March 2016

Everyone was welcomed to our March meeting including guests Val and Helen and members were reminded of  forthcoming events. These include Barry Highlight Link meeting – April 12th, our own Table Top Sale – May 14th,Culverhouse Cross Link meeting – June 6th and our Charity/Celebration Tea on June 9th.

We are saving items for the tombola stall at the table top sale and would be very grateful for donations. Glamorgan Federation has several interesting events coming up including the Council meeting at the Princess Royal Theatre, Port Talbot on May 10th and a summer meal with entertainment at Margam Park on June 23rd

Our speaker at our March meeting was Gwerfyl Gardner who gave an interesting and informative talk about William Goscombe John, 1860-1952.We were told of his early life in South Wales and of his connection with Llantryd in the Vale of Glamorgan where today there is a row of houses called “ Goscombe Place”.

William became a famous sculptor, having been educated at the South London School of Technical Art. His work is to be seen in many war memorials, including Port Sunlight, Lampeter, Penarth and Llandaff. He played a significant role in the New Sculpture and at the age of 14 he was working on the building of Cardiff Castle, carving architectural ornaments.

Although based in London his work in Wales underpinned his career and he actually designed the medals still awarded by the National Eisteddfod today.

Raffle winner was Janet. April’s speaker is Yvonne Rees and her talk is entitled “Going, Going, Gone” Visitors are always welcome.

Visit from The Royal Mint

We use coins everyday and don’t ever think about how they evolved or where they came from. Chris Barker, from the Royal Mint museum, came to talk to us about the history of the Royal Mint and started the story with the Celtic coin that was struck by a Celtic chief. This was not used as currency but as a means of showing off. This changed around 1880 when Alfred the Great struck coins with the name London in the form of a monogram on them.

For many centuries this penny was the only coin in circulation. One coin meant that giving change was difficult and they were literally cut in half or quarters for this purpose. Coinage production remained the same for centuries – simple basic methods were used with the coins being made by hand in many parts of the country.

In 1279 coin production was centralized into the Mint in the Tower of London and the first gold coins were produced which were meant to convey wealth and power. During the reign of Henry the Eighth, in a misguided attempt to raise money, the coinage was debased by adding silver and copper but was subsequently rectified by Elizabeth the first. 

By the Seventeenth Century machinery was introduced and screw presses and horse driven rolling mills were installed at the Royal Mint and the ancient method of striking coins by hand was finally abandoned. This meant that the portraits on coins were clearly defined and edge lettering and mulling were achieved. 1699 saw the appointment of Isaac Newton as Master of the Royal Mint where he remained until his death in 1727.

In order to equip the Royal Mint with up to date steam powered machinery, a purpose built facility was constructed at Tower Hill nearby and was in production by 1810.   In the 1920’s in a development which has shaped much of its subsequent history, the Royal Mint began seeking orders from overseas countries. This followed the establishment of an independent committee to examine new designs for coins, medals and seals.

By 1964 output exceeded 1000 million coins a year. 0n the 1st March 1966 the Government announced the decision to adopt a decimal system of currency. The task of striking hundreds of millions of decimal coins in readiness for decimalization in 1971, while at the same time not neglecting overseas customers, made the construction of a new mint essential. James Callahan was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time and the decision was made to relocate the Mint to Llantrisant and in 1968 the first coins were officially struck by the Queen.

In 1975, the last coin, a gold sovereign, was struck at Tower Hill and by 1980 the Tower Hill buildings were finally relinquished. The Royal Mint at Llantrisant is about to establish a visitors centre which should be open in May of this year and we are looking forward to a visit where we will be able to see some of the early coins that Chris showed us on the screen in his excellent power point presentation.   


We started the Bargoed walk in the Pengam area. Soon after starting, we came across a very tall sculpture in a small public garden. The 40ft statue, which is called the Lady of the Stream, was erected in 2009. It stands on a former ash-tip, which was reclaimed as a playground and then became rundown. The statue depicts a woman watching over children in the area, supposedly in reference to Pengam folklore of youngsters drowning in a stream.

Moving away from the town we crossed Gelli-Gaer Common with the usual grazing horses. It was a grey day and the environment quite bleak. Within the Capel Gwladys area, there are regular shaped mounds, which are variously described as marching camps or Roman Practice camps. The Roman army was in the area from 47AD – 113AD and used these camps regularly to practice making temporary fortified camps by digging ditches and making ramparts.

