Bridgend: A Short History (1100 - 1950)

Dunraven Place, c.1880's.

The building of a stronghold at Coity had began. The building was carried out on the site of the earlier Welsh Court House of Morgan ap Meurig.  Morgan’s daughter later became the wife of Sir Payne de Turberville, who held the  Lordship of Coity. Thought to have been originally made of  timber, the stone construction was not completed until the time of Gilbert de Turberville.

One of the first recorded references to Newcastle appears as a  confirmation by Henry I of grants by Robert FitzHamon to the Abbey of Tewkesbury includes a reference to “ECCLESIA DE NOVA CASTELLA” - It is thought that the ‘new’ castle existed 50years prior to the stone castle being built.

Ogmore Castle is recorded to be in the possession of William de Londres  and the record confirms that the early castle had been built by this date. It was a motte and bailey type castle, which was made from timber. The stone castle was built soon after and it thought to have been completed by Maurice de Londres, the son of William.

According to Giraldus Cambresis, Arch Bishop Baldwin ‘passed by the little cell of Ewenni (Ewenny)’ - he did this on his pilgrimage through Wales. He was doing this to raise support for the crusades, and was making his way to stay at Margam.

The first recorded reference to Nolton, a name found in several locations which in Old English meant an old farm/settlement.

The Triangle Defence of Ogmore, Newcastle and Coity becomes the Ogmore Quadrilateral after fortification of Ewenny Priory.

Newcastle is granted to Gilbert de Turberville (2nd Lord of Coity) through his marriage to one of the daughters of Morgan Gam. Morgan held the fee of Newcastle under King John.

King Edward I stayed at Ewenny Priory in the December of 1284. He was on his way to Cardiff Castle.

Ewenny Priory

The Lordship of Ogmore became part of the Honour of Lancaster.

It is thought that St Marys Church, Coity was completed around this time.

With the death of Richard Turberville the male line of Turberville Lordship of Coity ended.

Coity Castle is attacked by the forces of Owain Glyndwr. The manorial mill at Ogmore was destroyed along with Newcastle Church and Castle being severely damaged. 

The  death of Sir Lawrence Berkrolles arouses suspicion that he was poisoned by his wife.

The Old Stone Bridge (Bridgend) is built.

One of the Earliest references to Bridgend - given as “Bryggen Eynde“ . It refers to a small settlement that appeared at the eastern side of the bridge. I.e. Elder Street and Nolton Street.

A further reference to Bridgend - given as “ BRUGEENDE-JUXTA-COYTIF” meaning “The Bridge near Coity”.

Dompmus Thomas, the last Prior of Ewenny signed a submission of King Henry VIII which led the monks being forced to leave.

After the dissolution of the monasteries, the Rectory and tithes of Newcastle were sold to a Sir Rice Mansel. It remained pat of the Margam Estate until the redemption of the tithes.

Sir Arnold Butler of Dunraven died, he was the last of the male Butler line. The Butler family had owned the manor since Arnold le Boteler (Butler) received it  from the de Londres family as a reward for protecting the castle of Ogmore while the Lord was away. 

Rhys Meurig included Bridgend in his list of “Seven Dangerous Places Sometime in Glamorgan”.

On the 28th of September, 1584 the commission of Queen Elizabeth was held at Bridgend. The aim was to make inquiries into the ownership of the former Church lands.

Evidence suggests that a woollen cloth was made and sold in Cardiff, Swansea and Bridgend. A complaint was made, the complaint being that the illegal use of an official seal on cloth made contrary to statue by the officer for the inspection of woollen cloth, his name was Hugh George.

Court of Survey for the Lordship of Ogmore is held at the Court House situated in the Ogmore Castle grounds.

Colonel Edward Carne of Ewenny Priory was made High Sheriff of Glamorgan by Oliver Cromwell.

Royalist forces are defeated at the Battle of St Fagans.

A report from the Welsh Trust shows that twenty pupils enrolled at its Charity School in Bridgend.

Michael Williams had a “flourishing” tannery in Bridgend.
(The location remains unknown.)

Dr Richard Price is born at Tynton, Llangeinor.

Two ships by the names of ‘Pye’ and ‘Priscilla’ were wrecked near Nash Point. They were both subsequently looted by gangs some thought to have been from Bridgend.

