BRUGEENDE-JUXTA-COYTIF: Pechakucha Night @ Art About Us!

“Pechakucha Format: 20 selected images with a snappy 20 seconds commentary per image.”

Towards the end of last year (October) I was given a chance, along with other local creatives to give a PechaKucha presentation at the Art About Us space situated in Nolton Street. 

What is (was) Art About Us?

ART ABOUT US BRIDGEND is a participatory arts residency run by visual artist Rabab Ghazoul. Running from June to December 2012, the project invites members of the Bridgend community to get involved in a range of creative, cultural and conversational activities. Asking questions about what regeneration could be, should be, is and isn’t, the project looks under the lid of what familiar words such as ‘renewal’, and ‘regeneration’ might and could mean.

 The aim of the presentation was to give an informal snippet it to ones work and interests.

Art About Us’ infamous PechaKucha nights have shown us the interests of  Freya Sykes of Ella Rileys, Local Photographers Dan Wood and Kate MacLeod, Luke Biddle of Define Poetic and the award winning poet Rhian Edwards! (+ many more)

I gave my presentation about… you’ve guessed! The History of Bridgend! Here I will take you through each photograph and give a more thorough description of times gone by.

This photograph shows Prime Minister David Lloyd George at Bridgend Railway Station during 1914. An exact date id not given but we can assume that he this was taken after his speech at Cardiff calling for a Welsh Army to be formed separately from the collective forces.  A few weeks later the War Office agreed that the NEC (National Executive Committee) should take responsibility for the organisation of the Welsh Army.

As a result of the formation of this new Welsh Army, during the years of World War One a Tank called Egbert was paraded through the streets of Bridgend.  This was used to raise awareness of the needs of recruitment and boost morale. The government often used events like military demonstrations, public meetings, open air concerts and appeals at the pictures houses to gain support for the war effort.

This photograph is thought to have been in conjunction with the visit from the tank, in the centre William McGaul is making a speech.

On Armistice Day, 1921 the Cenotaph situated at Dunraven Place was unveiled.  Britannia stand at 7ft 6inchs and is seen as a symbol of patriotic nature. To her right she is grasping a sword and left she is grasping a banner: the symbols of sacrifice and victory.

Bridgend Town Hall was erected in 1845 on land donated by the Earl of Dunraven. The hall was handed over to the committee of trustees on the May the first of that year! The first committee was held at the hall on the 2nd of June 1845. The Earl of Dunraven instructed that the land was to be leased to the town for 999 years and any building that was erected there was not to be used for political use. For a time the Police Station was situated at the Town Hall and it is recorded that it was lit by gas for the first time during 1847! The hall was later used for functions and events until it was demolished during the early 1970’s.

1792 sees the first reference to the Wyndham Arms Hotel, now the Wetherspoons.  This illustration was made during 1795. There is reason to suggest that there was previously some sort of court house or brewery on this site during the 1500’s.

The Old Stone Bridge was erected during c.1425 with the means of connecting the two lands of Newcastle and Oldcastle. It was partly reconstructed during 1775 due to extensive flood damage. 1444 sees the earliest recorded reference of Bridgend, written as “Bryggen Eynde it refers to Nolton Street and Elder Street.

 The above photograph shows the Welcome To Town Inn during 1915!

As we venture further up Nolton Street we come to St. Gabriel’s School for  Wayward Girls situated at 71 Nolton Street! Pictured with Mrs Watkins, and her daughters Renee and Crystal c.1900’s the school specialised in sewing and dressmaking. The girls were paid a 6d per week.

 1116 see ths earliest recorded occupancy of Ogmore Castle. The castle is occupied by the builder William de Londres, one of Robert FitzHamons Twelve Knights of Glamorgan. The record confirms that the castle had been built by this date, in a motte and bailey type including earthworks and ditches. The castle was later rebuilt in stone by his son Maurice de Londres the founder of Ewenny Priory. William de Londres was forced to abandon the lands of Ogmore when the Welsh appeared in force. Arnold de Boteler is noted to have protected the castle against the attack of the Welsh and for that he was rewarded the castle and lands of Dunraven.

Folklore speaks of the Ceffyl Dwr being present at the crossing at the River Ewenny.
The Ceffyl Dwr is known throughout Wales as a mysterious shape shifting creature, although what form it takes depends on the area of Wales that you are in!
For example:

In North Wales the creature takes the form of a fiery eyed, dark presence.

