St Hilary Community Website

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Memories of the village

25 August 2017 - a day in the life of St Hilary

It was an early start today with Caroline and Monica planting daffodil bulbs on No Man's Land. Around 200 have been planted so far - all generously donated by villagers.
After a coffee it was off to do a leaflet drop around the village to make locals aware of the Produce Market which is being held on 8 October. Early, you might say but we need surplus fruit and veg to make the produce that we intend to sell.

Click on the read more link below to continue the story

Roger Ian Thomas (February 2017)

We have been contacted by Diane Evans from Cardiff about Roger Ian Thomas. He has sadly passed away at the age of 74. He used to come to St Hilary every Christmas to spend the day with a family in the village. But Diane does not know who he visited. If you can help, please contact me and I'll put you in touch.


A day in the life of St Hilary (24 November 2016)

Today Caroline Neudegg and I took a stroll around the village to drop off leaflets about the festive coffee morning on Tuesday 6 December and at the same time we sought villagers views about adopting the village telephone box for community use.
It is surprising how the village always looks so quiet yet beneath the tranquillity it is buzzing with activity and at one point we wondered whether there was a secret code heralding our arrival as doors opened well before we reached the bell! 
Click on read more for the full story.

St Hilary Lead Mines

Click on the read more link below to read an article from a 1956 South Wales Caving magazine which is all about the St Hilary Lead Mines. There are also 2 hand drawn maps of the mines to go with the article: map 1 / map 2
Many thanks to Chris at the Coach House, New Beaupre for providing the information. If anyone else has information to share about the village please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
(Note: the mines are on private property and are very dangerous)

Christine Frederick's memories of the village

Our grandparents were Evan and Florence Frederick who used to live in Rose Cottage behind the Bush. Our father , Stanley used to keep his motorcycle in the Bush garage which was on the left hand side - now the snug when he was courting my mother, Elvira (known as Vera). I have photos of my grandparents and me as a baby outside Rose Cottage which I loved. I remember my grandparents moving to 1 Church Crescent, with all the villagers helping them move their belongings, must have been in 1954/55. My father and his brother John were bell ringers in the Church, and apparently there is a photo of them with Kenny Vaughan in the church tower. Our grandfather, Evan (also known as Ianto) was a gardener in the"big houses" in the village such as Erw Fain, the Manor, Mrs Shaw's , and Kninkin which I adored. His garden was spectacular and people used to come from miles around to see it. He also bred Norwich or Norfolk terriers. My brother, Neil and our Dad used to live with my grandparents, Evan and Florence, do longish periods when our mother was frequently in hospital , having ear operations, and we see it as our second home.


Celebrating the Centenary of the WI (16 September 2015)

To celebrate the Centenary Year of the Women's Institute, St Hilary WI planted an acer tree in the St Hilary Pump Garden / No Man's Land on 16th September 2015 - the date in 1915 that the first WI was founded in Llanfair PG.  Members gathered for a ceremonial planting, complete with commemoration plaque.  A celebratory toast then took place in The Bush!!
Click on read more for additional photos and names.

Dedication of the St Hilary 2000 Community Jubilee Bell (20 March 2015)


20 March 1999 was the day that the new bell was dedicated to St Hilary Church and the existing bells were re-dedicated. 

The ‘St Hilary 2000’ community association gave the bell and funded the restoration of the existing bells. 

Click on read more below for all the details.


The Queen's Silver Jubilee Celebrations (1977)

silverjubilee5 Click on the read more link for details of how the village celebrated the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977

The History of the Clump (4 April 2015)

Here's the story of the Clump (or more accurately Bryn Owain, meaning Owain's Hill), including the battle of Stalling Down, which was part of was part of the Glyndwr Rising, the Beacon ceremonies, gory executions and fireworks!
Click on the read more link below for all the details.

The Story of St Hilary WI (21 February 2015)

Here's the history of St Hilary WI which was written to celebrate its Golden Jubilee – from its inception in 1932 to 1982.
It provides a fascinating insight into life in the 30s and beyond and the wide variety of activities – particularly the charitable work during the war. Click on read more below.

St Hilary 900 (26 November 2014)

Jenny and Mel
This is the remarkable and memorable story of the wide range of activities and events that the villagers held in 1990 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the church.  Click on the read more link below for the (very) full story.

