St. Nicholas originated as an agricultural community under the patronage of several different landowners that has grown around the Church and the historic Manorial estate and
 along an old Roman road that is now the A48.  The village lies on the high ridge along which the former Roman road runs Cardiff to Cowbridge and beyond, with sweeping views to the north and south.  Remains of a Roman camp have been found behind the primary school.

The ancient name of the Parish was Llaneinydd, with the current name of St Nicholas likely to be Norman.

An account of village life in the 1800's by Alexander Marriot Moore paints an interesting picture of 
St Nicholas with butchers, grocers, pubs and much activity. 

The photograph is of Blacksmiths Row, looking towards Cardiff in 1908 - you can also see the Church Hall on the right.

The Origins Of The Village 

The history of a settlement in the vicinity of St. Nicholas can be traced back to Neolithic times with the survival of a chambered tomb at Tinkinswood, one kilometre south of the present village.  Excavations have also revealed finds dating from the Early Bronze Age and the Roman era, the latter taking the form of pottery and iron tools.  A more substantial legacy left by the Romans was the road constructed between Gloucester and Neath, establishing a route which would, centuries later, form the basis for the turnpike road and the modern A48. 

Further archaeological sites surrounding the village include a group of earthworks occupied during the 12th century, namely Cottrell’s Castle, Coed-y-Cwm, and the well-preserved circular camp of Y Gaer.  By this time, however, a settlement had been founded beside the old Roman road on the site of St. Nicholas proper.  St. Nicholas was called Llaneinydd, and it appears to have acquired its present title in the aftermath of the Norman conquest of Glamorgan, when it was renamed in honour of a saint favoured by the Normans.  The church, probably established prior to the invasion, seems likewise to have gained its dedication to St. Nicholas during this period.  Perhaps affected by the burning of the village carried out by the Welsh in 1226 and 1229, a fate likewise suffered by St. Hilary and Bonvilston, nothing remains of the early Saxon or Norman building.  Instead, the oldest sections of the church - and consequently the oldest sections of masonry extant within the village - can be dated to a rebuilding of around the 14th century.  
During the redistribution of land that followed the Conquest, in 1092 the settlement had been amongst those parts of Glamorgan which were given to Sir John Fleming.  The Norman manor was later divided during the 12th century, and by 1578 the land was principally owned by three separate estates belonging to the Earl of Pembroke, Miles Button of Dyffryn, and Rice Meyrick of Cottrell.  The split is still apparent in the layout of the village, and can be seen in the arrangement of the states in terms of property.      

Change had come also to the religious foundations serving the community, beginning with the erection of a Calvanistic Methodist Chapel in 1739-40 on the western outskirts of the village. This was rebuilt in 1870 and is now the Presbyterian Church.  The parish church of St. Nicholas was restored (including new windows) between 1859 and 1860, the work being supervised by the Cardiff architects Prichard & Seddon.  Trehill has strong links with
 Howell Harris, the charismatic leader of the 18th century Welsh Methodist Revival and founder of the Presbyterian church of Wales.

St. Nicholas continued to prosper as a small rural community, with farm buildings such as Village Farmhouse, situated to the east of the church, operating from the centre of the settlement.  Trehill Cottage was originally occupied by labourers attached to Trehill Farm.   The village also benefitted from passing trade, and a number of public houses - The Crown Inn, The Prince’s Arms (today Trehill House), The Travellers’ Rest, and the thatched Three Tuns Inn (formerly a magistrates’ meeting house) - were established to serve those travelling along the turnpike road.  

 In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described St Nicholas:

NICHOLAS (St.), a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Cardiff district, Glamorgan. The village stands1½ mile S S E of Peterston r. station, and 6 W by S of Cardiff; is a seat of petty sessions; and has a post-office under Cardiff, and fairs on 19 May, 21 Aug., and 17 Dec. The parish comprises 2, 104 acres. Real property, £2, 374. Pop., 354. Houses, 76. The property is divided among three. Dyffryn House is the seat of J. B. Pryce, Esq., and Cottrell, a name probably corrupted from Coed-yr-Haul, is the seat of Lady Tyler, widow of Admiral Sir George Tyler. ...

A very large cromlech, with a copestone 24 feet by 17, and a chamber about 14 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 6 feet high, is near the village; another, not so interesting, is close to Dyffryn House; and there are traces of other Druidical remains. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Llandaff. Value, £275.* Patron, J. B. Pryce, Esq. The church is ancient.—The sub-district contains also fifteen other parishes, and two extra-parochial tracts. Acres, 30, 865. Pop., 4, 705. Houses, 941.

Source: VisionofBritain.org.uk

  From Slaters Commercial Directory, 1880.
Transcribed by Phil Mustoe 

ST NICHOLAS is a parish and village 6 miles from Cardiff, situated on an eminence on the road from Cardiff to Cowbridge, distant 6 miles from the latter place, and about 5 miles distant from the Bristol Channel. In the parish are some Druidical remains, and it is said that Oliver Cromwell slept in the manor house. A. C. Bruce Prye, Esq. J.P. of Duffryn House, is lord of the manor. Petty sessions are held in the police station on the first Wednesday of every month, at which time the Highway Board also meet. The church of St. Nicholas is a neat edifice. The living is a rectory in the patronage of the above-named gentleman. There are also chapels for Calvinists and Baptists, and a National Schoool. Population in 1861, 354, and in 1871, 419.

