History of a Wenvoe Farmer – Part 2

 

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF TOWYN WILLIAMS – CONTINUED

Towyn went to Rhoose Primary School and joined the school choir which came second in an Eisteddfod in Cardiff. After 12 months in Rhoose School Towyn moved to the Grammar School in Barry. He left when he was 14 – Towyn said he did not so much as leave, he just stopped going and it was the happiest day in his life. Towyn worked at home for his father at Ford Farm and at this time he became interested in bell ringing at Llancarfan church until he became less keen when the Vicar suggested that he came to church!.

In June 1946 Towyn saw an advert in a London paper inviting farmworkers to work on the land in Canada. Encouraged by the stories of Towyn's parents, on September 8th he sailed for Canada on the S.S.Moralgia with his friend Jim Bryer, They travelled by train to London, flew from Notrtholt, put down in Shannon then to Gander in Newfoundland. Stopped for 6 hours for an engine change then to Toronto. The long last leg was without food or drink supplied – there were no Air Hostesses on this long and tedious journey.

Towyn worked on a dairy farm near Lyndsey, Ontario, before moving on to a lumber camp with Jim. They worked with all nationalities, including indians.. A day's work would be to walk three miles through three foot of snow, cut down 60 trees using a cross cut saw – no chain saws then.Jim and Towyn had Xmas dinner on a farm about 80 miles from the lumber camp. To return they caught a bus to Whittin about 15 miles from the camp. They decided to walk hoping to get a lift from a passing motorist. They were out of luck.When they were within a mile from the camp they heard and saw a pack of wolves behind them. Not daring to stop they kept going. Later the older men at the camp told them if they had stopped to rest that would have been the 'end of them'. They were so tired and frightened that it took them a week to recover.

Jim continued to work at the lumber camp until 1938 when he came home to work on a farm near Swindon. Towyn stayed on in Canada moving out west to Saskatchewan. The following Spring Towyn left Ontario to work on the Priaries in Saskatchewan He worked on the Homestead that his father had left 25 years previously. The Homestead now belonged to another family. Everything here was big. Huge tractors were used to plough fields a mile long and it was difficult to keep awake while discing and ploughing.

Towyn had the chance of a trip home on a cattle boat, from Montreal to Manchester. Living conditions onboard were primitive. His quarters were at the stern of the ship and it was quite peaceful – when the propeller occasionally stopped ! There were 250 cattle on board, heifers in calf to be placed on farms all over the country.

In September 1950 Towyn married Audrey Taylor of Leach Farm near Carmel Chapel. They lived in a wooden bungalow just up the road from Ford Farm where Towyn continued to work for his father.

In 1953 Towyn took on Ballas Farm, Wenvoe where he stayed for the next 30 years bringing up his family – three girls and a boy. By 1978 Towyn, tired of milking 120 cows a day, decided to make a change. He sold the herd and bought Whitehall Farm near St. Lythans. Whitehall Farm brought a new adventure open to the public – Pick your Own fruit. He planted raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries. red and black currants with a back-up of potatoes and broad beans. This is what Towyn and Audrey did for the next 20 years finally concentrating on stabling and feeding around 15 ponies. At almost 80 he remained the 'hands on' farmer very attached to his old tractor.

Towyn's interests outside of farming included membership of the 'Glamorgan Flying Club'.After obtaining his pilot's license around 1960 he flew a number of single engined aircraft including a Tiger Moth. The cost when he started was £3 an hour and when inflation rose to over £20 an hour, and with the price of milk falling something had to give.

In the late 70's Towyn's brother, Edward, was exporting various breeds of horses to New Zealand and asked Towyn to help to look after 50 horses on a cargo plane. Towyn eagerly accepted the opportunity to meet up with his son Gareth who was working there at the time. The flight took him via Anchorage in Hawaii to Auckland, New Zealand. Towyn enjoyed flying as a passenger and flew across the Atlantic 39 times visiting Canada, U.S.A., Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain , Portugal, Poland (a farm visit) and Ireland. He had also sat in Concorde, been up in a balloon, and flown a helicopter with an instructor.

Towyn's varied and interesting life came to an end peacefully at Whitehall Farm on 14 August 2016 at the good age of 90.What a fascinating life!

 

 

Allan Jenkins (February 2017)

 

 

 

History of a Wenvoe Farmer

 

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF TOWYN WILLIAMS

Local farmer Towyn Williams was born April 2nd 1926 at Ford Farm, Llancarfan, and died August 14th, 2016 at Whitehall Farm, Wenvoe.

