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rally fertile in itself, and possessed of the advantages of its ports and rivers, the people prospered at an early period; the great religious houses lent their aid; and the feudal lords of all the castles throughout the Vale proved themselves true friends of the churches on their estates. The consequence has been that in few districts of Wales are better churches to be met with than throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.
The county is one of the richest in this class of remains of any in the Principality, being rivalled in this respect only by Pembrokeshire, and perhaps Denbighshire.
The cathedral of Llandaff has been well described and illustrated, not only by the present Bishop of the diocese in a well written volume full of good engravings, but also by Mr. E. A. Freeman in our own pages. Still these accounts might be made more ample by descriptions and delineations of the tombs in the cathedral,-a work that certainly ought to be undertaken.
Sketches and summary accounts of Ewenny Priory, and of some churches in its neighbourhood, as well as of the churches in Gower, have also been published in the Archæologia Cambrensis by Mr. Freeman; but all this does not supply the want of a general account of the churches and other ecclesiastical remains of the whole county. A book on Neath Abbey, very ably written and illustrated, was published some years ago, with which the Rev. H. Hay Knight and Mr. G. Grant Francis were connected; but it has now become scarce, and a new and enlarged edition, in probably a more convenient form than that of oblong folio, is wanted by the antiquarian public. Margam has not had its architectural features recorded in any publication, although some excellent and large photographic views of it have been taken. Its cartulary history has been well treated of by Mr. G. T. Clark in our own pages ; but what is specially wanted is a complete architectural account of this fine old remain. There was another religious house, that of the Grey Friars at Cardiff, close to the castle on the east, of which very
little is known. Part of the domestic buildings remains, of late date, but of good style, and this ought to be delineated at the same time that some account of the foundation, its charters, etc., should be compiled ; but of all these monastic establishments, an antiquarian and architectural history is decidedly wanted, and the attention of our Association would be fittingly turned in this direction.
The ecclesiastical architecture of this county, indeed, deserves much more extensive and careful examination than it has yet received, and there is enough of interest in it to occupy the skill of Welsh antiquaries and architects for a long time to come. The churches among the Hills are chiefly, as we have hinted, of the humbler Welsh type, low and generally single-aisled buildings, with bellcots in the western gable, and with very little architectural enrichment in any portion of the buildings. Still they are often curious in detail, and worthy of examination. Those of the Vale constitute a more important class of buildings, very frequently with towers and chapels, carefully constructed, and testifying to the early wealth of the district. At Cardiff, the lofty tower of St. John's church, of the Somersetshire type, is one of the best examples in the county ; but all through the Vale, and more particularly round Cowbridge and Bridgend, as at Coychurch, Llantwit Major, Laleston, St. Fagan's, etc., churches of much architectural value are to be met with. In other places, as at Briton Ferry and Llantwit, near Neath, the churches are remarkable for their small dimensions and certain quaint peculiarities of detail At Neath and Swansea, the old parochial churches attain dimensions proportionate to the importance of the parishes, though they have been so sadly mutilated in modern times as to have lost all architectural value, except for their towers and chancels. Still, they ought to be studied, with a view to architectural delineation. Gower, as we know from Mr. Freeman's comprehensive sketch, is full of churches of an almost peculiar type, well worthy of observation and delineation upon a
larger scale than he has adopted. The fact is, that the churches of Glamorganshire and its Monastic Houses deserve to be thoroughly studied and described by such an architectural critic as Mr. Freeman, or some other competent authority; and our pages could not be better filled than in recording the results of such labours. The district and parochial history of Glamorganshire is in intimate connection with the architecture of its churches, and may draw from thence a most fitting and instructive illustration.
There are a great many monuments, incised slabs, coffin-lids, etc., to be found in the parochial churches of this county, as at Llandaff, Llantwit, Margam, Swansea, etc. All these remains ought to be engraved and published, and a most interesting volume would be the result. Local antiquaries would do good service by turning their attention in this direction, for the archæological harvest they might thereby reap would be very varied and extensive. It forms part, indeed, of a richer subject; for the monumental history of Wales in general is very little known; and yet it contains enough to reward the diligence of many observers. It is one which should by no means be lost sight of by such an Association as our own, and a good beginning might be made by an extended account of the monumental remains of Glamorganshire.
