Admirer of Llantrisant's colourful past would be mistaken in their belief that the town was filled with only virtuous and God-fearing folk.

A succession of vicars feared the entire town would fall foul of atheism. Their fears were hardly unfounded either for Llantrisant's reputation as a wild, tough town during the middle ages and right up into the early part of the 20th century was well known.

When those large, feuding families were not battling it out in the streets after dark, they were standing side by side in one of the town's great institutions - 'the public house'. Llantrisant enjoyed a dubious reputation of drunkenness and in 1854 some of the locals petitioned for Sunday closing. 

From its early days as an ancient borough, burgages who enjoyed the freedom of the Charter were engaged in all manner of trade from shoemaking to carpentry.

One of the most prosperous groups and most likely to be aldermen in the Courts Leet was those involved in malting, brewing and retailing ale, with many having a second trade such as farming to supplement their income.

There are certainly visible links between inns in the town and farms in the parish, such as the New Inn belonging to Glanmychydd Farm or the George Inn belonging to a Freeman family in Llanwynno and Aberdare. There are a number of examples of at least three maltsters all operating in Llantrisant at the same time.

Most of the inns and public houses were little more than cottage beer houses and very few were permanent. Some of the larger houses which closed were often broken up into a cottages. There were also few examples of full-time innkeepers.

No doubt there was a lively trade on weekends and fairdays but some of them probably traded very little which is why those tradesmen lent themselves to working on small farms. Those who took control of the larger inns were prominent Freemen.

The larger houses were the likes of the Black Cock, the Swan, New Inn, Butchers’ Arms, Cross Keys, George Inn, White Hart. Smaller inns included the Boot (later the Horse & Groom), the Welcome to Town, Tennis Court, Star, Swan Fach and the Fox and Hounds for instance.

When the town clerk, Evan John gave evidence to the Commissioners in 1888 he could not say exactly how many pubs were in the borough but thought it was over twenty.

The gradual demise of the market in the latter part of the 19th century, the prosperity once enjoyed by Llantrisant was on the decline and gradually many of those inns ceased to exist.