I got to know Towyn and his wife Audrey very well when designing alterations to Whitehall farm and from that time I used to regularly call in when walking my dog up Pound Lane. Listening to Towyn revealed a surprising and fascinating picture of the adventurous lives of the Williams family.

Towyn mentioned an article that had previously been produced in the Llancarfan Society magazine written in 2005 by Towyn and his wife Audrey with local historian Phil Watts. It was so interesting that I felt readers of What's On would enjoy reading of Towyn's exploits. This article is largely extracted from 'The story of a (Llancarfan) village lad'

Towyn's father, Tom, was from a farm in the Pontypridd area. With just £10 in his pocket Tom left the farm in 1906 to go to Canada. He went to Bristol, bought his boat ticket (no passport was required) and sailed off to Montreal. From there he took a train to Moose Jaw travelling in a goods wagon with a wood burning stove in the corner on which he and fellow travelers all cooked their food. On arrival at Moose Jaw he still had £4 left in his pocket.

Tom was one of the first Homesteaders in Canada in 1906. After 4 years he owned 340 acres in the middle of the prairie at Reading, Saskatchewan. The significance of 340 acres is it is half a section, a section being a square mile  680 acres.

He ploughed with oxen, took grain by cart to Moose Jaw, a distance of 60 miles, which took a week, and sleeping under the cart at night. The sale of the grain paid for groceries to take back home and seed for the next year.

Towyn’s eldest brother, Bryn, was born 1915 in a 'sod shack' (constructed with turf) on the prairie. The family returned to Wales in 1921 and Bryn worked on the farm at Ford before joining Cardiff City Police Force. During the 1939-45 war he became a pilot serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He died when his bomber crashed in 1942.

Towyn's brother Edward was also born on the Canadian Prairie in 1916. He farmed Tynewydd Farm (near the Cwm Cidy, Port Road in Barry) and had a milk round in Barry. He later farmed Home Farm in Michaelston-le-Pit with his father. Edward, a member of Llancarfan Young Farmers, was considered to be a good cattle judge, and represented Wales in a team from the Home Counties, to Australia.

Brother Lyn, born in 1922, farmed at Ford Farm, Llancarfan until 1971 when he moved to a larger farm at Basseleg, near Newport, where he could expand his milking to three times a day.

Sister, Margaret, also born in Canada on the Prairie, died in Llancarfan in 1925 aged 16, buried in the local churchyard.

Towyn's father, Tom, died while on holiday on a cruise ship on the St. Lawrence River in Canada in 1964. Towyn's mother, Olive, died in 1951 and both are buried in Llancarfan Churchyard.

Towyn attended the local primary school in Llancarfan, the teachers were very strict. Miss Connie Griffiths (infants) had the habit of stamping her foot to call the class to order. Miss Morfydd Thomas, from Brynamman near Swansea taught the middle class of 8 and 9 year olds. George Frank Davies, the headmaster, taught the senior class – the scholarship class for secondary education. He was very strict and had a cane in the cupboard behind his desk, but he rarely used it. Hanging over the piano in 'Gaffer' Davies's room was a framed Roll of Honour of those who were killed in the 1914-18 War.

Unannounced visits from the health visitor and the school dentist were a slightly frightening experience for children in those days when children were not used to being ''looked at''.

For several years while Towyn was in Llancarfan School his father supplied milk to the school – half pints for the older children and a third of a pint for the young ones. In those days free milk was paid for by the education authority. Towyn's job was to transport the milk from Ford Farm and to take the empties home using a homemade cart with bicycle wheels which he left at the bottom of the hill while he was in school. There were no school dinners, sandwiches brought from home were ate in the classroom.

At this time there were several homeless characters around Llancarfan who worked for their food and a ' few bob ' for beer in the Fox and Hounds and slept in the barns of the farms he was working at. Most notorious of these was Tom Shanklyn, 'Shanks', who found himself homeless after World War 1. The 1901 Census shows Thomas, aged 10, living with his mother Elizabeth, sister Ann 12, his brother William, both boys shown as cattle boys at local farms.

Tom, a stocky man wounded in his right arm during the war, told stories of working on a farm where they had pigs '6 foot tall – Big Yorks up to my chin' he would say.

