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.
In 1946 the Post Office was moved to Molchenydd and was kept by Miss Mary Thomas, who also kept a small shop.
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.
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.
Tyn y Caeau Races
All the villagers and people from far and wide would attend the races at Tyn y Caeau, then being farmed by William Radcliffe and it was at one of these events in 1946 that Viv Radcliffe first met the lady he would later marry. After each meeting the village kids would scour the grounds always on the lookout for money dropped by a careless punter. Sometimes they were lucky and usually the money would be spent in the village shop on sweets or chocolate.
In 1948 special buses were laid on from Bridgend for Treoes Races which were held at Tyn y Caeau on Saturday July 17th and August Bank Holiday Monday. The first race was at 3pm and there was £300 in prizes and a cup. Refreshments were available. 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.
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.
The Day The Star Inn Caught Fire
One day around this time the thatched roof of the Star 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.
Food Rationing and Provisions
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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’s possessions
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.