History

History

LIVING MEMORIES

Our last section goes from World War II to the present day. It contains records, stories and the memories of some of our older residents.

In many ways this is the most important section of our history pages, and it will be the one that we update the most. We have divided this section as follows:

WWII – how the war affected Treoes

Post War Period – food rationing and rural life

1950s – the development of industry and new housing

The Hunt – the annual event and how it was run

Saint Mary Hill’s Fair – horse trading and gypsies

Horses and Pigs – what life was like in Treoes

The Star Inn – including the day the thatched roof was ablaze

The Carnival – memories of what went on

Old and New Housing – as new houses are built the character of the village changes

Treoes Heritage Hub  – looking to the future

WWII

In 1939 Britain went to war with Germany in World War II and the village of Treoes did not escape its impact.

Gwen David and her husband Bill both served in the tank regiment, Bill being a Sergeant and Gwen working in the Sergeants mess.

Cyril Jenkins was in the Navy and had the hazardous task of sailing from Plymouth to deliver petrol to the Troops, whilst his wife Connie Jenkins served in the Land Army in Caersws.

Jack Jenkins is reputed to have been awarded the Burma Star.

Gwyn Vaughan son of Alfred and Ada Vaughan and brother of Victor and Barbara of Ty- Ellis and Ted Flint also served in WW11. Sadly, Gwyn Vaughan lost his life when he went down with the Prince of Wales and the Repulse. They were sunk by land-based bomber aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy on the 10th December 1941 in a naval engagement that took place north of Singapore off the east coast of Malaya.

Natalie Llewellyn remembers vividly the day she saw the only Land Army Girl, in her uniform, who came to the village, get off the 2 o’clock bus from Bridgend. Her name was Eva and she had travelled from Grimsby to help at Treoes Farm. She liked it so much here that she stayed and married Idris Llewellyn.

Young men from the village were also conscripted to the mines, one was Hopkin Llewellyn and another was Alan Llewellyn who both worked in Llanharan. They were called Bevin Boys, so named after the Wartime Minister of Labour and National Service, Ernest Bevin.

The Royal Ordnance factory was situated in nearby Waterton, as well as an underground munitions storage in Brackla. There were up to 40,000 people working there, with many being transported by bus and train from the surrounding valleys. The work was dangerous and five people were killed in accidents there, with many more suffering lifelong illnesses.

The local area was often shrouded in mist rising from the wetlands and an air pocket, which made bombing hazardous for incoming aeroplanes, gave some protection from the German bombs. There was one close shave when a land mine was dropped in a nearby field opposite Molchenydd.

Gwyneth Lee (now Jones) recalls:

“It blew the glass out of the windows, but because we had wooden shutters we didn’t know anything about it until William Llewellyn, who was the local Air Raid Warden and George Miles Jenkins woke us up”.

Shirley LLewellyn (now Callaghan) then living in New House next door to the Star recalls:

“my mother  pushed me under the bed on hearing the sound of the glass shattering. My father said ‘that’s Tom James’ (the landlord of the Star at the time) glass house gone.’ But he was wrong, it wasn’t the glasshouse, it was the windows of New House that had shattered.”

Jean Thomas recalls seeing the crater caused by the land mine as she rode the bus with her mother, through Treoes to Bridgend town the following morning.

William Llewellyn would have policed the village regularly to ensure that there was no infringement of the Black Out. After dark not a chink of light could be shown, all windows had to be Blacked Out, and if you had to walk the roads you did so with your torch pointed downwards. The Air Raid Wardens would enforce these rules stringently as failure could mean a direct hit from the enemy bombs. The local Home Guard met in Moor Mill. The following was published in the Glamorgan Gazette of January 19th 1940:

What if the Black Out blots us out

we ain’t a-going to moan and pout!

We’ll stick it out, just for the fun

Of seeing Hitler on the run.

Several bombs and landmines were dropped in surrounding areas and Cardiff and Swansea were severely blitzed. The Royal Ordnance Factory and Munitions store had been well placed, as their destruction surely would have changed the course of the war and the future of this country, as well as the tragedy it would have been for this area.

WWII rationing poster

Food rationing was introduced early in 1940 and Ration books were issued, the Ministry of Food notice in the Glamorgan Gazette (reproduced in the section on the Post War period) stated that half the meat and most of the bacon, butter and sugar consumed came from overseas.

It was considered that the use of ships that could be utilised to strengthen the war effort and the added risk to our sailors’ lives carrying unnecessary food could not be justified.

Rationing would ensure that the food available would be divided equally and fairly and ironically it states: “Rationing means that there will be no uncertainty – and no queues”.

There were queues, particularly when the rumour went about that the Greengrocer had Bananas or something other than that which was grown here. If you saw a queue, you would join it because you just might be lucky to get a share of whatever was on offer.

Spam and powdered egg were wartime favourites!

Clothes were also rationed and the young ladies of the village would save on silk stockings by painting their legs with tea or gravy browning and drawing a line at the back of their legs with an eyebrow pencil.  Luckily it didn’t rain then as much as it does nowadays as a good shower of rain would leave the best legs well streaked!!!  Skirts again became shorter due to the scarcity of material.

The children were measured in school, if they were over a certain height and had feet over a certain size they would qualify for extra coupons.  Natalie recalls them all stretching up as high as possible and trying to push their toes over the line to qualify!

Mr A Price became the Headmaster of the school. Mr Doug and Mrs Del James became Landlords of the Star.

An Ack Ack regiment was stationed in Nissan huts on Treoes Moors, where there was a searchlight located for spotting enemy planes. An American regiment was stationed in St Mary Hill.  The service men were made welcome by the village folk, and many friendships were formed with both the British and American troops.  Dances were held at the American camp at weekends.  Many friendships were made between the locals and the servicemen, but none of our young ladies are known to have left with them. The youngsters of the time were drawn to the Americans because they always had plenty of chewing gum and chocolate, which was rationed here. They were invariably greeted with a chorus of “Got any Gum Chum”, which usually achieved the desired result, and bubble-gum could be heard “popping” around the village.

In case of bombing Air Raid Shelters were built. Gwyneth Jones recalls:

” Aunty Em Jenkins and George Miles Jenkins, who worked as a farmhand for Henry Mordecai and was then living in Pen-yr-Heol , had made an Air Raid shelter by putting bunk beds in a Chicken Shed and burying it underground, with steps to go down.   When the siren sounded we would all rush to get to the Air Raid Shelter. We children Cyril, Sid, Jack, Betty and I would be put to bed in the bunks in the chicken shed and the adults had seats to sit on. My mother would not get into the shelter and she used to just go to bed.  As it happened on the very night that bombs were dropped we didn’t hear the siren, my father was in work at the Royal Ordnance Factory, and we didn’t hear a warning and were all asleep in our beds”.

 The Ollosson family living in Star Cottage converted their old pig-sty into an Air Raid shelter by covering it with earth and turfing it with grass so that it looked like a natural mound. It was furnished with lanterns and camp beds. Joan (Ollosson) recalls the Air Raid Shelter in Pen-yr-Heol as having an old Gypsy Caravan on the ground above it, it had been painted and decorated and was a pretty feature in the garden.

Evacuees also began arriving in 1940. They came from London and other cities because of the bombs. Nancy Davidge ‘s niece from Cardiff and her cousins from Bristol attended Llangan School when they came to live with the Chard family in 1940 due to the wartime bombing taking place in Cardiff and Bristol.

 Some children went to school in the mornings only, others went in the afternoon, as that was the only way the evacuees could be accommodated. This meant that although buses had been provided to take the Treoes children to school, they were not provided mid-day, so when attendance was half day only the children had to walk one way. Dinners were provided in School and for those that qualified they were free; the nursery children also had a bottle of milk each morning. Later the Education Authority found a hall in Fferm Goch in which to teach the evacuee children separately. There were three evacuees in the village one was Charlie Crays who was with Mrs Hannah Llewellyn at Poplar Fach and one of the others was Lennard Ward who was with Mrs Lee at Parc Newydd.

