Ystradowen - Gazetteers
Extract from A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833) by Samuel Lewis.
"YSTRAD-OWEN, or YSTRAD-OWAIN, a parish in the hundred of COWBRIDGE, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 3 miles (N. E.) from Cowbridge, containing 233 inhabitants.
Ithel, surnamed Du, or "the Black," Prince of Glamorgan in the tenth century, occasionally resided here ; and this place is distinguished in the historical annals of the principality as the scene of a desperate battle between the invading Saxons and the ancient Britons under Conan ab Sytsylt, in the year 1031, in which that chieftain and all his sons were slain. It derives its name from Owain ab Collwyn, who resided here in a palace, of which the site is marked by a large tumulus near the church, now covered with a thriving plantation.
The parish comprises a moderate extent of good arable and pasture land, and a portion of common, affording pasturage for sheep and young cattle. The surrounding scenery is pleasingly diversified, and enlivened with some interesting features. Ash Hall, late the residence of Colonel Aubrey, and now the property and residence of William Wood, Esq., is a handsome modernized mansion, pleasantly situated on an eminence above the church, commanding a fine view of the whole vale of Glamorgan, from the house to the sea, with the town of Cowbridge in the foreground, and the high lands of Somersetshire in the distance.
The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Llandaf, endowed with £ 1200 royal bounty, and £200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Chancellor of Llandaf. The church, dedicated to St. Owain, is a very small ancient edifice, not remarkable for any architectural details. On a tablet is an inscription recording that Sir L. Jenkins, Knt., gave to the churches and parishes of Ystrad Owen and Llanblithian the tenor bell ; and that Evan Jenkins, his brother, gave thirteen acres of land, to repair the said bells, directing the surplus to be appropriated in apprenticing poor children of both parishes, in equal shares.
On a hill to the south of the church there are some inconsiderable remains of the ancient castle of Tal y vaen, or Talavan, one of the twelve fortresses erected by the followers of Fitz-Hamon, by whom this portion of the conquered territory was granted to Sir Richard de Seward, in whose family it continued for many generations : it formed part of the dowry of the widow of Hugh le Despencer, when affianced to Guy de Brien, and was subsequently conveyed by marriage to the Dukes of Lancaster, and still forms part of the duchy.
In a field near the village were two large monumental stones, rudely ornamented, which were supposed to have been placed at the head of the graves of Owain ab Ithel and his consort, and thence called the King and Queen stones ; but they have been removed for some time.
Near the churchyard, in a field adjoining it on the west, there is a very large tumulus, of which not even any traditionary account has been preserved.
An annual assembly of the bards was held here for many years, under the auspices of the ancient family of Hensol, and the meetings were continued till the year 1721, when the male line of that house became extinct : a house in which these meetings are said to have taken place is still remaining.
The average annual expenditure for the relief of the poor amounts to £ 124.4."
Ystradowen - Lewis 1833 [Last Updated : 19 Oct 2002 - Gareth Hicks]