POST OFFICE - St. Nicholas, Thomas Branch, Post Master. - Letters from all parts (from Cardiff) arrive at half-past eight morning, and are despatched thereto at forty minutes past four afternoon

Services: Money Order Office and Savings Bank
(St Nicholas was the nearest Money Order Office for Bonvilston and Peterston-Super-Ely)

Gentry and Clergy
Bruce Lewis K. Esq. J.P., Manor House, St. Nicholas
Bruce Rev. Wm. M.A. & J.P., Duffryn House, St. Nicholas
Bruce Rev. William C., St. Nicholas' Rectory
Pryce Allan C. Bruce, Esq. J.P., Duffryn House, St. Nicholas
Richards Miss -, Cottrell House, St. Nicholas
Tyler Colonel Hubert, J.P., Cottrell House, St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas - William Cole, master

Harry Abraham, St. Nicholas

Boot & Shoe Makers
Ellis James, St. Nicholas
Thomas Morgan, St. Nicholas

Earl William, St. Nicholas
Hopkins Thomas, St. Nicholas
Watts Thomas, St. Nicholas

Jones Edward, St. Nicholas


In. St. Nicholas Parish
Davies John, Pwll-y-min
Earl William, Trehill
Evans William, Broadway
Harbottle Thomas, Homry
Harry Philip, Jenkins' Wood
Hopkin David, Grwyddin
John Thomas, Brook
Jones Evan, Trehill
Meyrick Robert J., Caia
Thomas Catherine, Lanlai
Thomas Peter, St. Nicholas
Thomas Rees, Doghill
Watts Thomas, St. Nicholas
Williams Morgan, Vians Hill

Inns & Public Houses
Three Tuns, Elizabeth Banner, St. Nicholas

Grocers and Dealers in Sundries
Moore William, St Nicholas

none - flour had to be carried from Peterstone Mill via Chapel Lane

Jenkins John, St. Nicholas
King Francis, St. Nicholas

Davies Edward, St. Nicholas

Moore William, saddler, St. Nicholas
Morgan John, stonemason, St. Nicholas
Wright William T., agricultural implement maker, St. Nicholas

Places of Worship

Churche of the Establishment
St. Nicholas's, St. Nicholas - Rev. William C. Bruce, rector

Baptist (Welsh), St. Nicholas - Croes-y-Parc, Chapel Lane
Methodist (Calvinistic), St. Nicholas & Pendoylan - Chapel Lane, Trehill


For the Hundred of Dinas Powis, usually acting for the Petty Sessional Division of St. Nicholas
Petty Sessions held at the Police Station, St Nicholas, on the first Wednesday of every month

Rev. William Bruce, Duffryn
Lewis Kenight Bruce, Esq., St. Nicholas
A. C. Bruce Pryce Esq., Duffryn
Col. H. Tyler, Cottrell

Police Station, St. Nicholas - Philip Williams, sergeant in charge

Conveyance by Railway
On the South Wales Section of the Great Western Line

Station, Peterstone, about 2 miles N. from St. Nicholas - William Chapman, station master - accessed by Chapel Lane

Slaters Commercial Directory, St. Nicholas, Glamorgan, 1880

The village prospered as a farming community during this time, with the passing trade sustaining a number of inns. The Crown Inn, Prince's Arms, The Travellers Rest, and the Three Tuns were all clustered within the area of the church and manor. None exist now,  though The Three Tuns is converted to residential use and the Prince's Arms is Trehill House.

By the 19th century, the village had come to sustain a number of small industries, offering carpenters, millers, saddlers, wheelwrights and masons.  A smithy operated from the centre of the settlement and an agricultural implement factory, owned by W. T. Wright, was established on the site today occupied by the Laurels.  By the 1870s a purpose-built boys’ and girls’ school had been founded; lessons seem formerly to have been conducted in the adjacent cottage.  Further public buildings erected during the 19th century include the police station at the eastern end of the village.  This was originally provided with a court room, one of the first to be founded in Glamorgan.    

The establishment of the Mission Room and Police Station, and the expansion of the school during this period marked the cultural and social development of the rural community.  The Cory family were particularly influential in this respect: closing the Three Tuns and opening the Coffee Tavern on the site of the former Travellers Rest.  The building is now known as Westways.  The Cory family of Dyffryn owned much of the land in the area in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  

Between 1891 and 1893 a prestigious new home based on an earlier building, Dyffryn House, was built near to the village for John Cory, a well known local industrialist and philanthropist – the architect was E. A. Lansdowne of Newport.  There had been an Elizabethan house on the site, which lies to the south of St. Nicholas along Duffryn Lane, and this had been successively owned by the Button and Pryce families.  

