As we look forward to the next stage of the Bro Cynffig Chronicles project, the participating organisations can be justly proud of the success of the project to date.
During the last two years over 1500 school children have taken part in one form or another in the project. Helped by about 300 adult volunteers and school staff.
During their routine inspection of the participating schools, the HM Inspectorate for Education in Wales commented on the added value that involvement in the project has brought to school activities and in one case described the schools involvement as a 'considerable achievement'. The schools have also received commendations from the Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative.
We are pleased to announce that the project has been successful in obtaining funding for phase two, thanks to support from the Welsh Assembly Government, Community Focused Schools Grant programme. This further recognises the value of the project to schools and the wider community.
We would be delighted if you could help us with phase two, to find out how why not get in touch?
The publishing of a book and a series of history trail leaflets made by the schools, mark the ending of the first phase of the Bro Cynffig Chronicles Project.
The book, "The Bro Cynffig Chronicles" shows what the children have discovered about the history of the Cynffig area. Filled with their drawings and writings, it is packed with little gems of local history, some never before seen in print.
Accompanying the book is a series of seven "Trail leaflets", produced by the six participating schools, Corneli, Afon y Felin, Pil, Mynydd Cynffig Juniors and Infants, Cefn Cribwr and Ysgol y Ferch o'r Sger. These leaflets take the reader on a journey, around the immediate locality of the school describing things that went on there in the past.
Over the next few weeks each school will be hosting it's own book launch were you can obtain copies of both the book and leaflets.
The Bro Chronicles Project continues to engage our young people in the history of the place were they live. If you would like to help with phase two, why not get in touch?
The Bro Cynffig Chronicles project is a community project, which in addition to the work done directly within the schools also includes Community Groups providing support in other ways.
An example of this is Y Cefn Gwyrdd who have been developing material and resources on local history, designed for schools and the community.
Last month saw an audience of almost a hundred people attend the Community Centre at Cefn Cribwr to see the premier of the Y Gwyrdd's film "The Iron Dream".
Produced as part of the Bro Cynffig Chronicles project, it is set in 1826 and tells the story of how ordinary people lived in those days, and of one mans ambition to make iron in Cefn Cribwr.
William Bryant, the son of a brewer tried where John Bedford had failed, to fulfil his dream of turning Cefn Cribwr into the second biggest iron producing area in Wales after Merthyr
Written and enacted by members of Y Gwyrdd, the film was thoroughly enjoyed by all and received rapturous applause. It should be released on DVD in the autumn.
The Cynffig Chronicles web site continues to provide a window, showing first hand all the excellent work being done by the children on their school history projects. One of the more recent additions are Welsh language sections from Ysgol Y Ferch o'Sger, our local Welsh medium primary school.
They take the reader on a walk through Victorian Cornelly starting at the cross and the blacksmiths shop, and on past the site of the "old school", opened in 1876, one of the first schools in the area.
Next, to the New House and the Cornelly Arms, where the little square has remained virtually unchanged for more than a hundred years and where in the hedge, hops still grow. Travelling on past Capel Y Pil, once the centre of all village life, you can read about the Brunel's visits to supervise the building of the railway.
The walk ends at the Crown Inn, originally Pyle stationmasters house and office, and often used to carry out enquires into local mining accidents.
The pupils from the schools taking part in the Cynffig Chronicles Project have been working very hard. Their investigations have uncovered many interesting facts about the history of the Cynffig area. Here is a selection.
In the 1920's the corner of Bridge Street and Waunbant Road in Kenfig Hill was known as "Penniless Corner" where the unemployed miners would gather and talk.
Llanmihangel Farm mill was not used to grind flour but for producing a felt like material used to make clothes.
The first school in Kenfig Hill was held in a barn at the bottom of Evans Street.
Parking fines aren't new. In 1873 a man was found to have blocked the highway at Cefn Cribwr when he left his horse and cart outside the Farmers Arms. He was fined a pound.
The railway that once ran through Kenfig Hill started as a tramway for horse and carts taking coal to Porthcawl.
The tall chimney at Marlas farm was made with stone from Kenfig Castle.
Henry VIII's wife Anne Boleyn is thought to have once stayed in South Cornelly.
