Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for MARGAM

MARGAM, a hamlet, a parish, and a sub-district in Neath district, Glamorgan. The hamlet lies on the Julian way, adjacent to the South Wales railway, under Margam hill, near the coast, and near Port Talbot r. station, 5½ miles SSE of Neath; was formerly called Pen-dâr, signifying "oak-top, ''with allusion to Margam hill; and has been de-edificed since 1841.—The parish includes also the hamlet of Havod-y-porth, containing the village of Taibach, which has a head post office; includes likewise the hamlets of Brombill, Higher Kenfigg, and Trissient; and is partly within the parliamentary borough of Aberavon. Acres, 18,725; of which 1,045 are water. Real property, £15,183. Pop. in 1851,4,747; in 1861,5,528. Houses, 1,016. The increase of pop. arose from the extension of coal-mining. Pop. of the part within Aberavon borough, 3,191. Houses, 601. Margam Abbey is the seat ofR. M. Talbot, Esq.; takes its name from a Cistertian abbey, founded about 1150, by Robert Earl of Gloucester; stands on a rising-ground, backed by Margam hill; is a modern mansion, in the Tudor style, after designs by Hopper: shows two fine façades and a tower, with details of much originality and beauty; and contains some ancient furniture, several antique statues, and a fine collection of paintings by the old masters. The grounds around it are highly picturesque, and abound in interesting features. Margam hill rises to the height of about 800 feet; is all covered, from base to summit, with noble oak-wood; and looks, from a distance, as if dressed like a hedge. Orange-trees, lemons, citrons, pomegranates, arbutuses, camellias, myrtles, and other exotics, grow luxuriantly and flower in the grounds and gardens. A bay tree stands 80 feet high, and spreads nearly 50 feet in diameter. An orangery, 327 feet by 81, contains fine trees, many of them 20 feet high; and is said to have originated in a cargo of plants sent from Holland for Mary, the queen of William III., and landed on the adjacent coast by shipwreck of the vessel. Architectural relics, chiefly of the old abbey, also adorn the grounds. The abbey gave entertainment to King John on his way to Ireland; and was given, at the dissolution, to Sir Rice Mansel, an ancestor of the present proprietor. The chapter-house was one of the most elegant buildings of its class; had externally the form of a duodecagon, and internally that of a perfect circle; was covered with a beautiful groined roof; stood entire in 1774, and was then pictured by Mr. Wyndham; lost its roof, so as to become a mere shell in 1799; and is now represented chiefly by a clustered column and some minor fragments. Crosses, effigies, and gravestones, with sculptures and inscriptions almost puzzling to antiquaries, stand against the remaining walls of the chapter-house and those of the adjoining cloister. A very ancient wheel-cross, which formerly stood in the village, and presents very curious features, also is there. Bases of finely-clustered pillars, the steps of the altar, and portions of tiled pavement, remain as traces of the church, and blend singularly with flowering shrubs of the shaven lawn; and the W end of the church still stands, has an interesting Norman door, and forms part of the present parish church. Several Roman stones, and some vestiges of periods prior to the Roman, are on the adjacent hills. A nunnery was at Eglwys-Nyndd. The general surface of the parish is hilly; and, notwithstanding the presence of much smoke from Taibach and Aberavon, is finely picturesque. Coal and limestone abound; and much commerce, chiefly in the outlet of mineral produce from copper, tin, and iron-works in the valley of the Avon, is at Port-Talbot. The living is a vicarage, united with the vicarage of Taibach, in the diocese of Llandaff. Value, £121. Patron,R. M. Talbot, Esq. The church was restored in 1810; and contains monuments of the Bussy, Mansel, and Talbot families.—The sub-district contains also two other parishes and part of another. Acres, 32,902. Pop., 16,815. Houses, 3,079.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a hamlet, a parish, and a sub-district"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Margam AP/CP       Margam SubD       Neath PLU/RegD       Glamorgan AncC
Place names: MARGAM     |     PEN D&ACIRC
Place: Margam

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