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Wick, Vale of Glamorgan
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Wick (Welsh: Y Wig) is a small village in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, situated about 2 miles from the coast. The closest towns are Bridgend, Cowbridge, and Llantwit Major.
The village has 2 charming little pubs, a shop and a school. There are plenty of places to walk or cycle in the beautiful countryside surrounding the village. Visitors to Wick can also walk to the spectacular local beaches, Traeth Bach and Traeth Mawr, via the Cwm Nash footpath at Monknash or from Dunraven Bay at Southerndown. These beaches and cliffs form part of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast (SSSI).
Archaeological evidence suggests that there was settlement in Wick from around 1600BC when a small proto-Celtic community may have developed, farming the surrounding land on a subsidence basis. In later times Wick possibly formed part of an ancient drovers route, by-passing the toll road through nearby Cowbridge. There are some interesting historical features in the village (the most obvious being the remnants of a windmill) and some of the buildings in the village are known to be several hundred years old. The remains of a beacon tower lie just north-west of the village and to the south-west, on the cliff edge at Whitmore Stairs, is the earthworks of an Iron Age univallate fort, part of an ancient monument known as the Cwm Bach Camps. It is thought possible that the larger of the forts that make up this monument, situated approximately 1.5 miles away on the Trwyn y Witch headland, was at one time occupied by Caratacus (who lead the Silures in resistance to the Roman occupation). Given its proximity to Tusker Rock it is likely that Wick was a focus for Viking attacks on the south Wales coast. Local folklore suggests that beacons were lit on high ground around the village to warn of such raids and that attacks were fiercely resisted. It is thought that the village eventually came under Norman control in around 1097AD. Other scheduled ancient monuments in Wick include Buarth Mawr Barn and Rhyle round barrow. Various archaeological finds have been made in Wick, including the discovery of a hoard of five Late Bronze Age socketed axes by Mr. Adrian Jones.
The coastline to the south and west of Wick is formed of rocks of the Lower Lias series that display horizontal stratification. It is from the top of these cliffs that, according to local folklore, the 'Wreckers of Wick' would lure ships onto the rocks by lighting beacons in the times before modern navigation. It is suggested that after the cargo had been plundered from the ships the bodies of the sailors would be recovered from the beach by the Monks from the monastic grange at nearby Monknash and taken to what is now the Plough & Harrow Inn where they were prepared for burial. Historically this stretch of coastline has one of the highest instances of shipwrecks in Wales, its exposure to the Atlantic swell, south-westerly winds and shallow reefs making it treacherous to shipping. More recently the coastline has become popular with surfers, with beach breaks and reef breaks catering for a range of abilities.
The parish church of Wick is dedicated to Saint James the Great, and like many of the other churches in the parish dates from the 12th century. It began as a chapel, but was later gifted to Ewenny Priory. It is a Grade 2* listed building and consists of a chancel, nave, south porch and western 'saddle back' tower. The church is built in the Early English Period style, although the oldest parts of the structure such as the chancel arch, the south door and a small window in the chancel, all date from the 12th century. The church has a medieval stone mensa (rectangular) altar, views of which are provided through the 'squints' (hagioscopes) from the nave. The altar has unusual niches on either side, which probably contained statues of St James and the Blessed Virgin in centuries past. St James' was the subject of a major Victorian restoration 125 years ago and further additions have been made since then. The registers date from 1813. Wick also has a Unitarian and General Baptist Chapel that has held regular services since 1792.
Approximately 1 mile to the west of the village is Monks Wood, a 10 acre plantation of mixed native species managed by the Woodland Trust and the Monks Wood Committee. The wood was planted with native broad-leaved trees and shrubs by villagers from Wick in November 2000. A wide mown path follows a circular route through the site and there is an information display for visitors. Another area of ecological importance is Clemenstone Meadows, directly to the north of the village, comprising 2 traditionally managed meadows on either side of a brook that support a number of rare plant species.
Wick is home to the Wick Rugby Club and the Wick & District Cricket Club. The village is also home to the champion international cyclist Nicole Cooke.
On November 28, 2006, the village of Wick became the first community in the UK to be switched over to British Telecom's "21st Century Network" (21CN); an advanced high-speed broadband network that will be rolled out throughout the UK over the coming years, replacing all of BT's existing networks. Laura Wess, 11, made the first call using the system from Wick and Marcross Primary School to the Right Reverend John Davies, bishop of St Asaph in north Wales.
Wick - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
WICK, a parish, in the union of Bridgend and Cowbridge, hundred of Ogmore, county of Glamorgan, South Wales, 5½ miles (S.) from Bridgend; containing 337 inhabitants. It is situated on the coast of the Bristol Channel, and intersected by a road from Lantwit Major to St. Bride's Major; the surface is rather flat, with very little timber, and the soil partly a stiff clay or rich loam, capable of producing wheat, barley, and turnips. The living is consolidated with the vicarage of St. Bride's Major: the church, dedicated to St. James, is a plain edifice, supposed to have been erected about the year 1300, and measuring sixty feet in length and twenty-five in breadth. There are places of worship for General Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists; a day and Sunday National school, and two Sunday schools connected with the dissenters. Anthony Patch bequeathed £5, Thomas Williams a small rent-charge, and two unknown benefactors the respective sums of £14 and £10, for the relief of the poor; but all these charities, which, in 1786, produced £1. 16. per annum for distribution, have been since lost, and nothing has been received out of them for the last twenty or thirty years.
Near the church are the ruins of an extensive building covered with ivy, by some supposed to have been a religious house, though there is no record of any establishment of the kind; and by others thought to have been one of the ancient halls so frequently to be met with in the county, in which the lords marcher held their courts, and which were subsequently converted into schools and almshouses, and were generally known by the appellation of "church houses." But it has now been clearly ascertained that the building is nothing more than a large "cattle fold," which is indeed the literal meaning of its name, Y Buarth Mawr; a simple fact, which presents a striking instance of the insecurity of property in these parts in former days. Almost all the villages around are built about the churches as centres, with a spacious area within the circle for folding the cattle and other stock of the district, which were driven to these places of security at nightfall, and carefully guarded from the depredations of the evervigilant foe, who hovered about the coast, and in his light craft was ready to make a descent on the unwary or negligent inhabitants, carrying away, not only their goods and chattels, but frequently their persons into captivity. All along this coast are innumerable traces of the fierce contests between the former inhabitants and their harassing spoilers. Every natural eminence was taken advantage of, and rudely converted into some kind of fortification. Every combe or cwm bears evident traces of having been the scene of a deadly struggle; and the size and strength of the building above referred to, evince that it was no easy task to repel the attacks, it being furnished with embrasures and loop-holes, and the porch or great entrance being defended on each side like the outer port of a castle.
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