We continued in a generally northerly direction towards Pen-y-garreg farm and then Deri where we turned southeast. In Parc Cwm Darren we came upon a memorial stone ‘In memory of those whose lives were touched by the tragic events at the Darren Colliery on October 29th 1909’, below are listed the 27 names of those who died.

As we came down the valley, we followed a fast flowing stream; a bridge we crossed had a sign nearby ‘Caradoc’s bridge’. Caradoc was a Silurian leader who fought against the Roman occupation in Wales, but was eventually captured and taken to Rome. It is believed that this bridge near Deri has been called Caradoc’s bridge in his memory. The valley was steep sided and had layers of stone beside the watercourse. One area had some lovely Gorse bushes in full bloom.

1459597376[1]Approaching the built up area of Bargoed, a large viaduct towered over us with many arches, some people scrambled down a steep slope to reach its base while most of us detoured through the local streets to come down more gradually.

Our route now took us through a recently created woodland park – The Bargoed Woodland Park, which covers Bargoed, Britannia and Gilfach collieries. The country park has been created from barren waste ground left after the closure of the last mine in 1985. 90,000 new trees, 6500 bulbs and 8000 wild flowers have been planted.  This was once part of the largest colliery tip in Europe. LS Lowry immortalised it in his 1965 painting ‘Bargoed’. The Rhymney River flows through the park and after the winter rains it was in full flow, there were rapids in places and a dipper was spotted flitting across the rocks midstream. 

Coming closer to the town again a pretty stream ran next to the path and we passed under a modern road bridge with a stylish profile. Our final stretch took us alongside the river Rhymney through a quiet wooded valley to return to the cars.

Total distance covered was 8.75miles and the climb was 950ft.


this walk was our first since meteorological spring began and it was certainly a lovely day, lots of sunshine with some cloud and not too cold. Basically it was a lovely gentle country walk with swathes of wild primroses in places.

The route took us south from Penperlleni towards Little Mill and almost immediately we saw our first lambs of the season.  Next we approached Cwm Hir, we wondered what awaited us (given its English pronunciation) but we walked through it without spotting anything of note.

Later there was an old metal, elaborate structure which carried a water course over a railway. From here we made our way to Glascoed and then towards Monkswood. We were now approaching the River Usk and as we passed through a field with a large flock of sheep an oldfashioned windmill could be seen in the distance. Lunch on the banks of the Usk was delightful in the sunshine with the fast flowing river very close.

Unfortunately we had to climb uphill straight after eating (always a challenge) but definitely worth it. Towards the end we passed a lane with a sign ‘No Parking  Entrance in use DAY and NIGHT’ – pretty impressive since the lane was blocked by a fallen tree.

We reached the cars and as we took off boots, the weather changed and we had a short flurry of sleet/hail, we had covered 7.25 miles and 900ft.

March 2016

The month of March has been one of the most crowded of months in the calendar due to Easter being earlier this year.

Mothering Sunday was a very happy crowded church with the Pebbles Group playing an important part in the morning service, showing us their portraits of their Mums and what she meant to them. All very touching and often quite funny in a nice sort of way.

Holy Week which began with the Palm Sunday ceremonies was kept with solemnity in the days leading up to Good Friday, when the commemoration began at St Lythan’s church, then continued with the walk down to St Mary’s for the final hour marking the time of Christ’s Crucifixion. 

The following day the church was beautifully decorated for Easter Day with lilies donated by members of the congregation in memory of loved ones departed.  On Easter Day 9.30am morning service was a very special one, when the newly lit Pascal Candle was brought into the centre of the church.

The Easter garden in the church porch was blessed and the service proceeded with the baptism of 4 young people, who with their Godparents and supporters filled the church to capacity. It was a most joyous occasion and will long live on in the memory of other joyous occasions that the church has experience during the past years. As the congregation left the church Easter Eggs were given to the children and adults and were greatly appreciated. Once again the Queen of Festivals as Easter is often called lived up to all expectations with wonderful singing, memorable readings from the Bible, and with the affirmation of our own Baptisms many years ago and in different places, all remind us that we are one family with God our Father.

The Lent Lunches continued week by week, with soup provided by members of the congregation. The Lent group met in the Rectory to study the Psalms and the Bible Study group met in Sully on a number of weeks. The theme of Lent this year was to take on something extra rather than giving something up, and  these group meetings and Wednesday lunches were all opportunities for doing something extra during Lent.

