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

Applesauce Recipe ~ Wynberg House

There is a collection of apples trees in Singleton park in Sketty. They fall freely from the trees; sweet, juicy and ripened. Organic and ready for collecting. Max and I go and collect them everyday.

Organic Apples vary in their sweetness level, depending on the variety and how late in the season they are found. This recipe is just a guideline and the amount of sugar can be adjusted to your taste.

You can use less sugar than this recipe suggest, and by adding squeezed lemon juice brightens the flavor of the apples and balances the sweetness.

Try using ground cinnamon when you can cook the apples or with a stick of cinnamon, just remove it before puréeing.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 to 4 lbs of apples (about 7 to 10 apples, depending on the size), peeled, cored, and quartered.
  • 2 squeezes of lemon about 3 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Up to 1/2 – 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Method
  • Prep the apples; Rinse the apples with cool water. Peel all the apples using a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife and cut away the outer peel. Then quarter the apples and use a paring knife to cut out the tough core parts from the quarters.

    Boil peeled, cored, quartered apples with lemon, cinnamon, sugar, salt in 1 cup water: Place the peeled, cored, and quartered apples into a large pot. Add the lemon juice or vinegar, cinnamon, sugar, water and salt. (You might want to start with half the sugar at this point and add more to taste later.)

    Bring to a boil on high heat, then lower the temperature, cover the pot, and maintain a low simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the apples are completely tender and cooked through.

    Once the apples are cooked through, remove the pot from the heat.

    For a smoother applesauce you can either use a blender or the cooked the apples 10 – 12 more minutes.

    If the applesauce is too thick, add more water to thin it out and cook a bit longer and stir.

    If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste. If too sweet, add more lemon juice.

    This applesauce is delicious. I serve it with breakfast as a fruit starter. It is delicious either hot or chilled. It pairs well with pork chops for savory dishes, it’s terrific with cottage cheese as a snack or light lunch, and it’s great with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

    Freezes well and will last at least a year in a cold freezer. If you freeze it, make sure to allow enough headroom in your jar for expansion. At least an inch.

    If you want to can your applesauce in jars; just spoon in the sauce, add the lids, then place the jars in an water bath on high heat for 10 minutes and tighten the lids and the jars will seal. Refrigerate after opening.

    Lower Swansea Valley History- Hafod Works

    https://youtu.be/BCT1rFB9weU

    Vivian & Sons was a British metallurgical and chemicals business based at Hafod, in the lower Swansea valley. The firm was founded in 1810, disappearing as a separate entity in 1924. Its chief outputs were ingot and sheet copper, with sulphuric acid and artificial manures as by-products.

    By the 1840s, the Hafod Works were the largest of their kind in the world, and their output represented one-quarter of the entire copper trade of the United Kingdom.

    During the last decade of John Henry’s life, 1845–1855, his eldest son, Henry Hussey Vivian, managed the Works and took full control of the business on his father’s death.

    The combined Hafod and Morfa Works site continued rolling copper until its closure in 1980.

    The remains of the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, originally developed by Vivian & Sons, consists of a core Grade II listed building and additional Grade II listed structures on a 12 acres (4.9 ha) site, on the banks of the River Tawe in Hafod, Swansea.

    In 2010, the local authority discussed plans to have the site re-developed where the listed buildings would be preserved and new uses would be given to heritage buildings. The 2010 development plan included a new hotel, restaurant and new housing.

    In 2011, the local council named Swansea University as a development partner of the site, who are evaluating the possibility of developing academic facilities at the site.

    Public grants of £540,000 were awarded for the preservation and renewal of the site. Stage1 commenced in October 2013, clearing overgrown vegetation and undertaking essential preservation works.

    References.

    The Lower Swansea Valley Project, KJ Hilton – Geography, 1963 – JSTOR.

    SC Bird – 1985 – University College of Swansea, Change and industrial redevelopment in the Lower Swansea Valley.

