Graham and Rae Kitchen moved to the village in 1967. They moved to the village from Cardiff. Rae is originally from Cardiff and Graham is from Bolton. Before moving to the Old Post Office, they lived in two other houses in the village, which they built. As a chartered civil engineer, Graham worked for the Glamorgan River Authority
In 1967 their first house was Woodside, a pink rendered house on the lane behind the Bush. Current owners of that house are Colin and Sheila Davies, who bought the house from Graham and Rae. Graham and Rae bought the land to build the house from Lindsey Thomas, a farmer who lived in the Glebe farmhouse and subsequently the bungalow which was called Y Bythyn. This bungalow is now a two story house.
From Woodside, Graham and Rae moved to the opposite side of the lane. They bought a plot of land from the then owners of Kninkin cottage and built Elm Tree Cottage, which is now owned by the Hughes family. The Lloyds, who owned Kninkin sold the property after having White Lodge built.
When Rae and Graham moved to the lane there was only Kininkin cottage and two other houses there – the Paddocks and the Covet.
The Post Office
Rae and Graham had wanted to own the Old Post Office from the very first time they set eyes on it – before moving into the village they often drove up to the Bush for a drink. So, when Graham heard a rumour in 1972 that it was coming up for sale he went to the estate agents in Pencoed and bought it – without viewing it! The property cost £10,000 including the business. A shop and post office was run from what is now Rae and Graham’s kitchen.
The purchase also included Corner Cottage which was subsequently sold to Les and Betty Jones, who lived at Springhill. Before selling, Corner Cottage was rented out to John and Elsie Rees and John’s sister Annie who had previously run the post office from Abbotswood.
The emergence of supermarkets in the 1980s had a detrimental impact on village shops and when Rae and Graham closed their shop and post office, Beryl Price took over the post office and ran it from Myrtle Cottage, which was rented from Elizabeth Giles. When the Price’s moved to the Crescent the post office continued to be run from there. When Beryl gave it up, Rae and Graham took it over again for a short while – running it on a part time basis from the garage at the back of their property.
Other houses in the village
The St Hilary estate was auctioned in November 1913, just before the war started.
On the site of Old Hall Cottage there were originally three cottages. After the second World War the Crescent houses were built and villagers moved into them from the cottages. The cottages were subsequently demolished and restored by Jeannie Griffiths’ husband.
Lansdowne is on the site of two old cottages which were rebuilt into the present bungalow in the 1960s.
Miss Giles bought Myrtle Cottage when Aneurin David died.
Tom Davies lived at West House
Rae and Graham gained planning permission to convert outbuildings into a bungalow, now known as Beechwood, and Rae’s parents moved in. Rae’s mother still lives there.
Graham bought Springhill in the mid-1980s. He renovated it and sold it to Colin White, the current owner. Springhill was previously called Cross Cottage. Muriel Crockatt lived in the Nest at the Cross.
Graham also built Sefton House and Burnaby House.
He bought the land on which Sefton House is built from Ralph Thomas. The land was formerly part of the Village Farm orchard which was originally part of the Radcliffe estate. When they put the estate up for sale all the farmers got together in a consortium to buy the lands.
Ralph sold Village Farm with land to Fred Elton-Jones. Graham then bought the land on which Burnaby House now stands from Fred. At the time the land on which the Orchard and Hendre houses now stand still belonged to Ralph Thomas. Ralph’s sister built the house that the Coggins family now live in. They also bought the milking parlour plot, which is where Hendre now stands.
Stable Cottage used to have a large room on the first floor which was called the Mansell Hall. Ted Foreman and Les Jones, Howard;s father, had a band and played there. Stable Cottage was formerly a coaching house and along with the Old Post Office was owned by the Cottage. The Old Post House cottage was the laundry. It had a large chimney and a boiler. The staff lived at the Old Post Office. Graham has been advised that the house was probably built in about 1650 – certainly no later than 1670.
Rae and Graham recall that the water supply when they moved to the village was from an iron tank on metal stilts in the grounds of Hafod. It was of inadequate capacity and frequently ran out of water, and in particular Eastdown farm would run dry. The new tank I underground on top of the common.
The Bush Inn
Graham recalls that Bush Inn was altered a few years before they moved to the village.
The pub belonged to Welcome Inns who owned several pubs. Mel Barnet, formerly the landlord of the Ship Inn in Barry, was the landlord when Rae and Graham moved to the village.
He recalls that the end bar, where you could play darts, was a coach house. There were big double doors at the front where the bay window is now. Mel had the doorway knocked through from the middle bar to the end bar, which was used by the locals, because the middle bar was always heaving and the end bar was quiet. This was the beginning of the end of the locals bar. There was originally a cottage in the car park of the Bush. It is unknown when it was demolished.
Mel successfully ran the Bush with his wife Thelma, who it is thought is still alive. Mel died in 1990 (date on stone in churchyard) and his ashes are in the St Hilary churchyard. Thelma was described as a dynamo – she ran the restaurant and bed and breakfast (B&B) when they converted the living accommodation above the Bush. They bought the Meadows the house behind the Bush where the Hoggett family currently reside so that they could create a B&B business. They were very successful and the B&B was particularly successful because the A48 was busy. There was no motorway at that time. It is thought that the Cowbridge bypass was built around 1967/68.
Graham’s memory of Mel was of him always standing at the hatch in the middle bar chatting to customers with a keen eye on the till. “He never took his eye off the till”
Mel ran the Bush for 10 – 15 years. He then sold the pub and his house and went to Majorca. It is thought that the Bush was sold for around £35,000.
Mel represented Great Britain in the Heavyweight Lightweight Weightlifting event at the Olympic Games in Helsinki in July 1952.
It was then bought by Deri Trott, who, it is thought might have come from Wenvoe. The pub declined and was taken over by Glyn Hughes from North Wales, before being run by Sylvia Hitchcock and her family, then Phil Thomas and currently Liz and Andy Hooker.