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Glamorgan Archives
Borough of Cowbridge records

Reference code(s): GB 0214 BCOW

Held at: Glamorgan Archives

Title: Borough of Cowbridge records

Short Title: Borough of Cowbridge records

Creation date(s): 1421-1972

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.84 cubic metres (94 volumes, 11 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Borough of Cowbridge


Administrative/Biographical history: Cowbridge (Glamorgan) received its first borough charter in 1245, from Richard de Clare, Lord of Glamorgan, and several charters and confirmations were issued subsequently. The constable of the castle of St Quintin (Llanblethian) was appointed mayor and justice of the peace by the lord of the manor. The borough was governed through the Court of Common Council, which had powers over finance, trade and markets, taxation, property, sanitation, the town hall, prison, pound and pump, roads and bridges, the chapel of ease, free school, poor relief, and licensing of ale-houses. Administration was undertaken by a town clerk, treasurer, two serjeants-at-mace, two clerks of the market and shambles, six constables, ale taster, crosskeeper and beadle, common attorneys, attorney of the court, scavenger, organist, assessor of land and window tax, hall keeper and keeper of the town clock, bell-ringer, town crier, and pound keeper. Many of the responsibilities of the Court of Common Council were duplicated by the borough's Court of Pleas, or Court of Our Sovereign Lord the King, presided over by the bailiffs, which tried personal actions and actions concerning land, for sums under £5. Many of its judicial functions, covering the same work as that done by the Court of Common Council, were gradually lost. The Court of Aldermen acted as consultative council for the mayor and was responsible for filling borough vacancies. The Court of General Sessions of Peace was a court of quarter sessions holding a criminal jurisdiction over theft and assault, and was also responsible for appointing constables, suppressing unlicensed alehouses, punishing people for nuisances, and ordering poor relief. As it dealt with mainly petty offences, the court came to be dominated by presentments of highways and nuisances. Each Cowbridge burgess held the right to vote. Prior to the Reform of Parliament Act 1832, the boroughs of Cowbridge, Cardiff, Llantrisant, Kenfig, Aberavon, Neath, Swansea, and Loughor voted together and sent one burgess to parliament. After 1832, Cowbridge, Cardiff and Llantrisant jointly sent one member, for the "Glamorgan Boroughs", and continued to do so until the Representation of the People Act 1918. On September 28th 1886, a charter of incorporation was obtained under the terms of the Municipal Corporations Act, and a new borough established. Officers included a town clerk, medical officer of health, finance officer, sanitary inspector and surveyor, borough agent, road man and town hall keeper. In 1894, Cowbridge Rural District Council took on responsibility for sanitation, roads and rating. The borough continued until 1974, when, under local government reorganisation, its powers were transferred to the Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council.


Scope and content/abstract: Records of the borough of Cowbridge, 1421-1972, includes: charters, records relating to the borough courts, council and committee minutes, correspondence, accounts, and financial papers, public notices and photographs, with papers concerning the incorporation of the borough, borough property, schools, special borough events, borough elections, public health, roads and bridges, planning applications, the fire brigade, recreational facilities, and records relating to the Cowbridge Liberal Association.


Language/scripts of material: English, Latin

System of arrangement: Arranged by type and date.

Conditions governing access: Some of the records contain material of a sensitive nature relating to named individuals. These records are closed to the public for 100 years, and may only be viewed at the discretion of the Glamorgan Archivist. Unlisted borough records consist of 21 boxes, 8 bundles and about 20 volumes stored in an outside repository. Most of these records cannot yet be used for research and advice should be sought from the Glamorgan Record Office archivist. If access to any unlisted records is permitted, these should be ordered at least a week in advance of an intended visit so that they can be brought into the Record Office for consultation in the search room.

Conditions governing reproduction: Normal Glamorgan Archives conditions apply.

Finding aids: A full version of the catallogue can be searched online at


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records which meet the collection policy have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Transferred by the Borough of Cowbridge and its successors at various dates.


Related material: Further papers are Glamorgan Archives, D210, Borough of Cowbridge, Mayoral Oaths, and DX666 Food Control Committee records; other material relating to local government in Cowbridge is RDCOW, Cowbridge Rural District Council; GC, Glamorgan County Council; SGCC, South Glamorgan County Council; and DCVG, Vale of Glamorgan (District) Borough Council.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Hayden Burns for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Glamorgan Archives, finding aids;(London, 1987); Weinbaum, M., British Borough Charters,(Cambridge, 1943); Glamorgan County History, 1780-1980, ed. Prys Morgan (Cardiff, 1988).

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: October 2003; amended August 2004

Cowbridge (Wales : Borough) | Archives
Cowbridge (Wales) | Politics and government
Local government | Wales | Cowbridge
Municipal corporation | Wales | Cowbridge
Political parties | Wales | Vale of Glamorgan

Personal names

Corporate names
Cowbridge (Wales : Borough)
Cowbridge (Wales) | Borough Council
Cowbridge Liberal Association

Cowbridge (Wales)

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