A WALK AROUND CADOXTON

Saint Cadoc's Church, Cadoxton

Leaving the Old Village Church (St. Cadoc's) walk up Coldbrook Road West.

Opposite the Church and on the hill is Double Cot, which was built in the late 18th century. In the latter part of the 19th century the thatched roof was replaced by slates. On the tithe map of 1844 the cottage belonged to the Lee Family of the "The Mount", Dinas Powis, who let it out as a summer residence and shooting lodge to local businessmen. In the early 1900's it was owned by Mr. Llewellyn, who was a monumental mason and sculptor and used part of the cottage as a workshop. It was later occupied by Mr. West, and then by the Hookings family.

As the road bends, a lane leads to The Hebbles, a large red brick building, which was built by J. Barstow of Cadoxton in 1887 and used as a day school for girls. Its principal was the wife of the builder, Mrs Barstow. In 1902 MrsThomas, widow of William Thomas of Sully, moved there and took over as headmistress. She died in 1922.

At the end of the lane is New House Farm. Some of the farm outbuildings are still standing but most have been demolished to allow house building.

Yew Tree Cottage, CadoxtonArriving back at the top of the lane is Yew Tree Cottage, named after the old yew tree which stands in the Churchyard. This was the home of the well-known local artist Mrs. Clissold (Marie Press), who illustrated a great many of local author Stan Awbrey's books. At the rear of the cottage runs the Coldbrook. The stream rises at Merthyr Dyfan and joins the Cadoxton River at Biglis, between Cadoxton and Dinas Powis.

At the entrance to the Three Bells (which is now the back of the pub) stood the blacksmiths shop, which has been demolished. It was owned by Mr. Evans and was probably built there for the ready supply of water, which was used to cool and shrink the iron tyres onto the wooden cartwheels. At one time a small slope led into the stream at this point to enable converts from the Philadelphia Baptist Chapel to be publicly baptised there.

A little further on is Golden Grove, a large 19th century house, where William Jenkin lived . Jenkin was the son of Ann Jenkin, the witch, and was reputed to have occult powers himself. In the 1880's Mr. Edward Hughes owned it. This property was used by Mr. T. A. Walker as his residence whilst he was engaged on the building of Barry Docks.

At the next junction, Brock Street, Little Hill Quarry is on the right. The stone taken from here was used in building most of Barry's earlier roads, and during the war it was used as a temporary storage area by the Americans. Brock Street is one of the earliest named streets in Barry, mentioned in the tithe map of 1844. It was named after the Brock family who came from Somerset in 1810.

Further along Coldbrook Road West is "The Bowers", built in the early 19th century, and at one time belonging to Reverend Sims who owned both Buttrills Farm and the Bowers. He was a friend of William Wilberforce, the anti-slavery campaigner. On the death of Reverend Sims, he was buried in St. Cadoc's Churchyard, and a stone is erected there in memory of him. In the 40's, a Mr. Thorne owned "The Bowers".

At the end of the lane, in the middle of the road at the junction of Bridge Street, Treharne Road and Pencoedtre Road, stood "The Old Elm Tree" which was the village meeting place for years. Early non-conformist ministers, including Christmas Evans (a most famous preacher of his time), preached at this spot. It was also used by the locals as a meeting place to discuss important matters as they arose. The tree was removed by the council after a five year battle to save it failed (nothing changes).

Also at this junction is Knap House. The original building was built in the 18th century and demolished in 1910. The present building stands on a small mound that gave its name to the house "Knap", meaning Tump or small hillock. Opposite is the village paddock, from where Paddock Place obtained its name.

At this crossroads there were three footpaths. The westerly one led to Merthyr Dyfan Church through Bitdown Woods. The northerly walk led through the "parks" and on to St. Mary's Church, Wenvoe. The third led across the fields to Watery Lane, which the locals named Gypsy Lane after the families of gypsies who lived in encampments at both ends of the lane. Caradoc Price lived at one end, and Gabriel Price at the other. It has since been renamed Gilbert Lane, and will lead you to St. Andrew's.

Turn right and walk up the hill until you reach the lane at the top. Set in the wall is a stone inscribed "Sonseil 1846", and a little further down the lane is "Arosfa," which for many years was the home of the Brock family. Behind this is a large building, which was once the Celtic Soap Factory, later to become "Woodlands Mineral Water" factory. The old pop bottles are highly prized by collectors. In the 60's the factory was used as a printing works.

Walking back down the hill to Bridge Street, on the left is a small lane leading to Little Hill. There are three houses on the hill - Bryn Teg, Bryn Glas and Brocklyn, and set back off the hill is "Hillside". An inscribed stone in the house dates its construction as 1776. It was used as a public house in 1778 and kept by Howell Thomas. Members of the non-conformist church later used it as a secret meeting place, and because of that it was known as "The Old Rectory".

Further down Bridge Street is the "King William IV". The inn was built in the reign of King William (1830-37), and was possibly named after him for the reform bill he introduced, known as "The Great Charter". This bill gave the right to vote to some of the ordinary people in the area, mainly against the wishes of the landed gentry.

Alongside the inn is the Philadelphia Chapel with its small graveyard. Built in 1813, it was the birthplace of the Baptists in Barry. They moved to Calfaria in Court Road in 1891. Opposite is "Hillside Cottages", and these comprised the village Store and Post Office. On the widening of Bridge Street in 1912, part of the buildings were demolished.

The village postman, Mr. Townsend, who was appointed mail carrier for Barry in 1877, called at the post office to deliver mail on his daily round. He travelled on foot from Cardiff, calling at Ely, Wenvoe, Cadoxton and Barry Old Village, returning the same way and collecting mail on his way back to Cardiff, a distance of 12 miles each way. He retired in 1884, later to open a small post office in a wooden building in Barry Road. He moved to premises across the road and next to the Royal Hotel upon the building of the shops that are there now.

