Situated on the beautiful Heritage Coast of the Vale of Glamorgan within the tiny hamlet of Monknash is the Plough and Harrow. Surrounded by rolling countryside and accessed only by a long drive through a series of winding country coastal lanes, The Plough and Harrow is an ideal retreat for those seeking to get away from the urban conglomeration of Cardiff.
Resembling a whitewashed long house, the Plough and Harrow, ostensibly a rusticated Georgian dwelling, has long antecedents and is no ordinary country pub being a grade II listed building which dates back at least to the reign of Edward III during the fourteenth century; this is owing to its connection within the remains of a medieval monastic grange (a farm owned by monks), the layout of which can still be seen at the rear of the pub.
(Monastic grange at the rear of the Plough and Harrow)
The grange is known to have been in existence since 1130 with the land here once being owned by Neath abbey. The Knights of St. John and the Benedictine abbey at Tewksbury also both farmed parts of this large monastic farm. Among its numerous buildings was a huge tithe barn and a dovecot (which is still standing). The grange was sold off during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in the early sixteenth century and was acquired not long after by Sir Edward Stradling of nearby St. Donat’s Castle.
The Plough and Harrow has a cobbled path leading up to its time worn entrance and once inside, the warmth of a large open log fire is a welcome reception on a cold winters evening. Farmer’s wellies, crocked architecture, a smoky atmosphere and sometimes the sound of folk music reminds one that this isn’t a generic and bland chain pub.
The building’s history is etched in many details in this fine establishment - glace to the right of the fireplace in the main bar and see a medieval two centred arch which braces a concealed entrance. The Plough and Harrow reputedly contains wooden beams from local shipwrecks –given that this is documented from other buildings around the coasts of Glamorgan, this seems likely.
The Plough and Harrow is renowned for it's selection of real ales and congenial atmosphere. This award winning pub won the South Wales Campaign for Real Ale pub of the year in 2009 and was also voted Cider Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale in 2014. The Plough and Harrow was also listed among the top ten pubs in Britain by the Guardian in 2011; this pub is also host to an annual Real Ale Festival during the Summer months. Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, The Lord of the Rings actor Elija Wood and also Benedict Cumberpatch can be counted as past patrons of this establishment, such is its renown.