Ewenny (Y Wenwy) - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
EWENNY (Y WENWY), a parish, in the union of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Ogmore, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, on the road from Cardiff to Swansea, 2 miles (S. E. by S.) from Bridgend; containing 211 inhabitants. A manufacture of brown earthenware was extensively carried on here at a very early period, it being alluded to in the writings of the Welsh bards upwards of three centuries ago; and from the shape of the vessels here made being similar to those of ancient Roman earthenware found in other places, it has been boldly conjectured to have existed ever since the dominion of that people in Britain. Since the commencement of the present century, seven kilns were kept in full operation, supplying a great part of South Wales with this species of pottery. The clay from which it was chiefly manufactured was procured upon the spot, from a bed varying from ten to fourteen feet in thickness, resting on reddish sand, and occupying a tract about three-quarters of a mile in length and half a mile in breadth. The works were likewise conveniently situated for fuel, being only four miles distant from the Bryn-Cethin colliery. The river Ewenny, a tributary of the Ogmore, flows by or through the parish: its name signifies "the white stream;" and it abounds in sewin, trout, and a fineflavoured fish called the gwyniad.
The living is a donative, in the patronage of Richard Turberville Turberville, Esq., the impropriator; net income, £40. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a fine old building, in the Norman style of architecture, consisting of a nave, chancel, and one transept, forming part of the remains of the church of a Benedictine priory here. The priory was founded, soon after the Conquest, by Thomas de Londres, lord of Ogmore, and in 1141 was made by Maurice de Londres a cell to St. Peter's Abbey at Gloucester: its revenue, in the 26th of Henry VIII., was estimated at £78.0. 8., and it was granted in the 37th of the same reign, as part of the possessions of that abbey, to Sir Edward Carne, an eminent civilian, from whose family it was transferred by marriage to the Turbervilles. Divine service is performed in the nave: the chancel has been used as the family burial-place of the proprietors since the Reformation, and contains some interesting monuments, among which are, one to the memory of Maurice de Londres, a splendid altar-tomb to one of the family of Carne, and an elegant mural monument to the last proprietor, Richard Picton Turberville, Esq., by whom the adjacent family seat was modernised. This mansion stands within the fortifications of the monastic edifice, and is a plain substantial structure, containing numerous elegant apartments, and exceeded in the comforts of its internal arrangements by few houses in the county. Of the ancient conventual buildings, three towers with gateways still remain, mantled with ivy: under the tower of the south gate was a deep dungeon, only six feet in diameter, the entrance covered by a strong iron grating, through which prisoners were let down. The whole forms an interesting group, and may be considered one of the most perfect relics of ecclesiastical architecture in the principality. The seal of Isabel, daughter of William, Earl of Gloucester, who had for her dower the lordship of Glamorgan, and was married, first to Prince (subsequently King) John, son of Henry II., afterwards to the Earl of Essex, and lastly to Hubert de Burgh, has been found here: together with her own titles, it is inscribed with that of Countess of Morton, which she derived from her first husband, who was Earl of Morton. The Calvinistic Methodists have a place of worship close by the village, and the Particular Baptists one at Corntown, a village about half a mile distant from the village of Ewenny: a Sunday school is held in each meeting-house. A bequest of £50, by Elizabeth Jones, in 1821, was vested in the three and a half per cent. consolidated Bank annuities, and the dividend, £1. 13. 9., is annually distributed among the poor.