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The Prince in Winter

The original Town Hall of Kenfig was located nearer the medieval town Itself.  However, a Will of a former Portreeve (Port Warden) of Kenfig dated 1605 indicates that the burgesses of Kenfig were raising money towards the building of a new town hall.  The new Town Hall’s erection marked the removal of the town of Kenfig from Maudlam.  This is where it had been re-established following the abandonment of the old town to the site of the new village.  It is debatable whether the original building once stood on pillars with intervening arches with the ground floor serving as a community meeting place and market.  The Town Hall was the venue for both the Borough and Manorial Courts.  Inquests were also held here as the Portreeve was also the Borough Coroner.  Overlooking the buried city of Kenfig, engulfed in ever shifting sands in the 13th Century but now a magnificent pool situated in the midst of fabulous dunes, The Prince of Wales Inn was built as a Town Hall to replace the one lost beneath the sands.

The Inn itself dates from around the 15th century.  Its location within the ancient Borough of Kenfig is both of historical and commercial value to the locality throughout the ages.  Previously called Ty Newydd (New House) Tavern, it was renamed in its present form during the late 18th Century in honour of George, Prince of Wales, who, in 1820, was crowned George IV.

The Inn itself is the present Town Hall which replaced the old Guild Hall of the ancient Borough of Kenfig which once stood in the old medieval town and is the focal point of the Borough both within its present and former transitions.  The building faced eastward and overlooked the old highway – Y Lane Fach (The Little Lane) around the year 1602. Sometimes also called ‘The Corporation’, the Inn was rebuilt in 1808 with its first floor room remaining of significant historical importance within the Borough.

The upstairs room at the Prince of Wales Inn was the Guild Hall, now known as the Town Hall and is accessed via an external stairway to the main building. Its long room has been in continuous usage for centuries and it was within this very room that the Burgesses exercised their rights granted by the Kenfig Charters.  It was here that they held their own courts, controlled trade, established commercial and public behaviour standards and enforced sanitation regulations.   The festival of Gwyl Mabsant (Dancing Festival) was held in this upper room and on many occasions it has also served as a mortuary for shipwrecked mariners.

The Trustees of the Kenfig Corporation Property, who own the building, continue to hold their meetings here in the town hall.  The Borough Mace and a copper measure found in the original safe built into the wall of the Upper Court Room, are now held in the Welsh Folk Museum at St Fagan’s.  A replica of the Mace of the Borough of Kenfig remains in the wall safe in the Prince of Wales Inn.

Please feel free to speak to the Landlord, Gareth Maund, who will be only too happy to take you on a guided tour of the Town Hall Long Room.  He will also provide you with an entertaining, informative and educational talk on the history of the Prince of Wales and its surrounding area with tales of hauntings in one of the most haunted Public Houses in Wales!

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