Site: Pen-y-fai, Bridgend

Name:Pen-y-fai, Bridgend CISP No:PYFAI
Place:Bridgend Grid Ref:SS 8100 8900 (GB)   Map
Parish:Newcastle (Y Castellnewydd) Stones:1
County:Glamorgan (Morgannwg) , Wales Saint(s):none
Site Type:landscape setting

Site Notes

Lewis/1970, 73--74, `It seems probable that the cross when found was standing on or near land given to Margam Abbey early in the thirteenth century. During the twelfth century the grange of Llangewydd, about a mile west of the find spot, was given to the Abbey (Birch, p. 24), and this gift was followed early in the thirteenth by several local grants made by Morgan ap Caradoc or his free tenants. Three of these grants are relevant:

(1) A grant by Roger Cole (famulus of Morgan ap Caradoc) of land of his free tenement at Newcastle, having on the west the stream called Ellenepullelake and reaching east to Witherel on the north the boundaries of the land of Coithcart and on the south cultivated land which leads down to the high road of Newcastle, to be taken as 4 acres. (Birch, p. 156; Cartae, CCCC).

(2) A grant of 1205 by Morgan son of Caradoc of land at Newcastle, of land and meadow comprised between the land which the monks hold of Pagan de Turberwile, along the stream called Witherel to the Grenewei highroad, and then to Scurlage's land called Crokerehille. (Birch, p. 160; Cartae, CCXCV).

(3) A grant by Morgan son of Caradoc of all the land he holds between the Witherel and Ellenepulle lake. (Cartae, CCCCIII).

There is in addition a general confirmation by Earl Richard de Clare (1229-61) of the gift, among his `other lands of Glamorgan, of all land between Crokkereshille and Ellenewellelake, and between the latter and Wytherel, comprising 37 acres. (Cartae, CCCCLXVI).

Professor William Rees identifies `Witherel' with the stream marked as `Nantcefn-glas' on the Ordinance Survey sheet (South Wales and the Border in the 14th century, SE. sheet). This rises about 200 yds. south-east of the spot where the stone was found. The name `Crokereshille' probably relates to an area in the vicinity of three fields that retained the name `Cae Cocker Hill' as late as the mid-nineteenth century, when they appear as such in the Tithe apportionment.[3] It seems likely, therefore, that the stone may have marked the north-east corner of an area bounded on the east by the Witherel brook.

Its style rules out the possibility that the stone was carved for this purpose in the thirteenth century. This might imply that its original site was elsewhere, and that it was re-used as a boundary stone at the spot on which it was found. If this is so, it is not possible to say what its original site or its original function might have been, as stones of this type, with panels for inscriptions below the crosses, can be memorials or commemorate grants of land (cf. ECMW, no. 240). On the other hand, it is possible that the land to which it relates might previously have belonged to the Church. In this connection its proximity to the site of Llangewydd church should be noted, and also that the donor Roger Cole is described in the charter as `famulus' (i.e. priest) of Morgan ap Caradoc.

Birch -- W. de G. Birch, History of Margam Abbey (1897).

Cartae -- G. T. Clark (ed.), Cartae et alia munimenta quae ad dominium de Glarmorgan pertinent (1910).

ECMW -- V. E. Nash-Williams, The Early Christian Monuments of Wales (1950).

[3] I am indebted to Miss Hilary Thomas of the Glamorgan County Record Office for tracing the name in a lease of 1683 (N.L.W. Schedule of Talbot of Hensol Deeds, no. 527), and to Mr. B. G. Charles of the National Library of Wales for identifying the fields for me on the Tithe map. The name suggests the presence of posters, possibly the site of a pottery kiln, and as such it is of great potential interest. A preliminary examination shows that there may be clay pits in the area'.

RCAHMW/1976, 54: `just over half a mile S.W. of Pen-y-fai near Bridgend'.