Gileston - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
GILESTON, a parish, in the union of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Cowbridge, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 6 miles (S. by E.) from Cowbridge; containing 43 inhabitants. This place, which is situated on the shore of the Bristol Channel, is said to have derived its name from the family of Giles, the former possessors of the manor; but as the church is dedicated to St. Giles, it is equally probable that it has taken its name from this latter circumstance. The parish is traversed by the branch turnpike-road leading from Cowbridge to the port of Aberthaw, and is bounded on the north, east, and west by the parish of St. Athan's. It comprises by admeasurement 343 acres, nearly the whole of which is comprehended in the lordship; about 188 acres are arable, 134 pasture, and 21 sea-beach. With the exception of the latter portion, the soil is in general a clayey loam, producing wheat, barley, and turnips, and occasionally oats, which, however, are very seldom sown. The scenery is interesting, the ground being undulated, and well wooded with elm, sycamore, ash, and various kinds of firs, of which those of the Scotch class thrive better than the others; the view of the Channel, and of the opposite coast of Somersetshire extending from the Quantock hills to below Porlock, is exceedingly beautiful. The coast here is particularly dangerous, and the sea frequently assumes an appearance of terrific grandeur, forming a striking contrast to the rural tranquillity of this sequestered spot. Limestone, which is principally used for agricultural purposes, is found in every part of the parish, and is extensively quarried; the lime of that obtained from the sea-beach is the strongest, and is commonly known by the name of Aberthaw lime, being in great repute for making cement.
The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £5. 13. 6½., and endowed with £200 private benefaction and £400 royal bounty; present net income, £80; patrons, the Edwardes family, who, by marriage into the family of Willis, successors to that of Giles, are proprietors of the manor, and owners of Gileston manor-house. The church is a small and very ancient structure of stone, forty-six feet and a half long and sixteen broad, with a tower which projects curiously beyond the line of the nave, and appears to have been built subsequently to the rest of the edifice. It is kept in the best repair, and the churchyard forms part of the ornamented grounds of the ancient manor-house, erected about 150 years ago, and delightfully situated within half a mile of the sea, of which, together with the opposite coast of Somersetshire, it commands an extensive view; the grounds are laid out with great taste, and the church forms a picturesque feature in the scenery. The old rectory-house, which stood at the back of the church, having become dilapidated, was taken down by the incumbent some time since.