Cosmeston Medieval Village - History and Facts | History Hit

Cosmeston Medieval Village

Penarth, Wales, United Kingdom

Cosmeston Medieval Village is a recreated 14th century Welsh village, that offers a rare glimpse into Wales' medieval past.

Lily Johnson

12 Apr 2021
Image Credit: gbimages / Alamy Stock Photo

About Cosmeston Medieval Village

Cosmeston Medieval Village is a recreated 14th century Welsh village in the Vale of Glamorgan, that offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in Wales’ medieval past.

Cosmeston Medieval Village history

The village of Cosmeston was first established in the early 12th century, and grew up around a fortified manor house built by the De Costentin family. The De Costentins were a Norman family among the first to invade Wales after William the Conqueror‘s invasion of England in 1066, and named the village Costentinstune, which over time became Cosmeston.

The village would have consisted of a number of stone round houses or crofts each with a thatched roof, and would have accommodated 50 to 100 villagers.

Cosmeston changed little over the following hundred years until in 1316 the manor passed into the hands of the de Caversham family, also of Norman descent. Under their stewardship Cosmeston became a better structured settlement, and most of the buildings that were excavated date from this time.

There is no evidence that the village continued to develop after the late middle ages however, and it is possible that the Black Death of the 1340s wiped out most of its inhabitants, leaving it like many of its kind in Britain, deserted.

Other reasons may have contributed to the village’s decline, including its low-lying location that made it prone to flooding, ruining its arable land. Political upheaval also surrounded the area during the 14th century, such as the widespread violence and devastation felt in the Glamorgan region following the 1316 attack of Caerphilly Castle by Llewelyn Bren.

Cosmeston Medieval Village today

Based on excavated finds from the 1970s at this location, Cosmeston Medieval Village brings to life the world of medieval Wales with recreated buildings and period re-enactors. Specifically set in 1350, the village takes visitors back in time to the Hundred Years’ War and the reign of King Edward III, and has been described as the best recreated medieval site in Britain.

Explore the Baker’s House and Village Ovens, the Swineherd Cottage, and the Herbalists Hovel and Herb Garden, each allowing a glimpse into the various roles of the medieval community. Tours with a costumed guide may be booked, with extra activities such as bread making, weapons and war, and storytelling also available to enrich your visit.

After exploring the reconstructed site, a trip to the adjacent museum offers a number of artefacts from its excavation, alongside a host of information boards giving the fascinating history of medieval Cosmeston.

Getting to Cosmeston Medieval Village

Cosmeston Medieval Village is located in Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, on the B4267 (Lavernock Road). The Cosmeston Lakes Country Park car park is a 7-minute walk to the site and offers free parking. The 88 and 94 bus services stop directly outside the site at the Fort Road stop, while the closest train station is Penarth, a 12-minute bus journey on the 94 or 30-minute walk to the site.

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