Oxwich - Gazetteers


A Topographical Dictionary of Wales by Samuel Lewis 1833

"OXWICH, a parish in the hundred of SWANSEA, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 14 miles by Penrice, and 13 across the sands, (W. S. W.) from Swansea, containing 241 inhabitants.

This parish is situated on the Bristol channel, and on the western shore of the small but fine bay to which it gives name, and which has a considerable depth of water at all times of the tide, as well as good anchorage. It comprises but a moderate tract of arable and pasture land, which is enclosed and in a good state of cultivation. The surrounding scenery is finely varied, and enlivened with luxuriant woods, and the views over the channel and the adjacent country abound with interest. The bay on the north has some firm and smooth sands, well adapted for sea-bathing : on the east it is bounded by lofty and precipitous cliffs, affording shelter from the winds, and on the west by gently sloping hills richly covered with wood from the margin of the water to their summits.

A few of the inhabitants are employed in blasting the contiguous limestone rocks, and in digging on the shore for stones of a similar quality, with which small vessels are occasionally freighted for the opposite coast of Devonshire. Lobsters and crabs, together with two or three species of edible sea plants, are procured here.

The living is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry of Carmarthen, and diocese of St. David's, rated in the king's books at £9. 9. 2., and in the patronage of C.R.M. Talbot, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Illtyd, is romantically situated at the base of a hill on the western side of the bay, and, as seen from the sands, has a very picturesque appearance : it contains an ancient altar-tomb, on which are the effigies of a knight and his lady, in a recumbent position.

Thomas Bevan, in 1708, bequeathed £ 10 to the poor of the parish.

On the hill above the village are the ruins of Oxwich castle, supposed to have been built about the middle of the sixteenth century, by Sir Rice Mansel, rather as a residence than as a place of strength : they consist chiefly of some dilapidated portions of the walls, in one of which are the remains of a fine window.

The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is £37. 3."


A Topographical Dictionary of The Dominion of Wales by Nicholas Carlisle, London, 1811.

"OXWICH, in the Cwmwd of Gwyr, Cantref of Eginog (now called the Hundred of Swansea), County of GLAMORGAN, South Wales: a discharged Rectory, consolidated with the Rectory of Nicholaston, and valued in the King's Books at £9..9..2: Patron, Thomas Mansel Talbot, Esq.: Church dedicated to St. Illtyd. The Resident Population of this Parish, in 1801, (consisting of the Villages of Oxwich, and Slade) was 202. The Money raised by the Parish Rates, in 1803, was £18..7..3, at 4s. 6d. in the pound. It is 13 m. SW. b. W. from Swansea. This Parish contains about 1000 acres of inclosed Land, and about 221 acres (Oxwich Borough and The Marsh) uninclosed. It is situate on the Bristol Channel. Here are the remains of a large superb old Mansion house, called Oxwich Castle, which was built by Sir Rice Mansel, about the reign of King Henry the Eighth: part of it is now converted into a large Farm-house: The remains of a beautiful Banqueting Room are still to be seen, which is ascended by a flight of steps: the Windows are of large and handsome dimensions: about twelve Months ago, a great part of this Building fell in, and destroyed the Dairy belonging to the Farmer, with all its contents, but fortunately no further mischief was done. This Castle is not supposed to have been built for the purpose of defence; though a few yards distant, on the top of Oxwich Wood, are the remains of a Watch-tower, which appears to be of much stronger workmanship, and of a more ancient date; it commands an extensive view of the beautiful Bay of Oxwich, and the neighbouring Country, which is well wooded. The Parsonage House was erected, about eighteen years ago, by Thomas Mansel Talbot, Esq., the Patron of the Living. It is a very commodious and complete Building, fronting the Bay of Oxwich, from the shore of which it is only separated by a large Beach of Limestone Pebbles, driven by the Sea from the quarries a little distance off, and thrown up at high water: this Beach increases every year, and now forms a complete Barrier against the Sea: there is also a stone wall, built as a fence to a small Field in front of the House, within the Beach. A fine Wood lies a few yards above the House, in some places reaching nearly to the water's edge, and a few of the trees apparently grow out of the bare rocks which they overhang. This Wood is but little affected by the Sea breeze, and the Trees are not checked in their growth, as they sometimes are near the Coast. This Wood extends nearly to the extremity of Oxwich Point, and forms the Western side of the Bay. There is sufficient depth of Water, between the two points of Oxwich and Pwll ddu, for Vessels of any burden: and several Ships lie here at times, waiting for wind and Tide, or in bad weather, as it is well sheltered. A great Trade is carried on here, as well as in other places along the Coast, for Limestone: several hundred Cargoes being shipped off for the Coast of Devon, in the Summer. The Vessels employed in this Trade are from thirty to eighty Tons burden. The People of the Country get a good livelihood by this means: the Men dig the stones both in the winter and summer; and as the Vessels only trade in the Summer, they get together several Cargoes by the commencement of the Trade: the Men break the stones, after blowing the Rocks, to a size easy to be lifted up, the Women then, having a horse and little staked car, made for the purpose, convey the stones to the shipping places within low water mark: and, at high water, the Vessels moor themselves along side the heaps, which are known by poles being fixed in them, and there lie till the Tide begins to ebb, when they are thrown into the Vessels (by means of a temporary stage) by Men and Women, who receive a good hire from the Captains, with an allowance of Beer. The stones are sold by the digger of them at the rate of 1s. per ton, or so much the Cargo; there is also a duty of 2d., and in some places 1d. in each shilling, paid by the Captain to the Lord of the Manor, for the permission to dig the stones. Oxwich Church is romanticly situated on the edge of the Wood, not far from the Sea shore, and from the Sands, is a very pleasing object, appearing to be enveloped in the wood. Between the Church and the Sea, stand the Ruins of the old Parsonage House: the outer wall of which, still remaining, is built on the Rocks, and washed at high water in Spring tides by the Sea: which, latterly, seemed so much to threaten destruction to the House, that Mr. Talbot with great liberality built the present one. Tradition says, that the Sea destroyed Land and Houses, which formerly laid below the Church: this appears very likely, as the Church now stands at the Southern extremity of the Parsonage, and at some distance from the Villages of Oxwich and Slade: the Parsonage House is now the nearest to the Church. The Sands here are remarkably firm and smooth, and the water generally clear; consequently it is an excellent place for Sea-bathing. Plenty of Crabs and Lobsters are caught here, and occasionally Oysters. The Sea weeds, known by the Names of Laver and Samphire, abound on these Rocks. The Laver is a broad and thin green Leaf, growing on the flat rocks or stones in the Sea; it is gathered, and then boiled well, put into earthen pots with merely a little salt, and sent as a rarity to a great distance. The Samphire grows on the larger rocks or cliffs, not overflowed by the Sea; when not in blossom it is gathered, boiled and pickled, and is an excellent substitute for Capers, and is much esteemed as a Pickle. According  to the Diocesan Report, in 1809, the yearly value of this Benefice, arising from Tythe, Glebe, and Surplice fees, was £120..7..11. The Rev. JOHN COLLINS, Senr., is the present worthy Rector, and is resident.
[Last Updated : 28 Jan 2005 - Gareth Hicks]