Dyffryn

The Cory family of Dyffryn House and the Mackintosh family of Cottrell between them owned all the houses in the village and employed most of the villagers. 

Dyffryn House and its associated manor of Worlton have a history that extends to over 1,000 years. The manor was originally given by King Judhail to Bishop Oudoceous and his successors as Bishops of Llandaff before the year AD 640 in thanks for being saved when he fell from his horse. The original moated house (no longer standing although the moat still exists) was built a little to the south west of the site of the present Dyffryn House and remained in the possession of the Bishops of Llandaff for nearly 900 years until it became the property of the Button family sometime in the mid 16th century. 

The first house on the present site was possibly built circa 1571, perhaps by Miles Button whose fourth son, Thomas, went to sea in Queen Elizabeth's navy and achieved note as an adventurous sailor and Arctic explorer. He was knighted and appointed Admiral of the King's Ships on the coast of Ireland by James II. Thomas Button discovered the Nelson river and was the first navigator to reach the coast of America via the Hudson Straits. 

The fine stained-glass window in the Great Hall at Dyffryn House depicts Button's contemporary, Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth I. 

During the 18th century the estate became known as Dyffryn, St Nicholas, changing its name from Worlton, and it was during this century that the estate passed from the Button family at the death of the Martin Button who left the estate to his heir-at-law, Robert Jones of Fonmon. The Button family had remained loyal to King Charles I during the previous century and it is said that debts incurred as a result of service in support of that monarch ultimately led Robert Jones to sell the estate to Thomas Pryce of Court Carau. 

Dyffryn House was rebuilt by Thomas Pryce and on his death, it passed to his daughter Frances Anne, and then the estate passed to Thomas Pryce's kinsman, John Knight Bruce-Pryce. His second son, Henry Austin Bruce, served as a Member of Parliament from 1852 to 1873. He became Home Secretary in 1863, ten years before being created the first Baron Aberdare. 

John Bruce-Pryce's eldest grandson, Alan, eventually sold the estate in 1893 to John Cory, eldest son of Richard Cory of Cardiff, a ship owner. 

Dyffryn House was again rebuilt and at John Cory's death in 1910 passed to his third son, Reginald, who was a distinguished amateur horticulturist - largely responsible, with the landscape architect Thomas Mawson, for creating the important gardens that surround Dyffryn House today. Reginald Cory's bequest to the University Botanic Garden, Cambridge has enabled that garden to flourish and expand whilst his bequest to the Royal Horticultural Society of London enabled the Society's Lindley Library to acquire a number of important books. 

The estate of Dyffryn House and the surrounding gardens were leased to Glamorgan County Council in June 1939 for a period of 999 years for use as a botanic garden and conference centre. The historic gardens of some 55 acres and plant houses, with their collection of rare and unusual plants, are still open to the public and well worth a visit. It is in the garden grounds that the Everyman Theatre holds its Open Air Festival of Entertainment each year.

The village school and schoolmaster were feared by many of the children. They would race to school every morning so that they wouldn't be late, as the bell would ring any time between 8.30 am and 9 o'clock. It was quite usual to be in school long after 3.30 pm too, as they were set either a spelling test or an arithmetic problem just after 3.30 pm. No one was allowed to leave until they had answered correctly. 

The shop, post office and saddler's shop were all in the same house. Milk was delivered on foot from a local farm and the surplus taken to Ely in churns by horse and cart driven by the farmer's daughter. The local cobbler knew every shoe he repaired. He collected and delivered the repaired shoes every Saturday evening. The Coffee Tavern was where men used to play darts and billiards but where no females were allowed and no intoxicating drink. 

Long summer childhood days were spent watching Mr David, the royal thatcher, repairing the thatch roofs, or playing on the swing and seesaw, and watching football and cricket matches in Cae-Pentre. Haymaking time was busy, when men who had worked hard all day found time and energy to help the farmers in the evenings. Grass was cut by scythe and hook and a roadman, who took pride in his work, kept his length of road immaculate. 

There are no big Estates now. The majority of people have had to leave the village to find work and housing they can afford, but there are a few of us left who have wonderful memories of days gone by. We would not want to live anywhere else. 

NB
The information above is taken from The Glamorgan Village Book, written by members of the Glamorgan Federation of Women's Institutes and published by Countryside Books. 

A borehole/well was drilled between 1919 and 1920 to a depth of 62.48m to provide water.  2,000 gallons per hour was pumped from the well from the local aquifer

From the South Wales Police Museum

World War 2 Breaks Out

Fortunately, prior to the outbreak of the War, a handsome gift of a mansion known as Dyffryn House, together with its gardens, had been made to the County Council for the purpose of advancing education in horticulture, botany and allied studies. Through the good-will of the County Council, and the donor, this mansion was made available to the Police Authority for use during the War as a reserve Police Headquarters and Training Establishment for Police, Wardens and other ancillary ARP Services which the Police and the County Council had to enrol and train.

Dyffryn House, St Nicholas. This was the Glamorgan Police Training Establishment from 1940-1946
The use of the mansion fulfilled a genuine need and immediately a series of courses to train the Police in their wartime duties were inaugurated, and with the wholehearted support and assistance of the Home Office, considerable progress was achieved. The training was subject to inspection by His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, who expressed the view that the Glamorgan Police Authority, as the largest Authority in Wales, should make these training facilities available to members of other Forces.

The outcome was that Forces throughout Wales and Monmouthshire gladly availed themselves of the Glamorgan training arrangements, and Training Courses were continually in progress there throughout the war for the Police, Civil Defence, or for the Military, Police and Civil Defence Services combined.

In September 1943, the Secretary of State appointed a Committee to consider and report on the arrangements which could be desirable in re-constituting the Police Forces during the immediate post-war period. Later the views of Police Authorities on the proposals made by the Committee with regard to recruitment and training were sought.

The outcome was that an agreement was reached that:

All recruits should go through a residential training course for three months before undertaking any Police duties, and a Recruit’s Training Centre should be established in each of the Chief Constables’ Conference Districts to provide initial training for all recruits of Forces in that district;
The training schools maintained before the War by individual Forces should, when re-established, concern themselves mainly with refresher courses for men rejoining after service in the Armed Forces and for serving Policemen; and
Recruiting Boards should be set up in each of the Chief Constables' Recruiting Districts.

With the end of hostilities, and demobilisation from the Armed Forces being imminent, the District Recruiting Board was confronted with the problem of finding premises suitable as a Police Residential Training Centre capable of accommodating approximately one hundred and fifty pupils. After viewing numerous premises the Board was able, with the co-operation of the Home Office, to secure the use of the Bevin Hostel for Miners at Bryncethin, which provided the accommodation needed for the immediate post-war training of new entrants into the Police Service.

The Glamorgan Education Committee agreed to the use of Dyffryn House being continued for refresher courses for Police who were rejoining after service in the Armed Forces, but intimated that the arrangement could not go on indefinitely, particularly as the Education Act of 1944 had extended the responsibilities of Education Authorities.

Any prospect of proceeding with the erection of the new Police Headquarters at Bridgend was now out of the question, as the need to address the acute shortage of houses was given first priority in the immediate years following the War.


A brief history


The western Mail published the following images when it was announced in 20011 that Dyffryn House is to be restored from a £600,000 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund to the Vale of Glamorgan Council and that the house will be open to the public for the first time since 1996.  The condition of the house had deteriorated significantly after its closure as a conference centre by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.



http://momedia.kyte.tv/mv/bor/1103/23/19/3002185-dyff5_534_447.jpg?h=cb13cb27e67cb1715b346ce8ea0e676a





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