Mumbles Headlight

Mumbles In Swansea; a headland of coastal mountains so high dropping down into Swansea Bay. This cape is of considerable size. Distinct by nature with high breaking waves, rocky shores, intense erosion, and steep rocky cliffs.

Mumbles is known for its unusual name. The mounts of the islands were thought by some to have been named by French. From the ship before reaching the coast, the French sailors named Mumbles; seeing the perfect shape of a women’s breast.

The word ‘Mumbles’ may be in French; ‘les mamelles,’ meaning ‘the breasts’. Another possible source of the name is from the word Mum old English for breast in reference to a “breast-like hill” or from mamma (“mother”, in reference to a local river goddess).

The Mumbles Lighthouse was built during the 1790s, and was converted to solar powered operation in 1995.

The nearby pier was opened in 1898 at the terminus of the Swansea and Mumbles Railway, which in its time was one of the oldest passenger railways in the world.

The railway closed in 1960.

A lifeboat station has operated from Mumbles since 1866.

Maen Ceti; Great Stone of Sketty

Cefn Bryn overlooks Maen Ceti; a chambered cairn or burial tomb also known as Arthur’s Stone.  Maen Ceti or the ‘Great Stone of Sketty’ is one of the most well known dolmens in Wales.

The stone weighs between 25-30 tons. This capstone measures about 4 metres in length, over 2 metres tall and 2 metres in width.

It stands on a northward facing slope just below the crest of the northern end of the ridge-backed hill of Cefn Bryn stretching east from the Iron Age hillfort at Cilifor Top, north across Llanrhidian Sands and west to the mouth of the River Loughor or Afon Llwchwr where it flows into Carmarthen Bay.

To the north is the Loughor Estuary which separates Gower from Llanelli and Burry Port.
The hills skyline above the estuary are composed of rocks from the Upper Carboniferous, and mostly covered in green ferns and mountain grasses.

The hills are of the common land its where the animals roam and graze freely and it’s where the ground is hilly and fertile. This belt of rich farmland meets the north coast at a prominent, rounded hill with Iron Age fortifications around its summit.

Arthur’s Stone or Maen Ceti can be found on Cefn Bryn in the Gower Peninsula. This massive stone weighs over 25 tons and marks the site of two Neolithic burial chambers, dating from around 6000 years ago. The stone is one of Gower’s best known landmarks and has long been the subject of wonder.

Standing above the Estuary on Cefn Bryn, I feel the presence of this gigantic stone and wonder about the ancients who placed it here so many  thousands of years ago

For a long time, I believed that Arthur’s Stone is a feat of engineering similar to Stonehenge, where Neolithic people used very basic equipment to move the heavy stones into position and some were carried by glaciers during the last Ice Age.

Below the alter stones, you can see the pillar stones standing to create the burial chambers below and the smaller upright stones are there as support.

Arthur’s Stone measures 4 x 2 x 2 metres, but it was once much larger than this. A big piece of it, weighing 10 tons, broke off sometime around 1690 and can still be seen lying next to Arthur’s Stone today.

 The site of Arthur’s Stone was one of the first places to be protected under the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882.

This is my favourite place in the Gower.

References:

Barber, Chris., Mysterious Wales, Paladin Books, London W1X, 1987.

Hawkes, Jacquetta., A Guide To The Prehistoric And Roman Monuments In England And Wales, Cardinal, London, 1975.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cefn_Bryn

*The Gower Society, A Guide To Gower, The Publication Committee of The Gower Soc., (orig. prepared 1965. Edt. 1989).

Swiss Cottage in Singleton Park- Swansea

Swiss cottage in Singleton Park
'A Dame's School'. Collection of National Media Museum/The Royal Photographic Society (Peter Henry Emerson)
‘A Dame’s School’. Collection of National Media Museum/The Royal Photographic Society ~ Peter Henry Emerson

“1826”, “LIBERTE ET PATRIE”. Freedom and Homeland in French. “LEBE SO DAS DU WIEDER LEBEN MAGST” transcribed; Live that that you would like to live again,” in German, are the words inscribed on the front of the cottage.

This colourful chalet, painted in red, white and blue, is known as the Swiss Cottage, and is located in Singleton Park in the village of Sketty, in the city of Swansea and the county of South Glamorgan. It dates from 1826, the work of architect Peter. F. Robinson. London.

The features of this two storey building include a conspicuous apex of an overhanging roof, scalloped barge boards, and a slate roof.

Sarah Vivian, of the prominent Vivian family, to whom Singleton Park once belongs, used the Swiss Cottage as a Dame School in the late 1820s.

Mrs. Vivian, wife of local industrialist John Henry Vivian who was known to compel his workers to fulfill 24-hour shifts, must have come across as somewhat severe; historian Ralph A. Griffiths writes:

‘Sarah bore her devoted husband nine children in 22 years; and then survived him by 30 years more. Known for her sharp tongue, she presided over Singleton Abbey in the same masterful way as her husband presided over his works — much to the chagrin of her sons.’

In addition to Sarah Vivian’s involvement with the dame school at the Swiss Cottage; the Vivians used their wealth to found and support schools at Hafod Copperworks for their workers’ children.

Severely damaged by a fire in 2010, the Swiss Cottage was painstakingly restored by 2014 under the auspices of Cadw, the Welsh government’s heritage body.

Notes

Works by Architect Robinson include: Singleton Abbey, Sketty Hall (both in Singleton Park); Egyptian Hall.

Ralph A. Giffiths, Singleton Abbey and the Vivians of Swansea, Swansea: Gomer Press, 1988, p. 37. The Vivians were a family of local industrialists, who were socially prominent; John Henry and Sarah Vivian’s son Henry Hussey Vivian was to become the 1st Lord Swansea in 1893; a grandson was Admiral Algernon Walker-Heneage-Vivian.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-28012690

http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Black-mark-German-bungling-Swansea-Council-chiefs/story-22965685-detail/story.html