Lanelay Hall

The Victorian mansion of Lanelay Hall takes its name from the original name of the area of Glan Elai, or bank of the River Ely which runs nearby.

It was a home to the Mathew family, a branch from Castell y Mynach, for four generations in the 16th and 17th centuries after Miles Mathew married his second wife, Jennett, the daughter and heiress of Watkin ap Llewellyn of Lanelay.

The building was replaced by a substantial 18th century Georgian mansion, possibly under the direction of Christopher Bassett, the fourth son of Thomas Bassett of Maesyfelin. He married Mary, the daughter of the Rev Francis Davis and extended the estate by purchasing part of the Bassett of Miskin estate as he was one of the trustees.

As an estate it owned the farms of Gilfach Llywelyn (Gilfach Goch), Bedw Bach, Maendy and Pull Gwaun in Llantrisant alng with St Athan, Eglwys Brewis and Llanwynno.  The Hall was home to a whole host of gentrified families, including naval hero Sir Christopher Cole and politician Vaughan Lee.

Lanelay Hall was later the headquarters of South Wales Fire Service prior to its sale in 2007.

Famous Resident : Sir Christopher Cole

Captain Sir Christopher Cole KCB (10 June 1770 – 24 August 1836) was a prominent officer of the British Royal Navy who served in the American War of Independence, French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.  

Christopher Cole was born in June 1770, the son of Humphrey and Phillis Cole,  Cornwall. In May 1780 at age nine, Cole was sent to sea to accompany his brother John, chaplain on the HMS Royal Oak.

Although he saw distinguished service in all three conflicts, he is best known for his exploits in the Dutch East Indies in 1810 and 1811, in which he was instrumental in the capture of the islands of Java and Amboyna. Cole's early career involved extensive service in the Caribbean Sea, operating against the French during the last years of the American Revolutionary Wars and serving in several large battles. During his later career, Cole was commended for his service and was praised in 1808 for his part in a successful diplomatic mission to the ruler of Persia.

In 1810, Cole was sent to the Dutch East Indies during a campaign to seize them and launched an attack on the well-fortified island of Banda Neira. Despite a disastrous start to the operation, Cole personally led a tiny force of men into the main fortress on the island and captured it, prompting a total surrender. This was followed in 1811 with an invasion of  Java, which Cole planned and successfully executed.

As a reward for his services, Cole was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Bath in 1815 and at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, was presented with the Order of Maria Theresa by the Austrian Empire and the Order of St George by the Russian Empire.

He also married Mary Lucy, daughter of Lord Ilchester and widow of Welsh landowner Thomas Mansel Talbot of Lanelay Hall, with whom he had long been connected. The couple had no children, although Mary had six surviving children from her first marriage.

His fame in Britain for the Banda Neira operation was enough to see him elected as a member of parliament in 1817 for the Glamorganshire seat, although he lost the seat the following year. In 1820 he was elected again, retaining the seat until 1830 when he made way for his stepson Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot. He died in August 1836 and his hatchment was presented to Llantrisant Parish Church where it still hangs.