This week’s From the Archive looks at the fascinating column of a Penarth historian, detailing the seedy history of the town.

The column describes how during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, “Penarth in the Severn Sea” was described as being a “foul nest of pirates and outlaws”.

At the time, the Vale was good land and its inhabitants rich; its’ port was excellent harbour.

This led to a collaboration between raider and pirates, and locals only too happy to receive their ill-gotten goods.

Ships would be seized on their way to Bristol, Gloucester and even Cardiff, with goods stolen and crews often murdered.

Things came to a head when two Breton ships were captured within months.

Bristol merchants, incensed at the lost trade, would arm a ship to battle the Penarth pirates at their own game, while petitioning Queen Elizabeth for help.

The Queen appointed sheriffs and deputies of the law - namely Sir E. Stradling, E. Mansell and J. Matthews - who themselves appointed a band of soldiers and adventurers.

Realising the pirates only survived with the help of collaborating farmers in the Vale, the group unleashed a wave of terror.

Buildings were burned, animals slaughtered, and the threat of the gallows loomed over all.

The tactic worked, and the pirates abandoned the area as their clientele vanished.

Further attempts to commit piracy in the area were met with swift justice, with several men - including Edward Kemys of Cefn Mably (a former sheriff of Glamorgan) being implicated.