Cowbridge is a quaint market town in the beautiful and rural Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, about 13 miles west of Cardiff. Indeed its peaceful location yet proximity to Cardiff, Swansea and the Gower peninsula make Cowbridge an ideal base for touring South Wales and Wales' capital city.
Although a small town Cowbridge has a reputation for elegance and fashion boasting some fabulous boutique shops, take a stroll along the main street to find some beautiful and historic town houses.
Cowbridge Museum is located in the town hall, a building dating back perhaps as far as the Elizabethan era, and the main street contains a number of Georgian houses, including the former town houses of important local families. Cowbridge is one of a very few medieval walled towns in Wales. The town centre is still arranged on its medieval plan, with substantial portions of the town walls, and the south gate, still standing.
The Romans are reputed to have established one of the first settlements in Cowbridge having built a small fort in the 1st century. This developed into a township by the 4th century and recent archaeological digs have turned up Roman relics as well as the foundations of various Roman structures including a bathhouse. In the 13th Century one Sir Richard de Clare, Lord of Glamorgan granted the town it's first charter and by 1266 the town walls were established. The Town Walls encompassed both Cowbridge and Llanblethian. The wall had four gates, the North Gate was used for cattle, and tolls were collected at the twice-weekly markets that were held in the town.
The medieval Church of the Holy Cross is an historic church within the historic town centre of Cowbridge. The church was probably founded with the medieval town, and was formerly a chapel of ease of Llanblethian Church. Parts of the church are of 12th and 13th Century construction and it was extended and partly rebuilt in the 14th and 15th Centuries. The Holy Cross was restored in 1848-53 and again in the 20th Century. Built of stone with slate roofs the church has several internal features of note including a 15th Century wagon roof to the south aisle and several memorials to notable figures who lived or were born in the locality.
Festivals and Events:
Cowbridge has a Farmers Market on the first Saturday of each month and each October there is a food and drink festival. Over the Festival weekend, the entire town buzzes with energy as traders, visitors and residents join in the culinary celebrations. Street entertainers and music add to the carnival atmosphere. Visitors are invited to explore the streets and alleys for little gems - many shops will be holding tastings and others will be serving glasses of wine while you browse.
There are a number of Pubs and hostelries in the town who may join in the festivities with real ale, music and street entertainment. For details of the Food and drink Festival Tel 07 875 290 428, (25-26th October 2008).
See also Llanblethian Castle and Llanblethian Church.