Dyffryn is now principally known for its gardens, laid out for Reginald Cory (John Cory’s son) by Thomas Mawson, the internationally known and prolific garden designer.  Work began in 1904 and was completed a year later.  After Reginald Cory’s death in 1937 the house was sold to Sir Cenydd Traherne who leased the property to the County Council.  It is currently vacant and the gardens are designated grade I on the ICOMOS/Cadw Register of Landscapes, Parks and Gardens of Special Interest in Wales.  Reminders of the links between the Cory family and St. Nicholas are still provided by their family tomb in the churchyard, by West House, built as a coffee house on the site of the Travellers’ Rest Inn, and by the church hall and accompanying church hall house on the main road, all of which were promoted by the Cory family. 

On the whole, however, the changes brought to the village by the 19th century were relatively few: a comparison between the Tithe Map of 1838 and 1878 

Ordnance Survey reveals that the basic footprint of the settlement underwent little alteration. The infilling and expansion carried out from the mid-20th century was to be more extensive, beginning with the construction of 24 new homes at the newly created Dyffryn Close and Button Ride.  Situated opposite the old quarry and reached via Duffryn Lane, the houses were erected by Cardiff Rural District Council during the late 1940s to provide the community with further rented accommodation.     

The development of state housing by the Cardiff Rural Districat Council during the fifties and sixties, sought to consolidate the large community that had developed. The housing is set principally to the south along Duffryn Lane.

St. Nicholas won the first "Best Kept Village" competition in the Vale in 1954, and again in 1960. 

The last period of the villagers growth has been the most profound and is the result of the villages popularity as a commuter settlement. Large detached houses have developed within garden and orchard areas to the north of the church and along the A48.  This has expanded the village and changed its character on the outer fringes.

In the 1980s the village still had a working Blacksmith, a Post Office and shop and a Lollipop Man to safely cross children over the A48 on their way to and from the primary school.

The main road remains as the dominant influence on the character of the village with both the Three Tuns and Coach House disappearing from view behind the shelter of high walls.  "Improvement" of Dyffryn Lane and the installation of traffic lights at the heart of the village ae other recent changes. 

The Button family figure a lot in village history, most famously Admiral Thomas Button  who discovered Mansel Island in Hudson's Bay, Canada. 

The Battle of St Fagans

Royalists forces gathered at St. Nicholas prior to their defeat at the Battle of St Fagans in 1648 - one of the last battles of the civil war.

Miles Button of Worlton (Duffryn) was captured and fined £5000 for his support of the King - his annual income was £400.  His brother was tried and executed for treason after the battle.


High Sheriff of Glamorgan

St. Nicholas has been home to a number of High Sheriff's.

1557 James Button of Worlton, St.Nicholas

1565 Miles Button of Worlton, St.Nicholas

1571 Miles Button of Worlton, St.Nicholas

1589 Miles Button of Worlton, St.Nicholas

1610 Morgan Meirick of Cottrell, St.Nicholas

1641 Robert Button of Worlton, St.Nicholas

1666 Martin Button of Dyffryn, St.Nicholas

1669 Thomas Button of Cottrell. St. Nicholas

1709 Thomas Button of Cottrell, St.Nicholas

1727 Francis Popham replaced by Martin Button of Dyffryn, St.Nicholas

1759 Thomas Pryce of Dyffryn, St.Nicholas

1808 Hon. William Booth Grey of Dyffryn, St.Nicholas [10] replaced by John Nathaniel Miers of Cadoxton-juxta-Neath

2001 Lieutenant Colonel Rhodri Llewellyn Traherne of Coedarhydyglyn (South Glamorgan)

Landscape and trees

Field boundaries, walls and hedges lined the road (now the A48) and define the former farm estate boundaries.  Since 1952, important trees have been protected by a Tree Preservation Order including historic groups within the Manor, Llaneinydd, The Court and along Duffryn Lane.

Of significance too, are trees within the churchyard and around the school.  An ancient yew stands to the rear of Blacksmith's Row, it is very early however a group of chestnut trees at the entrance to Ger-Y-Llan that framed the village green and war memorial no longer exist.

A Topographical Dictionary of Wales

St. Nicholas is mentioned in A Topographical Dictionary of Wales - more... 


Listed buildings are clustered around the Parish Church of St Nicholas and along the A48.  These early buildings at the centre of the village are enclosed by high boundary walls which define the network of lanes running North into the farming land of the Cottrell and Coedarhydyglyn estates.

The use of local materials such as limestone, slate and thatch for the buildings is important although many of the buildings have been built from rough rubble limestone and have been rendered and painted white.  

Some of the 20th century houses in the Conservation Area follow this example and are also rendered and painted white which does provide some cohesiveness despite their modern details.  The 1948 houses in Dyffryn Close and Button Ride are notable for their white rendered elevations and ‘Tudorbethan’ details including timber framing and decorative quoins to the openings.  Some of them retain their original Crittall steel windows, but most have been replaced using modern materials.  The Church Hall and adjoining house are notable for their clay tiled roofs, attractive original joinery, limestone walls, and the white painted turret which provides an important focal point in views along the main road. 

Pitched roofs, which suit the Welsh slate covering, are usually seen on the older buildings although where they are thatched they are much steeper to provide the fall needed to prevent water ingress.  The only thatched properties are Trehill Cottage, nos. 3, 4 and 5 Smith Row and the Three Tuns.  A substantial barn facing School Lane is the only visible unaltered reminder of the many agricultural buildings which could once be found in the village.  

