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Because the surrounding land was owned by religious institutions from an early date, there was no need for a large family house in Penarth.

The oldest building in the area is a Tudor mansion, owned by the Herbert family, on the hillside at Cogan Pill.

The civic town crest was drawn by the town's architect in 1875 from a detailed brief prepared by the Town Board.' to denote that the town is in Wales and a sailing vessel recognising Penarth's long association with sea commerce.

This figure had doubled by 1891 with the opening of the railway and had increased even further by 1901 to 14,228 persons.

The town of Penarth thus owes its development to the massive expansion of the South Wales coalfield in the 19th century.

The earliest homes built in the town were streets of terraced houses with busy corner shops and public houses on almost every corner, following the contours of the headland and in the rapidly expanding Cogan area near the docks.

Local grey limestone, quarried from what is now Cwrt-y-vil playing fields, gave a particular character to the surviving older buildings of the town.