Swan Stores was opened on the site of the former Swan Fawr public house which closed in the early part of the 19th century and was a tenancy by 1818.

In 1868 it was purchased for £150 and a new grocery and drapery shop was opened and flourished under the guidance of George Morgan, son of shoemaker William Morgan (1754-1817) and his wife Mary Richard (1776-1826).

George (1810-1893) was also a shoemaker and was admitted as a Freeman in 1838. He married Elizabeth John (1809-1902) of St Donats and they had six children. The Morgan’s ran the family business for several decades, turning it into a thriving shoemaking and grocery business.

George employed several apprentices, some became Freemen themselves. Their children went on to develop their own successful grocery businesses. His son Thomas established Castle Shop in Llantrisant while his daughter Ceriden married Walter James, the well known Llantrisant green grocer. Daughters Elizabeth established a business in Nantymoel and Margaret another business in Llanwynno. Another daughter Mary who (with her husband William Llewellyn) established the Gwalia Stores in Ogmore Vale. 

It was another daughter Ann (1846-1911) who married collier John David (1846-1903) of St Hilary and inherited Swan Stores. They had three daughters and a son. During Ann's ownership of the 'Swan' the building was developed. Her husband was a Welsh-speaking lay preacher at Penuel Calvinistic Methodist Church on High Street but tragically he died after falling down the cellar stairs at the Swan Stores.

Their son William Morgan David (1880-1952), who became a Freeman in 1904 and learned his trade at Gwalia in Ogmore and in London inherited the property, further developing the thriving grocery business. His wife Mattie died in 1909 and in 1920 he married Priscilla Hopkins (1896-1961) who eventually passed the shop on to their son, also William Morgan David (1921-1995).

William was a keen rugby player and after leaving school worked as an assistant chemist at the Coed Ely Coke Works but would eventually take over the grocery business with his wifeKathleen Thomas 1922-1998. 

From the 1960`s onwards the life of a small retailer was made ever more difficult by the march of the large supermarkets and none of William`s sons wanted to take over the grocery business. Sadly Swan Stores closed, with the site later becoming the town's Post Office for the next decade.

The Llewellyn's of Gwalia


In 1874 Mary Morgan (1853-1925) married William Llewellyn (1847-1923), an accountant and the son of a Llantrisant family of butchers and chemists.

Together they set up the famous Gwalia Stores at Ogmore Vale in 1877. The shop was divided into three sections, on two floors, and included ironmongery and grocery displays.

The shop was fitted with mahogany shelving, counters and bins by Parnalls of Bristol, and by 1912 the ground floor of the house had been taken over and a drapery established. The shop soon expanded to include the first floor and the ground floor of the adjoining three houses.

By 1916, Gwalia Stores comprised a bakery, ironmongery, grocery, gentlemen's outfitters, chemist and a section selling animal feeds. Members of staff slept in the attics and were paid 8 shillings (40p) per week. Such was the success of the venture that the Llewellyn's brought the first car to Ogmore Vale, which once belonged to Edward VII. The couple had eight children, one of whom, George, was a blind vicar whose grandson was Dr David Owen, former leader of the SDP.

Their enterprise eventually passed to their sons but was closed in 1973 although since 1988 it has enjoyed a new life after being moved and re-erected in the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans.