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OGMORE CASTLE i EWENNY PRIORÝ
DUNRAVEN-HOUSE ST. DONATT'S CAS
OGMORE CASTLE is situated on the eastctn bank of the river Ogmore, near the road to Cowbridge; its remains, however, are very inconsiderable, consisting merely of the keep and some outer walls. Caradoc, in his History of Wales, says, that the manor and castle of Ogmore were bestowed by Fitzhammon on William de Londres, one of his knights; from which its foundation
be dated prior to the Norman conquest. The manor courts are still held in a thatched hovel near it, which appears like an overgrown
pig-stye. Here, according to the custom of the times, a religious institution followed the acquisition of
power. William de Londres, or his descendant John, built EWENNY PR!ORY, at the distance of a mile from the castle, and also near the road to Cowbridge: but in this the proprietor seems not to have lost sight of his worldly interest; for the strong embattled walls and towers that appear among the ruins of this building would lead one to consider it as intended not less for the purposes of war than of priestcraft; and its situation on the bank of the Wenny was admirably adapted for the defence of that
part of his domain. In the hall of the house, a gloomy building, are several racks, wirich appear to have been used for the lodging of
The church is a venerable massive structure, wherein unornamented heavy arches repose on short bulky columns of the rudest workmanship: it contains a monument of Paganus de Turbeville, supposed to be the grandson of Fitzhammon's knight of that name.
The thick columns, plain capital, and circular arches of this edifice, denote it to be of the earliest Norman architecture; and might lead one to suppose it to
be of Saxon origin, did not historical facts invalidate the conjecture. Leland says that it was founded for Benedictine monks; but neither he, Dug !ale, nor Tanner, gives us the date of its foundation. A. D. 1141 it was made a cell of St. Peter's of Gloucester.
Not far from Ewenny, on the sea-coast, is DUNRAVEN-HOUSE, or castle, as it is called by Caradoc; a mis-shapen dismal building, only to be admired for its situation on a lofty sea promontory, commanding extensive
prospects. William de Londres, Lord of Ogmore (says Caradoc) won the lordships of Kydwelhy and Carnewibion in Carmarthenshire from the Welchmen; and gave to Sir Arnold Butler, his servant, the castle and manor of Dunraven. It continued a long time in the possession of his descendants ; but at length fell to the Vaughans, the last of whom, as tradition relates, was such an unprincipled wretch, that he set up lights, and used other devices to mislead scamen, in order that they might be wrecked on his manor.
But his crimes did not escape punishment; for it is said that three of his sons were drowned in one day by the following accidents. Within sight of the house is a
large rock called the Swancar, dry only at low water; to which two of his sons went in a boat to divert themselves : but not taking care to fasten their vessel, on the rising of the tide it was washed away, and they left to the horrors of their fate; which was inevitable, as the family had no other boat, nor was there any other in the neighbourhood. Their distress was seen from the house; and in the confusion their infant brother, being left alone, fell into a vessel of whey, and was drowned almost at the same instant with the other two. This was universally looked upon as a judgement for the iniquities abovementioned; and Mr. Vaughan was so struck with the transaction, that he immediately sold the house to Mr. Wyndham, ancestor of the present proprietor. —Two extraordinary caverns, about a mile westward of the house, we neglected' to visit : the one called the Cave is described to be a passage worn through a projecting stack of rocks, running parallel with the sea-shore, and forming a kind of rude piazza, with an entrance to the south, of very grand effect. The other, called the Windhole, is a deep cavern, a little to the east of the Cave : its depth from the entrance
measures seventy-seven yards. There are two or three small fissures through the roof of the cavern to the land above, a considerable distance from the edge of the cliff; over which if a hat be laid, it will be blown back into the air with considerable violence; but this only happens when the wind blows fresh from the South-east.
ST. DONATT'S CASTLE, a few miles further on the coast, and about five south-west of Cowbridge, is an extensive structure, of much antique beauty, and is still partially inhabited. Its garden, descending in terraces from the south wall, was formerly much admired, but now
“ Sunk are the bowers in shapeless rain all,
“ And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall. Although loftily situated, the castle is so surrounded with high groves, as only to be seen with advantage from some heights in the adjoining park : on one of them is a watchtower, which affords a prospect truly grand and extensive. This castle is of very remote foundation, although the greater part of the building indicates the work of latter ages. We learn from Powell's translation of Caradoc,