Cowbridge

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!

I’ve been spending Christmas with the family in Wales and have only just got around to processing some of the pictures I took of where I grew up and went to Secondary School in Cowbridge, South Wales.

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My family moved to Penllyn, near Cowbridge, in 1989 and I started in school shortly afterwards and lived there until I left to go to university.

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Cowbridge is a small but ancient town in the rural Vale of Glamorgan, about 7 miles west of Cardiff. The town lies on the site of a Roman settlement identified by some as the fort of Bovium and the town lies alongside a Roman road. There are 17th century references to a ‘cow-bridge’ over a tributary of the river Thaw but Cowbridge’s Welsh name, Y Bont-faen, means literally ‘the stone bridge’

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On 13 March 1254, Cowbridge received its first borough charter from Richard de Clare, the Lord of Glamorgan. The town centre is still arranged on its medieval plan, with one long street divided into “burgage plots”. Substantial portions of the medieval walls, together with the south gate, are still standing.

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For me, Cowbridge is all about my teenage years, friends from that time and school. The school also has a long history, being founded in 1608 and had close links with Jesus College, Oxford through its later benefactor, Dr Leoline Jenkins.

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Famous pupils included the poet Alun Lewis and the actor Sir Anthony Hopkins (and my Dad…). By the time I arrived the old buildings were falling apart and the year I left the oldest parts of the school were mothballed, later becoming derelict.

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They’ve since been converted into luxury flats. The other part of the old school, constructed in the post war period has just been bulldozed to build more houses.

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It broke my heart to see this (apologies for the flare in the shot) sight. The crater is where the school buildings once stood. I should point out that there is still a school in Cowbridge, it has a brand new facility on the edge of town. I cannot help feeling that I would have been happier if the old buildings had been brought back into use as a school, but that’s life.

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Taken with my GH3, 7-14 and 12-35mm lenses.

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