Further down the road is "Caerlan", which was built in the early 19th century as a farmhouse, and has since been modernised. Opposite is "Hatch Cottage" another building which suffered the same fate as "Hillside" - part of the house was demolished to enable road widening to take place. The hump-backed bridge that crossed the Coldbrook was also demolished at the same time.

Carrying on up Hatch Hill (now Bridge Street) and on the right are two small 19th century cottages. Further up is "Daisy Cottages", built in the last century as a long house, and incorporated into the cottages is Sion Calvinistic Chapel which was built in 1815. The building had a stable for visiting preachers at ground floor level on the end of the building. In 1891 it closed and its members moved to Sion Chapel in Pontypridd Street. After its closure it was re-opened as a small school run by an ex-soldier for a number of years, later to be used as a woodwork centre by the local school, then as a dwelling, and finally as a council depot, before being demolished and converted into a house extension.

On the top of the hill is a multi-coloured cast iron sewer gas vent pipe, which when built, had a light situated on its top. This was lit by methane gas produced in the sewers. It is one of three in Cadoxton (there is one at the foot of Hatch Hill, near the steps, and the other is at the junction of Victoria Park Road and Belle Vue Terrace.

Turn right, and the new house which stands there, "Venleigh", was built on the site of Witch Elm Cottage. Further along is Wesley Cottage, built in the early 19th century and bought as a residence for the minister by Mrs. Lewis Williams. It was disposed of by the church (with the donor's permission), to raise money to increase the size of the Cadoxton Methodist Church (built in 1862), by the addition of the transepts in 1896.

Cadoxton Board SchoolReturning back along Church Road, Cadoxton Schools dominate the skyline. The first school was built on the site in 1879 and accommodated 72 children. By 1887 it was enlarged to cater for 240 pupils, and by 1895 it was further enlarged to take in the influx of children of people engaged on the construction of the docks and the town.

The small building next to the clinic is the old craft workshop, and on its wall at the foot of the path leading around the school is engraved an Ordnance Survey benchmark.

Further up the road is Victoria Park, where Roman pottery remains and coins have been found, and in Victoria Park Road near Sea View Cottage, remains of a Roman dwelling were discovered.

Emerging from the park on the Sea View Terrace side, "Pen-y-Bryn" was the home of Thomas Ewbank, the headmaster of Cadoxton School for approximately 40 years. He was also the author of "The History & Geography of Barry" published in 1921.

Nearby in the terrace lived Tom Yeoman, who also taught at Cadoxton School, and organised a great number of sporting activities in Barry for a many years. Tom, together with his wife Olwen, played a prominent part in local politics. Further along the road is Sea View Villas, and Ael-y-Bryn, which became the home of one of the greatest Welsh boxers, Jimmy Wilde, the World Flyweight Boxing Champion between 1916 and 1922, and known as "The Ghost with a Hammer in his Hands".

Go down the steps between Sea View Villas and Ael-y-Bryn onto the old parish road leading towards Church Road. On the right is an old quarry which contained lime kilns to burn the stone quarried there. It was later used as a depot to store bottled mineral water made in the old blacksmiths shop in Coldbrook Road. It took the name of the mineral water factory, Crystal Springs, when it became a garage. The owner, Mr S.L. Thomas, was the son of the wheelwright whose workshop was at the bottom of Church Terrace.

Old School House, CadoxtonOpposite was Church House, now renamed "The Old School House". Built in 1847 as a Church School, its first headmistress was Mrs Greatrex, the wife of the local butcher. It closed in 1876.

Walk down the road towards the shop at the end of the terrace and up the steps to Cassy Hill. At the top of the path is "Hillcrest", the former "Golden Crust" bakery owned by Luxton's Bakers. On the common is an archaeological site that has been suggested as the site of the first Cadoxton village. In documents from the late 18th century, it is referred to as Castle Hill.

Leaving the common, follow the path that leads past Church Terrace, built in the 1890's, to the crossroads. Proceed up Church Road, which has a mixture of house building styles, some brick, and some random stone faced. Notice on some of the older houses the decorative acanthus above the windows and doors put there to drive bad luck away. I was told many years ago that these houses were known as Welsh houses, although the decorative blocks were all made in Bridgewater.

Workers from the local brickworks occupied many of these later built houses. Some houses still retain the iron boot scrapers in the wall near the front door, for removing the clay from worker's boots.

Turn right at the top, past Park House and back down the lane to the junction half-way. Hatch Quarry (or Yeoman's Yard) is on your left, and opposite the quarry is "Rock Cottage", where an explosive store and a rock crusher was installed to break the stone into small enough pieces to use for road building. In the 1800's Evan Jenkins the village cobbler lived there, and in the late 1800's it was rented to the council by Louisa Jenkins, and was lived in by Mr. Henry Trott who was a foreman quarryman for the Council. He was killed in an explosion in 1914 in the quarry opposite.

On the opposite side of the road was Tom Williams' shop and behind it "Oddfellows Cottages", built early in the 1800's for members of the Oddfellow's society. In front of the cottages stood the first school in Barry, which was demolished in 1932.

Walk up Cowbridge Street passing on the right what was once the village pound. Some of the stone retaining walls that enclosed the pound can still be seen in the lane at the back of Church Road. Continue until you come to "The Three Bells Inn", probably named after the bells in the Church. The inn front that faces you is the back. Cowbridge Street was not built until the early part of the 1900's, but an inn has stood on the site for over 200 years, probably built on the site of an earlier building.

This ends your walk, and you can finish up with a convivial drink and chat in The Bells.

© T. CLEMETT 2000


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