One day a local farmer visited Tom at one of his 'abodes' while he was frying bacon. The farmer was offered a rasher which was refused – he didn't like the way Tom's nose was dripping over the pan!

Another homeless 'gent' was Fred Ashton, a tall upright man reputed to have attended Taunton College. A member of the well-known bakery in Cardiff, he ended his life by hanging himself from a branch of a tree on the lane connecting Moulton to Walterston.

Another character was 'Oswald the Watercress Man', who made his living picking and selling watercress in the Llancarfan area. He lived in a shed on the Broad Close Lane and on the door he put 'Meteorological Observatory' He was a good weather man.

Tom Price was one of these local expert craftsmen. Born at the Black Horse public house, on the opposite side of the road near the Fox and Hounds. Although he needed crutches to get around he was able to lay hedges for which he was paid 4 pence (old pennies) a perch (5½ yards) and spread manure by hand. His most treasured possession was a photograph of him laying a hedge for a local farm. He was believed to have been able to drink 12 pints without going to the toilet! They don't make 'em' like that anymore!

 

(To be continued next month)

 

 



 

CELEBRATING THE NEW YEAR

 

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All countries have their own customs and traditions for celebrating the arrival of another year and most of them involve food, wine and fun. Here are some of the more interesting events that take place in Europe and Wales.

In Estonia, people decorate villages, visit friends and prepare lavish meals. Some believe that people should eat seven, nine, or twelve times on New Year's Eve. These are lucky numbers in Estonia; it is believed that for each meal consumed, the person gains the strength of that many men the following year.

A Finnish tradition is to tell the fortunes of the New Year by melting "tin" (actually lead) in a tiny pan on the stove and throwing it quickly in a bucket of cold water. The resulting blob of metal is analysed, for example by interpreting shadows it casts by candlelight. These predictions are however never taken seriously.

In France, New Year's Eve (la Saint-Sylvestre) is usually celebrated with a feast. This feast customarily includes special dishes including; foie gras, seafood such as oysters, and champagne. The celebration can be a simple, intimate dinner with friends and family or a much fancier ball. You would expect nothing less of the French!

New Year's Eve in Greece has many traditions. During the day, children sing the New Year's carols to be given money or treat. Then, it is time to have family lunch or dinner. In the evening, people cook a pie named "King's pie” (Vasilopita), which is a cake flavoured with almonds. They put a coin wrapped in aluminium foil inside the pie. After a fireworks show, they cut the Vasilopita and serve it. The person that gets the wrapped coin is the lucky person of the day and he or she is also blessed for the rest of the year.

In Hungary, many years ago, some people believed that animals were able to speak on New Year's Eve, and that onion skins sprinkled with salt could indicate a rainy month.

In Italy an ancient tradition involves eating lentil stew when a bell tolls midnight, one spoonful per bell. This is supposed to bring good fortune; the round lentils represent coins.

In Portugal the New Year celebration is taken very seriously. The tradition is to drink champagne and eat twelve raisins – one for each month of the year, making a wish for each.

Here in Wales we have the ancient tradition of Calennig which originally meant giving gifts of money on New Year’s Day, though nowadays it is customary to give bread and cheese. In Cardiff crowds enjoy live music, ice-skating, funfairs and fireworks. Many of the celebrations take place at Cardiff Castle and Cardiff City Hall. If you are going there from Wenvoe make sure you have a lift home as taxis and buses may be scarce.

In the valleys New Year's Eve is marked with the Nos Galan road race over 3 miles, which is held in Mountain Ash. The race celebrates the life and achievements of the runner Guto Nyth Bran who was born in 1700. It is run over the route of Guto's first competitive race. Guto was born in Llwyncelyn near Porth. It was said that his sprinting first came to be noticed as he was helping his father herd sheep, when he managed to chase and catch a wild hare. One legend has him running from his home to Pontypridd and back, a total distance of 7 miles before his mother's kettle had boiled. Another tale is that he could blow out a candle and be in bed before the light faded.

We all have ways of celebrating the New Year whether with family or friends, but at this time of year let us remember those who are alone and perhaps call on a lonely neighbour to wish them well. Finally for anyone in Wenvoe without a plan there is always the recently refurbished Wenvoe Arms where the landlord – Digby – will be pleased to welcome you.

