Old Hall, Cowbridge
Old Hall, High Street, Cowbridge
The present site of Old Hall probably contained c.10 burgage plots (strips of land at right-angles to the street) in medieval times. There were 90 to 100 such plots within the walled town after it was established by a charter in 1254 from Richard de Clare, Lord of Glamorgan.
Some of the plots here may have been fronted by merchants’ houses, with workshops behind and a space beside the street which we can loosely term a “shop”. Some plots had poorly built thatched cottages at the street end.
By 1639 there was a mansion house on the site, with two new houses beside the road, owned by a Thomas Andrewe. In 1744 the property was sold by a Bristolian to a “gentleman” called Thomas Edmondes (1715-1790). He added a suite of rooms with a classical façade and Venetian windows facing the gardens, which he landscaped and extended. The property remained in the Edmondes family until 1932.
In the 1840s the Rev Thomas Edmondes, vicar of Cowbridge with Llanblethian for 46 years, moved into the main part of the building. He remodelled it to reflect his wealth, mostly derived from the coal seams he owned in South Wales. After his death in 1893, the street frontage was rebuilt in mock-Tudor style with a stone porch.
From 1932 until the 1950s, Old Hall was owned by the county council and used as part of the grammar school. It then fell into dereliction but was restored (with major internal changes) in the mid-1970s for use as an adult education centre, while a library and health centre (now a children’s nursery) were built in the grounds.
Today Old Hall is a focalpoint for the community, with courses in art, crafts and music. A local-history room is open each Wednesday. A monthly exhibition by local artists is open to the public, free of charge.
With thanks to Sally Perini, Linda Osborn and Cowbridge History Society
Postcode: CF71 7AH