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.