beginning of the 20th century there were a few Catholics in
the area, but these had to travel to Bridgend or Barry for
Mass until 1919 when the Church of St.Vincent de Paul was
opened at Rhoose.
Not until May 1921 was the first official open Mass since
the 16th century celebrated in Llantwit Major. It was made
possible because Ham House was bought from the Nicholl
family in 1921 by the Catholic, Lewis Turnbull. This Mass
was celebrated at Ham House by Fr.Turnbull for a
congregation of 47 people. Mass continued to be said at "The
Ham" fairly regularly until 1931 when Mr.Lewis Turnbull
died, and the last Mass there was his Requiem celebrated by
his son with a congregation of 52.
Whenever there was a priest to say Mass the 20 to 30
Catholics from the Cowbridge area hired a bus to take them
to Llantwit Major. However, in 1925 a regular bus service
was established between Cowbridge and Bridgend, so Cowbridge
Catholics were then able to travel to Bridgend for Mass.
When Mrs.Clare McConville arrived in Cowbridge in 1939 there
were only five Catholics apart from the Williams family of
Verlands. Mass was celebrated in the Blue Bell Inn (now Nisa
supermarket) once a month by Fr.Meyrick from Bridgend. It
was the owners of the Blue Bell Inn who gave the Stations of
the Cross that now hang in the Church. Confessions were also
held once month at Mr.Ryan's who ran the saddlers' shop (now
"Lois" - a fashion shop).
For Llantwit Major the situation was improved with the
opening of RAF St.Athan so that Catholics were able to
attend Mass on camp. With petrol rationing this became very
difficult, so Mr.Gerald Turnbull approached Canon Quigley of
Barry who discussed the matter with the Archbishop.
As a consequence, from 1941 to 1948 a priest came each
Sunday from Bridgend to say Mass in the Institute beneath
the Town Hall. In the first two years this was Fr.Andrew
Gibbons O.S.B., followed by Fr.J.Hennessey to 1945, and then
Fr.G.Daniels. During the same period, Cowbridge only had
Mass twice a year, on Easter Monday and St.Stephen's Day.
However, by the end of 1948 the number of Catholics in
Bridgend had increased so much that it became impossible to
serve Llantwit Major Parish. The Parish was served from
Barry first by Fr.W.Long, then Fr.P.Murphy, until 1950 when
Archbishop McGrath appointed Fr.J.Magner to be the first
Parish Priest of Llantwit Major, Cowbridge and Rhoose.