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by John Richards

   Every resident of the Vale of Glamorgan will know the name Cottrell though each will probably think of a different facet of its history. This book is a deceptively simple account of the changes in use and ownership of the area that became the focus of the house and lands called Cottrell. The author, John Richards, gives a concise and easily readable account of life in the countryside and the effects of government at each change of ownership from the Norman knights to the English industrialists without losing the readers' interest.

   It is deceptive because each stage is lucidly explained with pictures and inset notes like the newest school textbook, but the text is filled with accurate local history. A reader may be well versed in history but will find considerable interest in the wealth of local fact and anecdote. The writer has clearly absorbed all the published articles but has also made extensive research of his own. Each change of ownership with Cottrell house as its central theme is used to create a vignette of the new owner and the local characters of the period. History provides a greater range of character than any novelist would dare to introduce and the author does not flinch, for he has the diaries of William Thomas and David Jones and others to illuminate his narrative.

   Perhaps he has only used part of the material available but he has made excellent use of that which he has used and has ensured that there is a bibliography, index and notes that are thoroughly done to enable any serious reader to accept this as a good work of reference as well as a glossy coffee table production with excellent pictures.

Published by Cottrell Golf Club, 2001.
Retail price 12 (mail order 15)
[No cover image available]

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Review by Ray Caple