The moors has a history going back to Roman times, when they used the Bendricks as a landing place.
In October 1899 a group of navvies engaged in digging drainage ditches uncovered a small skeleton and a vase containing Roman coins. The find came to the ears of Mr John Storey, who was then the curator of the Cardiff Museum. He immediately tried to regain all the coins for the museum, but by the time he heard of the find, most of them had been taken to Liverpool and sold. He managed to recover four gold coins, 280 silver coins, and three finger rings. The largest coin recovered was a gold one, believed to have been minted in 300 AD. In his summing up of the find, Mr Storey stated "there is very little doubt in my mind that further remains lie under the turf on Moors".
The sun that shines during a very hot summer shows the record of the past by the brown patches on its surface. Not much has been uncovered, except prior to the 1939-45 war, when a lead coffin was excavated at the Atlantic Estate, cut up, and sold to a local scrap metal dealer!
Further excavations of a Roman Villa were carried out prior to the building of the Sully link road, but very little in the way of coins was found here.
The Moors, although now built on by industry, was not wasteland and farmland like its counterpart further along the Cardiff Road. In the early l9th century, small vessels sailed up the Cadoxton River to a quay situated where Monty Smith's Garage and Hamard House are now, at Varlong Farm.
At the bottom of Spring Street was situated a large water mill. This mill stood in its own grounds of approximately one acre, so it must have been a fairly large and prosperous mill. There were also numerous quarries and lime kilns in the area.
The Taff Vale Railway had a Goods Depot at the Cardiff Road junction of the link road where Macdonald's is now. This was a very busy depot, with drays taking goods all over Barry and the local area.
Ty Verlons Farm (or Barratt's Farm, as it was referred to) was transformed once a year, when families of travellers from all over the country gathered there for trading and sometimes marriage, and a general get together, before moving off to find work at the harvest. Some of these families travelled by horse drawn caravans to Kent for the hop picking.
In 1923 when the BUDC purchased the land from its owners (8 acres - 1 rod - 30 perch for £1000), it was discovered that the same family had owned the land since 1637, and that on the deeds it was named "The Manor House".
Prior to the Cadoxton River being diverted (hence its name, River Diversion) it ran along the Cardiff Road, following the road until it came to the bridge where the road bends, and there it was diverted from its original course. Its original course then took along the foot of the Old Court, Llys Mawr, the ruins of which were demolished by the local council for the construction of a rubbish tip. It then ran across the link road to the Verlons, crossing the Cardiff Road near the gasholder, along the Dow Corning Site, to Riverside or Spring Street, and then across the fields to the New Mill, through the Docks and out at the Old Harbour. At high tides small boats sailed up to quays at Weston Square and the Verlons.
At the turn of the century the increasing need for bricks was met by the opening of three brickworks on the Moors - The Biglis, Globe, and the New Dock Brickworks. Biglis and the Globe were situated on the Dinas Powis side of the Taff Vale Railway line from Sully, and the New Dock works on the other side of the embankment (opposite Ty Verlons) and adjacent to the Cadoxton River.
During the 1939-45 war the Moors was transformed under the War Emergency Acts. The government built three depots. The Ordnance Supply Depot (OSD) was on Sully Road where ICI is now. This depot was used by both British and American troops. The boat stores and G40 was opposite Sully Hospital (now Powell Duffryn Terminal), and the Storage Replacement Depot (SRD) is now the Atlantic Trading Estate. The SRD employed mainly female labour, packing emergency rations for troops.
The War Emergency Act took away from the people of the Moors their favourite footpaths to the Bendricks and Sully beaches. The path from Laura Street to Hayes Cottages and Sully Beach was closed, and the path from the end of the Bendricks Road through the estate onto the Bendricks beach was also closed. The path from Laura Street to Hayes Road was used until Albright & Wilson took over the Ocean Salts factory, but the footpath at the end of Bendricks Road was never re-opened.
Ocean Salts was the first major industry to open on the Moors, followed on the same site by Albright & Wilson, then Midland Silicones and now Dow Corning.
© T. CLEMETT 1999