The Wyndham Arms Hotel has been the centre of our town for at least 222 years. The earliest reference to the Wynhdam Arms can be found during 1792. It is known that the building was built on the site of the previous 'Old Bear Inn' - this was known to be the first Bear Inn at Dunraven Place (then High Street or The Square) the second Bear Inn was adjacent to the Old Stone Bridge.
Sometime during the early 16th century (perhaps earlier) the site of the Wyndham Arms Hotel was occupied by a building of substantial importance: this could have possibly been a court house or gaol. During 1983 a 16th century arched doorway was found in an internal dividing wall on the first floor of the building. It was later confirmed that the archway dated from the 1550s or possibly earlier. (it is more than likely this feature was part of the 'Old Bear Inn' and was incorporated into the new building during its construction.)
During April of 1796 the newly built public house is listed in the to be let section of the 'Gloucester Journal' (11 April 1796)
"To be let, and entered upon in May next, a new
built inn called the Wyndham Arms, in the centre of the town of Bridgend, which is surrounded by good Turnpike Roads, and on the road from Cardiff to Neath and Swansea, having three good parlours, a good dining room, six good bed chambers and a roomy garret, a lock up coach house and stabling for 20 horses with several closes of pasture and hay land.
N.B in is a very old accustomed Inn rebuilt by the Lord of the Manor"
A few months later we find the public house is again advertised in the to be let section of the 'Gloucester Journal' - (25th July, 1796.)
"A Good Inn and a Farm
To be let at and near the Market-town of Bridgend and the river Ogmore,
near the middle of Glamorgan, South Wales.
The Wyndham Arms, a new built inn on the site of the Old Bear, near the market and town hall in the center of the town, with a coach house and stabling for 20 horses and good hay, and grate and to be let reasonably and entered immediately."
During the time of the erection of the new building, Thomas Wyndham was the Lord of the Manor. We can assume theWyndham Arms is named after his family who did a substantial amount for our town.
The Wyndham Arms was the central 'hub' of Bridgend Town during the 19th century. Most of the towns associations and groups held their meetings, events and dinners there. The local election results were read from the balcony at the front of the building in the early days of its being.
The cook of the 'Inn' often catered for events at Bridgend Town Hall and over local venues.
On February the 2nd, 1839, a commercial traveller by the name of William Harris 'expired' at the Wyndham Arms Hotel. Before his death he represented the firm of Messrs. Joseph Eyre and Co., Bristol.
He is his buried at St. Mary's Church Cemetery. (Nolton Church) His tombstone reads:
"In memory of
who died at the Wyndham Arms
in this town
Feburary 2nd 1839
in the 48 year of his age."**
During 1861 the Joseph Crager was the Inn Keeper at the Wyndham Arms/Wyndham Hotel.*
The 1861 census shows us that the 'Inn' was a family run enterprise. It shows that they employed four servants, a bar maid and a cook.
Below are the occupants of the 'Inn' at the time of the 1861 census. (includes name/age/occupation.)
Joseph Crager|51| Inn Keeper
Elizabeth Crager|49| Inn Keepers Wife
John Jones Crager|20|
Mary Lousa Crager|18|
William Davies Crager|14| Scholar
Kate Jones Crager|13|Scholar
John W Fraser|28| Commercial Traveler In Drapery
George S Glass|35|Commercial Traveler In Drapery
Emma Jones|25|Bar Maid
Susannah Lewis|26|Servant/House Maid
In 1877 South Wales was subjected to subjected to highly destructive floods. The Wyndham Arms Hotel was heavily affected. At one point during the floods the building was submerged in 7ft ofwater.
During 1891 William Hislop is listed as the 'Hotel Proprietor' - the family moved from Scotland to South Wales some time during the 1880s.
Below are the occupants of the 'Hotel' at the time of the 1891 census. (includes name/age/occupation.)
William Hislop|49|Hotel Proprietor
Annie E Hislop|30|Wife
Eliza T Wood|24
Jane G Rogers|26|Servant/Book Keeper
Rose H Bassundall|20|Servant/Chambermaid
Elizabeth M Jenkins|16|Servant/Pantry Maid
Janet Hughes|21|Servant/Kitchen Maid
Ernest A Lane|22| Servant/Billiard Marker
|Advertisement for the Wyndham Hotel, c.1900/191.|
|Staff and Servants outside the Wyndham Arms, c.1890.|
(It is possible that these are the individuals listed on the 1891 census.
|Horse and Cart outside the Wyndham Arms.|
* (The name has changed many times over the past 200 years.)
**(The newspaper quotes his aged as 45 - his tombstone say 48: this is either a mistake on the newspapers part or the stonemasons.)
(Sources: BLHS - Bridgend 900 - Gloucester Journal- LLGC -Dr. Randall)