Pennod 16 100 Lle


Pennod 16

Byddwn yn ymweld â Chastell-nedd a Llanilltud Fawr ac yn cael cip ar adeiladau ysblennydd Margam. A visit to Neath and Llantwit Major including the magnificent buildings of Margam.


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Today, we visit Neath to focus on industry, rugby and religion.

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The contemporary and the Romanesque are both in evidence in Ewenny.

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Marian Delyth seeks a lost village.

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And we observe the splendour of Margam Park...

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..and its octagonal chapel.

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But our journey begins in Llantwit Major.

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We're standing on the banks of the River Colhuw.

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What's its significance in relation to Llantwit Major?

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-It's one of the most significant

-places in western Europe.

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-We're standing near the estuary.

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-Religious leaders from Cornwall,

-Brittany, Ireland and Scotland...

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-..all came here...

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-..and walked through this valley

-to seek the wisdom of Illtud.

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-If we're searching

-for the axis of Christianity...

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-..in terms of Celtic countries...

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-..it's the estuary

-of the River Colhuw.

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The Roman influences on Llantwit Major...

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..and the importance of its waterways...

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..led to the development of Christianity in the Celtic world.

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-I think we can safely say

-that we are standing...

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-..on what would have been the

-foundations of St Illtud's Church...

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-..before AD 600.

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-Buildings during the Middle Ages...

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-..were erected on top

-of what was already here.

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-This could have been a wooden hut

-during Illtud's time...

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-..and the monks would have lived

-in huts surrounding it.

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-But what we're seeing now

-belongs to Norman times...

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-..when the Vale of Glamorgan

-was under their rule.

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-The Galilee Chapel

-is situated at the rear.

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-That is the eastern chapel.

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-It was possibly the original church,

-dating back to 1100.

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-The body of the church

-is from the 13th century...

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-..while the chancel

-belongs to a later period.

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-It's a long church and the largest

-parish church in Glamorgan.

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-There is an abundance

-of memorial stones...

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-..and interesting masonry here.

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-The most interesting

-is the Jesse Niche carved stone.

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-There's a carving

-of a prone Jesse...

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-..with a tree

-growing from his ribs.

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-His descendants ascend the tree,

-with Christ at the top.

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-It's incredibly neat.

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-During the Middle Ages, the 13th

-and 14th centuries and beyond...

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-..churches were adorned

-with painted murals.

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-The Puritans whitewashed them all.

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-But when they restored the church

-during the 19th century...

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-..they found traces of paintings

-from the Middle Ages.

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-It's a very interesting building.

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-One could argue that Llantwit Major

-is more significant than St David's.

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-Dewi, Teilo and the other saints

-came after Illtud's lifetime.

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-Illtud set the wheel in motion.

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-Christianity took root in Wales

-here in Llantwit Major.

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-Without this place, our history

-would have been very different.

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The church houses an interesting collection of Celtic stones.

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The 9th-century Houelt Cross is the most important.

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Hywel laid this cross in memory of his father, Rhys.

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The kings of Glamorgan still considered the place holy...

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..four centuries after Illtud's time.

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The town hall is worthy of its position on the square.

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The pubs are also mentioned in John's book.

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But we're heading to an unusual place of worship nearby.

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I can't think of many chapels with an open fire and no electricity.

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-This is certainly true

-of Bethesda'r Fro...

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-..located in the vicinity

-of Llantwit Major.

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-We've already seen one church...

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-..dating back

-to the old Celtic tradition.

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-This chapel was founded in 1807...

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-..as a result of the feud...

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-..between Methodists and others.

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-Thomas William founded the chapel.

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-This is one of the few chapels

-of the early 19th century...

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-..that still looks as it did

-when it was first built...

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-..with this open fire...

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-..positioned where the pulpit

-would be in other chapels.

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-It also lacks electricity

-and other creature comforts.

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-Thomas William was one of Wales's

-most prominent hymnists.

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-The original hymn book kept here

-contains this hymn.

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-"O had I the wings of a dove

-How soon I would wander away

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-"To gaze from Mount Nebo I'd love

-On realms that are fairer than day."

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-It was written by Thomas William.

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It may be a rather unfamiliar area...

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..but we've come to realize it's a devoutly Christian area.

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-Iorwerth Peate said it succinctly.

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-"God, in his infinite wisdom,

-created a garden...

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-"..between land and sea

-where the paths...

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-"..lead the ordinary souls

-to the place...

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-"..where the waters of Bethesda flow

-amid the beauty of Eglwys Brewys."

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We've used the word Romanesque many times during this series.

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We've seen examples of Romanesque arches in Newport, Chepstow...

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..Llandaff and St Clears.

