"ATHAN (ST.), a parish in the hundred of COWBRIDGE, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Cowbridge, containing 312 inhabitants.
This place, according to Dr. Malkin, derives its name from St. Tathan, a nephew and one of the disciples of St. Iltutus, who lived here in retirement., about the commencement of the sixth century, and founded the parish church, in which, returning after an absence of several years, he was interred, and of which he became the tutelar saint.
The parish is pleasantly situated in the most fertile part of the vale of Glamorgan, bordering upon the Bristol channel, to which the village extends, near the small port of Aberthaw, which is a creek to the port of Cardiff. The scenery is beautifully diversified with hill and dale, and the air is remarkably salubrious : the neighbourhood abounds with excellent limestone, the working of which affords employment to such of the poorer inhabitants as are not engaged in agriculture ; and its proximity to the port of Aberthaw confers upon this place a small degree of commercial importance.
The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Llandaf, rated in the king's books at £15. 9. 7., and in the patronage of Robert Jones, Esq. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists.
On the edge of an abrupt acclivity, in this parish, are the venerable remains of East Orchard castle, erected by Roger Berkrolles, or Berclos, one of the twelve knights who accompanied the Norman adventurer, Fitz-Hamon, upon whom this lordship was bestowed at the time of the Conquest. A small rivulet winds pleasingly round the base of the eminence on which the castle is built, and the ruined walls, mantled with ivy, present an object highly picturesque. Berclos is said to have divided his lands with the original proprietor of the whole, and out of his reserved moiety to have afforded subsistence to other families, who had been dispossessed of their property by the Norman usurpation.
The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor is £261. 6."
St. Athan - Lewis 1833