Churchyard crosses are natural adjuncts of churches, and should be described as well as those buildings. This county is rich in them,-witness Llantwit and Margam,—and they should not be forgotten by our architectural members. No more should the Holy and Parochial Wells, of which many highly interesting examples are to be met with all over the county; as at Newton, at Nottage, and in many churchyards both of the hills and the Vale, as well as frequently in Gower: almost all in a sad state of desertion and neglect. There is enough to be said about them to fill a goodly volume, and, like the funeral monuments, they belong to that large class of similar remains, the existence of which
was in former times one of the distinctive honours of Wales.
CASTLES AND DOMESTIC BUILDINGS.
Glamorganshire is peculiarly rich in remains of this kind, and a good beginning of the history of them has been made by Mr. Clark, with other local antiquaries. It is not enough, however, to have described the castles of Caerphilly, Castell Coch, Cardiff, and Fonmon-we want further accounts than have yet been published of all the castellated remains of the great Norman families who came in with Fitz Hamon. We look for more ample histories of the castles at Coity, Neath, Swansea, and all over Gower ; and in particular do we require as full and as richly illustrated an account as possible of the great gem of this class, St. Donat’s, which in some respects is the most interesting and instructive building of its kind in Wales. This want, as far as regards St. Donat's, will very probably be satisfied by the results of the present meeting at Bridgend, when members will, no doubt, have the opportunity, which could not be fully enjoyed on the occasion of their two former visits to Cardiff and Swansea, of examining that most interesting building, now at length rescued from the danger of further neglect by its having passed into the hands of a highly intellectual and public-spirited possessor. On the whole, the work of describing the castles of Glamorganshire has been well begun, and confident expectations may be entertained that it will be well continued. Fortunate are local antiquaries in having such a rich prospect before them; they should not neglect it, but they should not forget the two active influences against which they have to contend,—the sweeping scythe of old Father Time, and the still more destructive hand of man.
The ancient domestic buildings of this county are, from their general comparative rarity, not less interesting than its castles. A copious and interesting book might be compiled upon this subject, for treasures of
this kind are still scattered broadcast both over the Hills and the Vale. The great mansions of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods have, indeed, been allowed to fall into unmerited ruin. Still, there is much to be seen, as at Beaupré, Llantrithyd, Boverton, Oxwich, etc., all worthy of architectural description ; while among the minor houses of the clergy, the farmers, and the peasantry, there is a great amount of curious constructive detail that ought to be delineated and preserved. Near Margam, Caerau, etc., some remains of the fourteenth century still exist; but, very possibly, portions of buildings of still earlier date, though of uncertain detail, may be found there, as well as in other parts of the country. The villages round Bridgend, and more especially round Llantwit Major, are full of remains of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and, in fact, hardly any part of Wales, except Pembrokeshire, so abounds in specimens of these dates. There is a peculiar air of solidity of masonry and quaintness of design, amongst Glamorganshire farmhouses and cottages, not to be forgotten by whoever has well examined the nooks and corners of the county. It is, indeed, a characteristic of other counties of South Wales, especially of those touching the sea-coast; but it is much less so of those in the northern division of the Principality, although there, too, some striking peculiarities may still be detected by the careful observer. At the Bridgend meeting, the curiosity of members will be fully gratified, especially if they visit Llantwit, the great repository of all that is most curious in South Wales ; still more if they pass through Llanmihangel, between that place and Cowbridge, where a most interesting and picturesque example of a sixteenth century house still fronts the village church. This ancient house, which we hope will some day or other be fully described and illustrated in the Arch. Camb., is said by Lewis ( Top. Dict.) to have been, for many generations, the seat of the family of Thomas; was sold to Sir Humphrey Edwin, lord mayor of London, some time in the