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But this building is Romanesque from its foundations to its roof.

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Ewenny Priory in the Vale of Glamorgan.

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There is a representation here of all the priory's former owners.

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This is the tomb of Maurice de Londres...

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..son of Gwilym, who commissioned the church.

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Then there's the tomb of Edward Carne...

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..a member of the Carne family, the second owners.

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They bought it from Henry VIII in 1546 for just over 700.

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There was nothing unusual in that...

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..following the dissolution of the monasteries.

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But Edward Carne was a devout Catholic.

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You could say he was covering all bases!

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They were here for 200 years...

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..until the death of John, the final heir...

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..aged 15 years, 10 months and 11 days.

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The fact they recorded his age to the exact day...

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..is testament to the sadness felt.

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It reads, "Here lies Ewenny's hope, Ewenny's pride.

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"Death having seized him...

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"..lingered, loath to be the ruin of this worthy family."

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Hot on the heels of the Carnes came the Turbervilles.

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Memorial stones in their honour adorn every wall.

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They remain here to this day.

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The spiritual tone of the priory...

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..is bolstered by a distinctive artistic style.

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The contemporary glass screen is by Alexander Beleschenko.

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The artist JMW Turner visited the priory in 1795.

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Nearby, the River Ewenny runs past Ogmore Castle.

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It was home to William de Londres, who commissioned Ewenny Church.

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For centuries, the area has been famed for its potteries.

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But since the 19th century, only 18 of them...

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..have used the generic term Ewenny Potteries.

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Only two of them currently trade under that name.

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This pottery's history can be traced back to 1610.

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This cabinet displays pieces that span the centuries.

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"Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump...

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"..to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

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There's a third way, of course - that you make a mess of both!

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I suspect that fate awaits me!

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First, I have to wet my hands.

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Observe the potter at work!

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This week, photographer Marian Delyth has the difficult task...

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..of capturing the invisible in Kenfig near Port Talbot.

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In his book, John refers to a lost city beneath the sand in Kenfig.

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Is there anything left of it these days?

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-I have to admit,

-I'd never been there.

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-I was captivated

-by the subject of a lost city.

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-John talks of a castle...

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-..and a town

-founded in the 11th century.

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-The dunes have engulfed what was

-a city of 1,000 inhabitants.

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-As an author,

-John has the advantage...

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-..of being able to create pictures

-out of words.

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-As a photographer,

-I deal with what is visible.

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-I couldn't see anything at first.

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This image doesn't fit the brief of a civilization lost to the dunes.

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-No! This was taken

-underneath the motorway.

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-I didn't include this image

-in the book, by the way.

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-When I photograph

-historical and romantic settings...

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-..I'm always brought back

-to the present...

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-..by images like this

-of graffiti and so on.

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-This is the traditional image

-of the castle.

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-It doesn't really resemble

-a castle, does it?

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No, it's not at all castle-like!

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-It certainly doesn't show

-how close it is to the motorway...

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-..as this photograph demonstrates.

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-I discovered one or two images

-I hadn't seen of the castle.

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-They're perhaps more in keeping...

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-..with what we assume

-is the castle's architecture.

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-It's situated in dense undergrowth.

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-Thickets and trees

-have grown from the ruins.

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-It isn't just the sand dunes.

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-Nature is trying its best

-to conceal the place.

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-Eventually, I decided

-that the best image for Kenfig...

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-..would be this wide angle

-of the sand dunes in the evening...

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-..with Port Talbot

-in the background.

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-I hope that the image,

-together with John's text...

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-..conveys a fitting atmosphere...

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-..so that people can imagine

-walking over this lost city.

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In the book, there is a chapter dedicated to Margam.

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There is plenty to see, apart from its majestic abbey.

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It is a Cistercian church belonging to Margam monastery.

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This is only part of the church - the rest has disappeared.

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It is the only fully-functioning Cistercian church in Britain.

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There are two families associated with this abbey.

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It was bought by the Mansels in the 16th century.

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They are buried on that side.

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It later passed to the Talbots, who are buried on this side.

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Sir Rice Mansel had strong affiliations with Henry VIII.

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He set about making this abbey his home.

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The Mansel line ended in 1730...

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..and it was inherited by Thomas Talbot.

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The most striking tomb is that of Theodore Mansel Talbot.

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The last of the Talbots, he inherited the family's wealth.

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He died in 1876 with no heir.

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Work on this remarkable residence in Margam Park ended in 1836.

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It was commissioned by Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot...

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..a 33-year-old MP who would soon become...

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..one of the wealthiest men outside the House of Lords.

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The house was designed by Thomas Hopper.

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He also designed Penrhyn Castle, believe it or not.

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They are contrasting designs, of course.