Roadside walls are built from the same grey limestone rubble blocks of varying sizes as many of the older buildings and are a prominent feature of the Conservation Area and help to maintain a historic character to the village centre.  

The following are Grade II listed:

 The Church of St Nicholas 

The church is believed to date from the 14th century (with possibly 11th century origins) 
but was heavily restored in the 1860's to a design by eminent Victorian ecclesiastical architects, Prichard and Seddon.
Cory Family Tomb

A chest tomb built from grey Quarella stone in the High Gothic Revival style contains the remains of John and Anna Cory from the early C20th and other members of the Cory family who were wealthy industrialists who lived in Duffryn House.
The central panel is inscribed with the Cory coat of arms and the words "Virtu Sempre Viridis". The tomb has adjacent access to the crypt. 
Numbers 3, 4, 5 Blacksmiths Row

A terrace of three thatched cottages dating from the first half of the 17th century, provide a good example of the local Welsh vernacular. 
    St Nicholas Church Hall & Church Hall House

Built in 1890 with the help from its benefactors, the Corrie family, in an Arts and Crafts Style 
(possibly in the style of G. Halliday - also said to be of the office of William Frame).  The Church Hall House attached to the west of the Church Hall Contains two storey tower. 

Thatched property in St Nicholas  The Three Tuns

Prominently situated within the centre of the village, the building is of 16th century origins.  The earliest record of it being an Inn is 1792.  The house is two-storey with eight bays of limestone rubble set beneath a thatched roof.
It is an eight bay house built using limestone rubble for the walls and thatch for the roof.  It was closed as an inn by Mr Cory who thought that alcohol was a corrupting influence. 
Post Box & Telephone Box

Circular iron pillar box of standard early C20 design. Fluted rim to shallow domed cap supporting curved bracket with oval Post Office direction sign. "Post Office" lettering to frieze with letter opening, moulded base. Curved door with collection plate over crowned "GR" (King George V) monogram.
K-6 type square, red kiosk of cast iron construction to the standard 1920's design of Giles Gilbert Scott, architect of London.

Other buildings of note:
The Old School

The first record ala school is 1698. The present school replaces a former thatched collage which was used as a laundry It is built in stone in a gctorian gothic style. and retains bell tower chimneys, and stone trefoil details.
 War Memorial

War Memorial erected following WW1, this columnar memorial surmounted by a Celtic-style cross is a focal point on the village green. 
The Manor House

A seemingly 19th century building, possibly with earlier fabric. 
Thr Manor sianth in lanwiscapedgrnunds. enclosedby high Ione walls. Built in the early 18th century u has been extended and altered morn times.
The Court

The early/mid-19th century former rectory, now called The Court.  It has rendered elevations and a slate roof within its substantial grounds with impressive views to the south. 

Design influenced by Arts and Crafts movement,  with random nibble stone base. render above and brick stacks and slate roof  . Other buildings in this style are visible in Village Farm, Church Hall and Church Hall House. This building was erected on the site of the The Crown Inn by Florence, daughter of John Cory, as a coffee tavern to meet the needs of travellers and those wishing to stay overnight and to replace The Three Tuns (The Travellers Rest) which was closed by the Cory family at the same time.
Village Farm House 

C17 farmhouse of at least two, possibly three, phases. Alterations in C19 and modern renovation. Influenced by Arts and Crafts movement, central village location reflecting local vernacular as in Westways and Church Hall House
The Old Police Station 

Built in 1858, of good quality coursed stone, it was one of the first Police Stations build in the Vale of Glamorgan.  It originally had a court Room attached, but this was demolished in the 1970's.  It has recently been converted into a private house.

Dyffryn Close and Button Ride

Post-war council houses built by Cardiff Rural District Council, in order to provide additional rented accommodation. The houses are white painted with traditional small tiled roofs. Button Ride was constructed as an expansion of Dyffryn Close. 

Built in 1948. the houses set around Duffryn Close are in good condition and are good example of the qualirv of building and anention to detail displayed during this period ofpuhhc house building. Houses are composed as a whole, retaining ----------elements: stone windows, half timbering and panelled doors.
 The Coach House

Stylishly converted and beautifully appointed stone barn dating back to about 1740. 


A white painted house which was designed by the renowned South Wales architect, Sir Percy Thomas, for J Trefil Morgan, chairman of a Cardiff department store in the 1930s.  Within the grounds, a substantial barn facing School Lane is the only visible unaltered reminder of the many agricultural buildings which could once be found in the village.

  The Old School House

Stone built cottage thought to have been a school until the adjacent school was built. Used as accommodation for headmaster until 1978. Originally a single-storey one-roomed building with thatch, possibly late C17 or early C18. Little indication of early origins as it has been considerably altered. The building is now in private ownership, but was owned until 1980 by the Church in Wales.

19th century two storey stone built cottage. Of interest as part of a group of buildings around the church.  The building was thatched until the mid C20. Its name derives from the Welsh "house with straw roof".

