Donatt's (St.) - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
DONATT'S (ST.), a parish, in the union of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Ogmore, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 6½ miles (S. W.) from Cowbridge; containing 151 inhabitants. This place is distinguished as the site of an ancient castle, formerly of great strength and magnificence, which was one of the twelve fortresses erected by the Norman knights who attended Fitz-Hamon in his conquest of this part of the principality. The lordship of St. Donatt's was given by Fitz-Hamon to Sir William le Esterling, or Stradling, in the possession of whose descendants it continued without interruption for more than six hundred years, until the decease of Sir Edward Stradling, Bart, at Montpelier, in 1738. It then passed, with the castle, to Mr. Fontaine Tyrwhitt, and both are now the property of Thomas Tyrwhitt Drake, Esq., grandnephew of that gentleman. The castle is situated on the sea-coast, and is an extensive pile of building, occupying a spacious quadrangle, over the gate leading into which are the arms of the Stradlings: part of it is habitable, and in the later style of English architecture. The park lies to the west of it; the gardens are on the south, between the walls of the castle and the sea, and are formed on terraces descending to the shore of the Bristol Channel, of which they command a fine view. Within the park is a quadrangular watch-tower of lofty elevation and picturesque appearance, which, according to local tradition, was erected for observing vessels in distress, not for the purpose of rendering assistance, but with a view to take immediate possession of the wreck. In the neighbourhood is a cave of considerable extent and grandeur, accessible at low water, which in the summer time is much visited by parties of pleasure, who, after having been gratified with a view of the romantic beauties of the place, usually dine upon the rocks.
The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £3. 14. 4½., and endowed with £200 royal bounty; present net income, £131; patron, Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake. The church is beautifully situated beneath the castle, in a romantic dell abounding with valuable timber, and contains, in a small sepulchral chapel belonging to the owner of the castle, some handsome monuments of the Stradlings, and an elegant sarcophagus of white marble to the memory of the last of that name, who died abroad: there are also several paintings of the fifteenth century, commemorating different members of that family. In the churchyard stands a cross, of elaborate design and execution. A Church Sunday school is held in the parsonage-house; and the interest of £20, partly arising from a bequest by Catherine Hyatt, in 1786, is annually distributed to the poor, generally among four widows.