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Whereas this is neo-Gothic Tudor, Penrhyn Castle is mock-Romanesque.

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This place created such a stir that it attracted noble visitors.

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Among them was Edward VII, when he was Prince of Wales.

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Photographer Henry Fox Talbot was a frequent visitor.

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In 1802, Lord Nelson himself visited the Orangery...

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..the longest building of its kind in Britain.

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You would have thought that the mansion's civilized residents...

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..would have shown more respect for the estate's ancient buildings.

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This was the monks' cloisters that served as their library...

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..but the castle's nobility kept their coal here.

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Our journey to Margam Park ends in Beulah Chapel or Round Chapel.

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As interesting as our journey has been...

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..it hasn't been as exciting as this octagonal chapel's journey.

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It was once situated in Groes, two miles closer to Margam Abbey.

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But when the motorway was built...

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..it was taken down, stone by stone, and moved to a safer place...

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..on the outskirts of Tai-bach, Port Talbot.

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This chapter is dedicated to Neath.

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What's its significance in terms of South Wales's industrial towns?

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-We tend to overlook Neath

-since the bypass was built.

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-Sadly, there's no need

-to go through Neath any more.

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-In the Middle Ages, it had a castle,

-a port and a monastery.

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-By the end of the 17th century...

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-..it could be argued

-that Glamorgan's heavy industries...

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-..especially iron and copper,

-began here in Neath.

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But the scale of these buildings and in particular this church...

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..suggests it was an affluent area.

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-..suggests it was an affluent area.

-Yes, it was very prosperous.

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-This church is testament

-to that wealth.

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-I don't know of any other church

-built in the 19th century...

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-..that is as wide and constructed

-entirely of red and black bricks.

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-The roof is incredibly high.

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-The chancel itself is very noble.

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-There is also an imposing

-clock tower built above it...

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-..which gives Neath

-a certain status.

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-I don't know of another place

-with such a striking clock tower.

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-It dominates the town.

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-Long live Neath, I say!

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Why is this room at Neath's Castle Hotel so significant?

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-This is where the Welsh Rugby Union

-was founded in 1881.

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-Apparently, the room

-hasn't changed at all since then.

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-It looks exactly as it did

-130 years ago.

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-For many people...

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-..rugby is what defines

-their Welshness and identity.

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-One could argue that this room...

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-..is more significant

-to many Welsh people...

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-..than the National Library,

-St David's Cathedral...

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-..or even the Senedd.

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-This is central to their identity.

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It's interesting to note that Neath wasn't one of the founding members.

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-No, they just saw the Castle Hotel

-as a convenient place to meet.

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-I can imagine them saying, "Let's

-establish a Welsh rugby union."

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-It was probably

-the kind of meeting...

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-..where they took a vote

-and then went to the bar.

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-Gareth Williams argues

-that rugby was perfect...

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-..for Wales's industrial communities

-at the time.

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-He argues that the harder

-or more physical your work is...

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-..the more physical

-the sport you want.

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-He says those who are idle at work

-play cricket in their spare time...

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-..but those who work hard

-play rugby.

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-These may be

-Neath's most striking landmarks.

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-The blast furnaces built to serve

-the Neath Abbey Ironworks.

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-These particular furnaces

-date back to 1793.

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-They are the tallest such furnaces

-in the world.

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-This one is 65 feet high.

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-They're overgrown with ivy

-and difficult to reach.

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-But I hear there is already

-a project afoot...

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-..to make them more accessible,

-which is an exciting prospect.

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Neath Abbey was established in 1129 by Richard de Granville...

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..as a monastery for the Savigniac order.

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They united with the Cistercian order in 1147.

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Following the dissolution in 1539, the abbey's stones were pillaged...

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..to build a mansion for new owner Richard Williams.

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Historian John Leland called it the fairest abbey in Wales.

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Although few of its ruins remain, one remarkable feature has survived.

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This door weighs a ton.

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Goodness me!

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-This is one of the abbey's

-surviving features.

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-This is the dormitory undercroft.

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-It dates back to the 13th century.

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-There's a certain purity...

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-..belonging to the roof

-and pillars holding it up.

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-There is also a variety of tiles...

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-..similar to those

-at Strata Florida...

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-..and the occasional tomb.

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-This is one of Neath's

-magnificent buildings.

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-It's certainly worth a visit...

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-..because this is one of the most

-interesting regions in Wales.

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Amen!

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S4C Subtitles by Eirlys A Jones

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Byddwn yn ymweld â Chastell-nedd a Llanilltud Fawr ac yn cael cip ar adeiladau ysblennydd Margam. A visit to Neath and Llantwit Major including the magnificent buildings of Margam.