Country people made a perfect wreck of the Ship and Cargo'.
Sailing Ship, unknown rig
Port of Registry:
Dieppe, France
Harve de Grace
Date of Sinking:
17 December 1753
Sker Rocks, Porthcawl, Glamorgan

Source: Yvonne Carr (Shipwrecks around and about Kenfig), Tom Bennett (Shipwrecks around Wales - Happy Fish Publishers, Dyfed), Lloyds Register of Ships

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
New ON THIS DAY - 08 December 1808

Local Shipwrecks:

RICHARD - lost at Tusker Rock on 08 December 1808

On this day in 1808 (205 years ago), the vessel RICHARD bound for the Ogmore River from Cardigan (West Wales) was lost. Three of her 7 crew together with her cargo which is unknown were saved - The vessel was lost.
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
New ON THIS DAY - 04 December 1678

Sker House Rear View
Sker House Rear View

Sker House Front View
Sker House Front View

Saint Philip Evans (1645-1679)

Arrested at Sker House - 04 December 1678

On this day in 1678 (335 years ago), Father Philip Evans, a Roman Catholic priest was arrested at the home of Christopher Turberville at Sker, Glamorgan. When he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, he was imprisoned alone in Cardiff Castle. He had been arrested in the hysteria of the Titus Oates plot to kill King Charles II.
After five months the priest was brought to trial but when no evidence of his complicity could be produced, he was charged with being a priest (which was illegal in the realm) - few were willing to serve as witnesses. He was convicted on the evidence of two poor women who were suborned to say that they had seen Father Evans celebrating Mass.
He was executed on Gallows Field (north eastern end Richmond Road, Cardiff) - Father Evans addressed the onlookers in Welsh and English - He was executed along with John Lloyd saying 'Adieu, Mr Lloyd, though for a little time, for we shall shortly meet again '. The feast day of St. Philip Evans is on 25 October.
Father Philips died at Cardiff, 22 July 1679. He was beatified in 1929, canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.


Philip Evans was born in Monmouthshire in 1645 and educated at Saint-Omer, he joined the Society of Jesus when he was 20 and was ordained at Liège, Belgium, in 1675.
Father Philip was sent back to Wales to minister to the Catholics in the southern part of the country. For several years he zealously ministered to his flock unmolested, but the civil authorities turned a blind eye until November 1678 - although John Arnold, a justice of the peace and hunter of priests, offered a £200 bounty for his arrest, Father Evans refused to leave his flock untended.

Kenfig during Civil War Years (1642)

KENFIG - The Complete History (e-Resource) ...... HISTORY | WAR YEARS | COMMUNITY | FOLKLORE | THE COAST

Pictorial History of Kenfig & surrounding Area

Maudlam Church c.1907
St Mary Magdalene Church, Maudlam c.1907 view from South

Maudlam Church (Built c.1255) - (Parish of Pyle & Kenfig)

Dedicated to St.Mary Magdalene, Maudlam Church (built c.1255). It isn't the parish church due to a consistory court, which met at Margam in 1485, deciding that this status be accorded to St.James' church, Pyle; even though Maudlam Church is some 200 years older. Learn more about the church including a Live Church in Wales Twitter news feed.
Read more... Maudlam Church

St James' Church, Kenfig (Built c.1147-1154)

Built c.1147-1154 by the Normans & endowed to Tewkesbury Abbey, St James' Church was located close to Kenfig Castle in the medieval town of Kenfig. It is believed that St James' Church at Kenfig was removed stone by stone & rebuilt at Pyle being renamed St James' at that location in the 15th century.

St James' Church, Pyle (Built c.1471)

Known locally as 'The Upside-down Church' as it is reputed that when the sands threatened to engulf Kenfig, the old church of St James' in the town was dismantled stone by stone and re-built in 'reverse' at it's present location. The Church was built c.1471 - St James' Church, Pyle is the Parish Church for the benefice of Pyle and Kenfig.


Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) THE KENFIG COMMUNITY
History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig

Kenfig Farm c.1952
Kenfig Farm c.1952
New Detailed Oral Accounts of Kenfig & Surrounding Areas
Read detailed oral accounts from local people of Kenfig and surrounding areas & experience what life was like in the 20th and early 21st centuries in South Wales during this point in time. Experience the trials and tribulations of a once thriving agricultural community changed forever with the advent of modern society, housing developments and changes in transportation taking a once sedate community into an urban sprawl.
NewHistory of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig
Learn the history of each of the neighbouring villages and towns that surround the old borough of Kenfig. In this section you can learn of the history of each individual area.