The original house is pictured to the right, with an extension (to the left) built by Albert Tanner (who worked at Dyffryn gardens) in the early C19th to accommodate his 10 children.
Manor Cottage (formerly 2 Manor Cottages)

These two early collages have been much extended and altered over the years. They occupy a prominent position at the top of Duffryn Lane.  They are rendered with a hipped roof and there is a projecting double pik entrance to number 2.
Broadway farm

Built from two former cottages in the 1850’s. the farm still displays a number of historic building elements. The farm is set back from the road with an access gained across an informal driveway enclosed by mature trees. Map
Trehill Presbyterian Chapel

The present Trehill church was built in 1870. on a site where a group had gathered to worship since the 1740s. The church is a simple building in the Gothic style with gable front framed by two lurretL’dfinlals. Originally built as a Calvinistic Methodist church, founded in 1739 to 1740 by Howell Harris.
Click here for more

When founded, the Baptist Chapel was within the boundaries of St. Nicholas and linked directly by Chapel Lane.   Established in 1776 as a Particular/Strict Baptist church following visits by Rees Edwards, a member of Pen-y-garn Baptist church, Pontypool, Monmouthshire. The congregation met initially in the old castle, but after its admission to the Baptist Association in 1778, the ruined house of Croes-y-parc was leased, and a chapel constructed. The increase in membership necessitated rebuilding in 1843.     More
Trehill House

Formerly The Prince’s Arms.
Trehill Cottage

Thatched house. Originally a cottage for farm labourers attached to Trehill Farm, it has been substantially renovated and extended.

Cottrell Lodge

Picturesque lodge of one and a half storeys with elevations of local coursed limestone rubble beneath a long straw thatched roof. Single storey lean-to extension to western end with slated roof. Formerly the lodge to Cottrell House (since demolished)

 Tinkinswood Burial Chamber

Believed to be around 6,000 years old, the communal burial chamber is one of two in the area, and when excavated in 1914 the remains of 50 bodies were found.
Click here for more about Tinkenswood.
Click on image for location.       Latest News/Blog

St. Lythans Burial Mound

The burial chamber stands in a field, Maesyfelin (The Mill Field), to the south of St Lythans Road.  This chamber tomb is a dolmen, the most common form of megalithic structure in Europe. It stands at the eastern end of a flat topped, 27 metres (89 ft) long, 11 metres (36 ft) wide earthen mound, forming part of a chambered long barrow. It is one of the Severn-Cotswold type, and consists of a cove of three upright stones (orthostats), supporting a large, flat, capstone. All the stones are mudstone, which, as with those used at Tinkinswood, were probably available locally. The capstone, which slopes downwards from south east to north west (the left side of the entrance towards the back, right), measures four metres (13 ft) long, three metres (10 ft) wide, and 0.7 metres (2.3 ft) thick.  More information

Dyffryn House

The Dyffryn Estate dates back to 640 A.D. when the Manor of Worlton (also known as Worleton), which included St Lythans and St Nicholas, was granted to Bishop Oudoceus of Llandaff. Dyffryn House and its Edwardian garden are Grade I listed buildings

 Dyffryn Gardens

Dyffryn Gardens is an exceptional example of Edwardian garden design. At over 55 acres it's amongst the most beautiful gardens in Wales. 
Dyffryn is an outstanding Grade 1 registered garden featuring a stunning collection of intimate garden rooms, formal lawns, seasonal bedding, a statuary collection and much more. The gardens also boast an extensive Arboretum featuring trees from all over the world, Dyffryn is truly a garden for all seasons. Website
Village Pump
Cast iron pump at the site of a well, just outside the north east corner of the churchyard. Was used by villagers to obtain water in the time before there was piped water.

The pump can be found behind the church, close to Well Lane.
Second Village Pump
Situated by the A48, to the west of the Church Hall.
Third Village Pump

This pump can be found in front of the church today, however it is believed that this pump, when working, was situated on the wall of the  farmyard Village Farmhouse.  It was moved when the wall was demolished along with two barns and a cowshed to provide the entrance to Ger-Y-Llan.

Stone Style in Dyffryn Lane
Stone stile, constructed from a single stone with additional steps to the sides. There are a number of other stone styles around the village.
Mounting Block Outside Pwllsarn

Mounting Block outside Trehill.

Stone mounting block built outside the house at Trehill. 
Rough, random stone built, topped with hard, slate-like capstones. Front stones have been previously limewashed. 

 Cottrell Park Standing Stone 

Cottrell Park Standing Stone is a weathered slab of stone situated by the side of the A48. The stone is situated near the edge of a field close to a boggy patch of ground. The stone is 2.3m tall, 2.9m long and 0.6m wide.
The stone is situated almost directly opposite the entrance to Cottrell Park (restaurant & golf course) but is not visible from the road. It is just to the east of a patch of boggy ground. The stone is in good condition but lies behind barbed wire in no-man's land between the field edge and the A48. A reference on Coflein states that the stone was removed from its previous location by the entrance of Cottrell Park in 1935, however an 1885 map shows a standing stone in a similar location, so it wasn't moved far.   More
Coed y Cwm Chambered Cairn

A group of four tabular limestone blocks, associated with a possible mound. Excavation, 1936 (Daniels 1937) suggested that the stones constituted a natural feature, although a hand-axe was recovered.
Click on image for location.
Coed Y Cwm Ringwork

A sub-circular enclosure, about 27-29.5m in diameter, defined by a strong bank and ditch: excavations, 1963, 1964-5, revealed some structural elements, associated with 12th century pottery.
Click on image for location.
Cottrell Castle Mound

A flat-topped circular mound, 20m in diameter and 1.8m high, with traces of an encircling ditch, possibly counterscarped. An episode of levelling and planting is recorded in 1862.
Click on image for location.
Cottrell Ring Work

Scheduled Ancient Monument - Also on the site is a second monument - Y Gaer. See also 1350.
Click on image for location.
Click on image for location.
Y Gaer

Fairly complete example of a dark ages camp. In the year 1762, a large bed of iron cinder was discovered beneath which some Roman coins of Antonius Pivi and an earthen jar embossed with greyhounds, hares etc, were found. The Gaer occupies the summit of a ridge where advantage has been taken of the ground to defend an oblong rectangular space by a steep scarp surmounted by a vallum. The entrance seems to have been on the eastern side. It is situated about one third of a mile from the old Roman road, the Via Julia. Tradition states that Cromwell is said to have attacked Peterstone Castle from this place. Possibly it may have been at this time that he spent the night in the old Manor House in St Nicholas. Legend says too that there is a subterranean passage from the Gaer to St Fagans Castle. Note the distinctive Scots Pines and other trees, which are visible from a wide area, including the wind farm at Brynna
 Chapel Lane

Chapel Lane has been vital in the development of St Nicholas as it provided the shortest horse and cart route to two quarries,Peterston Bridge, village and railway station, two mills (there were none in St. Nicholas), four farms, Croes-y-Parc Baptist Chapel, and the main road to Llandaff Cathedral.
Round Barrow of possible Bronze Age date. The mound is about 18-21m in diameter and 0.3m high. A nearby mound about 10m in diameter and 0.1m high, was excavated in 1965

Poughed down circular mound, possibly a Round Barrow, of unknown date, about 10.7m in diameter and 0.3m high. 
Goldsland Wood Caves

Goldsland Wood is an area of deciduous woodland growing on a low limestone ridge running approximately east-west for 2.5 km. Since 2005 the Goldsland Caves Research Project had been investigating deposits outside small caves and rock-salters in valleys which cross the ridge.
At the site, less than a kilometer from the well known St Lythans burial chamber, 5000 year old human remains have been discovered - having been buried in mysterious rituals. 

“At the moment our understanding of these rituals is that first the large pit was dug, probably to make the small cave mouth look much bigger and more impressive. Then the dead were placed in the pit with some of their possessions such as pottery and stone tools. Then once the bodies had become skeletons it seems that most of the bones were then moved to other ritual sites, like the nearby chambered tomb of St Lythans. The pit containing the ash from a cremation is evidence for a different sort of rite - although it probably took place around the same time.”
The survival of animal bone is generally poor in prehistoric sites in Wales, so the discovery of animal bones at the site, along with neolithic pottery is of great value to archaeologists. 
The site is also the home of the Goldsland Wood Roman Lead mine, which continued to be in use in the medieval and post-medieval periods.
Goldsland Farm Barn

A planned early-mid C19 farmyard which reflects current theories of agricultural improvement. The large scale of the barn indicates the prosperity of the area which resulted from increased crop yields. The barn is orientated North / South with double doors East / West in the centre of a large farmyard surrounded by contemporary low farm ranges. Of narrow stone rubble with dressed stone voussoirs and quoins and Welsh slate roof

Ruins of a cottage which was known to have been built prior to 1788 when William Thomas lived there. This site features on the Tithe Map of 1838 and the name is thought to derive from the ancient Welsh for "Valley of the Tumps" - a "tump" was an ancient anthill, some of which can still be seen. This site also features on census returns through the years, sometimes being named "Muddlescombe". The recorded reminiscences of an old local resident recall the story of Mary of Mwddlescwm (second wife to John Jenkins 1861-1881) who was renowned for being able to carry a container from the village well at the bottom of Well Lane, to Mwddlescwm without spilling a drop.    Click image for location.
Church of St. Lythan

Medieval church with Norman font, but heavily restored by Prichard and Seddon c 1861, including porch, belfry openings and E window. List of incumbents from 1400. Large Tudor S chapel with inscribed initials RB for Robert Button of Dyffryn House.
The church houses a large Tudor south chapel, and includes porch, belfry openings and East window. The attractive stone-built west tower is capped by a saddle-back roof so familiar to the Vale of Glamorgan. A footpath crosses the churchyard via a stone stile.
Well House

An C18 cottage retaining it’s historic fabric including a thatched roof. Of limewashed and painted stone rubble; steep-pitched roof with end stacks.