    Dealing with dereliction: the redevelopment of the Lower Swansea Valley, RDF Bromley, G Humphrys – 1979 – University College of Swansea.

    Parc Singleton Botanical Gardens

    Places in Sketty- Singleton Park

    Parc Singleton Sgeti (Welsh)

    Near Wynberg House in Sketty Swansea is Vivian Road and Sketty Green.

    The village of Sketty is centred on Sketty Cross which are the junction roads to Gower Road, Vivian Road, De-la-Beche and Dillwyn Road is the amazing historic Singleton Park.

    When you enter Singleton Park from Gower Road in Sketty; there to the north is a walk that leads down a shallow green valley, it’s open to beautiful flanked trees belted by wide open rolling hills of green spaces.

    Those along the east are ancient lime, horse chestnut, sweet chestnut and pine trees. To the west of the walk is the Gorsedd Circle of stones.

    The stones are known as the Gorsedd Stone Circle. It was erected in Singleton Park, Swansea in 1925 for the National Eisteddfod of Wales’ Proclamation Ceremony.

    To the south of the Gorsedd Circle, set in the bank below the east side of the old kitchens and gardens that once served the Vivian Copper Barons of Swansea. Just below is a semi-sunk, water wheel in a stone pit that brought the water up to the house.

    There are orchards of trees on the bank; mainly horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts and conifers. Their fruits have fallen, some still green into the shade labored underneath its branches.

    A small stream bed, with some rocks, runs southwards to a damp area made into a bog garden. A gravel path winds along the slope.

    Near the south side of the botanical garden are the footings of a stone wall, probably the remains of the south wall of the original Veranda garden.

    A flight of concrete steps in the middle leads down to a path flanked by fastigiate yews and a gravel terrace with seats. On the south boundary is a fence and hedge.

    All this was part of the Veranda House was first built in 1799-1800 on land which had been part of Gwerniddiff Farm, on the site of the farmhouse.

    The Singleton Estate as it had now become had amalgamated some 12 farms to amass 250 acres. By 1851 the Walled Garden had become the kitchen and flower garden that once served the needs of the Vivian family.

    The property where the Botanical Garden is now of 44 acres includes the garden grounds, and former Vivian plantation. The seeds that were planted have sown, taken root in soil lined essays and poetry of the earth; Tended to with great care.

    In 1847 John Henry Vivian purchased Veranda House for his son Henry Hussey Vivian and his wife Jessie. Within a year Jessie had died after giving birth to their son.

    Henry was distraught and resolved not to live in the house and by 1853 only the estate lodge remained, the principal part of Veranda having been dismantled. St Paul’s Church Sketty, was built as a memorial to Jessie.

    The approach is the main and service drives from the north, a branch from the main drive leading to a small, rectangular walled garden to the west.

    There are grounds to the north of the house that remain today and a narrow garden area, bounded by a wall, to the south. To the south of there was a rectangular orchard.

  • The old Veranda garden wall was retained, but a bigger area of c. 5 acres was enclosed to its north by a high; a curving wall, most of which remains today with a round tower.
  • The inner (Veranda) walled garden survived until at least 1914. It was situated on the area now occupied by the gardeners of the botanical garden. Its north wall is incorporated into the walled garden.

    The footings of the garden’s south wall have been found in a flowerbed in the botanical garden.

    The modern Swansea botanical garden has been developed on the part where the old Veranda House and Singleton Farm is now thanks to the Vivian Family.

    Singleton park was originally part of the Vivian family Estate, which was purchased by Swansea County Borough Council in 1919 for use as a public park.

    This is where I walk almost everyday. It is so beautiful I had to find out how it all became this and wanted to share the wonders of this place.

    The brilliant legacy of Singleton will never fade. A fragile memory still lingers here in the colors of the trees and in the People who once call it home.

    References;

    http://orapweb.rcahms.gov.uk/coflein//C/CPG252.pdf

    http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/19964/details/singleton-farm