The children would have to carry their gasmasks everywhere in little cardboard boxes with string attached to go over their shoulders. Gwyneth Lee (Jones) recalls carrying their gasmasks to school and one day when walking home the air raid siren went they quickly put on their Mickey Mouse Gas masks ran home as fast as their legs could carry them. Gwyneth tried her scholarship in 1940 a year after WWII broke out, she said:

” Maud Lewis and I passed but were unable to go to Bridgend Grammar School because of the high number of evacuees taking up places in the school, the children from Penlline who had also passed were able to go to Cowbridge Grammar School as there were not so many evacuees taking places up there. Both Maud and I had higher marks than the pupils from Penlline but the catchment area for Treoes, Llangan and St Mary Hill was Bridgend and for Penlline was Cowbridge, so we both missed out.”

 As a very young girl just having started school Joan Ollosson couldn’t find her coat, so went back to look for it, by the time she had found it and went back outside, everyone had gone. Her older sister Jean, who should have accompanied her, had forgotten her. Joan ran as quickly as she could, knowing her mother would be anxious. As she ran past Ty-Newydd, Llangan, this seemingly huge figure of a man with long flowing white hair and beard appeared. It was just as she envisaged the Jesus Christ she had learned of in Chapel. Not sure of what was happening she ran faster still, just then her mother appeared on her bike looking for Joan. On seeing her mother Joan began to cry noisily and ran to her mother crying “Mam, Mam I’ve just seen Jesus Christ”. Mrs Ollosson of course realised that what Joan had seen was Mr Chard now older and whose golden locks had  turned white, soon placated her, but the experience has remained with her.

Some of the POW’s from Island Farm were sent out to work on the farms, and two in particular aged about 19 or 20 years, were working on the farm close to Llangan School.   Joan recalls the following incident “On their first day returning to the POW camp, they boarded the bus to Bridgend with us, the school children, they were having problems understanding the money to pay their fare. The Headmaster helped and despite the difficulties of the language they demonstrated their thanks. Miss Eluned David one of the teachers, was impressed with the likeable young men and as it was getting near Christmas she taught the children to sing Silent Night in German.   One day, when they were ready and Christmas was very near, the children and the young men were travelling on the bus when the children sang their carol. The young Germans listened and with tears in their eyes thanked the children. The carol had touched them and no doubt they were thinking of their homes and families so far away.”

During the war years the villagers were able to supplement their rations by buying butter made locally at Ty-Ellis and cheese made at Ty-Candy – these were decorated with a leaf and carried in a basket through the village for sale – all very hush, hush of-course! 

World War II had returned full employment which lasted until the 1960’s. At that time the cows belonging to Treoes Farm were being milked in the barn which is now Long Acre, they would also bottle some of the milk for re-sale. Some of the ladies of the village would help with the milking and would take the children along. The children used to enjoy being there, they were allowed to dip a cup or their hands into the pail of warm and frothy milk and drink it.  They would secretly hide away some of the milk tops, which they would later use with scraps of wool to create pom-poms.   Sometimes when the calves were with the cows the children would cup their hands into the pail and offer the milk to the calf. The calf would lap it up and lick their hands looking for more.

Many fondly recall Jack the gypsy who had ceased travelling and lived in a wooden shed opposite Moor Mill he kept his immaculate and colourful Romany caravan there also as part of his accommodation. Jack dealt in scrap iron and he and his wife were often seen in the village, his wife dutifully walking behind him. The travelling gypsies, with their horse drawn caravans used to camp on Treoes Moors.  The villagers welcomed them, they were good people who gave business to and traded with the local trades people. They were spotlessly clean, and their washing could be seen daily, drying on the gorse bushes.  The village children would play with the gypsy children and often share a meal with them around the camp fire. They would be careful what they ate and would take only jam sandwiches just in case the sandwich contained a slice of hedgehog than had been baked in clay.

Mr Goodwin was the rector at Llangan and one of his duties was that each year he distribute money to the poor and needy. The money came from the rental of some cottages at St. Mary Hill, which had been bequeathed to the Parish for the purpose.   He would enlist the help of David Llewellyn to help him in this task. 

THE POST WAR PERIOD

In 1945, the war ended and the Royal Ordnance Factory closed, luckily there was plenty of work around and our returning servicemen soon settled back into the community.

A Time to celebrate

There were celebration parties everywhere held in streets and village halls. Treoes’ party was in the road outside the Chapel opposite Pen-yr-Heol, the Parish councils presented commemorative mugs to the children.

There was a return of Bonfire night on November 5th, and the tradition of the children collecting money for fireworks by making a “Guy” and pushing him around in a pram asking friends and neighbours to “Please help the Guy” Remember, Remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.

There was plenty of entertainment. The Glamorgan Gazette carried advertisements for the four local cinemas in Bridgend, each showing a main and supporting feature, usually changed twice weekly. The Pavilion had James Cagney in ” Pluck of the Irish” and George Raft in “It Had to Happen” on Monday to Wednesday and Paul Robeson in” Sanders of the River”, also Chester Morris in Corsair” on Thursday to Saturday. The Cinema had Charles Laughton in ” Jamaica Inn”, with Maureen O’Hara, Leslie Banks and Emlyn Williams for 6 days.  The Gazette also carried advertisements for the Dinner Dances held every Saturday at Marine Hotel Southerdown – dancing to Henley Jenkins and his Metronomes from 8-11 and Treoes races to be held in Tyn-y-Caeau on August Bank Holiday. The Glamorgan Gazette wrote of the 17th July races:

“Hardy racegoers who braved a heavy drizzle of rain to visit Treoes Races on Saturday were drenched later in the afternoon by a steady downpour. Punters spent most of their time in the refreshment tent, many of them not even venturing out to watch the races. Despite the inclement weather, there was a fairly large crowd at the course, and there were large numbers of runners in most of the races. It was unfortunate that rain should have marred what would have been an exceptional day’s sport”.

The saturated condition of the ground probably accounted for the several falls which occurred, but there were no serious mishaps.

Flower Shows

Tyn y Caeau also held Flower Shows. Mark Chegwin was renowned in the village for his amazing flowers and always took first prize. The village children would also compete and Gwyneth Lee asked her mother to get her with a basket so that she could try to win a prize. The basket produced, much to Gwyneth’s disgust was a round box with a lid, normally used for carrying eggs.  Gwyneth refused to compete with such a basket. Betty Lee, not wanting to see the flowers go to waste decided that she would use the basket and compete herself. She did and won first prize in her category.

Raw Milk

 It was about this time that the sale of “raw” milk became very strictly regulated.  Pasteurisation and bottling of milk became the norm and most milk producing farms sold their milk to the Dairy Processing Companies. During the bad winter of 1947 when the villagers were snowed in for a week, the Co-op Lorries couldn’t get through the snow to collect the milk for processing, so Mr Ivor Richards of Great House Farm sold some of his milk locally. The villagers had fresh milk and Mr Richards did not have to see all of his milk thrown away.

Watch Where You Put Your Feet

The road from Coychurch to Treoes was about three quarters of a mile long, and passed through Coychurch Moors, on which was situated Moor Farm and Moor Cottage.   It was a walk that our villagers undertook often as they walked to Coychurch to trade in the local shops .The verges bloomed with wild flowers, such as wild lilies, cowslips, bluebells and daffodils. Wild dog roses clambered over the hedgerow of the garden allotments.

Basically, life was hard but simple, water came from the well, fruit and vegetables came from the garden and eggs and meat products from the livestock.

The movement of the animals along the roads as they were herded from pasture to fresh pasture would have ensured that there was plenty of manure for our villager’s vegetable gardens, and that the villagers were also adept at “watching where they put their feet’.

A Dog and Chicken Story

The South Wales Echo was delivered by Joan Ollosson, on behalf of the newsagent in Bridgend. Mr and Mrs James in the Star had a little black dog named Gypsy.  Joan says:

“Gypsy would come with me on my rounds. One day when delivering to Mr Loosemoor in Persondy, the dog got into the chicken coop, I could hear the chickens screeching and flapping around in the coop. Having put the newspaper through the door, I made haste to leave the premises as swiftly as I could.  Gypsy followed me, chicken firmly in his mouth.   Hearing the commotion in his hen coop,Mr Loosemoor got to his feet and opened the door only to see the tail end of the dog as he ran after me.  I glanced back to see Mr Loosemoor standing there with his shotgun in his hand ready to take care of the miscreants. Knowing mischief had been done, Mr Loosemoor called to me to stop. He wanted to know who owned the dog, and he wanted payment for his chicken, which by now Gypsy had dropped. Mr Loosemoor kept the dog while he awaited for his payment. I sheepishly returned to Mrs James, to tell her what had happened and asked for payment for the chicken. Mrs James gave me the money and I returned immediately to Persondy to hand over the money for the chicken and collect Gypsy.  Mr. Loosemoor accepted the money and that should have been the end of the matter, except that on my return home to Star Cottage, Mrs James was waiting for her chicken!  I politely refused to return to return to Persondy to ask Mr Loosemoor for the chicken so Mrs James went away disappointed”.