Roman Settlement and Villa - near Whitton Cross

A sub-rectangular ditched & banked enclosure, about 65m square, having an East facing entrance: excavation between 1956-70 revealed a complex structural sequence, opening with circular & rectangular timber structures, these being superceded by a sequence of stone-founded rectangular buildings; the material assemblage pointed to occupation from around 50BC to the 4th century AD. The central enclosure was set within a round-angled rectilinear ditched circuit, at least about 175m north-south by 110m, possibly fronted by further ditch-lines before the entrance on the East.   More
Click image for location.
Pont Llanbedr - Peterston-Super-Ely

The village of Peterston is sited where the ancient track from Llandaff to the important sites of Celtic Christianity, at Llantwit Major and Llancarfan, crossed the River Ely. There has been a bridge at this point since at least 1528 when John Leland, the antiquarian and historian appointed by Henry VIII to survey England and Wales, reported that "Llanpedr on the east bank of the Eley is a poore village with a bridge of three arches of stone". The present bridge, which has two main arches carrying the roadway and a smaller span over former millrace, was built in 1869 with the name of the builder, Thomas Miller, inscribed in a roundel on the wall.    Click image for location.

This is a private house on land which has been owned by the Traherne family back to
Henry VII. Most notable of the family were the Reverend John Traherne, who during the 19th Century was a scholar and collector of scientific manuscripts, and Sir Cennydd Traherne, who was Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan from 1952 to 1974.
Cottrell House/Estate
The original Manor House was demolished in the 1972, being unfit for habitation.   
Cottrell’s name was derived from the family who held the Medieval Manor of Trehill.                  

The newsletter of the Llancarfan Society is a great source of history, including recent events.  Sadly its newsletters are no longer being produced, or uploaded onto the internet.  Below are "cuttings" from the newsletter of what were then current events, that could have shaped this part of the Vale to be very different to what it is today.

  Llancarfan Society - Newsletter 34, December 1990
Cottrell Park: some of you will remember that the worries about the Parc Dyffryn development, in the summer, were multiplied by a new planning application for a hotel, golf-course and leisure-complex at Cottrel Park, north of the A48.  At the end of November it was announced that Leading Leisure Plc, the parent company of the proposed developer at Cottrell, was to cease trading on the Stock Exchange.

 Llancarfan Society - Newsletter 35,  January 1991 
New Settlements in the Vale.

In the last Newsletter, the note on Cottrell Park closed by asking whether anyone knew what was going-on at County Hall in relation to the proposals for "New Settlements" in the Vale. Within days of writing that note we received a letter from the Council for Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) saying that the proposed alterations to the County Structure Plan are now subject to public consultation.

There will be a permanent exhibition at the Vale Council Civic Offices in Holton Road, Barry between Friday 18th January and Friday 1st March. It will be possible to record your views at the exhibition or to communicate directly with the County Planning Officer, South Glamorgan County Council, County Hall, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff, CF1 5UW. Local exhibitions will be opened, for shorter periods, at Cowbridge Library (21st-26th January), Llantwit Major Library (28th January -2nd February) and Rhoose Library (4th-9th February).

The proposed alterations will probably permit areas of new industry along the M4 and give powers to establish new settlements (new villages) in the presently unpopulated parts of the agricultural Vale. This would include opening the door for the Parc Dyffryn proposals.

When the matter of Parc Dyffryn arose we did not have time to solicit members views and the Committee decided not to submit an objection in the name of the Society. However, there was almost unanimous feeling against the development (see Phil Watts' letter above). Once you have seen the proposals, please write to the Society to say whether you support, or are against, the concept of new settlements. Providing we have more than a handful of letters, they could be submitted by the Society in evidence of the local and regional viewpoint. Write to Barbara Milheusen or John Etherington. More information will appear in the next Newsletter.

The CPRW has also launched a campaign for the establishment of legally enforceable Green Belts as a means of protecting the open countryside between South Wales conurbations. The need for such Green Belts was stressed in a motion passed at the meeting concerning the Parc Dyffryn proposals, held at Cowbridge Town Hall in June last year. If you feel this is a good idea it should be included in submissions to the County or Vale Councils. Carstickers are available from CPRW or John Etherington has a few.

The Vale Council is also seeking residents views on a new district-wide plan. These should be sent to the Director of Planning Services, Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council, Civic Offices, Holton Road, Barry, CF6 6RU. Support for Green Belts could also be expressed in letters on this matter. 

Stop Press: Western Mail January 26. Welsh Secretary David Hunt will reopen the debate on the establishment of Green Belts when he addresses a major environmental conference, soon to be held in Cardiff.


A letter from Phil Watts

Dear Mr Editor, I write to you in connection with your article in a previous Newsletter regarding the proposals that go under the heading of Parc Dyffryn Trust which are now well known to all our readers.

Most readers will know that we are lodging copies of all our Newsletters with the Glamorgan Archive and so I believe that you should not feel guilty about using Llancarfan Society Newsletters to give voice to your opinion for, as you state, the majority of our readers are in support of your thoughts. I feel that it is only right that future readers of our Newsletters, via the Archives, should know what we in Llancarfan are thinking in 1990 and what bearing it may have on future events.

The much publicised meeting in Cowbridge to organise opposition to Parc Dyffryn, was a great success and you, as a principal speaker, should take great credit for your efforts and the volume of support which you received.

If it can be established that there is a need for some 400 houses in the Vale of Glamorgan, then I feel there is a better case for increasing the size of existing villages by small numbers, using accepted means of infill, already being permitted by the planning authorities following Government guidelines. The need of the villages appears to be for more people rather than bigger houses.