The project has been attracting interest far and wide with some unexpected outcomes.
Like Mary Lochrie, who got in touch with us from Scotland, searching for long lost relatives. She only knew that they once ran the Pen y Mynydd guesthouse at Kenfig. But we found them for her, living in Kenfig Hill.
Mr Roy James wondered what to do with a medal, which was presented to his father by the people of Kenfig Hill for his services in the First World War. He has now very kindly presented the medal to Mynydd Cynffig Juniors at a specially organised morning assembly.
We were able to send Mr Davidson from Sussex a photograph of his great grand father John Lloyd, who was the very first Head teacher of Cefn Cribbwr Primary School,
The projects web site also continues to receive praise far and wide, for example Dr Peter Thomas Professor of Surgery at a University in America, saw our site and sent us photographs of his boyhood in Kenfig Hill.
The Cynffig Chronicles project now moves into its third year and so far there are more than 28 separate school history projects completed. Most of these are displayed here on the Chronicles web site. You can find drawings, photographs, historical facts, interviews and many other things collected by local children.
They record Cynffig's past, in the children's own words. From the medieval to post war, including the shops, industry, railways, farming, churches and what it was like in the past for ordinary people.
New school history projects are being added to the web site all the time but now the project has moved on to a new phase. Using what the History Hunters have discovered about the history of various locations around their schools, the children are preparing a series of History Trail leaflets. These leaflets will provide a guide, which direct the reader to each of the sites of historical interest that the children have investigated.
Each of the participating schools will be producing it's own individual History Trail leaflet and information on how to obtain copies will be posted on the web site closer to publication.
The pupils of Mynydd Cynffig Infants School are taking part in the Cynffig Chronicles project and they have been learning about a fire that destroyed the shops near their school in 1913.
The fire began in the Drapers shop on the corner of the "Top Cross" which was known then as Bowens Cross
Mr Parker, the owner, had hung an oil lamp in the window so that passers by could see the clothes he had for sale. But the oil lamp accidentally fell, setting the clothes alight.
The fire quickly spread down Commercial Street, burning the Chemist shop next door, the Hairdressers and Tobacconists and finally Leicester Boot Stores. The heat smashed the windows on the post office across the road
The fire brigade could do little to save the shops, which were completely destroyed. The fire engine was just a horse and cart and they had to go to Waunbant Road down the hill for the nearest fire hydrant.
One of the schools taking part in the Cynffig Chronicles project is Afon y Felin Primary in Cornelly. Afon y Felin means the mill on the river and the school badge is a watermill. Near to the school, is Llanmihangel Farm and this is where the watermill from which the school takes its name used to be. It was not for making flour; instead it made a sort of felt used in the making of clothes.
The children are planning to include details of the mill in the History trail leaflet that they will publish as part of the Chronicles project.
Also included in the leaflet will be information Class 3 has found about Ty Maen, a farm in South Cornelly. They were learning about Henry VIII when they discovered that one of his wives Ann Boleyn is believed to have stayed there.
Later this year all the schools involved will be publishing their own history trail leaflets, each with information about places of history around their particular school
Members of the Kenfig History Society have always been extremely supportive of the Bro Cynffig Chronicles project, ever since they first helped to get it established. It was only fitting then, that the project has ended its second successful year, with a visit to the Society and with an exhibition of the work being done by our local school children.
There were hundreds of examples of items on display, ranging from drawings of the medieval village of Kenfig, to written interviews with people who remember watching the bombs dropping over Swansea, and to detailed research papers and documents recording the changes in the streets of Kenfig Hill. The Society was shown the work that the children have put on the projects web site, its gallery of photographs, loaned by members of the public and a film inspired by the work of the children of Cefn.
The Kenfig Society has a remarkable reputation for researching and recording local history; the exhibition showed them, that the Cynffig Chronicles History Hunters of our schools are following in their footsteps.
Pil Primary School was opened in June 1926 at a cost of £1300 and the pupils have been finding out what it was like to be in school then.
At first some children could not attend because they were still saving up for boots, and in early 1927 there was a bad flu epidemic. Later that year, just before Christmas a boiler exploded hurting a number of children. Worse was still to come, in 1928 there was a measles epidemic and in January 1929 a Scarlet fever epidemic, in which many children died.