Rev. Howell Harris stayed at Bridgend with Rev. Lewis Jons. Rev. Harris preached at ‘The Meeting House, Newcastle’. It is also thought that ‘The Meeting House, Newcastle’ is the burial place of Catherine Thomas (Nee Price) The Maid of Cefn Ydfa’s mother. We do not have any evidence to support this claim.

David Munday, the earliest recorded Clock Maker in Bridgend, began his business.

Walter Coffin the 2nd founded his tannery beside the river bridge at Sunnyside, Bridgend. His tannery became famous for it’s high quality leather. His leather was in great demand over a wide area.

Richard Turbervill(e) of Ewenny Priory was returned as MP for Glamorgan at Bridgend.

The Old Stone Bridge and its three main water arches were partially destroyed by a flood. The two arches nearest the west bank were carried away. The bridge was rebuilt soon afterwards.

Dr William Morgan, FRS, of Bridgend publishes his paper on “Electrical Experiments Made To Ascertain the Non-Conduction Power of a Perfect Vacuum”.

It is thought that the first Town Hall, Dunraven Place was erected in 1788.

A ‘Spinning Jenny’ was acquired by the Glamorgan  Agricultural Society and was later installed in Bridgend.

Dr Richard Price dies in 1791. He was buried at Bunhill Fields, London on the 26th April of that year.

One of the earliest references to the Wyndham Arms Hotel. Recently evidence has come to light that there was actually a building of substantial importance on the same site during c.1500.

The Unitarian Chapel (The Meting House) was rebuilt.

Dunraven Castle was built in place of Dunraven House on the same site.
The 4th Earl states that no professional architect was employed and that all of the plans for the work were drawn up by Mrs. Thomas Wyndham.

The Ruhamah Welsh Baptist Chapel is erected at the top of Newcastle Hill, Bridgend.

The Bridgend Woollen Mill was advertised for sale due to financial losses.

Henry Verity founded a drapery shop in High Street (Dunraven Place), which was named ‘London House’.

A National School movement was founded in Bridgend. Its aim was to help establish a school by voluntary subscription.

Thomas Wyndham of Dunraven dies.

Park Street was officially opened.

John Thomas, harpist to Queen Victoria was born on St. David's Day, 1826!

The Duffryn Llynvi and Porthcawl Railroad was opened. It was built to carry coal from the upper Llynvi Valley to the new dock at Porthcawl.

A Cholera was rife in the Bridgend district. It was thought to have mainly affected the people who lived on/near the banks of the River Ogmore.

A new Chapel-of-Ease was constructed at Nolton, on the previous site of  the Medieval Chapel in which John Wesley had preached in 1769 and 1772.

The Poor Law Union of Bridgend and Cowbridge was founded.

A new Market Hall, which was largely open-air was opened in Bridgend on the Lady Day of that year.

In 1841 the decision was made for Bridgend to become the Headquarters of the Newcastle and Ogmore Police District.

A Wesleyan Sunday School was established in ‘The Rhiw’ with thirty pupils.

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.

The Bridgend Police Station at the Town Hall , was lit by gas for the first time.

The north aisle was added to added to St. Illtyd’s Church, Newcastle. The Church was later reopened by the Bishop of Llandaff in the December of  1850.

The Bridgend Railway Station was reported to have been fitted with gas lamps on the 3rd of August, 1850.

London House was sold to a Mr Thomas Hughes.

The South Wales Rail Company was absorbed by the Great Western Railway.

It was reported that several thatched cottages at The Square, Newcastle Hill were destroyed by a fire.

A new mental Asylum was built at Parc Gwyllt, Coity. This was because of the high demand for further accommodation.

The Chancel at St. Illtyd’s was reconstructed and a Vestry was added.

The Pen-y-bont  Main Sewage Board was formed.

A branch of Lloyd’s Bank was opened in Bridgend.

The ‘Convention for Wales’ was held at Bridgend which was hosted by the National Council of the Free Evangelical Churches.

A new Science Block was opened at Bridgend County School.

The Cenotaph War Memorial,  Dunraven Place was unveiled on Armistice Day.

The Mid Glamorgan Water Board was formed.

The new Boys’ School County School was opened on the former site of                                                                      ‘Brynteg House’.

Two hundred Arsenal workers went on strike.

In the January of 1939 a local haulier was fined not displaying lights on his horse drawn cart.

Due to the weather, a Bridgend Arsenal worker died of Sunstroke.

The Diphtheria immunization campaign began.

The Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales was held at Bridgend.

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