Most of the Council Houses in the area have now been sold, so our stock of "starter" houses has now been used-up. So, where are our children, who have married and wish to continue living in the area, to live? They will generally not be able to afford present day building-plot prices. They are also prevented by planning restrictions from using the land owned by their parents so what hope is there for young country folk to be able to live in the country. We can all quote cases of parents, applying to the planning authority for permission to for the use of their children, being refused. In the near future we would like to apply for permission at Abernant for the use of my daughter, Vivienne. No doubt everyone locally will wish us well but, to be realistic, what are the chances?

Perhaps it would be better to wait a few more years and take-on a parents' property and the old move into an urban residential home for the elderly; how about an application for a row of retirement houses? - or better still, a row of starter homes for the young in Llancarfan?

To return to the Parc Dyffryn proposal, let us hope that all our readers have written their letters to the right authorities whether they object, or support the scheme. After all, who is to know if they are right, there may be greater thoughts than our own that will say we are wrong. Unfortunately, or fortunately, not all of us will be here to see the results! Thank you for your good work John; long may we have your services.

Editor's note: there are now some more developments on the Parc Dyffryn front - see the end of this Newsletter. [above]

 Llancarfan Society - Newsletter 36,   February - March 1991 
Parc Dyffryn: The developers who planned a new village between Bonvilston, St Nicholas and Dyffryn have withdrawn their application following its rejection by the Vale Council (BBC Wales 28th February). Despite this, the proposed alterations to the County Structure Plan allow for new settlements in the rural Vale and eternal vigilance will be needed if we value our countryside. Perhaps the designation of Green Belts coupled with proper enforcement of wise Structure Plans might be the answer? 

Incidentally, as farms are getting bigger by amalgamation, and many farmhouses converted to domestic use, why are new ones being built, sometimes to be sold very quickly? This is a paradox of agricultural planning permissions versus common sense. Those who read the local press will realise that our Planners are kicking very hard against the prospect of being restricted by a green-belt policy. One wonders why.

 Llancarfan Society - Newsletter 37, April 1991 

New Settlements in the Vale: the original article on the Parc Dyffryn proposals 
(Newsletter 27) sparked off a great deal of interest and we have carried several letters and comments since then. The Parc Dyffryn proposals have been withdrawn (Newsletter 36) but South Glamorgan's attempt to amend the County Structure Plan to permit such new developments is still in the pipeline. Apparently there was a fairly vociferous response when the suggestion was opened for public comment and MP John Smith (reported in the Barry and District News of April 4th) seems confident that the amendments will not be made. Amongst other reasons, he pointed out that new Welsh Office guidelines for planning will make it difficult for South Glamorgan to adopt measures which allow such new development in open countryside. 

Phil Watts noted that the withdrawal of Parc Dyffryn and the end of the Gulf War were announced in the same week "but doubt if both have gone away for ever!" 

  Llancarfan Society - Newsletter 71, January-February 1996 
PARC DYFFRYN MARK II by John Etherington

Some years ago, the proposal to build a substantial sized new village, in open countryside, south of St Nicholas aroused such anger and concerted opposition that the proposal was withdrawn. A new suggestion has now surfaced, this time through a Government agency, the Forestry Commission. Once again I am writing to comment on this from a personal viewpoint, not as editor of the Newsletter. Some of you may disagree with my views?

The 190 acre forestry site at Tair Onnen is redundant and the property services agency of the Commission, Forest Enterprise (Wales) has proposed a new community of 900 houses and a school, together with facilities and work units.

The first I heard of this was on the 10.00 pm HTV News of 21 November and a fuller report appeared in the Cowbridge Gem two days later.

Councillor Tony Williams (Welsh St Donats) who orchestrated much of the opposition to the Parc Dyffryn project has pointed out that South Glamorgan would have to reinstate the New Settlements policy which was deleted from the County Structure Plan at that time. The Vale District Plan also prohibits such developments but is at the moment out for public consultation.

The site at Tair Onnen is much smaller than the 768 acres of Parc Dyffryn but 900 houses are proposed, compared with the 400 of that scheme. This would be a relatively high density development and aside from its impact on the countryside would generate substantial additional traffic on the already busy A48.

Forest Enterprise is charged by Government with obtaining maximum return from the sale of the land but points out that the final decision is at the door of the local authorities.

During the early years of the century, when the Commission was buying large parcels of land it was never envisaged that they should be resold for this type of development or for motives of profit. It seems sad that such a proposal should come from the agency of the Forestry Commission which has stewardship of enormous areas of British countryside. If it is successful it bodes ill for the future.

N. B. In Newsletter 37, Phil Watts commented that the Parc Dyffryn proposals were withdrawn in the same week as the Gulf War ended but he expressed "doubt that both have gone away for ever"! How right he was.

The 1911 census list 370 people as living in St. Nicholas in Glamorgan

The most recent statistics on St. Nicholas village:
Office for National statistics: Indicator Statistics   ;   Indices of Deprivation and Classification
Welsh Government: Stats Wales

Can you add to this history of the village?  Please contact us if you can!

Find more historic buildings and sites here.