Past pupils have also been telling the children what it was like during the War, when every few days there was an air raid warning and the children were sent home. Many evacuees also came to Pyle, escaping bombs dropping on the big cities and the school became so full, lessons had to be given in the hall.
The History Hunters of Afon Y Felin Primary school are particularly interested in finding out about the history of farming in the area. As part of the Chronicles project, the children of Afon Y Felin were sent on a visit to St Fagans Museum to see first hand old farming tools and machinery. They saw horse drawn ploughs and corn shears, and bailers and they began investigating how farmers used to live many years ago.
Now that they are back in school, they would really like to hear from anyone who can tell them about the farms around Cornelly.
Afon y Felin School is named after the mill at Llanmihangel farm, but they don’t have any pictures, which show what the mill originally looked like. Can you help? Or do you perhaps have some photographs you could loan the school, which show farming in the area.
Our best wishes and congratulations go to the Seaside News on its 10th Anniversary. It’s continued support, through these pages, is one of the reasons Cynffig Chronicles has been so successful. It has brought the project to the attention of the many members of the public, who have come forward to help our local school children become history hunters.
As we start a new school year, the children are resuming their hunt to uncover the history of the area and they still need you help.
Do you have any old photographs, which show Kenfig Hill station, railway line, or the bridge at the bottom of Bridge Street? If you do, the children at Mynydd Cynffig Juniors would love to hear from you. They have been investigating the Dyffryn Llynvi Porthcawl Railway, originally built as a tramway with horses pulling cartloads of coal to the docks at Porthcawl. In 1861 the tramway it was rebuilt as a railway line and for the first time used to transport passengers.
With the school holidays upon us, it gives us the opportunity to thank the many hundreds of people around the area who have been supporting the Cynffig Chronicles History Project.
There are far too many individuals to mention by name, like all those people who have helped by going into schools to be interviewed by the children. Then there are the local History group members, who have been visiting the schools, and the scores of people have helped simply by telling their grandchildren or children what it was like when they were young.
Many people have generously loaned schools their precious family photographs. Thanks to these, our picture gallery on the Chronicles web site is now full of hundreds of old photographs.
The History Hunters of Corneli Primary School need your help. This year they are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the opening of their school and they would like to know about their school, and what it was like to be a pupil all those years ago.
When their school was first opened, it was known locally as the “double decker” because of course, it had two storeys, but can anyone explain why the reception area was called the “Crush Hall”. The children would love to hear from you if you know, or if you can lend them any old photographs of the school.
Meanwhile class 7 at Corneli Primary have been have been hearing from Mr Barrie Griffiths of the Kenfig History Society about what the town of Kenfig was like 700 years ago. Over the next few weeks, look out for the maps and drawings they have been producing in class as they start to appear on the Bro Cynffig Chronicles web site.
The children or rather the ‘History Hunters’ of Cefn Cribwr Primary have been extremely busy over the past few month exploring the history of places around their school. They’ve discovered the site of the old blacksmith shop near Cae Prentice, and Cefn Junction signal box, built in 1896.They have also learnt that Cefn Cribwr had it’s own brickworks, which made the bricks that were used to build Bedford Road and possibly used by Edward Mazey when he built the White Lion in 1840,They have found that their own school Cefn Cribwr Primary was opened in 1894, built with stone from the Ton, but the first school in Cefn, was established many years before that, in 1841 at Siloam Chapel.
The Chronicles project is now in its second year and during this time three school inspections have taken place and on every occasion Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMI) has commended the project on its ability to blend curriculum based work with community activities.
Our congratulations go to Corneli Primary for being the first school to display their pupils’ work on the Cynffig Chronicles web site. The children of class seven, have all been learning about the markets that were once held in the old town of Kenfig. If you visit their web page you can read what Cameron, Emily, Brittani, Luke, Abigail, Gracie, Emmalyn, Casey and Abbey have found out, as they write about bears, jugglers and other goings on. There are also some delightful drawings that the class has produced. The children are now looking forward to a trip to Kenfig so that they can explore the Castle and Maudlam Church for themselves
The Cynffig Chronicles project web site has now been updated with specially designed enhancements to help the teachers and children from our local schools record the history of Cynffig in their own words.