St Hilary's Treasures (12 November 2014)

An interesting document emerged from the Village Memories day held in the Village Hall on 4 November.  Between 2002 and 2007, the Vale Council prepared an inventory of local treasures (buildings not artefacts!).  Most of the Llanfair treasures were in St Hilary.  If you click on this link you can access a short version on this web site.  To reduce the file size we have taken out the treasures from other villages and some background information.  If you would like to see the full version, please click here to access the document on the Vale Council website (c5mb).

The Story of the Bush Inn (3 October 2014)

Whilst exploring the rich social tapestry of St Hilary we have come across quite a bit of information about the Bush Inn.
The current tenants, Liz and Andy, have run the Bush since 2010 . They took over a newly renovated building as it had been destroyed by fire in 2009.  However, through various documents we have found and conversations with villagers we can track back the history of our historic inn to previous owners and tenants (and its locals!).
 Click on the read more link below for a fascinating story.

Graham and Rae's story

Here is the 3rd in Monica's archive of villagers' memories of the village - see below for Mary and Ralph and Sian's stories.
villageframing Graham and Rae Kitchen moved to the village 47 years ago from Cardiff. Rae is originally from Cardiff and Graham is from Bolton. As a chartered civil engineer, Graham worked for the Glamorgan River Authority. Before moving to the Old Post Office, they built and developed several of the houses in the village - and they frequented The Bush. Click on the read more button below to read their full story.

Sian's Story

siankeenhouse Sian’s home  Gweled-y-Glyn has always been in the family. The picture shows the house before the extension was built on the side.
Her house, and the one next door were built around 1912 by Sir Gerald Bruce who resided in the Grange . Sian’s grandfather initially worked as the Groom to Sir Gerald and then became his chauffeur.

A message from Maurice Francis

For many years I have been researching Santo Tomas Internment Camp, Manila and those civilians interned there by the Japanese from 1942 to 1945. One was Patricia Nora Crump who appears to have been there with no parents and was then aged around 15. Her UK address was given as "The Grange", St. Hilary, Cowbridge. I am wondering if anyone locally has any knowledge of her or her Family. I do hope you can find time to reply.
Kind Regards

Maurice Francis
Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  if you have information.

1927 Directory of St Hilary

1927DirectorySmall Oscar has provided a copy of an extract from a directory of St Hilary from around 1927.  Click here for a readable version. (You will probably need to use the zoom in function in your photo manager programme to read all the text.) Some points of interest raised by Oscar are that:
  • although there were 150 residents, only the gentry and farmers are listed
  • Ackland-Allen at the manor was probably Miss Giles’ uncle
  • Rev Crocket at the vicarage (now the Old Vicarage) was still vicar in the 1960s
  • the farmers included two Misses!
  • Col Bruce at the Grange employed people in village, including Maude Jenkins and members of the Cross family

St Hilary - A History

sthilaryhistory There are just a few copies left of Hilary Thomas' book - St Hilary - A History of the Place and its People.  The cost is £5 (£10 inc p&p).  Please email if you would like a copy of this historic book: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Greetings from Estonia

I used to live in St Hilary for much of my childhood life, with my parents Tony and Chris Ramsden, and my sister Stephanie living in the "New House".

I live in Estonia now(!), and saw the links that brought me to this website. Wonderful history and pictures, which definitely make me feel very emotional. 

Greetings from Northern Europe!
James Ramsden


Weightlifting history

I have just been in St Hilary with my wife.  Her family ran The Bush Inn in the 1960s and I loved the village. My father in law is buried here.  His name is Mel Barnet, and he took part in the weightlifting competition at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.  I hope to come back soon.
Best regards.

Pedro Mateus


The bench on the Downs

This iron bench on the path up to St Hilary Downs has been rediscovered.  The inscription on the seat reads:
“This seat was given by Mrs Thomas Allen of 42 Connaught Square London in commemoration of the coronation of King George V 1911."
According the history documented on the St Hilary website Mrs Thomas Allen was the grandmother of Elgiva Ackland Allen. Click on this link to read more about the Ackland Allen family.
Thank you to Jane and Charles Williams from Stable Cottage, St Hilary for clearing the path to the bench. We can now enjoy the view!

