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"A municipal borough and market town pleasantly situated in the centre of the Vale of Glamorgan on the banks of the Thaw. It shares in the Parliamentary representation of Cardiff. The church has a curious Early English tower, and near it are some fragments of the ancient town walls and one of the gateways. The Grammar School was refounded in the time of James II. The neighbouring hill of Stalling Down was the scene of a sanguinary encounter between Glyndwr and the English forces in 1405. Cowbridge is 172 miles west from London, 56 south-west from Bristol, 12 west from Cardiff, 7 east from Bridgend, and 40 east from Swansea."   [Glamorganshire, 1911]


Here is a substantial reading list of books which relate to Glamorgan, either county or parish.

References to the town of Cowbridge at


An on-line index to the book The Vale of Glamorgan in Old Photographs, by Roy Denning, has been provided by Huw Daniel.

A Name index to the book Cowbridge Buildings and People By Cowbridge Record Society 1999 - ISBN 0 9537029 0 1. Indexed by Phil Mustoe, June 2002

Cowbridge Wills and Administrations 1575 - 1799 from a book titled, "Old Cowbridge", by Lemuel John Hopkin-James 1922. Provided by Phil Mustoe

Hopkin-James,  Lemuel John.   Old Cowbridge, borough, church, and school. 1922   - the complete book is accessible on the Internet Archive site - click on Texts and search on Cardiff

Old Inns and Alehouses of Cowbridge. Cowbridge Record Society, 2004. ISBN: 09537029 4 4.
Iolo Morganwg claimed that Cowbridge was well blessed with 'great and glorious drinkers' and indeed some forty-two of the buildings of Cowbridge have been used as inns or alehouses at some time in their history. This is the story of these public houses, their owners and innkeepers, and of some of the people who drank there.

Business and Commerce Records

  • Edward John & Son Ltd, corn merchant, Cowbridge, Glamorgan
    1922-24: invoice book
    [Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff]
  • Cowbridge Railway Co.
    1862-89: minutes, stock holders register, cash book
    [Public Record Office, Kew, London - Reference : RAIL 141]
  • Cowbridge & Aberthaw Railway Co.
    1889-95: minutes, ledger, journal and invoices inward
    [Public Record Office, Kew, London - Reference: RAIL 140]

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Edward John and Son, agricultural merchant, of Cowbridge, records    1900-1969    "Edward John set up in business as an agricultural merchant in Cowbridge, Glamorgan, some time between 1875 and 1881. Before this, he had been an agent for the seed and manure merchants Hall, Reynolds and Co. ......................."  
  • Gwyn and Gwyn Solicitors, Cowbridge records 1700s-1970s

Indexed transcriptions of monumental inscriptions at Holy Cross Churchyard and Cowbridge Cemetery, by Phil Mustoe.

The Glamorgan Family History Society have produced a set of microfiche containing Monumental Inscriptions for the following burial grounds :-

  • Parish Church of the Holy Cross
  • Ramoth Baptist Church

Visit their website for information on how to purchase.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Cowbridge area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

In the trade directories contained within these pages, and from other sources, it appears that the church of the Holy Cross, Cowbridge, was previously dedicated to that of St. Mary.
The change in dedication appears to have taken place at some point between the years 1910 and 1934.

Rectorial Benefice of Cowbridge - photographs under Churches

Chapels Database  - a  list of all known non-conformist chapels or other non-Anglican religions in the parish

See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph of Holy Cross Tower

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data re Holy Cross Church

Church Records

For full and up-to-date details of their holdings see the sites of Glamorgan Record Office and/or West Glamorgan Archives

See Bap/Mar/Bur data on  FreeReg

The church is dedicated to Holy Cross, and is in the Benefice of Cowbridge. Details of the present incumbent of this benefice can be found at the Church in Wales website. The church can be found at grid reference SS994746.

A transcription of the registers is available from the Glamorgan Family History Society for the years: Baptisms, 1718-1887, Marriages, 1721-1837, Burials, 1735-1873. Visit their website for information on how to purchase these fiche.

Anglican Parish Registers Held at the Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff
Baptisms Marriages Burials Banns Bishops Transcripts
1718-1972 1753-1970 1735-1928 1894-1975 1721, 1724-31, 1733-37, 1739-46, 1748-1837

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Cowbridge Ecclesiastical Parish records     " ...... including registers of baptisms, 1718-1923; burials, 1735-1928; marriages, 1753-1998; banns, 1894-1975; prechers books, 1905-1924; service, 1924-1990; licences, 1925; terrier, 1771; correspondence and papers relating to various topics, 1867-1965; parochial church council records, 1885-1980; vestry minute books, 1814-1893; church affairs, 1834-1948; civil records, 1713-1890; photograph, 19th century; plans, post 1790"  
  • St. Mary Church Ecclesiastical Parish records    " ...... including registers of baptisms, 1584-1985; marriages, 1577-1985; burials, 1602-1985; services, 1954-1989; churchwardens accounts, 1862-1933; civil records, 1863-1921"
Non Conformist Registers Held at the Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff
Chapel Baptisms Marriages Burials OS Map Ref
Quaker - - 1839-41, 1846, 1861 -
Wesleyan Methodist 1849-1934, 1936-62 1910-1956 - SS 99747450

The following Religious Institutions are covered in the Mormon International Genealogical Index (IGI) :-

  • Cowbridge, Holy Cross - Christenings (BT's), 1819-1875

Transcript of the Roll of Honour at Cowbridge Church for 1914-1918 war

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Cowbridge which are provided by:

"COWBRIDGE, or, Y BONT FAEN, or PONT FON, in the Cwmwd of Pen y Bont, Cantref of Cron Nedd (now called the Hundred of Cowbridge), Co. of GLAMORGAN, South Wales: a Chapel, to the Vicarage of Llan Bleiddian: Patrons, The Dean and Chapter of Gloucester.  The Resident Population of this Parish, in 1801, was 759.  The Money raised by the Parish Rates, in 1803, was £209..15..9 1/2, at 5s. 6d. in the pound upon Houses, and at 8s. 3d. in the pound upon Land.  It is 12 m. W. from Caerdiff, and 176 m. W. from London.  The Market is on Tuesday.  The Fairs are on the 20th of March, 4th of May, 24th of June, 29th of September, and 30th of November.  It is one of the Contirbutary Boroughs with Caerdiff, which send one Member to Parliament.  The Corporation consists of 12 Aldermen, and 12 Capital Burgesses: and the Townis governed by two Bailiffs, elected by the Capital Burgesses and Freemen out of the Aldermen.  The Grammar School was endowed by Sir Llywelyn Jenkins, Secretary of State to James the Second.  There is also a very good School for reading, writing, and accompts.  The excellent Fish, called Sewen, is abundant here.  The Quarter Sessions are holden here once a year.  It contains about 35 acres of inclosed Land: and is situate upon the river Ddaw. "
(From: A Topographical Dictionary of The Dominion of Wales by Nicholas Carlisle, London, 1811)

Places, villages, farms etc within Cowbridge as shown on the online parish map from the CD of   Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. (Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R.). (Extracted by Glenys Travis)

  • Cowbridge (123) - no place names visible

Description of parish from A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833) by Samuel Lewis.

Description of Cowbridge from the Glamorgan Village Book, compiled by the Glamorgan Federation of Women's Institutes.

Cowbridge photographs  - on Mike Baker's site


Transcript of name listing for Cowbridge, and neighbouring parishes from Commercial and Trade Directories, for the years:-


1844 (Slaters Directory)   1850 (Slaters Directory)
1858-1859 (Slaters Directory)   1871 (Post Office Directory)
1880 (Slaters Directory)   1895 (Kellys Directory)



Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • John Richards, Pharmacist and Local Historian, Cowbridge papers   18th century-20th century    " ........ comprising of papers relating to his family in south Wales and England; letters; history of  Cowbridge"  
  • Shepherd Family of Cowbridge Papers      " .......... comprising of photographs collected by the Shepherd family, including servants at Verlands, Llanblethian, c1910; C owbridge Scouts, 1910-1911; photograph album of Lucy Shepherd, 1916-1924; C owbridge Grammar School cricket team, 1955."

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Cowbridge has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


This diagram shows the position of this parish within the county of Glamorgan - click on this to see a full size diagram of the county

Glamorgan Parish Map
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SS994746 (Lat/Lon: 51.461356, -3.449507), Cowbridge which are provided by:


The Cowbridge Gem, serving Cowbridge and the Vale of Glamorgan

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Bridgend & Cowbridge Workhouse - on Peter Higginbotham's site

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Bridgend and Cowbridge Poor Law Union, Workhouse/ Public Assistance Institution, and Cottage [Children's] Homes records  1836-1952


The population of Cowbridge was as follows, and a more detailed breakdown is available.

1831-1,097 1841-1,080 1851-1,066 1861-1,094 1871-1,134 1881-1,229 1891-1,377

Public Records

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Baker, E. R. of the South Wales Police papers    
    " Police miscellanea, 1830-1930; Cardiff Borough records, 1830-1897; Cowbridge Borough records, 1838-1926; Neath Borough byelaws and Acts of Parliament, 1835-1926; copies of Dunraven Estate plans, 1778; plans of Merthyr Mawr, [c1775] (copies); plans relating to public houses, 1920-1927; plan of the port and town of Cardiff, 1870; plan of Merthyr Tydfil (copy), 1836; Petty Sessions and licensing records, [c1826]-1928; .........................."
  • Borough of C owbridge records   1421-1972     "Cowbridge received its first borough charter in 1245, from Richard de Clare, Lord of Glamorgan, and several charters and confirmations were issued subsequently. ....................."
  • Cowbridge mayoral oaths 1894-1926    "The medieval borough of Cowbridge,, covering the same area as Cowbridgeparish, began to neglect its formal responsibilties from c 1866. On 28th September 1886, a charter of incorporation was obtained under the terms of the Municipal Corporations Act, and a new Borough Council established. .......... "
  • Borough of Cowbridge, Food Control Committee records  [WWI]  1910-1921  
  • Bridgend and Cowbridge District Highway Board records   1855-1898  
  • Cowbridge Civil Parish records      " .... comprising tithe plan and apportionment, 1844"  
  • Cowbridge Petty Sessional Division records     1880-1970     "Court registers, 1885-1970; register of summary convictions, 1885-1892; juvenile court registers, 1933-1964; ............."
  • Cowbridge Rural District Council records   1895-1973  
  • West Village deeds             "Deeds relating to West Village, Cowbridge, 1766-1899; conveyance relating to Llanblethian Mill, 1877"  
  • Turnpike Trusts records  " ......... comprising of assignment of deeds for Cowbridge turnpike disrict, 1820-1823; notice to Cardiff turnpike district, 1831; transfer of deed poll for Cowbridge turnpike district, 1821"


The Headmasters, and an image (circa 1860) of Cowbridge Grammar School, 1608 - 1967, as listed in 'A Certaine Schoole' ( See bibliography)

Cowbridge School Roll - Xmas. 1860, as listed in 'A Certaine Schoole' ( See bibliography)

Cowbridge Grammar School - on Wikipedia

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

  • Cowbridge Girls Intermediate/Secondary/High school records 1896-1971
  • Cowbridge Girls Secondary School records   1921-1947  
  • Cowbridge Grammar School Letter Books  1921-1947     "The Free School, known originally as the CowbridgeGrammar School, Cowbridge, Glamorgan, was founded in 1608, and moved to its present site in 1617. The patron of the school in its early days was Sir John Stradling (1563-1637). ............................."  
  • Cowbridge Grammar School records 1618-1972  
  • Cowbridge School Board records   1873-1903   "Following the Education Act 1870, School Boards were established to provide education in areas where no such provision existed. The School Boards were elected bodies, empowered to set up and maintain schools in areas where voluntary provision was inadequate, to frame bye-laws for the compulsory attendance of children aged between 5 and 13, and for setting the school leaving age. ........................."
  • Cowbridge Farmers Club, Cowbridge, Glamorgan
    1861-1921: records
    [Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff]
  • Cowbridge Young Men's Insitute, Cowbridge, Glamorgan
    1896-1908: records
    [Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff]
  • Cowbridge Record Society
     Latest publication (11/08) is an investigation into the background of the names on the war memorials at Cowbridge and Llanblethian.
     Secretary;- ckrawlins(at)btinternet.com

  [Last Updated : 4 Feb 2015  -  Gareth Hicks]