History – Old and New Housing

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

  Notice of sale of Tyn y Caeau
Notice of sale of Tyn y Caeau

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. 

In 1961 the Radcliffe Estate (not related) was put up for sale. The Radcliffes were tenant farmers in Tyn y Caeau and Cwrt Farm, paying an annual rental of £1,022. 

The Radcliffe Estate had been previously purchased from the Aubreys by Mr Henry Radcliffe of Druidston, in 1916 and in 1917. Mr Henry Radcliffe shared the estate with his son, Lieutenant Wyndham Radcliffe, who then became the owner of the St Mary Hill Estate.

Very wisely, Viv Radcliffe, who was not related to the Radcliffes of Druidston, purchased Tyn y Caeau and Cwrt Farm of the St. Mary Hill estate  – and the family live on the estate to this day. 

A copy of the sale catalogue relating is shown on the right. 




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 Local Post Office

  The Post Office at Molchenydd
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 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 developmen.

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.



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