·         In South Wales he is represented as a "winged steed", taking his place by Rivers, Water Pools, and Waterfalls . Although that he is thought to be a positive creature he has been known as a "pest" to lone travellers.

It was a ghost horse that always frequented fords and crossing places of rivers and, as might be expected the River Ogmore had one. At first the creature seemed innocuous enough, quietly cropping the grass at the water’s edge. This tempted a traveller to mount the horse in order to get to the other side without wetting his feet. Immediately he has mounted the traveller found himself airborne, far above the earth. At an altitude of a couple of hundred feet the animal vanished leaving its rider to pluge to his death. The remains were gathered up and the horse repeated the trick with another unsuspecting person. In Ireland the horse was called Poocah, a word similar in meaning to the Welsh Bwca or Bwci Bo.” – Alun Morgan

The Castle of Dunraven was built on the site of an early Iron Age Fort.  It is said to have been a Royal-Roman stronghold during the time of Bran, the son of Lear.  There is record of the Saxons burning the residence of Dunraven during 1050, it is also noted that Rhys ap Tewder destroyed the residence some thirty years later (1080) when it was the home of Iestyn ap Cwrgan, the last native Prince of Glamorgan. 

During the time of the Normans ‘Donrevyn’ fell under the Lordship of William de Londres, one of Robert FitzHamon’s Twelve Knights of Glamorgan. In about 1128 the manor and land of Dunraven was awarded to Arnold de Boteler  (the Butler of the Ogmore residence of the de Londres family) after he bravely defended Ogmore Castle against the attack of the Welsh.

The Boteler (Butler) family held Dunraven throughout the 12th , 13th, 14th and 15th centuries until the male line of the Boteler’s died out.  During this time it (15th century) is reported that Owain Glyndwr destroyed the Castle.  Ann, the daughter of Jane and John Boteler  married the soon to be notorious Walter Vaughan thus bringing the estate into the Vaughan family.  During the 1540’s Dunraven is described as a “Manor Place” owned by Walter Vaughan.  In 1642 Sir Richard Vaughan sold the estate to Humphry Wyndham the husband of Jane Carne of Ewenny whose descendants were the Earls  of Dunraven.

In 1803 Mr Thomas Wyndham made alterations to the Manor House as did his grandson Edwin (the son of Countess  Caroline of Dunraven) in 1858! After these works the Manor House attracted the named Dunraven Castle due to its many castellations.

During World War One and World War Two the ‘Castle’ was used as Glamorgan Red Cross County Hospital. (Still in the hands of the Earls of Dunraven)

After the Second World War the Manor House was used as a WTA Guest House.  The property and grounds were rented and run by the W.T.A from the 6th Earl of Dunraven Richard Southwell Windham Robert Wyndham-Quin.  The property was managed by Mr & Mrs Anderson.

During 1100 a stronghold at Coity was completed. The Castle was built on the site of an earlier Welsh Court. It was of a timber and earth work constructed and later fortified to stone. The notorious de Turberville family held the castle at Coity for many years. The de Tuberville family held the Lordship of Coity from c.1092 until c.1380. The Lordship is thought to have been founded by Sir Payne de Turberville, who was one of Robert FitzHamon’s Twelve Knights of Glamorgan along with William de Londres who held the Lordship of Ogmore.  He was given this Lordship in return for his services during the Norman Conquest.

The Turberville Lordship was ended by the death of Richard Turberville, Sir Payne de Turberville's 6th great grandson. He left no male heiress, leaving his sisters as four co-heiresses. His eldest sister Katherine married into the Berkerolles family which led the Lordship to be taken up by their family.

The descendants of Sir Payne de Turberville came to own Sker House during the late 1500’s. The family played a very important part in the affairs of the county as they had held the Lordship of Coity many years before.

1106 sees the earliest recorded reference to a castle at Newcastle It was built by the Lord of Glamorgan himself, Robert FitzHamon. It was later given to the de Turberville family in 1217. The castle and lands of Newcastle became part of the the Margam Estate when it was bought by Sir Rice Mansel of Margam during 1536!

