Glyn-Coch Studios is based on a beautiful family run farm in Carmarthenshire in West Wales. The farm appears to have been occupied since Roman times, and its name appears to have evolved from Llwyn-Coch, or Red Grove, which would have made it, like many of its neighbours, part of the Grove estate. The main farm, Grove Farm is only about a mile away and the presence of a small lake overshadowed by wooded cliffs overlooked by a Saxon Church seems to conform to a Celtic origin. An ancient roadway passes through the farm towards this grove, and the County Archeologist has recorded it as a Roman road. Glyn-Coch Farm is built around a rectangular yard with buildings on three sides. Modern records and the architectural styles suggest four phases of recent building, dating from about 1600, 1800, 1935, and 1970. The basic structure of each building is a model of its period, though, of course continuous use, and pragmatic maintenance has left its mark. We know of at least one wooden building of uncertain date, which was demolished to make room for the 1970 project, and which also conformed to the rectangular pattern. The only building that departs from the rectangular pattern is the tiny 1600 building, which we have found some evidence for housing a small, pond type, water mill. Its strange angle seems to have been to align it with a small seasonally filled pond and leat. Excavations associated with the closure of the farm crossing, when the railways were privatised, exposed a cobbled surface said, also to be Roman.
The St Clears area was famous for wheat and other arable crops 100 years ago, and some parts of the farm are certainly capable of growing good potato crops. However economic conditions enforced a change to grass farming, and between 1965 and 1980 the 165 acres supported a herd of 40 rising to 65 dairy cows. The introduction of Milk quotas in 1980 made milk an uneconomic enterprise, so dairy cows were replaced by beef and sheep. Poly-tunnels were built on fields close to the house and were planted with soft fruit. "Wild" raspberry and currant plants still appear from time to time, though most people who remember this period associate Glyn-Coch with strawberries.
In 1995 The farm was split up and most of the land was bought by the Pearce family who still run it as Glyn-Coch Stud. They have bred many prize winning Welsh Mountain and Welsh Cob ponies, and run an international horse transport business.The farmstead and "home fields" were bought by another family who also set up an equestrian business and introduced very rare Norfolk Horn sheep to help manage the grass. About 17 acres were planted with mixed native hardwood trees
In 2000 the the now tiny Glyn-Coch Farm consisted of 17acres of woodland and 10 acres of grass. Since then the trees have grown well and some are over 50ft tall. The Norfolk Horn Sheep remained and the contrast between short dry grassland, wetland and woodland supported a very diverse flora and fauna and contributed to the farm being shortlisted for several presitigious national awards run by wildlife and tourism organsations.
Thelma and Huw Jones.
Thelma and Huw brought their family to Glyn-Coch Farm in 2000, and ran the small farm as Glyn-Coch Craft Centre until about 2012.The Craft Centre (apart from the only flock of Norfolk Horn sheep in Wales) included a Shop, Tea-room, pottery, campsite, displays of radios, computers, cameras and farm machinery, and a woodland walk. The site had previously been the home of Glyn-Coch Designs, so it was natural that in addition to the earthenware that we made here, we became more involved with bone china decoration, firstly selling the Glyn-Coch Design china on behalf of Roland Evans, who had moved to Tenby, and later an increasing involvement with china decoration under the tutilage of Jean Evans.
Thelma trained as teacher, later specialising in teaching adults with special needs. She was also a Brownie and Guide leader, and through work and hobby built up quite a list of craft skills. She was also a steam engineer, being the first female holder of the Department of Transport licence to drive steam hauled passenger trains which she made use off on the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway in the early 1970s. When we came to Glyn-Coch in 2000 we set up a small earthenware pottery in the stone barn which we shared with the artist, Paul Stokle who ran classes there. Through the art classes we met Jean who had been the artistic power behind Glyn-Coch Designs before it moved to Tenby. Thelma and Jean got on well and so the Glyn-Coch Studios bone china decoration began.