The recent fine sunny but cold weather has enabled our stone mason to work on the stone wall in the grave yard, and the results are already showing great improvements. The removal of the sycamore trees has proved to be the correct course of action with daffodils blooming in profusion on the top of the wall which enhances the appearance of graveyard and cemetery alike. The ground surrounding a church is often called “God’s Acre” and here in Wenvoe we try to maintain as high a standard as possible, knowing that many in the community appreciate its surroundings for quiet contemplation and silent prayer. 

During Lent all our “brass ware” at the altar and in the chancel has been removed in place of more simpler candles and ornaments. Shortly before Easter the Brass Cleaning team met to polish and buff up the brass ware in time for the Easter celebrations.  They meet at different times of the year to keep the brass shining for our Sunday worship, not only are candlesticks involved in this, but the hanging lamps and the various brass commemorative plaques on the wall as well.

A vote of thanks to all the volunteers who turn up to get their hands on the Brasso with rubber gloves, and they seem to thrive on the heady aroma of polish. The weeks following on from Easter are generally quieter ones, but the work doesn’t stop. Plans are being made for Pentecost on May 12th and the Queen’s 90th birthday on June 12th. Watch this space. Easter Greetings to all readers

 Parry Edwards

March 2016

A mix of news this month, some good and some not so good. To start with the not so good, the area known as Molluscopolis on the Upper Orchid Field has been destroyed by a vandal or vandals. It has been in place for 6 years and in 2011 won an Innovation Award from Keep Britain Tidy, the only time this has been awarded in Wales.

Sometime in early March in a systematic attack, every pot was broken, every notice ripped down – even the nestboxes and an owl box built by the Scouts were pulled down and smashed. It will be reconstructed but it is a mystery why anyone should go to such lengths particularly as vandalism is relatively rare around here.

The police are involved and have examined the area. If anyone sees anything suspicious or noticed anything unusual going on at the beginning of March please contact our local police officer, Kieron Byrne, on 07584 883323.

On a brighter note we have been offered funding of £250 by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to develop and enhance the sensory garden on the Community Orchard. This involves installing two additional planters with appropriate 'sensory' plants, providing signage including, hopefully, some in braille, purchasing tools that can be used by visiting groups such as Scope and creating a living willow structure. 

Conservation work by the group has involved planting replacement fruit trees as well as primroses, bluebells and snowdrops. We have cleared much of the undergrowth that runs the length of the Wild Orchard at St Lythans and removed some of the branches of the large Sycamores that shade out some of the trees at the north end of the orchard.

In April we plan to sow wildflower seeds in Grange Park and Walston Road with the help of children from Wenvoe Primary School. Wildflower seed has been passed to the Vale of Glamorgan Council so that they can spread them on the Alps roundabout and to a group in Cowbridge for them to use in Old Hall Gardens as they did last year.

We are also hosting a meeting of Forest School teachers and will be taking them on a tour of some of our local orchards.

Best Kept Village Competition

You will have read in the council notes, What's On March 16, that the Best Kept Village Competition will no longer take place. Interest and support have been dwindling for several years and with so few villages entering, there is little point in carrying on.

However our team will continue to keep Wenvoe clean and tidy for the benefit of us all with particular emphasis on the ongoing litter problem which continues to blight the road between the Walston Castle and Ruhr Cross.

Our work during March included pruning the roses on the village green and removing the accumulation of debris, mainly leaves left over from the autumn.

Next meeting Monday, April 18th at 9.30 a.m.

Planting Out

All tender plants are at risk from frost until the end of April/ May and need to have protection in a greenhouse or conservatory so if you buy plants over the next few weeks, make sure they are fully hardy before risking them outside.

Long-term, hardy shrubs or trees should be fine for planting outdoors now, even if they are carrying blossom. If you took late autumn or winter cuttings of pelargoniums, fuchsias or other tender plants they will need re-potting now.

If you grow courgettes, marrows or squash, now is the time to sow seeds and these will also need early protection in the greenhouse. Use 9cm plastic or degradable fibre pots. Fill each with potting compost and insert one seed up to 2cm below the surface.

Move your plants to a coldframe during this month and harden them off in May before planting out. Although it gets a little more difficult each year that passes the dry, sunny spell in the middle of March encouraged me and other allotment holders to make a start on rotovating or digging the ground. For me there’s nothing as satisfying as the sight of freshly turned-over soil, ready to be planted with whatever I want to grow throughout the summer.