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) THE KENFIG COMMUNITY

History of Neighbouring Villages & Towns around Kenfig


Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) HISTORY SECTION

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.

The Iron Age

Plan - 7th Century Iron Age Camp at Pen-y-Castell Kenfig Hill drawn in 1895

7th Century Iron Age Camp

Pen-y-Castell, Kenfig Hill

This fortification was 700 feet long by 220 feet wide strategically positioned on the crest (Ton) to command a military position over the 2 valleys either side & the approaches from the sea. Remains of the camp were extensively damaged by quarrying in 19th century.

A 9th century fortification on Stormy Down were completely destroyed by more recent quarrying during the 20th century.

Reference: Iron Age Britain Wikipedia

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.

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.

Kenfig - A Medieval Town

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


Digitised images from old glass lantern slides c.1904

A selection of rare images of Kenfig & Newton Burrows have kindly been donated to this project by Mr Steve Parker of Kenfig.

Rare Photos of Kenfig Sand Dunes - View Here


Kenfig Reserve Centre

The Reserve Centre

Situated at Kenfig Pool, Glamorgan's largest natural lake, Kenfig National Nature Reserve SSSI is on land owned by Trustees of the Kenfig Corporation Property which is leased & managed by Bridgend County Borough Council. A Site of Special Scientific Interest, Kenfig NNR is one of the finest wildlife habitats in Wales and is home to a wide variety of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, including the Fen Orchid.

The Kenfig website has kindly been supplied a report on 'Kenfig Sand Dunes - Potential for Dune Reactivation' by The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW). We have included part of the report on the Kenfig NNR webpage - the report is very informative about dune management, especially that on Kenfig.


This website is NOT the Official Website for the Reserve Centre.
Please DO NOT email this website with queries relating to and/or associated with Kenfig NNR
We are NOT in a position to reply to any emails.


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.

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

Read more... History Section

Twitter News Feeds
Rob Bowen @radbowen
Owner/Author: Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - Welsh Govt sponsored & Heritage Status website on Kenfig's rich & colourful history



BBC Radio 4 - Gaina Morgan

Provided courtesy Gaina Morgan Media -



My Green Space - Gaina Morgan

History walk at Kenfig c.1965

St David's Day - Pyle School c.1964

A Day at Pyle School c.1964

Kenfig National Nature Reserve

Kenfig NNR
Situated at Kenfig Pool, Glamorgan's largest natural lake, Kenfig National Nature Reserve SSSI is on land owned by Trustees of the Kenfig Corporation Property which is leased & managed by Bridgend County Borough Council.
A Site of Special Scientific Interest, Kenfig NNR is one of the finest wildlife habitats in Wales and is home to a wide variety of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, including the Fen Orchid.

History of Porthcawl Docks

Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Breakwater, nearing completion c.1865
Porthcawl Breakwater, c.1865
Learn more about the history of Porthcawl Docks which grew up around the development of the railway network set up to transport coal, iron & other minerals in the early to mid 19th century.
Originally a horse-drawn tramroad which developed into a standard-gauge railway line which opened in 1865. Learn more...

Porthcawl Docks

History of Ewenny Priory

Ewenny Priory Church
A Confirmatory Charter of gifts made to Ewenny Priory by the Robert, Earl of Gloucester gave the priory 21 acres of arable land ajoining the town of Kenfig & also a burgage lying on the Black River outside the gate of the said town.
Learn the history of Ewenny Priory, Ewenny Church & its association with Kenfig. From Celtic Christian Origins, the founding of the Priory, Life at the Priory, its fortification & its later histories.

Ewenny Priory

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?

Video of 2010 Annual Gambo Race on YouTube

Annual Gambo Race

The 2010 Gambo Race was the last of its kind in Kenfig Community due to public 'Health & Safety' Issues imposed by local Authorities / Police
...Learn more

New Little Known Legends

General Sir Thomas Picton

The Birth of General Picton
One of the Duke of Wellington's divisional commanders killed at the Battle of Waterloo had several connections with Porthcawl.
Read more... General Picton


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

New 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

New Local Genealogy

Kenfig & Surrounding Area

A unique online resource of the families that have helped shape the Kenfig area.

Parish Surnames since 1695

Beginning in 1695 this information contains a wealth of interesting material especially for Geneaology Studies.
... Parish Surnames since 1695

New 1982 - The Year it Started

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

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

New Fossils in Kenfig Area

Dinosaur jawbone - Stormy Down

Dinosaur Fossils found at Stormy Down

Zanclodon Cambrensis

Found at Stormy Down in 1899 above 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.

New Local Shipwrecks

Samtampa - Sker Rocks (1947)

Samtampa Memorial - Sker Rocks

Samtampa Memorial - Sker Rocks

A memorial dedicated to both the Samtampa & Edward Prince of Wales Lifeboat is located on Sker Rocks.
GPS Coordinates - SS79177941
(above link opens in new window)

Samtampa Shipwreck - Sker Rocks (23 April 1947)
Learn more about the Samtampa

Shipwrecks around Kenfig since 1583
Cefn Cribbwr Brickworks

Local Coal Mines Local Coal Mines throughout the Kenfig Area

Local Shipwrecks

Local Shipwrecks - The Altmark, Kenfig c.1960
The Altmark, Kenfig c.1960
Local Shipwrecks - The Samtampa, Sker c.1947
The Samtampa, Sker c.1947

The Changing Face of Porthcawl

The Changing Face of Porthcawl - John Street c.1901
John Street c.1901
The Changing Face of Porthcawl - John Street c.1930
John Street c.1930
The Changing Face of Porthcawl - John Street c.1938
John Street c.1938
The Changing Face of Porthcawl - Seabank House c.1860
Seabank House c.1860 (From This...)
The Changing Face of Porthcawl - Seabank Hotel c.1955
Seabank Hotel c.1955 (To This...)
The Changing Face of Porthcawl - Esplanade Terraces c.1901
Esplanade Terraces c.1901 (From This...)
The Changing Face of Porthcawl - Esplanade Hotel c.1950
Esplanade Hotel c.1950 (To This...)
The Changing Face of Porthcawl - The Esplanade c.1926
The Esplanade c.1926

Sports & Pastimes

Sports & Pastimes - Cefn Cribbwr RFC 1936-7
Cefn Cribbwr RFC 1936-7
Sports & Pastimes - Kenfig Hill RFC Team V Cardiff Athletic 29 April 1959
Kenfig Hill RFC Team 1959
Sports & Pastimes - Kenfig Hill AFC Ton Boys 1930
Kenfig Hill AFC Ton Boys 1930
Sports & Pastimes - Stormy Down Cinema 1947
Stormy Down Cinema 1947
Sports & Pastimes - Films Showing at Gaiety, Kenfig Hill June 1951
Films Showing at Gaiety June 1951
Sports & Pastimes - Ball Room (Kenfig Hill & Pyle Welfare Institute) 1954
Ball Room, Pyle Welfare 1954
Sports & Pastimes - Bowling Green (Kenfig Hill & Pyle Welfare Institute) 1954
Bowling Green, Pyle Welfare 1954

Camping at Kenfig Burrows

Sports & Pastimes - Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
Sports & Pastimes - Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
Sports & Pastimes - Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920
Camping at Kenfig Burrows c.1920

Porthcawl Docks & Harbour

Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Inner Harbour & Railway c.1885
Porthcawl Inner Harbour & Railway c.1885
Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Breakwater, nearing completion c.1865
Porthcawl Breakwater, c.1865
Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Harbour c.1880
Porthcawl Harbour c.1880
Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Harbour c.1875
Porthcawl Harbour c.1875
Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Porthcawl Docks, aerial view c.1925
Porthcawl Docks, aerial view c.1925
Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Coastguard Station & Pilot Lookout Tower c.1870
Coastguard Station & Pilot Lookout c.1870
Porthcawl Docks & Harbour - Coastguard Station & Pilot Lookout Tower c.1938
Coastguard Station & Pilot Lookout c.1938

North Cornelly

Hall Farm North Cornelly
Hall Farm North Cornelly

Local Railways

Pyle Railway Station
Pyle Railway Station
Pyle Railway Station Staff c.1920
Pyle Railway Station Staff c.1920

Sker House

Sker House
Sker House

War Years

Plan of Island Farm POW Camp
Plan of Island Farm POW Camp
Island Farm POW Camp
Island Farm POW Camp
The Kenfig Hill & Pyle War Memorial unveiling/dedication advert 11 November 1925
Kenfig Hill & Pyle War Memorial Advert


Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle
Llanfihangel Mill, Pyle
Pyle Inn Advert
Pyle Inn Advert

Kenfig Hill

Trustees & Official Management Committee of the Talbot Institute, Kenfig Hill c.1911
Talbot Institute Trustees/Committee c.1911
Talbot Institute, Kenfig Hill Newspaper advert
Talbot Institute, Kenfig Hill advert

Religion around Kenfig

Twyn Cottage, Water Street - where early baptists worshiped
Twyn Cottage, Water Street
Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
Pisgah Chapel, Kenfig Hill
Siloam Chapel, Cefn Cribbwr c.1910
Siloam Chapel, Cefn Cribbwr c.1910
Moriah Chapel, Kenfig Hill c.1907
Moriah Chapel, Kenfig Hill c.1907
Elim Chapel, Kenfig Hill c.1907 (Demolished 1995)
Elim Chapel, Kenfig Hill c.1907
St Theodore's, Kenfig Hill c.1905
St Theodore's, Kenfig Hill c.1905
Interior of St Theodore's, Kenfig Hill c.1910
Interior of St Theodore's, Kenfig Hill c.1910
Kenfig Hill Post Office Notice c.1890
Kenfig Hill Post Office Notice c.1890
Advert - Bowen's Shop Kenfig Hill
Advert - Bowen's Shop Kenfig Hill
Advert - J Davies & Co Tailors Shop Kenfig Hill
Advert - J Davies & Co Tailors Kenfig Hill
Advert - B A Davies Grocer Kenfig Hill
Advert - B A Davies Grocer Kenfig Hill

Kenfig through the Ages || A Timeline of Kenfig's History from 1147 - 1886

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

Annals de Margan

One of the most valuable surviving Welsh monastic documents beginning with the death of Edward the Confessor, from 1185 onwards, breaking off abruptly in 1232 - it is regarded as the most valuable primary source for Glamorgan History.

Kenfig Tithe Maps

The term 'Tithe Map' is applied to a Parish following the Tithe Communication Act 1836 allowing tithes to be paid in cash rather than goods. The map & its schedule gives the names of all owners and occupiers of land in the Parish... The Kenfig Tithe Maps

Background || over 860 years of History

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.

*Welsh Wills online

Diocese of Llandaff 1568-1857 (Parish of Kenfig)

Wills proved in the Welsh Ecclesiastical courts before 1858 are available through the National Library of Wales; over 190,000 Welsh wills are available free to view.
... Welsh Wills online catelogue - National Library of Wales

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

Nash Point Lighthouses

Nash Point Lighthouses

Nash Point Lighthouses

The Nash Point Lighthouses have helped mariners to keep clear of the Nash Sands since the disaster of the paddle steamer Frolic in 1831. The paddle steamer Frolic sank with the loss of all onboard on 16 March 1831 at Nash Sands, Porthcawl. As a direct result of this tradegy the Nash Lighthouses were constructed to guide vessels safely around the notorious Nash Sands.

Exclusive: Around the World by Bicycle - Heinz Stücke

Exclusive: Heinz Stücke

Heinz Stücke - Guinness Book of record holder - Epic Journeys. An Exclusive interview with Heinz Stücke on A48 at Pyle on his epic round the world journey by bicycle. Since 1962 Heinz has been travelling around the world and is a Guinness Book record holder - Epic Journeys - We had a chance encounter with Heinz on 01 June 2006.
Heinz Stücke at A48 in Pyle

Sker House

The history of Sker House

Sker House

The Great House at Sker began its origins as a monastic grange over 900 years ago. After falling into decline over the years, extensive restoration works eventually saved Sker House for posterity through National Heritage and Lottery funding - Sker House is of Grade 1 listed status and is now privately owned.
Sker House [ Learn more ]
Maids of Sker [ The Maids of Sker ]
Australian Connection [ Maid of Sker Paddle Steamer ]



Visiting Sker House

Sker House is now Privately owned. The new owners of the property have executed their obligations with regards allowing the general public access to the premises and all present and future public visits have now been suspended.
There are public footpaths surrounding Sker House and that is as far as the general public can go as far as visiting the house without trespass on the owners property.

History of Pyle - The Pyle Inn (An 18th Century Coaching Inn)

The Pyle Inn

Built as an 18th century Coaching Inn by the Margam Estate, this inn was not only used for its inended purpose but also as a meeting place of various County bodies until it was turned into flats in 1896 and then demolished in 1959. The inn was visited by many famous people including Admiral Lord Nelson and throughout the 19th century the likes of Thomas Telford and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
An 18th century coaching Inn



War Years



The Coast

Pictorial History

Exclusive Pictorial History of the old Kenfig Borough ENTER