Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society

A web log for the Resolven History Society which publishes articles and stories related to Resolven and the immediate surroundings.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas visit to Bryngarw House

Christmas trip to Bryngarw House
Last year the Society was fortunate enough to receive a grant from the Ffynnon Oer  wind farm to help us with our activities with regard to transport costs. A little of the grant still remained and it was decided to visit the Victorian Christmas event at Bryngarw House, Brynmenyn near Maesteg.

Some twenty members made the trip to the imposing mansion which was rather a mystery for most who had made the visit. The history of Bryngarw is very interesting and mirrors the provenance and fate of many other industrial revolution country houses in south Wales.

The history of the house itself is vague, but architectural evidence appears to indicate that it was originally a farmhouse, possibly dating from the 15th century. The first recorded date of its existence so far discovered, however, is 1743.

“Much has been altered throughout its history and is a mixture of period influence. It was renovated by a Victorian industrialist who had travelled extensively in the Far East, bringing back rare and exotic plants and antiques. The farmhouse was altered and extended when Morgan Popkin Traherne married and undertook the 1830 renovation.

The household was quite advanced for its time in that it generated its own electricity. Orchestra and piano recitals were performed outdoors on the lawn, as O.P. Traherne (Morgan's successor) was a keen music lover. He also loved hunting and fishing and played host to royalty who visited the park for hunting weekends.

Bryngarw House and park came into public ownership in 1961, and for several years it served various functions including council run accommodation, a caravan park and offices. Gradually, dry and wet rot took effect and the House fell into a state of dereliction, although its superb frontage was always a cause for curiosity amongst members of the public.

In 1983, work commenced to create the country park as it exists today, and in 1987 the building was made completely weather tight, and part of the first floor accommodation converted was into a self-contained flat to accommodate an assistant warden to the country park.

In 1993, European funding was gained to renovate the house to its present condition.”

It would be fair to say that the success of the day depended largely on the weather. The week leading to the 15th of December had been cold and frosty, however Friday turned wet and windy which made the lawn slippery and muddy. It also meant that many of the country walks in the grounds were difficult since the members were not dressed for muddy conditions. Nevertheless the members had a pleasant few hours visiting the stalls, snack bar and restaurant and listening to the festive refrains of a very accomplished brass trio.

A Merry Christmas and prosperous new year to all members and friends of the History Society.