Phil Dobson lived at Ffynnon Wen (currently occupied by Terry and Monica Dennis - click here for the history of Ffynnon Wen) between 1977 and 1979. He sold the house to Roy Somerville. Phil now lives in Cowbridge.
Phil remembers a number of people who lived in the village at that time – Colin and Sheila Davies, Bob Brierley (Kninkin), Noel and Hilda Kennedy, John and Jo Reardon Smith and Eldon Phillips who ran the Royal Mint. Jack Soloman and his wife Irmgard lived in the Paddocks and Adrian and Diane Griffiths in the Coach House. Mike and Helen Rutley were living in Church Cottage at the time and Mrs Clay lived at Pinklands. Jessie and her son Hywel Davies lived in the Grange. They were bakers from Abercynon. They sold the Grange to the Isobelle and Peter Lowe. Shirley Barton and her son Ashley, who is a painter and decorator, lived in the house next to the Paddocks.
Nancy Cross lived opposite Phil with her two sisters. Phil had a Jack Russell terrier that Nancy worshipped, always feeding and pampering it. The Davies’ lived in West House. Ralph and Mary Lewis lived next door at Darren Las with their two children, Geraint and Sian.
Fred Elton Jones was one of Phil’s best friends. He was a great jazz pianist. Fred and Fiona (1st wife) lived at Village Farm. Fred’s 2nd wife was Nicola Talbot. Fred lived there for 10-15 years and put his life into the house carving the oak beams into the ceiling. It was lovely. Phil recalls that the bank made him sell it for far less than it was worth and Fred ended up in Cheshire in a home and died prematurely at the age of 56.
Bill and Kythe Beaumont who lived in the first house behind the Bush, was Chairman of the British Waterways Board and an aide to the Speaker of the House of Commons – Bernard Wetherall, who was seen in the Bush quite regularly. In 1977 Bill was a founding Charter member of Cowbridge Lions along with Phil and Ralph Lewis.
The farm on left as you come down the main lane from the A48 was owned by the Lucas family. Chris and James were the son and daughter of Cyril. Villagers used to get their turkeys from the Lucas farm at Christmas.
Deri and Margaret Trot from Wenvoe were running the Bush Inn when Phil lived in the village. He was a great landlord and Margaret’s sister Dorothy (Dot) ran the bar. Deri and Margaret’s son Martin and daughter Beverley also worked on the bar along with Colin White (Chalky). Lenny Evans was chef and Derek Evans was the restaurant manager. They both now live in Cowbridge. It was the best pub in the Vale at the time. There was always someone you knew when you went in. Ralph Lewis was regular as clockwork.
Phil recalls there was a great social life when Deri Trot was there with the whole village turning out to events. There were also trips organised to the Cheltenham races and there used to be cricket matches on the field by the Cottage. Les Jones (Howard’s father) would umpire the matches.
For the Queen’s Silver Jubilee a number of events were organised. There was a fancy dress party for the children. Phil’s recalls that his son Andrew either won it or came second – he was dressed in a Roma toga and held a candle and was a ‘Roman candle’. There was a party round the tree near the Lychgate with tea in the village hall and sports day in the cricket field with egg and spoon and wheelbarrow races. Villagers had their photograph taken, which can be seen in the village hall.
On 19 February 1978 (after Wales/Scotland game) villagers were snowed in for a week. There were deep snow drifts which completely covered the road signs and Lindsey Thomas car (according to Colin Davies). Villagers more or less lived in the Bush wondering what would happen to them until the RAF came to clear the snow from the lanes with bulldozers. Lindsey Thomas walked to the farm to get milk for the children, which was un-pasturised.
Bob Brierley (formerly of Kninkin) had a mini heart attack whilst driving along 5 mile lane and didn’t have his medications with him. The air ambulance brought him back home. It landed in the field behind Colin Davies house (according to Colin).
Cowbridge was snowed in for a week. 400 people were marooned in the town hall and the pubs were running out of food. Most of these people were on their way home to West Wales and only called into Cowbridge for a quick beer.
Phil recalls that 1982 was also a bad year for snow.
(prepared March 2015)