Queen’s golden jubilee celebrations (June 2002)

Always up for a social event the villagers celebrated the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in June 2002 with a luncheon picnic on the green outside the Crescent. The bunting was raised and everyone raised a glass (or two!) to the Queen.
 To mark the occasion an extra bank holiday was announced for Monday 3 June 2002. 
 And the Palace issued 50 Facts about the Golden Jubilee 50 facts about the Queen's Golden Jubilee
(higher resolution photos on tne St Hilary Chit Chat Facebook page)

St Hilary Collage1 edited-1 - Copy     TD front group - Copy

Neudeggs collage - Copy    Lords collage - Copy

Janet Morton - Copy





A message from Lucy Griffin (July 2016)

Hi, my name is Lucy Griffin and I lived  with my family at New Beaupre House from 1954 until 1967. I am trying to find my childhood friends who lived at Erw Vain house just outside the village. There were 4 daughters Wanda, Juliet, Michelle and Carey, believed to have moved to Buckinghamshire.  They always had lots of animals. I would love to hear from them or anyone else that knew me. I still hold St Hilary in my heart and visit when am in Wales, hoping to find some old friends.

Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  if you can help.  Click on read more below to see the response(s).


The Secret Gardens of St Hilary (July 2016)

It's a bit cold for summer, but only a few weeks ago there was glorious sunshine which drew everyone into their gardens.

And, there are some stunning gardens in the village. This is one we recently came across – overflowing with colour and hidden away from public view!! Can you guess whose garden it is?

secretgarden-collage sm

There are more pictures on St Hilary Chit Chat (FB):

If you would like to share your garden with others you can either send photos …. or we are happy to visit to take some for you.


Anyone know Lynda Evans? (March 2016)

Here’s a message from Norma Aldridge

This is a bit of a long shot! My friend and I have been trying to locate someone we were in school with and haven't seen for many years. Her name was Lynda Evans and her father kept The Bush Inn and then The Star in Troes. Would you know anyone who is still in contact with Lynda's sisters? The last time we saw Lynda was after she was married and living in The Forest of Dean. Unfortunately, we can't remember her married name!
Thank you. 

 Please contact us if you can help.  Click the Read More link for two interesting and useful responses.

The Story of the Bruce Family of The Grange (26 June 2015)

West of St Hilary Church is the 1875 vicarage, now known as the Grange, currently owned by Isobelle and Peter Lowe. Previously, it was the home of Sir Gerald Trevor Knight Bruce who was a solicitor in the firm of Morgan Bruce & Nicholas.  Click on the read more link below to read about how his son set a world mountainerring record when he made an attempt to climb Mount Everest and his link with the Village Hall.


Bill & Gill Clay’s Story of St Hilary Village Life (16 June 2016)

Bill Clay has lived in the village since 1938 and Gill moved to the village when she married Bil in 1968.  
Click on the read more link below to read their wonderful story of living in the village.

Phil Dobson's story

ffynnonwen Phil Dobson lived at Ffynnon Wen (currently occupied by Terry and Monica Dennis) between 1977 and 1979 (taken from house deeds). Phil now lives in Cowbridge. Click on the read more link below for his full story.

Ackland Allen family of the Manor House

As a result of delving around the social history of the village we have found some information about the Ackland Allen family, former residents of the Manor House. The Acland Allens were related to Elizabeth Giles, formerly of Manor Piece.  And there's a connection to the broadcaster, David Dimbleby.
Click the read more link below for more details.

Villagers' Stories

Monica and Caroline are developing an archive of villagers' memories of the village. Click on Memories of the village in the current news menu on the left for all the stories in a "home page" format.  Or click here or Village archives under the "The People and the Place" heading in the menu on the left to see a list of all the articles to date.
If you would like to contribute, but have not been contacted please get in touch with
Monica: 07811 159800 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
Caroline: 07967 976076 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

The mystery of Wendy Cottage - solved!

In Caroline’s story she mentions Wendy Cottage and, initially, we were at a loss which house she is referring to.

However, the mystery has been solved. At the tea and cakes afternoon on 4 November 2014, Bill Strong informed us that his house (Ochiltree) used to be called Wendy Cottage and he shared a letter with us that had been sent to the Western Mail.  Click on read more below for the letter.


Caroline Arnold's (nee Vaughan) Story

My mother and father, Ken and Edith Vaughan and I moved into 3 Hall Cottages in St Hilary in 1950. I was 2 years old. We moved from the Hunt Stables in Llandough, St Mary Church.
Click on the read more link below for the full story

An Olympic athlete in the village

Here's a bit of village history:
On 27 July 1952 Mel Barnet, who was the landlord of the Bush Inn, represented Great Britain in the Heavyweight Lightweight Weightlifting event at the Olympic Games in Helsinki. It was the first time that this event was included in the Olympic programme (Source: XV Olympiad Helsinki 1952. Publication from the Olympic Museum)

Click on the link below to see the list of his podium finishes in major championships:


Mary and Ralph's story

Ralph was born in Fishweir Farm in St Mary Church, which has the highest roof in Glamorgan.  He moved into Village Farm, now occupied by the Lewis family, in November 1946.
Mary is from Fonmon. Her father was a builder and undertaker – W. James and Son. They also had a wheelwright shop.
They met when they were 16 on Fontygary beach.
Don’t ask me how we met there because he doesn’t like the beach, but I lived on the beach”.

A message from Debbie Piedmont

Debbie Piedmont is trying to find information about her relatives.
Her 1st cousin twice removed was John Edwards Denbury who was born Oct- Dec 1875. 
His parents were John & Martha Denbury, her twice removed great aunt and uncle.
His brother, Francis and his wife Mary, had 4 children, 3 of whom were born in St. Hilary:
1: Lilian Mary Denbury  born 1892
2: John Stephen Denbury born 1893 or 1894?
3: Francis Harold Denbury born 1895
Hannah J Denbury  and Morgan Denbury lived in St. Hilary according to the 1881 census,  Hannah was 8 and Morgan 10
If you have any information which will help Debbie in finding living descendants of the Denbury family please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and we will put you in touch.

Best kept village

The Best Kept Village Competition in the Vale of Glamorgan was established in 1953 as part of the Vale’s celebrations for the Queen's Coronation. 
The competition was started by local businessman and philanthropist, D C Jones. He donated a superb gilded silver cup for the competition, to be presented each year to the winning village. The cup is still presented annually, but has become simply a silver cup since zealous cleaning by the villages each year has removed all the external gold gilding!
St Hilary won the best kept village competition in 1959, 1962 and 1990.
Click on "read more" below for all the details.

St Hilary 900 Commemorative Programme

Whilst going through some old files we found a commemorative programme for St Hilary 900.
Pages 3 & 4 have a list of the residents of the village in 1990 - it's bound to bring back memories for those who lived in the village at the time.
Click here for a low resolution pdf file (700kb) - contact us directly if you would like us to email a higher resolution copy (4mb).

The Howes in the 1600s

familytree I am researching my family tree and I have managed to take one branch of my family, the Howes, back to the late 1600s. As far as I can see all the Howes in St Hilary at that time were related and I was wondering if anyone can offer any further information about this family or life in St Hilary at that time.

Mansel Jones This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Memories of the 1970s

We bought Dan y Bryn next to the Bush from Mel Barnett in 1972.  He had a bar built into the lounge but my mother had it taken out, much to my father's disappointment!  Yes he was a world weightlifter as you say.

Jane Pope used to live where Mary and Ralph Thomas live now.  Her mother used to work in the Flamingo Transport cafe, which is now Loch Fyne, and they used to drive a general store van around the village selling stuff.  Jane worked in the back and her mother drove!

I have got great memories of the village from the 1970s.  I was very lucky to grow up there!

All the best
Rob (Price)


Greetings from New Zealand

Hello all St Hilarians!
I would just like to wish the villagers a very happy and successful Right Royal Occasion for Friday 29th!  I think it is a fabulous idea and great to bring back the village sprit. I have fond memories of St Hilary and of winning the village carnival in June 1977  (Silver Jubilee year) dressed as the Queen (I was only 10) and my aunt lent me her Corgi to finish off the outfit!
The Pope family lived in St Hilary for many generations and many now rest quietly in the churchyard.  No doubt many will be thanking you for giving the village its heart back.  St Hilary will always be "home" to me no matter where in world I am.
Have a fabulous day.  I hope to see some photos on the web site.
Best wishes
Jane Edwards (nee Pope), Papamoa Beach, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand