Cowbridge's historic past


Some further details about Cowbridge's fascinating history

  • The first real evidence of a Roman settlement in Cowbridge came to light in 1977 when remains of shops and houses were discovered during the Cooper's Lane excavation opposite Old Hall.
  • Further excavation behind Bear Lane revealed that there had been a sizeable military and civilian presence at Cowbridge until the Second Augustan Legion moved away to defend Hadrian's Wall, and the town became deserted.
  • St Quentins CastleThe Normans entered South Wales at the end of the 11th century and soon established control of the lordship of Glamorgan.
  • Richard de Clare - Earl of Gloucester and Lord of Glamorgan - founded Cowbridge, in the aftermath of the Siward rebellion of 1245. Towns like Cowbridge were a response to the booming economy of the early and mid-13th century and to the increasing demand for manufactured goods and services from the rural population.
  • The town received its first charter in 1254, in which it is called Longa Villa (Long Town), an apt description in view of its layout.
  • Unusually for a Welsh planted town, Cowbridge lacked a castle, although Richard de Clare's castle at Llanblethian (also known as St Quentin's Castle) was only half a mile away and overlooked the town.
  •  Close by, on the hill behind the church are the remains of the old Iron Age Fort of Caer Dynnaf, where evidence of Roman occupation has been found. South Gate Cowbridge
  • The town walls were completed by about 1300. Their purpose was to protect the Lord of Glamorgan's valuable rental properties and burgage plots, as well as providing a suitable way of collecting tolls from the twice-weekly markets.
  • The South Gate on Town Mill Road shows the only surviving gateway of the original walled town. It is an extremely rare example of medieval town gates in Glamorgan and dates from the early 14th century.
  • In the Town Hall are two blocks of cells, the remaining evidence of the building’s early life as a House of Correction.