My Dad was the same and was devoted to his allotment and he was fortunate that his patch was just across the road from our house.


In co-ordination with other communities throughout the country Wenvoe will mark the special occasion by lighting a beacon positioned at the highest local point ie the Quarryman’s Tribute which is located opposite the turning in to Twyn-yr-Odyn.

The lighting ceremony will take place at 8.30pm Thursday 21st April, everybody is welcome to help mark this historic occasion.   Is your birthday on the 21st April? Would you like to be the person to light the beacon?

Please inform the Council Chairman at If know of somebody who is 90 on the same date that would be superb.

Wenvoe Weight Watchers

As you know we opened a class in the village hall in November 2015, started with just a few loyal members and now have more than 20 fantastic ladies in our group and growing. The class has been wonderfully successful, with a whopping 26 stone 8.5lb lost in the first 10 weeks of 2016!

Our group has become close knit, full of support and ideas to help everyone else and generally a chance to have a chat, cuppa and a giggle. I certainly go home after class full of inspiration and lifted in spirits.

The class is at 7.30pm on Thursdays, and a warm welcome is always given – if you feel like now is the right time to lose those extra pounds then why not come & see me. If you are looking for something to do with the children this Easter break, why not try our recipe for Iced Easter Biscuits:

225g Butter
125g Caster Sugar
275g Plain White Flour, plain
50g Semolina, Dried, or ground rice
50g Icing Sugar

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F.
Beat the butter until softened and gradually beat in the caster sugar.
Add the flour and semolina, working it in with a wooden spoon
Gather the dough together with your hands, then knead for a few moments until smooth.
Roll out the dough thinly on a lightly floured surface. Stamp out shapes using biscuit cutters.
Arrange on baking sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until light golden brown.
Cool on wire racks.
Mix the icing sugar with a little water to make a smooth glace icing, then use this to decorate the biscuits.


My Fruitful Fields

I have been taking Treasure Hunting for the past 20 years and look forward to my copy every month. In the last couple of years I have had some cracking finds, the best coin probably being a Durotriges silver stater which is dated 1st century BC. I am almost sure that it is the only silver stater that has been found in Glamorgan where I live.

My next brilliant find was a Roman hoard of 34 coins which were all copper dating from AD 28-29. They involved two emperors, Carausius and Allectus and apparently the latter emperor murdered the former one. I had found over several years about seven similarly dated coins from the same field but over quite a wide area.

It was quite exciting on the day that I found the Roman hoard. I found one coin, wandered about for about 30 minutes and arrived back to where had I had found the original one. I then had another ‘bleep~ and dug out another coin, then the bleeps kept coming and within 10 minutes I had 20 coins in total. Two were even stuck together.

I had to leave the area as I was going to watch a rugby international in Cardiff but returned the next day to the same spot where I found 14 more coins plus a round ring object that probably had a bag with the coins inside, as there was no trace of a pot, Steve Sell, Mark Lodvic and Edward Besley from the National Museum in Cardiff came at a later date to inspect the site and had a small dig, hut no more coins were found. The hoard is now at the Museum wailing for a Treasure Inquest.

On the field where I found the silver stater, I also found a Roman silver Republic coin of Farat in poor condition which has been dated by the museum at c.60 BC. Also on the field I found eight hammered coins and nice silver posy ring inscribed ‘I like my choise’ which is now waiting for a Treasure Inquest.

On my own farm, on one field where I have detected on for 23 years I found a small Bronze Age hoard. A year ago I found an axe one evening with a small piece missing from it. The following evening I found the missing piece! The next night I found another broken axe but have never found the other part. This autumn we ploughed the field and cultivated deeply and found another brilliant find in the same area – it was a beautiful decorated Bronze Age socketed spearhead in very good condition. The museum now has the axes and the spearhead, provisionally dated to early to mid-Bronze Age. They are both going forward to Treasure Trove.

I would have loved to keep the spearhead as I’m sure it would have belonged to the chief of the tribe who was living on our farm. Somebody was here 3,500 to 3800 years ago, farming the same sod as myself and hunting the same pastures and wood and this same field has yielded many more finds – a 13th century religious copper seal, a Roman bucket mount and about a dozen hammered coins. I also found a medieval buckle, which is about the best I've seen for a long time. I mostly detect in the evenings because I’m still working on the farm.

What a wonderful relaxing hobby we all have. We all I think, have lean times but hang in there and hopefully a cracking find or two will materialise.

Gwyn Rees, 

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