Michaelston-Le-Pit History

The earliest sign of human occupation in the area start with a flint axe head found between Michaelston-Le-Pit and Dinas Powys. Still visible today are the massive iron age ramparts at nearby Caerau which were occupied from about 600 B.C. until the 3rd century A.D.

Almost hidden in the woods at Cwm George is a small but highly important hill-fort. Originally the site of an earlier fort from around 300 B.C., the current set of four banks and ditches was probably the highly defended home of local princes during the early Dark Ages – 5th to 7th centuries A.D. The hill-fort is in fact the richest, best preserved and most fully excavated of its type in the whole of Wales and is considered one of the classic archaeological sites of early medieval Britain.

Written records of the village start with the arrival of the Normans. St. Michael And All Angels church was probably built by a member of the Reigny family and was referred to as St. Michael de Renny in 1254 (Taxation of Norwich). It was then valued at “four marks". There is plenty of interest inside the church including a medieval font, carved wooden chairs depicting scenes from the Civil War, a three-decker pulpit - the only one in the Vale, and various memorials. The memorial to Thomas Rous from Cwrt Yr Ala records that he was wounded at the battle of Coruna in 1809 and has the family motto "Vescitur Christo" - We feed on Christ.


The first lord of the manor of Michaelston is recorded as Walter de Reigny in around 1260. The old farmhouse in the centre of the village, Tile House, also dates from around that time.

Michaelston-Le-Pit continued as farming village with a mill and a number of farms, mainly working for the estate house, Cwrt Yr Ala, well into the 20th century. The house is named after the Ralegh family who owned the estate in the 14th century. The most famous of the Ralegh family was an Elizabethan adventurer from the Devon/Somerset side of the family, Sir Walter Raleigh.

After the Civil War the Cwrt Yr Ala estate was purchased by Colonel Philip Jones. He was a trusted councillor of both Oliver and Richard Cromwell, and as Comptroller of Cromwell's household would have been responsible for arranging Oliver Cromwell's funeral. After Colonel Jones bought Ffonmon in 1664, Cwrt Yr Ala became part of the Ffonmon estate and remained so until around 1789 when it was bought by Robert Rous. By 1803 Robert Rous had made many improvements to Cwrt Yr Ala , and Benjamin Malkin an his tour of South Wales described it as: "an elegant villa, in a most delicious retirement, belonging to Mr. Rous...... Anything more beautiful on a small scale cannot be conceived. The house, which stands on a pretty stream artificially widened and improved running down into Barry Harbour looks to the left upon an undetermined dingle, with a picturesque rock of limestone, surmounting its ample furniture of wood"

The house was rebuilt in the Georgian style in 1939 by the prominent Cardiff industrialist and coal magnate Sir Herbert Merrett. His son Norman Merrett was a spitfire pilot who was lost in action in WW2, and Norman Cottages in the village are named in his memory. The Second World War saw decoy lights set up across the Lawns towards Caerau to fool German bombers, and a number of bomb craters can still be seen in the fields around the village.

The closure of Home Farm (now Tile house) in the centre of the village in 1994 meant an end to the way the village had worked for centuries. In recent times a new farming enterprise has started at the edge of the village with a state of the art milking parlour, so Michaelston Le Pit can claim, once more, to be a farming village, and winning the "Best Kept Village" award in 2011 indicates that Michaelston Le Pit is still has a vibrant village community.


Playing field with seating and lovely views.

Nearby Woodland Trust Site with car park, great for walks.

Victorian letterbox.

Good network of local footpaths connecting to Dinas Powys, Leckwith and Penarth.

Medieval church still in full use.