LLANMAES OLD AND NEW
A couple of weeks ago a new baby was born in the village - Lauren Bailey, of 1, Grove Cottage, who qualifies as our youngest resident. Our oldest, 94 year old Ollie Meredith of the Pines Flat, just across the road, knitted the baby a cardigan - a small kindness which delighted the baby's mother, 26 year old Paula, who moved here from Essex two years ago with her husband, Mike.
For Paula and Mike, this kind of generosity is typical of the village. They could have moved to any one of the Vale villages. They saw Grove Cottage and fell in love with it, and the village, when they walked around.
Grove Cottage .... as it was.
The stream, wending its way through, was a particular attraction. When Mike decided to rebuild the wall at the bottom of the garden, the man who had lived in Grove Cottage many years before, Glyn David, came around and pitched in to help, without being asked. Paula says people in the modern city she lived in before would not have dreamt to do that.
Ollie knows the village very well, having moved here in 1925 with her family. They lived at Pensarn Cottage. Her father was a drayman for the brewery in Llantwit Major. Mrs Meredith worked at Llanmaes House as a housemaid, and remembers getting up at six, heating water on a primus stove for baths for the gentry upstairs, and having eight or nine oil lamps because there was no electricity. The family living there at the time, the Carnes, did own a car, a privilege shared by the rector ( see photo).
Ollie's mother ran the Post Office, now a private home, and Ollie helped out there too She met her late husband, Dick, when he came in to buy cigarettes. Dick worked with the cattle herd at Great House Farm. In 1936 he went to work at St. Athan, where the new aerodrome was being built. He stayed there until he retired. Ollie remembers the dentist coming to the shop and extracting eight of her teeth, even though some were sound.
Ollie last visited the village pub in 1945, when she and Dick went along to celebrate the Declaration of Peace. She's just not much of a drinker. She is, however, still an active member of Llanmaes WI and takes part in village lunches and celebrations.
Ollie taking in the sun.
(Sadly, Ollie passed away shortly after this portfolio was prepared. Her memory will, however remain with us for many years to come and she is dearly missed.)
Another elder citizen of Llanmaes is 71 year old Glyn Williams, who was born in Forge Cottage and has never moved away from the village. His father and grandfather, and his brother, were all blacksmiths, working at the smithy alongside the pub.
The "boys" at work.
His great grand mother, Annie, built the pub in the middle of the last century. When Glyn was born his father paid £25 for the doctor to come out from Cardiff - a specialist, to attend the birth. His mother had been ill during her pregnancy and this ensured a safe delivery. Glyn remembers when the village's ten farms kept the smithy busy, with four horses each to be shod. His uncle was the wheelwright, a trade Glyn took up, as well as being the village undertaker. The carpenters was in front of Forge cottage, now replaced by two houses built at the turn of the century.
Glyn remembers a happy childhood, when he walked from the village to Llantwit to school, though a bus was provided in the winter. The school in the village closed at the beginning of the century. On a Monday, Mr Thomas, one of the local farmers, would stop to pick up a dray load of children on his way home from market. There were three markets in Llantwit then. Harry, Glyn's brother, whose proper name was Hendry, was the last blacksmith in the village. Neither brother married, Glyn says he wasn't interested in girls, though they enjoyed the whist drives held in the church hall, and Harry liked a drink at the Blacksmiths Arms. Harry died seven years ago.
Community action was alive and well in Llanmaes fifty years ago - when Glyn and 12 other local boys came home from serving in the Second World War, they were given £17 each - a fortune then - by the Welcome Home committee, a fund which had been set up by the Rector, Campbell Davies. Glyn was a choir boy, and remembers going carol singing around the village. The money raised from just 32 houses would be enough to pay for a trip to Cardiff by charabanc to see the Panto.
Llanmaes was bombed during the war. An incendiary went though the roof of Gadlys Farmhouse, and another was found and made safe in the Churchyard.
Glyn thinks the village is still a happy place to live. He doesn't mind the newcomers - the occasional one may not speak to him, but most fit in fine.
Colleen and Colin Bright also moved here two years ago. They live in Rectory Court and recently had their son, Arran, who's three and a half months old, baptised in the church. Colleen has become quite involved with the church, she says the congregation is friendly. The baptism took place during a normal Sunday morning service, and the Bright's invited their neighbours in Rectory Court to come along too. After the service they held a party in the Hall - Colleen couldn't praise it enough. She said the facilities were first class. She'd like to get more involved in the Best Kept village activities when her son is a little older. She'd like a Post Office in the village, but apart from that, thinks its wonderful - though maybe the pub, which is much appreciated, could stock stamps, milk, a few staples?
Paula Bailey, mother of Lauren, is now planning to work from her home office, a converted scullery at Grove Cottage. She too, enjoys village life enormously. She and her next door neighbour, Alison, a young solicitor working in Cardiff, came along to the meeting about the Best Kept Village competition and have helped out with the tidying. Paula thinks she and Mike will never move from Llanmaes. "Even if we won the Lottery, we would stay here, we love it," said Paula.
The Old Smithy and Implements
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