St Johns House or as its more commonly known “St Johns Hospice” is a mainly 15th century building situated on Newcastle Hill. St John’s is thought to be one of the oldest buildings in the area with its history spanning over 600 years. The earliest date known to be associated with the building is c.1425.

The house is a Grade II listed building - "A particularly important building of exceptional interest and of outstanding importance."

It is said to have connections with the 'Knights Hospitallers' these were a group of men that were attached to a hospital in Jerusalem, founded by “Blessed Gerard” during the early part of the 11th century. The patron of these 'Knights Hospitallers' was St John of Jerusalem.
Sometime ago St Johns was used as two houses. (20 & 22 Newcastle Hill). It is known that the Lewis family resided at number 22 Newcastle Hill from 1861 until 1919 when Abraham Lewis eventually sold the property to the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem for the fee of £500.

During 1936 an old bell was found at the house by St John’s Ambulance workers. The bell was found laying in an old pipe which is thought to have led to an old well nearby.
First thought to be a cow bell, the bell was examined by officers from the National Museum of Wales, they concluded that it was in fact a bell of Celtic origin.
The bell is created from one piece of metal - brass. Includes brass rivets and a tongue made of Iron.


6 and ¼ inches in height
4 inches across the base/ narrowing to 3 inches near the handle

2 inches in length½ an inch in width¼ of an inch in  height

1717 sees the erection of the Unitarian Chapel at the foot of Newcastle Hill which was built adjacent to a house which has previously been used for the meetings. This Independent Chapel was the first Nonconformist church in Bridgend. It was closely linked to the Price, Morgan, Williams and Coffin families through its connections to Rev. Rice Price – who was the father of Dr Richard Price of Tynton, Llangeinor. Dr. Richard Price was the cousin of Ann Maddocks (Nee Thomas), The Maid of Cefn Ydfa (which I will go into more detail above!) This connection could also explain why many people believe that Catherine Price (The Maids mother) is buried somewhere in or around the chapel area. 

The building was later reconstructed in 1795. It is now known as the Unitarian Chapel or The Meeting House.

Its original grave yard formerly extended across to the Angel Inn (P.S Pub) but was foreshortened when Park Street was constructed.

Pictured above is Ann Maddocks, The Maid of Cefn Ydfa, this is her story: 

The Maid of Cefn Ydfa tells the story on Ann Maddocks (Nee Thomas) and Wil Hopcyn (or Hopkin).

During the 1720’s Ann Thomas was approaching adulthood when Wil Hopcyn, a local tiler and plasterer came to Cefn Ydfa to carry out some repairs. Wil was charming, friendly and a true gentleman. It didn’t take long for Ann to fall for him.

However her mother Catherine had other plans for Ann’s future. Catherine wanted her daughter to marry somebody of equal social standing. Her choice was Anthony Maddocks (jr), a solicitor of Cwm-yr-Isca Farm. At that time Cwm-yr-Isca Farm was just over the mountain, not far from Cefn Ydfa. Catherine forbade Ann to see Wil, and she was then confined to her room.

Ann was still in contact with Wil without her mother’s knowledge. Ann and Wil wrote letters to each other. A housemaid helped them do this, Ann would give the housemaid the letter and she would place it in a hollow tree for Wil to collect. Ann’s mother was tipped off about what was going on by a servant at Cefn Ydfa, she then removed the quills and ink from Ann’s room. It is suggested that Ann may have even wrote notes to Wil in her own blood.

Ann Thomas and Anthony Maddocks (jr) married on 4th of May 1725, it seemed that their marriage wasn’t filled with much happiness at all. Although Ann was now a married woman she still pined for Wil.

It is said while on trade in Bristol Wil dreamt that Anthony Maddocks (jr) had died, meaning Ann was free to marry him. Wil quickly returned to Llangynwyd to find that Ann herself was on her death bed, she was suffering from a fever. Throughout her last days Ann called for Wil and because of this Anthony Maddocks (jr) wanted nothing more to do with the maid. Eventually Ann’s mother Catherine sent someone into Llangynwyd to bring Wil to her. It is said that Ann died in Wil’s arms whist Anthony Maddocks (jr) was out hunting.

Tradition states that Wil Hopcyn stayed unmarried until his death in 1741.

Anthony Maddocks re-married Elizabeth Thomas of Laleston within 7 and a half months of Ann’s death. Elizabeth then became the heiress of the Cefn Ydfa estate.

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