 

happynewyear

 

 

 

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IRON AND COPPER

 

 

wye-bridgesmThis year; 2016, saw a number of engineering anniversaries impacting on Wales, most of which concerned bridges, the 200th anniversary of Chepstow Wye Bridge was celebrated on 24th July with a number of events including a re-enactment of the 1816 opening ceremony. Designed and built by John Urpeth Rastrick FRS (1780-1856) it was opened on the 24th July 1816. A bridge with five spans, 372ft (113m) long, it was the third longest cast-iron arch road bridge in the world when built and it is now the largest survivor from the first fifty years of iron bridge construction. A civil and mechanical engineer Rastrick is remembered today as a railway pioneer. He built the first steam engine to run in the USA, chaired the Rainhill Trials for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1829, and built numerous railways in Great Britain.mayor The iron arches were cast at the foundry of John Hazeldine at Bridgnorth in Shropshire where Rastrick was the engineer. On the 24th July 2016 a procession was led over the bridge headed by engineers, as it was in 1816, with the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers; Sir John Armitt, leading the way. Until 1989 it carried the normal road traffic through Chepstow and across the Wye into England and still carries road traffic, subject to a 7.5T weight restriction, today.

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot quite as old, the Severn Bridge also celebrated a 50th birthday this year, on 8th September 2016. The 5,240ft (1,597m) long bridge was world’s first major suspension bridge to be built with an aerodynamic road deck it was also the lightest, and set the standard for future long span bridges, such as the Humber Bridge. Many people remember using the car ferries; Severn King and Severn Queen, to cross the Severn before the bridge opened. The Second Severn Crossing also celebrated a milestone this year, being opened on the 5th June 1996 – 20 years ago. At 5,134m long it is not a suspension bridge but a cable stayed bridge similar to the Wye (M48) Bridge – which also opened in 1966.

 

 

 

Another form of communications impacted on Wales 150 years ago with the successful completion of the laying of the Atlantic telegraph cable in 1866. On 27 July 1866 the quite Pembrokeshire bay of Abermawr became part of a trans-Atlantic

communications network with the laying of the fifth, and ultimately successful, telegraph cable between Valentia in Ireland and Trinity Bay in Newfoundland by Brunel’s Great Eastern steamship – the only ship big enough to take all the almost 2,000 nautical miles of telegraph cable required. Messages could now be transmitted from New York to Newfoundland and through the Atlantic cable to Ireland and across to Abermawr, being taken on to London via the SWR and GWR’s telegraph wires. Copper refined in Llanelli and Swansea provided the conductive core of the cable through which messages would be transmitted.

The former telegraph hut at abermawr01Abermawr, now a holiday cottage, actually predates the successful laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable by some four years and if we go back some fifteen years before that to 1847 we find that Isambard Kingdom Brunel had chosen Abermawr as the western terminus and port for the South Wales Railway. This was never carried out but the rural setting of the beach made it an ideal landing point for an underwater telegraph cable from Wexford, Ireland in 1862. Fear of German sabotage of the cable during the first world war saw soldiers being stationed on guard duty at Abermawr.

In 1866 the transmission speed of the transatlantic telegraph system was eight words per minute, by 1900 transmission rates of 120 words per minute were being sent reliably between continents. It was a system for business and governments, for example a ten word transatlantic message from the USA to Great Britain cost $100 or about £76 (today’s values about $2,600 or £1,980). The speed of cable borne news can be gauged with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, then the news took 12 days to reach British newspapers, When President James Garfield was shot in 1881, and it was reported within hours. Some 25 telegraph cables would be laid across the Atlantic by 1922 – the year that the Great Storm washed away the shore ends of the cable at Abermawr and the telegraph station closed.

Stephen K. Jones 6

 

 


 

Offa’s Dyke

WHO WAS KING OFFA AND WHAT WAS HIS DYKE FOR?

offaYou have probably heard about Offa’s Dyke – but do you know who King Offa was and why he had a dyke built? Well – Offa was the King of the Mercians, a warrior tribe from central England, from 747 to 796 AD. He had seized power during a time of great unrest caused by friction between Wales and England in the border region. Offa was determined to quell the unruly Welsh and impose his authority and this he did by building one of the most remarkable structures of its time in Britain. It marked the western border of his kingdom and was to act as a defence against the Welsh.

The dyke was constructed at the end of the eighth century and consisted of a great defensive earthwork, with a ditch on the Welsh side and a high bank on the English side. It ran for 140 miles from the banks of the River Severn in the south to the mouth of the River Dee in the north. Because it was built so long ago there is very little known about who actually did the amazing amount of work and what it really looked like. But we do know that it was customary for the English to cut off the ears of every Welshman who was found to the east of the dyke, and for the Welsh to hang every Englishman whom they found to the west of it.

offasdykeParts of Offa's Dyke can still be seen in many places. The town of Knighton in Radnorshire has stretches of the dyke on both sides of the town, and at Kington in Herefordshire, there is a well-preserved section of this earthwork. The nearest part of the dyke to Wenvoe is around the Chepstow area and between Chepstow and Tintern. It is only about 40 minutes from Wenvoe to Chepstow by car on a good day, and just another 10 minutes to Tintern so it is an easy day out to go and walk along part of the great Offa’s Dyke. If you do so you will find many good pubs and cafes around that area and in the Wye valley.

If you have the time and energy you may wish to walk all of the Offa’s Dyke Path. It is a long-distance footpath following closely the Wales–England border. Opened in 1971, it is one of Britain's National Trails and draws walkers from throughout the world. Some of the 177-mile (285 km) route either follows, or keeps close company with the visible parts of Offa's Dyke. There are many miles where the dyke was not constructed as the geographical features such as rivers and cliffs made it unnecessary.

Traveling south to north, starting by the Severn Estuary at Sedbury, near Chepstow, and finishing at Prestatyn on the north coast, the walk will take an average walker roughly 12 days to complete. Following a man-made border and ancient monuments, rather than natural features, the dyke path crosses a variety of landscapes. The route crosses the Black Mountains, the Shropshire Hills, including the many ups and downs of the 'Switchback', the Eglwyseg Moors north of Llangollen and the Clwydian Range.

It is of course not necessary to walk it in one long hike, but rather one can break it into bite sized chunks by walking three offasor four days at a time. There are plenty of high quality B&Bs to stay at overnight on the way, with a room costing on average £65-80 for two people with breakfast. With a little planning one can take the train from Cardiff to various places on the route, walk for a few days and then take the train home again.

Walking through mid-Wales is particularly pleasant and quiet and it is possible to travel for a whole day without seeing anyone at all. If you do think about doing this walk it is best to go in a dry period so that the ground is not so muddy as to make it hard work. With good waterproof clothing you will not get wet but very muddy boots are heavy and that make it less fun. So make a plan for a long summer hike and remember that walking is very good for body and soul

 

 

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‘CAPABILITY’ BROWN

DID LANCELOT ‘CAPABILITY’ BROWN EVER VISIT WENVOE?

capability-brownThe August edition of Wenvoe What’s On contained a fascinating article on Wenvoe Castle. The grounds surrounding the castle are listed Grade II by Cadw (the Welsh Government’s historic environment service) because the layout and surviving planting are of national interest. Some of those features are typical of the work of ‘Capability’ Brown – rolling green slopes; trees dotted about singly or in clumps; a perimeter belt of trees and a pond of natural appearance. Historians have long pondered on whether Brown might have been instrumental in the design of the land around the castle and it is worth reflecting on whether the most important garden designer of the eighteenth century might have influenced the landscape of Wenvoe.

In 1774 Peter Birt bought Wenvoe Castle from the Thomas family and by 1776 work had started to rebuild the castle, following plans drawn up by berrington-hallRobert Adam. 2016 is the 300th anniversary of Lancelot Brown (1716-1783) and there have been many events this year to celebrate his work – his nickname came from the word he used to assure clients that their land was capable of improvement. He worked mainly in England but occasionally in Wales as, in 1778, when the fourth earl of Bute commissioned him and his son-in-law, the architect Henry Holland, to modernize Cardiff Castle and the surrounding grounds. At the same time Holland appears to have been asked to work at Wenvoe Castle. This seems to have been specifically in relation to the stable block and courtyard (now Wenvoe Castle Golf Club) which bears a distinct resemblance to another site he and Brown had developed together – Berrington Hall in Herefordshire.

Subsequently the land surrounding the castle became known as Wenvoe Castle Estate and remained in the hands of Birt’s descendants for almost two centuries. When the golf course was laid out in the 1930s considerable effort was made to ensure that the existing landscape was altered as little as possible. In the 1970s Birt’s descendants sold much of the estate’s farmland and buildings with the result that most of the land is private and cannot be accessed without permission. One such area, Bears Wood, is particularly interesting because it contains mid-eighteenth-century rococo landscaping with the remains of a grotto and serpentine canal. Easier to appreciate is Waun Lawn, the two fields on either side of the entrance drive to the golf course. Here oak trees that may date from the eighteenth century still stand – Brown liked to dot them around parkland, both to catch the eye and give shelter to livestock. An 1871 map of the estate shows one side of this road closely planted with trees, creating an avenue, as well as a belt of trees surrounding the perimeter of estate land. The 1871 documentation also gave details of the gardens which included ‘Vineries, Forcing and Cucumber pits, Stove [hothouse] and Greenhouses … an Archery Ground, a Charming Lawn and Terrace Walk to the south of the Mansion overlooking the Park’.

Despite the fact that the area around the castle illustrates evidence of the characteristics of Brown’s style of landscape gardening, no documentary dynefwrevidence has yet been found to confirm that he visited Wenvoe but he was known to travel great distances on horseback to visit sites and it seems likely that whilst working on Cardiff Castle he would have made the short trip to Wenvoe to see how his son-in-law was progressing. Birt would, no doubt, have welcomed both him and any advice he was prepared to offer on the landscape. Brown, in turn, would certainly have assured Birt that his estate had many ‘capabilities’.

 

 

 

 

 

Wenvoe Castle

Wenvoe has a castle which is over 600 years old; it is not really a typical castle but rather a very grand house with some architectural features which gave it the appearance of a castle. It is an important and historic building and something of which we can be proud. The first record of a castle in Wenvoe was in the 1500’s and that was somewhere to the west of St Mary’s church, possibly in the area of Church Rise. There is no further information about that early fortification, though at the time it was recorded as being “badly decayed”. It is said that it was destroyed by Owain Glyndwr.

Fast forward a couple of hundred years to 1762 when a survey of the estate of the Thomas family showed a floor plan of a “long rambling building of irregular design” and that is where Wenvoe Castle Golf Club is located. One writer at the time wrote that “Wenvoe Castle is not at all worth seeing!”.

The Thomas family were leading gentry in the county for over 150 years. A family with a chequered history which at first amassed wealth and significance, but as often happens this turned from affluence to extravagance. After ambitions of being Members of Parliament and grand landscapers they were forced to sell off parts of the estate to cover their losses.

 

AUG castle

By 1769 the family could not carry on and the estate was put up for sale. It was finally sold in 1774 toMr Peter Birt for £14.000. Mr Birt had made his fortune from coal and canals in Yorkshire and had made enemies there among the woollen traders, so he felt it was time to move to pastures new.

In 1776 Peter Birt engaged stone masons and labourers and demolished the Thomas mansion, rebuilding in the same place a large mansion house with castellated battlements. The architect for this was Robert Adam. Adam was a British neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam (1689–1748), the country's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him. Much of the original stone from the Thomas’ mansion was used in the new building but additional Bath stone was brought in from Cardiff docks. At one stage over 30 masons were engaged on the building. By the end of 1776 the roof was complete but the interior was so grand that it was not finished ten years later.

The castle has been variously described as “one of the finest houses standing anywhere in Wales” while another said it was “an extremely large but uninspired castellated mansion”. In appearance it had a long three storey south front. On either side there was a long low wing ending in a three storey pavilion with a smaller two story pavilion half way along each wing. The entrance was on the North side, facing Wenvoe village.

Over the years the Birt family married into the Jenner family and so the estate came into the hands of Robert Jenner in 1800. We know that in 1887 Mrs Laura Jenner, the widow of Robert Jenner was living in the Castle and she employed a large staff for a single lady. The family were rich because they derived a royalty, or income, from all the coal passing by train through their lands between 1890 and 1920. In the early 1900s the estate employed ten labourers, seven gardeners and a further twenty three beaters, quarrymen, masons and painters. In 1903 Mrs Jenner organised an outing for the estate workers and eighty people went to Bristol from Wenvoe station to visit Bristol Zoo.

The castle was mainly destroyed by a serious fire in 1910 and the remaining building was demolished in 1930. All that survives is the east pavilion together with the stable block, which is attributed not to Adam but to Henry Holland an architect who was working at Cardiff Castle in the late 1770’s.

1n 1936 Wenvoe Castle Golf Club opened, but during the war much of the golf course was ploughed to produce cereal crops, while the Club house became an officer’s mess. Since the war the golf Club has flourished and the Club Secretary Nicola Sims welcomes new members, especially from the village.

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