Sadly for Gypsy he never again was allowed to accompany Joan on her deliveries.

Post War Rationing

Food was still rationed until 1950 but everyone ate healthily there being no junk food and the villagers were able to provide much of their requirements for themselves.  The only problem for the youngsters was the rationing of sweets. Mothers and Fathers were expected to give up their sweet rations, and Grandma’s and Aunties could be relied upon to help with the money to buy the sweets.

Over the century some front room shops were kept by village ladies to name May Llewellyn and Margaret Way as being amongst them.   These little shops stocked basic provisions, cigarettes and sweets.

Many households would make their own bread, and David Battrick of Molchenydd Farm would sell some of his homemade bread.  Joan Ollosson remembers helping her mother picking peas at Molchenydd Farm, they would get paid by the basketful. When it was time for a dinner break Mr Battrick would appear with a hamper of freshly made food to share with the pickers, there would be homemade bread and homemade cheese with a cool drink.  Owen Jones also remembers the mouth-watering sensation of the aroma of  David Battrick’s freshly baked bread, the best he’s ever tasted.

The rest of the supplies necessary for living were delivered from neighbouring villages and Bridgend Market town. The Co-operative Stores in Bridgend would send an employee out to call and collect requirements, generally on a Tuesday, the orders would be delivered later in the week.

The village ladies would often walk into Coychurch which was an easy pleasant walk there being no main roads to cross, to shop at Mr Lewis Evans’ grocer shop. Mr Evans would also drive his mobile shop into the village once a week .Mr Cooper a butcher from Coychurch and Mr Linley a Baker from Litchard would also deliver to the village.

Milk was purchased from either, Pen-yr-Heol, Chapel House or Treoes Farm; the milk was fresh from locally grazed cows and would be sold by the jug.

Oil, candles and chalk were delivered by Mr Bond in his horse and cart. Mr Bond’s horse and cart could often be seen waiting patiently outside the Star for its owner. After Mr Bond had been and everyone had their threepenny worth of chalk, everywhere that could be chalked upon had numbered squares in varying shapes.  The children would then play hopscotch, In turn, each one would use a flat stone, which they would push with their foot as they hopped from square to square.

Later Mr Hislop would take over from Mr Bond and would arrive in the village in his van.  Both would also supply hardware such as rubbing boards and buckets when required.

Coal was delivered by the Co-operative and local coalmen sometimes by the ton, or in hundredweights, in sacks, delivered to their coal sheds.  Residents who worked in the mines would have an allocation of coal which would be delivered periodically throughout the year. This would be delivered to their front door and would have to be carried in buckets generally through the house to the coal storage shed.

Work

Some of our villagers worked for the Gentry: Mrs Gwen David worked for Mrs Richards;  Miss Celia Thomas was also Nanny for Mrs Richards (nee Miss Alice Margaret Mordecai) of Ty-Mawr (Great House) Farm; Mary Anne Thomas, later Llewellyn, worked at Coed-y Mwystr, which had been newly built for a local wealthy family and which later became a correctional facility for wayward girls, then the Country House and Golf Club that it is today.

Some men worked in the coal mines, the local council, ironworks, quarries, or the potteries in the surrounding areas.

At this time the village constable was PC Barrel, he was based in Coychurch and rode into the village on his bicycle. The village children feared PC Barrel, but he was kindly enough and would insist on being called Harry when socialising with the locals in the Star.

Fields and Ponds

If you carry on through the village past Clifton House on your right and Ty-Newydd on your left, past the lane to Parc Newydd, there was a pond. The weather at this time was distinctly seasonal, with warm summers and freezing winters. The pond would freeze over every winter the children and some of the adults, would enjoy skating on the ice.  The water was not deep so there was little danger.

 The children had so much freedom that they could go out on a Saturday morning and stay out until they got hungry and no one would worry. Gwyneth Jones remembers taking Margaret Llewellyn with her one day;

“Margaret was much younger than me. I took her up to see the school first, then to Llangan to see my Aunt who had a new baby. We stayed a while playing with the baby, then walked back via St Mary Hill visiting my grandparents who lived in a cottage near the church, and eventually home to Treoes, only to find Margaret’s frantic parents and almost all the villagers out looking for Margaret. No-one was looking for me as it was not unusual for me to be out for many hours.”

Saron Chapel in the 1950s

The Chapel still played a big part in the community, the preacher was Thomas Evan Thomas. They had Gymanfas and concerts and would take the concerts to Coychurch and Llanharan chapels. Mary Thomas, Molchenydd House would play the piano accompanied by Arthur David on the trumpet.

The missionaries would come to the chapel to preach once a year and would stay for about two weeks. They camped in the field opposite the chapel. They would hold services and take the children’s Sunday school and also entertain the children to Magic Lantern Shows.

Saron Chapel after WWII

Sunday School

Every child in the village attended Sunday school there, and many would also go to Llangan Church, and some to St Mary hill Church with their parents. Everyone had their best clothes to wear to Chapel. Best clothes were not worn to play in. The Sunday schools had a combined outing twice a year to Porthcawl or Barry Island and of course best clothes were also worn on these occasions.  We took our sandwiches and pop with us, which was enjoyed mixed liberally with sand whilst sitting in a deck chair on the beach. Oddly the sun always shined.

Aunty Mary Ann and her daughter Matty ran the Sunday school. Aunty Mary Ann was always saying, in her inimitable way “rules is rules”. One of the rules was that they were not allowed into Sunday school without a hat. She always had a man’s’ handkerchief to hand, and would tie a knot in each corner, and if they would wear that on their head they could go in.   They never discovered who made these rules, or what the consequence of breaking them would be.  Natalie Llewellyn recalls vividly, one Sunday going to Parc Newydd where her cousin  Shirley Llewellyn was living, to ride on Proud Valley. Proud Valley was temporarily stabled there for the races. She said:

“ I was so enjoying my ride that I missed Sunday School, when I think about it I can still feel the sting from the slapping I got on my legs for it.” 

Children’s Games

The village children, when not in school, spent most of their times outdoors. They would help when they went with their mother to harvest the crops on the local farms – boys and girls would work from a young age. They also had many games to play outdoors.

They played Rounders, a game similar to Baseball, in teams.  The boys would play cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers and cat and dog – the latter being a game played with a mandrel stick that was cut into two pieces, one being about 6 inches and one being about 18 inches. The game was to hit the smaller piece on the ground up into the air with the larger piece, and then once in the air to hit it as far as possible. Then there was Leap Frog one version of which was simply to jump over your opponent as he bent to make a back and another in which one team would make a bridge starting at a wall and the other would jump onto their backs and try to break the bridge.

 There was the Hook and Wheel, made by the local blacksmith. There was Whip and Top, the tops being decorated with coloured chalk, and whipped until they spun so fast that you could stop whipping and watch them spin the colours dancing as they spun.

Both girls and boys enjoyed Whistle and Holler a type of Hide and Seek.  Jacky five stones was also a game that was often played.

When the horse chestnuts were ready, they would be picked off the trees, and hardened in the oven by the fire, then with a string threaded through them they would be ready for the fight. They would strike their opponents “conker” with their “conker” in an effort to destroy it. Occasionally one would fly off its string and maybe hit some-one.

Every boy had a pocketful of marbles, many of which were prized and various games were played with them.

Children would also play with a piece of wool which they would hold between their fingers using both hands about 9 inches apart and using their fingers they would make different shapes. 

 The girls would play house using the remains of three old oak trees by the bridge on the road leading out of the village to Tyn-y-Caeau and St. Mary Hill. The big house would be the tree in the centre and the trees either side would be the cottages. Hours would be spent with their imaginary families in imaginary situations. These little plays were so real to them that when one of the little girls being unable to have the “husband” she normally had, being pipped to the post by the other, said that she would have “Jimmy J” instead (fictitious name used to avoid embarrassment) the other girl haughtily said – “If you’re married to him, then I’m not living next door to you” and there the game ended for that day.