Huw's family came from South Wales, but he was brought up in Minehead, and from the bedroom windows could see the S Wales coast from Barry to the Gower, including the Penrhys coal tip which could be seen from his father's family home in Treherbert. However jobs were not to be found in God's Own Country, and he worked on farms in SW England, the W Midlands and in Agricultural Research in Hertfordshire before "coming home" to St Clears. An agricultural background means that he is familiar with many crafts but "as long as the sheep remain behind it, the job is finished and the next one must be done." On a visit to Dinorwig Huw was roused from a study of a slate planing machine, that may have been used by his great grandfather, by cry from Thelma who had moved on to the next room. "Look," she said "a De Winton Boiler, no wait, it is the boiler from Chaloner that was exchanged for its 100th year refit. I fired this boiler at Leighton Buzzard!" (Chaloner was a small vertical boilered quarry engine that had worked in the Penybryn quarry, Nantlle, and at Pen-yr-Orsedd quarry until 1960 when it went into preservation mainly on the sandpit line at Leighton Buzzard. A decade later Thelma was on the footplate.)
From time to time we are helped by our grown up children and grandchildren.
When making new designs for our china we we work with:-
We also work with Wendy Wright making ceramic buttons and jewellery, and other projects. Wendy often helps Thelma when we travel to shows
For the last 20 years Norfolk Horn sheep have been a vital part of Glyn-Coch Farm, and since 2000, one of the ewes - Glyn-Coch Poppy - has been the logo of Glyn-Coch Studios, and appears on the "back stamp" (on the base) of all the china we decorate.
Although the flock name (Glyn-Coch, Pwll Trap amd Ffyron Coch) has changed, many of the individual sheep from the original Glyn-coch flock simply remained where they were, and became the founders of the new flock. Many of the sheep grazing here today can trace their ancestory back to the 3 original sheep from the Cotswold Wildlife Park , and the 3 from Kentwell Hall in Suffolk. (Apart from the sheep both places are absolutely wonderful places for a family day out!)
Norfolk Horn Sheep are an ancient breed, thought to be the nearest existing breed to the ancient Saxon Black Faced sheep common throughout Europe 1000 years ago. In 1300 their wool was used by Flemish Weavers in Norfolk to invent Worsted cloth. Some of these weavers then moved to South West Pembrokeshire to start the Welsh woollen weaving industry. (They were also amongst the founders of "Little England beyond Wales" and ancestors of Huw's Mother.) In 1786, an accidental cross between a stray South Down ram and a flock of Norfolk Horn ewes produced the meaty Suffolk Breed, at a time when the industrial revolution was increasing the demand for lamb, and imported cotton was beginning to replace the wool for which Norfolk Horns were famous. Mutton which was the "second crop" from Norfolk Horn sheep was also gradually going out of favour. The Suffolks replaced the Norfolks over much of the old breed's previous strongholds.
By the mid 1960s there was only one pure Norfolk Horn flock in the world, and that was becomming very inbred. A group of serious minded farmers (including the Henson family of the Cotswold Wildlife Park, and later BBC Countryfile, and the Cokes, famous as early improvers of several breeds of sheep and cattle), took action to preserve the breed, and later formed the Rare Breed Survival Trust
The success of the efforts of this fantastic and far sighhted group of people meant that many breeds that would otherwise have become extinct have survived,and have found important roles in habitat conservation, and in the production of niche foods and clothing. After the politically driven BSE epidemic, all UK sheep were tested for resistance to Scrapie, the disease thought to have caused BSE. During the scheme it emerged that the Norfolk Horns were the only UK breed, and possibly the only breed in the world that was TOTALLY resistant to Scrapie. This demonstrates the importance of the rare breeds
Dexter Cattle. During the summer of 2016, the Glyn-Coch Sheep will be joined by another rare breed, Dexter cattle.
The Dexter breed originated in the South West of Ireland. The smallest native breed of cattle in the British Isles, they are hardy, dual-purpose cattle, producing excellent beef and milk, an ideal suckler cow for conservation grazing.At Glyn-Coch it is hoped that they will improve the grassland by grazing whatever the sheep leave
We are in West Wales (near the border between Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire), about 1 mile from the end of the A48/A40 dual carriageway which leads west from the M4
We welcome enquiries for both wholesale and retail sales♦ Bone China hand decorated or painted with traditional Designs by Jean Evans
On this website you can see over 130 products. But these are only tasters for the world of products that we can introduce you too. Just e-mail or phone us with your questions about any of the products, or similar products that you would like to know about.
Glyn-Coch Studios family run craft business, decorating bone china, making ceramic products and knitting looms
Pwll Trap, St Clears, Carmarthenshire UK.
Drive west on M4 and keep on going on A48/A40 almost to the Pembrokeshire border.