It also has new picture Gallery section, where you will find a copy of the many photographs that have been loaned by members of the public to the schools involved in the Chronicles project. Here you can see glimpses of what life was like before the motorcar, when our streets were filled with shops of all kinds, and railway trains ran through Kenfig Hill. From the collieries of Aberbaiden and Pentre to the Cornelly show, the photographs provide a fascinating insight into our Community in years gone by.
If you have old photographs you would like to share with the schools and perhaps have them included on our web site or if you can give us more information about any of the photographs already there, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch with your local school or ring us at 07870 277359. We promise to take very good care of your photographs and return them promptly.
Recently, teachers and school history coordinators, representing all the schools in the Cynffig area came together in a one-day workshop, as part of the Cynffig Chronicles history project.
The teachers brought with them examples of the work being done on the project by children at their schools and they were able to share the experiences they have been having with their classes, when collecting information from the public.
Most of the schools are now ready to start putting the children’s work onto the Chronicles web site, so that all the community can share the information collected. During the workshop the teachers were shown how to use the specially designed software tools that have been developed for the project. These tools allow the teachers and their pupils to easily post their work on the web in their own special pages.
Look out for these as they begin to appear over the next few months.
As we start the New Year, the children taking part in the Bro Cynffig Chronicles project are resuming their hunt to uncover the history of the area around their schools.
There can’t be many people in Cynffig who don’t know about Kenfig Castle, but the children of Cefn Cribwr Primary have found that Cynffig can boast of having two castles.
They have discovered that our second castle was a motte and bailey castle, built around 1150 by Geoffery Sturmy, a French Lord who came to Cynffig with the Norman invasion. He built a village called Sturmiestown with a church and a castle to defend it. It didn’t do him much good because just 25 years later the monks took the font from the church to Margam Abbey and the area was abandoned. Surprisingly the remains of the castle motte can still be clearly seen today as a raised circular mound of earth in the valley between Stormy Down and Cefn Cribwr at Stormy Farm.
In November Mynydd Cynffig infants held their history week, and it proved a great success. All the people who came to the school during the week commented on how much they enjoyed talking with the children and how interested the children were in their stories.
As part of the history week, a group of children from the school visited the newly refurbished Talbot Institute in Kenfig Hill to see its large collection of old photographs. The children made videos of the visit using the special equipment provided as part of the project. Meanwhile at Mynydd Cynffig Juniors, they having been busy making maps of the area around their school and searching for things to put on their history trail.
We look forward to seeing their efforts on our web site in the next few months.
The Bro Cynffig Chronicles project is now beginning to gather pace as more and more children are getting involved. They are our History Hunters and with the help of local people they are finding out all about the history of Cynffig.
Mynydd Cynffig Infants are holding a special history week in November when they are inviting local people to come to the school to be interviewed by the children and tell them what it was like when they where children. The History Hunters of Pil Primary are off to find the exact location of a well dating from the Tudor period that they have discovered is near their school, and at Corneli Junior they searching for old wedding photographs taken at Maudlam and Capel Y Pil to see how tastes in fashions have changed.
The pupils of Cynffig Comprehensive are investigating the effects of the Second World War on the area and are keen to speak with anyone who can help them find out more about the gallant men and women whose names are on local cenotaphs.
Did you know that Highwaymen once held up and robbed travellers at Pyle? Did you know that there might have been a Viking settlement where Cynffig Comprehensive School now lies? And would you be surprised to learn that a man called Llewyllyn ap Griffith was hanged at Kenfig. These are just some of the things the children of Cornelly, Pyle, Kenfig Hill and Cefn Cribwr are finding out as they take part in the Bro Cynffig Chronicles Project.
The two-year project, funded by the Heritage lottery, aims to record the story of the history of the Cynffig area, through the words, drawings and activities of its children.
Every school in the Cynffig area is participating in the Project, including Cefn Cribwr Primary, Mynydd Cynffig Junior, Mynydd Cynffig Infants,Pyle Primary, Afon y Felin, Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sger, Cornelly Primary and Cynffig Comprehensive.
The children will be interviewing people, collecting old photographs, and producing history trails of the area around their school. If you can help they would really like to hear from you.