Mrs Kemp outside her house

Mrs Kemp

When sadly, Margaret Kemp who cleaned the Chapel died some of her possessions were thrown away down by the banks of Nant Canna (where Brookside now stands) some of the village children spotted them and went to investigate.

Much to their joy they found some little silk purses, probably used for Sunday School prizes and when inside each they found a sixpenny piece it seemed to them that they had found treasure.

THE 1950s

The 1950s saw fundamental changes in people’s lives, with electricity and television becoming available for the first time.

Electricity

In 1951 electricity came to the village and it was after this that Mr and Mrs Way (Suey and Ernie) in Chapel House purchased a television set, it was black and white and had a 9 inch screen which was enlarged by means of a plastic attachment over the front of the screen. Mrs Way arranged the front room like a mini cinema and some of the village children would go there after school to watch the children’s programmes. Many of the adults would also be entertained by their favourite programmes at Mr and Mrs Way’s in the evenings.

A Village Wedding

Gwyneth Lee and Cyril Jones married in 1952. The wedding took place in St Mary Hill Church and the reception in Saron Chapel Vestry. Some of the guests arrived from the Church in pony and trap. The Vestry is quite small and there had to be several sittings for all the guests to be fed.  Food was still rationed, but the reception meal was proclaimed a feast, the best meal anyone had had in many years.  There was a leg of ham, an earthenware bowl full of fruit salad that had been gifted, tomatoes bought from Fferm Goch,  butter and cheese made by Doll Lee. The Ham was cooked by Doug James, and the meal was served by Olive Jones and Val Thomas’s mother, Hilda Gwiliam, with assistance from Gwyneth Jones and Val Thomas.

Coronation and New Houses

In 1953 Elizabeth II is crowned Queen in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 2nd June, there were street parties everywhere and the whole nation celebrated. The first major change to the village also began in 1953 with the erection of 16 council houses at Nant Canna, these were intended to house the local community in more superior accommodation, later, grants would be made available by the Council to upgrade the existing housing stock that did not need to be demolished. Whilst it was beneficial to the occupants of the new and modern houses, it was regretted by many of the villagers that some of the Thatched Cottages were sacrificed. Mr and Mrs David moved from Treoes Moor, Mr and Mrs Ruck and family moved from the wooden building in the grounds of the present day Ty-Yn-Y- Garn, and Mr and Mrs Flint, also from Treoes. There were now about 40 dwellings in the village.

Treoes in the 1950s, Brynteg and the main road through the village.

 

Gwen David with her family moved into Number 1, where she lives to this day at the grand old age of 95. Gwen moved from the family’s wooden bungalow in the grounds of Moor Mill on Treoes Moor, which they rented for 10 shillings a week. Gwen recalls:

“Living in Nant Canna, with hot and cold running water, an indoor toilet and a bathroom was a luxury compared to how we had previously lived. I had a tap and a small white sink, in which I did my washing, and a big hand operated wringer to help get my washing dry. Life was a daily struggle with 6 of us living in 2 rooms, the outside toilet had to be emptied manually and there was a constant threat of flooding from the Ewenny. I used to stand at the window with two of my babies in my arms and watch the flood water rising.  A council lorry would be parked on the bridge, watching in case we needed to be taken out. Luckily, although it had flooded several times in the past, whilst we lived there, it had come as far as the front door and then receded. Despite the struggle, it was a lovely place to live, the neighbours were friendly, helpful and caring. It was an easy walk into Coychurch just up the lane or Treoes just down the lane and the local bus going to Bridgend would stop outside if the driver saw me waiting. Treoes was also a lovely place to live, although we did have some flooding problems in the early years.  There was not much traffic and the children had freedom to play outside on the road, the young mothers with their babies in their prams would stroll around the village and would usually end up sitting on the seats opposite the Star chatting with the other Mothers and Grandmothers, all known to the children as “Aunties”.  I would go to the Star on a Saturday night, what good nights they were, there was always a pianist and the locals would sing the old songs with some such as Betty Llewellyn and Margaret Way singing a few solos.”

Carnivals

The carnivals at this time were held jointly with Coychurch, they were held in the chapel field, Gwen David attended and dressed up and Gwyneth Lee was on a float that was a genuine Romany Caravan Cyril Jenkins’ mother Emma made the clothes, she and Suey Llewellyn dressed up as Gypsy mothers, each with a clay pipe, and the children ran around the caravan in the carnival procession.

Wells

At the end of where Glan-y-Nant now is, there was an old well (which can still be seen) surrounded by wetlands which sometimes became quite deep. It was a usual sight to see the cows being pulled out of it by the farmhands, once two young children got stuck in it – they were sinking into the sodden ground and would have soon drowned.  They had the presence of mind to shout loudly “help, we’re sinking.” Bill Blake heard them and waded in to pull them out.

There were other wells in the village – one was in the front garden of the Malthouse, and another called Schwill was located at the bottom end of Parc Newydd.  It was in the proximity of Schwill that a small lake used to form when the weather was wet and when it iced over in the winter the younger villagers would enjoy skating on it.

Frequent Floods

The village would frequently flood mainly down the lane and across the fields where Brookside now is, which was then a Pig Farm, all the village men would wade into the flooded field to rescue the pigs and piglets.

Fruit and Vegetables

There were fruit trees in many of the gardens and in particular The Croft had a few plum trees that produced really juicy plums which could often be found being offered for sale by the youngsters of the village, looking to supplement their pocket money. Every cottage had its vegetable garden and flower beds and the villagers were often amongst the prize winners in local agricultural shows. The village children would often be caught, but more often not be caught, “scrumping “apples and plums.  The children were inventive in their methods of avoiding detection as Janet Olloson (now Janet Day) described when on seeing Mrs Richards approaching, she was “put to sit” in her pushchair to cover the plums hidden there that she and her sisters had “scrumped” from Great House Orchard.

Floods and Turkeys

Despite the floods everyday work had to go on, as Natalie recalls:

“ I would go to work on my bike –  pedalling furiously to gain enough speed to be able to stop pedalling and maintain enough speed to get me through the deepest parts, with my legs raised above water level !  I would have had to spend all day in my soaking wet shoes and stockings if I had not.”

Some families bred Chickens and Turkeys for sale at Christmas time, Natalie recalls helping, with her mother, to pluck the Christmas birds at the Paynters in Clifton House. There was lots of fun and laughter as they worked at the kitchen table, taking great care not to sneeze so as to avoid the feathers flying everywhere.

Many hands helped in the plucking of the Treoes Farm Turkeys. Nothing was wasted at Treoes Farm and Joan Ollosson recalls being asked by an anxious Mrs Thomas, for help.  Mrs Thomas had broken the needle of her sewing machine and she thought that Joan might have one to give her. Joan not only replaced the broken needle but stayed to help Mrs Thomas as she stuffed the feathers plucked from the birds into pillows, and bolsters and stitched them up to be sold.

On your bike

The young ladies of the village would go everywhere on their bikes, to dances and concerts in St. Mary Hill where there was a very nice hall with a stage, and also to Colwinston. Not everyone had the regulatory lights on their bikes and they would ensure that whoever rode in front had a light on the front and whoever rode at the back had a dynamo on their back wheel.

Changing Fashions

After the war years of rationing of clothes when skirts were shorter due to the need to conserve materials, clothes were now full and feminine and the young ladies would wear circular skirts, and dresses with full skirts and net petticoats.  For the first time young people had a disposable income, there was plenty of well-paid work around Treoes, and as everywhere else a youth culture was developing. One night some of the local girls working for a factory on the Industrial Estate were attending the company’s annual dance being held for all employees in the Esplanade at Porthcawl. The bus was leaving from the Embassy. All they had to do was get to the Embassy.  They ordered a taxi by phoning from the telephone kiosk, and then waited, and waited until they realised that the Taxi wasn’t going to come.  It later came to light that the Taxi drivers were refusing to come to Treoes, because some of the young men had been hiring taxis from Bridgend and jumping out and running off without paying.

An Unusual Taxi

None of the parents had cars so they couldn’t ask to be taken into Bridgend .There wasn’t much time to spare to get to the Embassy in time to catch the bus, so when a neighbour came past driving a “dung lorry” they could only see it as their salvation and were most grateful when the driver agreed to take them into Bridgend. They stood up at the back of the lorry, dressed in their ballerina slippers and their full skirted dresses with layers of net underskirt and off the shoulder tops in various pastel shades, like Barbie Dolls.  As the saying was then “thinking they were the bees knees”. Not wanting their workmates to see how they had arrived, they asked the driver to stop before reaching the Embassy and they all got off the lorry and walked.  They smelled “somewhat rural”, but no-one seemed to notice and they had a wonderful night.

Off to Australia

Owen Jones, Grandson of Maggie Malt House, recalls a story of the young men of Treoes (who shall be nameless) accompanying one of their number to Bridgend to see him off at the Railway Station as he was emigrating to Australia.  A week later they all returned to Treoes, having spent all the money the young man saved to give him a start in Australia – a good time had been had by all. Owen didn’t know where they had slept.  The young man eventually reached his destination having had to work and save again for his stake money.

New development and residents

In the 1960’s we see some small developments as small plots of land are sold by the villagers. There was a house built on stilts, which could have been Murray House, demolished and Tyn-y-Garn built in its place, followed by Greenmeadow, Rothwell and Bodafan, then the bungalows on the site of The Croft and Corner Cottage, which were thatched cottages followed by Greenways and Tamar. This is the beginning of a sea-change in our village, as the new inhabitants were not locals being re-housed or descendants of the villagers of 60 years ago.  They were generally white or blue collar workers employed in the nearby Bridgend Industrial Estate and Police Headquarters.

HUNT

As in many rural areas the hunt was an important event.

Colonel Clutterbuck was the Landlord of the Star after Mr James left and it is during this time that Jean Thomas recalls, on hearing the howling of the dogs and the sound of the hunting horn, the villagers would stop whatever they were doing, gather up the children and proceed to the Star where they would await the arrival of the Hunt. 

The hunt, outside the Star Inn

The riders in the colourful red coats, would remain seated on their horses, the hounds milling around them whilst the Landlord served them their hunting cup and sandwiches before they went on their way.  

ST. MARY HILLS FAIR

Although fist established back in medieval days, St Mary Hill Fair continued to draw huge crowds, particularly travellers and gypsies.

The main business of the fair was to trade horses, although there would be side shows and other wares for sale and at least 13 beer tents, for which each of the local public house landlords had to obtain a special licence. It was a boisterous, often disorderly affair, indeed many thought it to be one of the most dangerous places in the locality.

The Gypsies would come along in their caravans and park on the moors at Treoes, amongst other places no doubt. These were Romany Gypsies not just travellers. They would be most welcome as they were always spotlessly clean. It would be a pleasure to see their laundry drying on the gorse bushes. They traded with the villagers and spent their money in the local hostelries.

Natalie Llewelyn, who was born and still lives in Treoes, recalls a time around 1950 when she together with other village children would eat with them around the camp fire. She would be careful that her sandwiches were of jam as she knew well that they caught and roasted hedgehogs for making sandwiches and Natalie wanted none of that. Their caravans were the traditional horse drawn type immaculately clean and well decorated both inside and outside.  Colourful ornaments and fine bone china dishes adorned the shelves within the caravan.

Mr Chard, who was a wheelwright was always pleased to see the arrival of the Gypsies, particularly during the time of St Mary Hill Fair. They would come in their droves and were good for business. He repaired the wheels of their carts for them. His daughter Nancy Davidge tells of him being reproached by one of the local farmers who had to wait his turn because Mr Chard was busy with work from the Gypsies. His response to the reproachment was “they pay me on the nail – I have to wait a year for payment from you “

 People would come for miles around and from even further afield when the railways came to nearby Bridgend in 1831. It’s not surprising that locals would tell of the numerous visitors who for days after the fair came to the site looking for the money earned for deals made; money that was never taken home.

Arriving at Bridgend Railway station, there would be brakes plying for hire waiting on Station Hill. The brake would take its passengers via Llangrallo (Coychurch) and Treoes, to the foot of the hill leading to the fairground from where they would have to walk through the fields.

 The following description of the journey was taken from the reminiscences of a newspaper contributor:-

“August 26th brought back memories of Ffair y Mynydd – and what memories! With all our modern excitement-raisers, like wireless, cinemas, motor racing etc., nothing it seems to me, can compare with the intense interest which everybody alike took in the old-time fair. The coming and going past one’s door of all sorts of conditions ; an endless stream of traffic, the merry and gay, the serious and grave, merchant and pedlar, cattle-drovers and showmen, traps, carts and gambos, the rough and ready, all in good temper setting out for the Fair – AN INCESSANT RUMBLING DIN.

In the middle of the smooth rhythm of noise as the traffic flowed by in a flood, there would be an extra bit of shouting, as Cranky Joe, the drover with unmanageable steers and calves, trying to negotiate the Coychurch Road corner would make for Cowbridge, not St Mary Hill.  Ructions, rodeo like a bullfight in Spain, language unmentionable; the oxen much preferred Uxilla and the Golden Mile to Llangrallo and Treoes. The procession would be held up while Joe Gunter (that is Cranky Joe) with an enormous stick belaboured the poor beasts. Back in the traffic near W H Richards’ house, people in traps in the queue would be getting into a bad temper with waiting and wondering.  ‘Beth sy na ? Cerwch I wila Will’ but Will could do nothing while the chase went on – what a hullaballoo around that corner! Meanwhile the principle actors, Joe and his Bullocks are between the Coach and Horses and Mrs Reynolds’ shop, some in Cae Wallace (Cae Billy Preece, Llangewydd).

Round the turnpike gates at the top of Nolton Street, the Misses Julia, Sophia and Rosina Francis are in the shop looking at the passing carnival and wondering if the end of the world is coming as the big engine pulling a long train of merry-go-rounds and swing boats goes by.

Bill Samuel and his boxers, and Oh the bicycles, boneshakers and the big wheel penny-farthings – all bound for Ffair-y-Mynydd. The bicycles were a particular worry for poor old Mrs Lamb on the Coychurch Road. She called them ‘vycycles’ and thought the police should be informed every time one passed her gate.

All that excitement and noise has gone forever. The fairs today, I suppose, are only a ghost of those long ago. The buying and bargaining, the horse with a broken wind or strained sparm worked up to appear a thoroughbred for the fair, the booths, the gipsies – ALL GONE.

The homeward journey had less mass excitement; but some were merry and bright, some morose and all too tired for any more. I suppose that the fair goes back to the middle ages. But August 26th, Ffair –y-Mynydd – when I was a boy, people would date events by it – such and such a thing happened about the time of Ffair-y-Mynydd”

The Fair was always well policed, with even plain clothes constables in attendance. They would be on the look- out for pickpockets and card sharks in particular. Some of the card sharks would pitch their stools in the centre of the surrounding fields hoping to make a few shillings from the approaching fair goers with their tricks such as the old ’threepenny bit game’ and gambling with dice.

The counters within the beer tents would be nothing more than a piece of board, surrounded by thirsty souls all clamouring to catch the eye of the barman. It was no wonder that problems arose as the drunken customers became more and more impatient.  Indeed many of the fights started in the beer tents of the fair would be settled in other public houses in the area later that night.

There would be a long avenue of stalls selling fruit, vegetables etc., plus many other stalls seemingly dumped anywhere and everywhere. You could buy anything from a banana for a penny to a gold watch for half a crown. You could see anything from a woman performing with crocodiles to a man harnessing house flies.

You could try your luck at games like nine-pins and other games of skill. The bargaining itself was a treat to listen too. It always seemed that the buyer and the seller would never come to terms, when they shook hands on the deal it was traditional for the seller to return a small coin to the buyer for a token of good luck. Overheard in August 1906 was a buyer of a horse who after agreeing to pay £30.00 expected half a crown back whilst the seller was offering a mere one shilling.  The bartering went on and on, the deal was struck eventually when the buyer gave in to accepting a shilling, but also induced the seller to spend two shillings on drinks.

There was a tent containing a boxing ring where Cyril Jones tells us he saw Mel Llewellyn fight Tommy Farr.

The fair was a red letter day in the calendar of the residents of the nearby villages including Treoes as indeed it was, may be to a lesser extent to most folk in the locality.

 Cyril Jones recalls it being the best fair around.  As the fair was coming to a close Cyril and his pals would wander into the neighbouring field in which there was a big Ash Tree.  They would climb the tree and conceal themselves to wait upon the arrival of the entertainment. The Gypsies would arrive to settle their differences by bare knuckle fighting. The watching Gypsies would gamble on the outcome of the fight. Fascinated, the lads would silently watch every move and every blow until it was all over and the last of the Gypsies was out of sight. They would then descend from their hiding places and scour the surrounding area looking for any money that could have been dropped in the process of it changing hands.

On Friday the 26th August 1892. In spite of the old joke about the rain always falling on St Mary Hill to wash away the blood, the weather looked promising. There had been a violent thunderstorm on the 23rd with a downpouring of rain, followed by two generally fine days. A certain Morgan Thomas of Cwmdda owed his life to having decided to go to the famous, maybe infamous, fair. Whether he lost a shift or had a buddy exchange shifts with him is not known, but the idea of spending a day in the sun and fresh air tempted him.

Whilst Morgan and probably about another 20 of his workmates were enjoying the fair, an explosion at the Park Slip Mine, their place of work, occurred. 112 men and boys died in this disaster, amongst them was Morgan’s sons Rees and David.  Twenty One year old Richard Davies mounted his pony to take off for St Mary Hill that morning, but changed his mind and died with his younger brother in the explosion.

There was invariably a sequel to the St Mary Hill Fair at the Magistrates court in Bridgend.

An attendant of the local Asylum brought a summons against a collier from Treoes for an unprovoked assault on himself. The defendant denied all the allegations, however Mrs Llewellyn of Treoes and Mrs Parker of Treoes were among the witnesses all of whom supported the claimant’s version of events. The defendant was found guilty and fined £2.00 or 14 days in default.

The Landlord of the Coach and Horses in Bridgend had his jaw broken by hooligans on his way home from the fair. The fracas in a Pencoed public house that had started in a beer tent in St Mary Hill Fair.

The man who stole a horse from a field, claiming he was dead drunk when the offence took place, then sold the horse at St Mary Hill fair. The horse was later found at a stable in Bristol.

 The above and numerous Card Sharks, apprehended for gambling in public, appeared before the magistrates.

The last Fair was held at St Mary Hill in 1954 and in 1999 a commemorative plaque was unveiled on the site.

The Coity Wallia Board of Conservators now organise an annual fair named The St Mary Hill fair which is held on the common between Pencoed and Heol-y-Cyw.

HORSES & PIGS

The keeping of pigs and horses was commonplace and very much part of rural life in Treoes.

Morgan Mordecai and his family moved into TY-Phillip in 1963. Mog, as he was known, was a horse dealer and also sold hay, straw and stock potatoes.  His wife Nancy was a character too, she helped with the family finances by selling good second hand clothes and surplus stock leather goods. Customers would come from miles around to buy from her.  Whenever Mog killed a pig, Nancy would make faggots to sell.

Mog was a familiar character in the village, often seen around the village in his tractor and herding his horses through the village as he moved them from field to field.  He was a prankster and a favourite with the village children. When off on his visits to Llanybyther and even The Royal Welsh Show he would take several of the village children with him, riding on the back of his lorry, they would have a wonderful time, blissfully unaware of the dangers that Health and Safety have since made us all aware.

A typical pigsty associated with a dwelling.

He once found a badger that had been killed on the road, he skinned it, and kept the skin hanging in the yard at Ty-Phillip. One day, for a joke, he took the skin to the Star with him, and furtively placed it on the seat of the ladies toilet, which was upstairs.  He waited and in due course sure enough, an elderly lady, greatly agitated, ran down the stairs frantically looking for help to remove the “thing” that she had almost sat on and had “frightened her half to death”.  When the cause of her fear was revealed Mog was accused, but to death never admitted his guilt.

Then there was his Old Brown Sow – who refused to stay in the Pigsty at Ty-Phillip, she would wander the village, being fed by all and sundry. The only time she would return home was when she was due to farrow (have piglets).

The Mordecais’ weren’t the only folk who were still keeping pigs at this time, as Marilyn Jenkins (now Wallace) recalls waiting patiently for her mother Connie to finish peeling the potatoes for dinner, so that she could take the peelings, in the bowl to Aunty Mary Ann Llewellyn for her to use to feed her pig. This was not the Aunty Mary Ann Llewellyn who ran the Sunday school, but the one who lived in Sunnyside.  Marilyn said “Aunty Mary Ann always had crocheted lace runners on her sideboard, under which she had hidden several thru’penny pieces ready to give us children for keeping her supplied in food for her pig” needless to say there was always plenty of food for Aunty Mary Ann’s pig.

Mr Loosemoore of Persondy, was a Butcher and Slaughter man, he would slaughter the pigs for the villagers. The parts that could be salted would be kept and hung for due course consumption as bacon, whilst the remainder would be shared amongst friends and neighbours – the more favoured getting the best parts.  Brawn made from the pig’s brains, Pigs Trotters, Faggots made from the offal and Tripe (with onions, cooked in milk) being staple meals.  Villagers today recall the horrific sound of the pigs squealing as they were slaughtered. Jean Thomas recalls one pig in particular that her Father had kept when she was a little girl, she called it Rosie and had got so attached to the pig that she wept bitterly when she realised it had to be killed, and will never forget the experience.

Pigs were only killed in months containing an “r” i.e. not in the summer months.  There is a story that one cottager insisted that his pig be killed in the summer and on his continued insistence Mr Loosemore did the deed. The pig, however, had its revenge and its meat would not accept the salt, with the consequence that the cottager could not save any of the pig and in order for the pig meat to be used before it rotted most of it had to be given away.

It was an everyday occurrence to see the cows being herded through the village or the roads surrounding the village as they were moved from field to field for fresh pasture. Graham Groom lived in Kahloke, just opposite Ty-Ellis and New House. In his front garden he had built a fish pond fully stocked with fish.  The cows soon realised that here was somewhere they could stop for a drink, and poor Mr Groom’s fish became “fish out of water “if they hadn’t already been frightened half to death by these great noisy animals lapping up their water with their lolloping tongues.  The fish had the last laugh however when Mr Groom installed an electric fence.

 

STAR INN

Whilst Treoes once had 4 taverns, the Star Inn has remained an integral part of community life in the village.

A few years after the end of WW II the Star Inn caught fire! Joan recalls that the cause of the fire was a chip pan that her sister had put on the triplex on the coal fire. The fat in the chip pan bubbled over and started the fire and although this was put out a spark must have gone up the shared chimney and set the thatch alight. Very quickly the neighbours rallied round and Fred Thomas of Treoes Farm climbed onto the roof with a hose pipe from which trickled a small quantity of water. Soon the firemen arrived and quelled the fire completely. Poor Fred must have got soaked, as he sat on the crest with his pipe upside down, refusing to get down until he was satisfied that every dying ember was dead.

There was certainly no underage drinking in the Star during the tenancy of Mr Evans, the young people of the village knew it was no good trying as it was suspected that he knew all their birth dates, and for those that he did not, he would demand to see their birth certificate before serving them their first drink in the Star.

It was during Mr Evans’ time at the Star that the thatched roof went on fire for the second time in this century.

The photographs illustrate the crowds gathering to watch as the firemen put out the flames.  This fire was caused by a birds nest in the Star chimney becoming ignited fortunately a young Mike Llewellyn noticed the smoke and sparks coming from the chimney and the Fire Service was alerted before the fire had caused too much damage.

The thatched roof of the Star ablaze.

CARNIVAL

In 1967 residents restarted the Treoes Carnival and Gymkhana, which was initially held in Tyn-y-Caeau and would prove to be a very successful enterprise.

The carnival ran for 21 years until 1988. The big difference of this carnival was that it incorporated a Rodeo, which was organised by Mog Mordecai.

Mrs Radcliffe would be up early in the morning of the carnival and Gwen David would leave home at 6.30 am to help her prepare the sandwiches and cakes for sale in the refreshment tents.   First there would be hot cups of tea for the workers setting up the events and stalls, then all day they would be bustling to and fro, making and selling teas and refreshments in the tent, and back to the kitchen to make more sandwiches and refill the tea urns.

Carnival parade at Treoes

There was the carnival parade and prizes given, races for the children to compete in, stalls selling second hand clothes, freshly baked cakes and preserves, saddles and leather wear, antiques and bric -a– brac, to name a few, and in particular John Jones’ stall, where you could place your bets on which of two white mice would run through the pipes to reach the finishing line first. At the end of the day, John would offer the mice for sale for which there was always plenty of takers.

Mark, son of Mog Mordecai at the Rodeo

Mog, his brother Basset and Clive Howells would supply the horses for the Rodeo, Ivor Richards Great House, would supply the bullocks and Lynne Howells would supply the pig.  Preparing for the competitions was labour intensive and many of the villagers were involved. With the horses there would be dressage competitions, musical chairs etc., in all classes and age groups and rosettes would be awarded to the winners. Then there would be the bucking bronco competition, these horses had never before been ridden – some of the braver village boys would have a go, but most got thrown, one year in particular a young woman, who has only been described as the wife of some-one called Bubbles stayed on the Bronco long enough to win the competition.

OLD & NEW HOUSING

From the 1960s and 1970s new houses were built and the character of the village began to change.

In 1960 Jane Williams (nee Radcliffe) lived with her parents in Persondy.  She recalls that as a toddler she walked with her mother each morning to Tyn y Caeau to carry back sufficient water for their daily needs.

Horse Trading

They held a big sale every year and on one occasion David Broome attended with a view to purchasing the stallion Silver Cloud as the Drum Horse for Queen Elizabeth 11.  Mog had bought the stallion as a yearling and later sold it to Viv Radcliffe. Silver Cloud was a handsome stallion 17.1 hands high.

Village Life for the Children

Most of the village children used to go haymaking along with the adults they’d help Mr. Thomas, Treoes Farm and Mr. Griffiths, Parc Newydd, then go along to Mr. Richards, Great House, they worked on the silage and picking potatoes too.  It was during this time, when Graham David was about 7yrs old, that he acquired the name that has been known by in the village ever since. One cold morning he donned his father’s army jacket to work in the fields, and proudly set to work sporting his Sergeant’s Stripes on his sleeve. The coat became a favourite and very quickly his mates on spotting him would exclaim: “look out- here comes Sarge” – and so he has until this day been known by one and all as Sarge!

A young Sarge having moved into the new houses at Nant Canna with his family, describes life for the village children at that time as happy and adventurous. He recalls playing rounders and Cowboys and Indians in the street, but mostly as he grew older leisure time was spent making gambos and bicycles.

The gambos were made out of parts of old prams, they did try to get the wheels to match, but as long as there wasn’t too much difference and they could all touch the ground together, regardless of whether the gambo was level, that would do!  They would trudge up to Crack Hill jump on their gambos and freewheel down the hill – who knows what speeds they reached! Graham himself was one of many who came off, as he sped down the hill, hitting a stone in the road, flying off and landing face down.  He’ll show you the scar on his nose to prove it!

Their bicycles were made up of odd bits of old bicycles collected here and there or from scrap yards. They would weld them together and if an inner tube was needed, they would “borrow” a piece of alkathene pipe off some-one and put it inside the tyre – it may have been a hard ride, but it worked.

A 15 year old ‘Sarge’ was taken by his father to see Viv Radcliffe about the job of Farm Hand – Jane Radcliffe (Williams) recalls:

“Dad was laughing – what work can he do, he said, he’s so small he can’t see over the wall,” at that Sarge showed him that where there was a will there was a way, as he jumped up and supported himself with his hands on the wall, so that he could see over.  Impressed with his determination Dad took him on.  Sarge proved himself to be strong, willing and able and together they managed Tyn-y-Caeau and Cwrt Farm for the next 25 years running 300 acres, 200 head of cattle, 300 sheep, and 25 horses and breeding about 100 turkeys for Christmas”.

 David Griffith’s Wedding

 On the day that David Griffiths was married in Llangan Church, the lads were going to make sure that they had their share of the money traditionally thrown out by the bridegroom. They planned to tie a piece of rope across the road from hedge to the hedge to stop the car as the Bride and Groom left the church, and refuse to let them pass until they had showered them with money. Nigel Jenkins was carrying the rope on his handlebars and somehow it unwound, got tangled in his wheels and threw him over the handlebars. Nigel was badly injured but with perseverance and care he gradually recovered.

Sunday School

Mary Ann Llewellyn was still running the Sunday School at Saron Chapel , Marilyn Jenkins (now Wallace) remembers her black lace up boots, being stamped three times, loudly and emphatically to get the children’s attention.

Start of New Housing

In 1971 the building of Brookside began with an initial 20 houses, which was later increased to 23.  The people who moved into Brookside were mainly South Wales Police employees at the South Wales Police Headquarters in Bridgend, Royal Mint Employees moving from London to the new Mint at Llantrisant, teachers and white and blue collar workers from the developing industrial estates.   Mostly the new incomers integrated well with the villagers and many put down roots and they or their descendants still live in the village.

Two of the young mothers who had moved into Brookside, namely Mair Richards and Kath Ewing, started the Treoes Brownies, meeting in the community Hall. Bettina Bleddyn, also from Brookside took over in 1992 and only recently (2016) has handed over the reins to Mair’s daughter, Rebecca.

Cars and Buses

Most village families had a car and there were buses into Bridgend and Cowbridge on three days a week. Many but not all of the houses now had a telephone.

New Sewerage System

Incorporated with the new development was a new sewerage system which saw all of the village either on the new system or on cesspits. No longer did anyone have to manually empty lavatories. Shortly afterwards, Nant Canna was canalised which generally solved the flooding issue with which the village had been plagued.

Rural Life

The village was still very rural, cattle were still moved around the village, dogs roamed, children gathered and played in the streets, and no-one ever locked their doors.  The local farmers got help with their crops mainly from the Mothers that did not have jobs, and the children.  Ruth Sampson recalls getting to work late one morning as we had to stop the car in the lane close to Ty-Mawr whilst a calf was being born, it was quick delivery and mother and baby were moved aside so we could be on our way.

The active dairy farms in the village were now only Tynewydd and Ty-Mawr, with Ty-Phillip trading horses. On the village outskirts still active was Moor Mill Farm, Ty-Candy, Court Farm and Tyn y Caeau. 

The fields around Parc Newydd were sold for housing and some 30 houses were built in the decade.

The land rented to Ty-Newydd farm for grazing had been sold off for development so the farmer John Thomas son of Fred Thomas of Treoes Farm decided to continue farming in Carmarthen. The Farm House was sold for private occupation, another home was built in the grounds and a barn was also converted to a home.  

The barn used by Treoes Farm, for milking was sold and converted into the property which is now known as Long Acre, with another house built in the field at a later date. The Thomas family of Treoes Farm continued to sell milk in the village and surrounding area until the death of Mair in 1993.

Great House Farm, the last working farm in the village, was sold after the death of Alice Richards (nee Mordecai) in 1989. Great House is now a private dwelling and houses have been built on the former farm land. 

The Post Office at Molchenydd

Suddenly in 1976 Phyllis Thomas who ran the local Post Office and Shop had a stroke. The local Head Postmaster in Bridgend arranged for temporary cover ( ex sub Postmaster Ivor Morse) until Phyllis was replaced initially by Miss Nina Morse who held the post until 1981, then by Brandon Llewellyn until 1983.

The former post office at Molchenedd

The business remained in Molchenydd, until it changed hands in 1983 when the Post Office and Shop were split the Post Office being run by Mrs Jill Ham from her home in Parc Newydd and the Shop by Mrs Nancy Mordecai at Ty-Phillip. The shop changed hands a few times but soon closed as with the proximity of the supermarkets and without the Post Office income, it became non-viable.  The Post Office closed as a result of the Post Office rationalisation programme in 2008.

The M4 and Further Development

In1977 the catalyst for the biggest growth since the first sod was cut to build the first dwelling in the village was the construction of the missing section of the M4. The new road would stimulate inward economic opportunities and investment and further the need for residential development.

Plans were afoot for everything to change, the A473 Coychurch bypass, the new Waterton Industrial Estate, The Royal London Business Park and The Ford Factory, would all come to fruition in this decade.

Clearly all of this would have a major impact on our village. Land that had previously been used for agriculture was now being sold for development, more and more work was coming to the surrounding area and the price for the sale of land for housing in our village was tempting.

The Coychurch by-pass has effectively cut off the close relationship between the two villages as the old Treoes Road leading to Coychurch now leads to the verge of the new Coychurch by-pass. This road is a dual carriageway with no crossing places. So a walk to Coychurch today is hazardous.  Access to Treoes now from the A473 (Coychurch) by road is through the Waterton Industrial Estate.

Construction of the Ford Factory began in 1977 and it went into production in 1980.

Village Hall

Arthur Thomas was Chairman of the Village hall for 15 years, during which time with the help of other members of the community, he raised funds for the upkeep of the hall, with various social events, ran the local Youth Club (now defunct) and the Young At Heart Club which began in 1983 (still running) for the senior citizens who meet each Thursday, transport being arranged where necessary.   

The WI was held there, various other activities such as  Concerts, Halloween and Christmas Parties for the village children, Art Classes  take place there, the Brownies still meet there and it opens for the villagers to view the Six nations Rugby and other major sporting events. The hall is also let out for private parties and is now licensed.

Initially celebratory dinners for The Young at Heart Club were catered for at the hall organised by Jean Thomas with help and support from other local ladies. Later on the Club Members would be transported to Porthcawl for dinners out. Holiday and Day Trips would also be arranged.  Apart from all this Arthur and Jean would also maintain the building and keep the hall clean.

Royal Wedding

In 1981 the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was celebrated with a street party for which the villagers catered themselves.  A good time was had by all. Ann Ellis made punch which was so strong that after imbibing Vi Llewellyn thought she could fly and with her arms spread out like aeroplane wings she proceeded in ever decreasing circles.

The Richards

In 1982 Ivor Richards of Ty-Mawr Farm died, his wife Margaret Alice (nee Mordecai) continued in a smaller way  with the help of Bill Blake who had been the Farm Hand there for many years.  In 1989 Mrs Richards died and although their son John did some farming part-time the cows were never again seen in the village.

Extension of the Star Inn

1983 saw the Star being extended by the addition of Star Cottage, which had been the home of the Ollosson family.  When Mr Evans retired firstly Mike Hughes than Pat and Dilwyn Llewellyn managed the Star for a while, then Ernie, then Jeff and Linda Welsh, followed by Howard Bennett and Elaine Martin, finally leading up to the 21st century was Mr and Mrs Clive George – who changed the nature of the village pub to a dining establishment. No more skittles, no more darts.

The local patrons of the Star used to go regularly to Scotland to see the Wales v Scotland Rugby international. They stayed in the same hotel in Musselburgh and without fail spent an evening in the local Legion Club.  A band of Scottish Pipers played there and the Landlord of the Star (Howard Bennett) invited them to Treoes when next Scotland and Wales played in Cardiff.  There was a marquee set up in the car park of the Star where the villagers gathered for a night of entertainment with the Pipers  who had marched through the village to the venue, playing their pipes.  

The Last Carnival

1988 saw the final carnival to be held in Treoes, support had waned following the change of venue from Tyn-y-Caeau to the Chapel field and it became economically unviable. There were some sports days held for a year or two, and there was a committee formed who for several years organised a fireworks display for the children on November the 5th, on Treoes Moors.  These activities came to an end as it became a legal requirement to have insurance for such events which could not be afforded. 

More Housing

The next two major housing developments in the village were Yr-Efail and  Glan-y-Nant, here again we see the incomers coming to Treoes generally being professional and managerial workers, many working in the nearby factories and in particular the new Ford Engine Plant.  The improved road network also made it ideal for commuting to Cardiff and surrounding areas, whilst the village still had some of its rural appeal.   

There were individual houses built in1988 in what was the grounds of other houses and the last major development in this century was Llys Ty Mawr which was built in the yard of Ty-Mawr.

Gas arrives in the Village

In 1988 gas was being piped to the village for the first time. Each villager who wanted gas installed into their house had to pay a premium of £500 to facilitate the cost of installing the pipeline and the installation was subject to a minimum number of households signing up.

Change in Local Government

In 1997, there was a change in local Government Boundaries which brought the Boundary between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Bridgend County Borough Council close to Treoes Village and transferred the Ford Factory to Bridgend County Borough Council.

Treoes Today

Life has changed dramatically for the villagers, particularly those who are descendants of the villagers of the early 20th century, whose roots are in the village from the beginning of the century.   

The last 50 years of this century has seen the village increase in size from 30 dwellings to 148 dwellings, predominantly detached with some semi-detached and some terraced. The majority of houses having only two occupants. The occupations of the villagers in the first half of the century were predominantly of an agricultural nature with some skilled and semi-skilled manual workers. As the century comes to a close there are about 27% manual workers and 73% managerial, administrative or professional.

 The increase had been due to farm land being sold for re-development, due to the decline in farming because of modern refrigeration methods leading to more competition from foreign farmers. This is of course directly related to electricity; motorised transport, the road network and the proximity of the M4 and A48, the development of the industrial estates in nearby Bridgend and the new industries.

From the beginning of the 21st Century there has been further development of detached houses at Riverside Court and one house behind the chapel, making a total of 155 dwellings.

It is too dangerous for the children to play in the village streets now. There are no pavements on the narrow main road through the village and the narrow access lanes are heavily used by traffic as a short cut from the A48 to the Industrial Estates.  Many of the village households have more than one car to facilitate commuting so the narrow streets have cars parked on them.

There is no public transport except for a Community Service bus service run by volunteers, there are no local services such as shops or Post Office, with the exception of the Star Inn, whose Landlord is Mark Newbold, which is now a well-known and popular restaurant, drawing its clientele predominantly from outside the village and also contributing to the traffic congestion due to the overflow from its car park.

The nearest regular bus services are either on the A48 Dual carriageway or in Coychurch, both of which involve a walk of over a mile , some of which is on narrow busy roads without pavements and ending in having to cross a dual carriageway without pedestrian crossings.

There is a constant battle with Bridgend County Borough Council who are allowing Industry on the nearby Waterton Industrial Estate to encroach on the village. Residents in the Parc Newydd area being the most affected, many residents have purchased between them the field behind their back gardens to ensure the factories are not on their doorsteps.

 

 

TREOES HERITAGE HUB

By 2011 it was apparent that the condition of Saron Chapel and its Vestry was deteriorating very quickly and incremental improvements were no longer going to be viable. Urgent action was needed if the Chapel and its historical significance to the community of Treoes was going to survive.

In 2012 the members of the Congregational Chapel appointed a small team of volunteers to begin the process of applying for grants to restore the Chapel. The team consisted of:  Joan Thomas, Janet Day, Ann Hibbs, Jill Ham and Branwen Clarke. They then co-opted the help of Rob Owen in applying for grant and appointed Alwyn Jones Architects.

To support the grant application another local resident, Kathy Harris, established a Make and Mend group to meet every other Wednesday in the Vestry. This led to the setting up of another groups in 2O13, who were interested in researching the area’s history. The results of their research, which has been compiled by Ruth Sampson, assisted by Ann Hibbs and Linz Owens, is summarised in these web pages.

The restoration of the Peter Williams Family Bible

In 2016 the application for £99,200 to the Heritage Lottery Fund under their Grants for Places of Worship programme for the urgent repairs to the Chapel was approved. This still left the daunting task of securing another £55,000 of match funding. With further grants awarded under the Welsh Churches Act, the Listed Places of Worship, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the National churches Fund, eventually, sufficient funds were drawn together.

The urgent repairs to the Chapel began in June 2017 and completed in November that year. These funds also covered the construction of this website, as well as the restoration of historical artefacts which date back to the establishment of the Chapel including a Peter Williams Family Bible.

The Restoration of the Vestry

In order to secure funds from the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the restoration of the two-story Vestry it was necessary to set up a new limited company. This was a tall order for a group of volunteers, but Jill Ham. Barbara Grieg and Janet Day stepped up and became Directors of Capel Siriol Ltd.

The company were then able to secure around £100,000 through the RDP fund and match this with further grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Vale of Glamorgan County Council. This allowed the company to appoint Sue Rice consulting to help them through this tricky process, and with further volunteer support from Paula and Steve Wilson, they had the team to manage the process.

And, once again, they were able to reply on the expertise and support of Eurig Williams from Alwyn Jones Architects – and not forgetting David Siggery, the builder who’s team did a superb job on both repairing Saron Chapel and the conversion of the Vestry into a modern community building – a Heritage Hub for Treoes and the wider parish of LLangan.

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