Mumbles or The Mumbles is an area and community
Mumbles (community)
Mumbles is a local government community made up of the electoral wards of Mayals, Newton, Oystermouth and West Cross in Swansea, Wales. Mumbles has its own elected community council consisting of eighteen councillors...

 in Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

, Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 which takes its name from the adjacent headland
A headland is a point of land, usually high and often with a sheer drop, that extends out into a body of water.Headland can also refer to:*Headlands and bays*headLand, an Australian television series...

 stretching into Swansea Bay
Swansea Bay
Swansea Bay is a bay on the Bristol Channel on the South Wales coast. Places on the bay include Mumbles, Swansea and Port Talbot. The River Neath, River Tawe, River Afan and Blackpill stream flow into the bay....

. The area includes the ruin of Oystermouth Castle
Oystermouth Castle
Oystermouth Castle is a Norman stone castle in Wales, overlooking Swansea Bay on the east side of the Gower Peninsula near the village of the Mumbles.- The early castle :...

 and the Mumbles Lighthouse
Mumbles Lighthouse
Mumbles Lighthouse is a lighthouse located in Mumbles, near Swansea. The structure, which sits on the outer of two islands off Mumbles Head, is clearly visible from any point along the five mile sweep of Swansea Bay...

, and is made up of the Mayals
Mayals (electoral ward)
Mayals is the name of an electoral ward of the City and County of Swansea, Wales, UK. It is also part of the Mumbles Community.The electoral ward consists of some or all of the following geographical areas: Blackpill, Mayals and part of West Cross, in the parliamentary constituency of Swansea West...

, Newton
Newton, Swansea
Newton is the name of an electoral ward and a village in the City of and County of Swansea, Wales. The Newton ward is a part of the Mumbles community...

, Oystermouth
Oystermouth is an electoral ward and a village in the Mumbles community and also the City and County of Swansea, Wales...

 and West Cross
West Cross (electoral ward)
West Cross is the name of an electoral ward in the Mumbles community and a suburb in the City and County of Swansea, Wales, UK. The ward falls within the Mumbles community....

 electoral wards, and has an elected community council.


Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 evidence indicates that an ancient submerged forest
Submerged forest
Submerged forest is a term used to describe the remains of trees which have been submerged by marine transgression, i.e. sea level rise and petrified. Examples can be found at low tide on the fringes of the submerged landmass known as Doggerland, around the coast of England and Wales, the Channel...

 was located on what is now the foreshore of Mumbles Bay The bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

s of bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

s, wolves, hyena
Hyenas or Hyaenas are the animals of the family Hyaenidae of suborder feliforms of the Carnivora. It is the fourth smallest biological family in the Carnivora , and one of the smallest in the mammalia...

s, deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, rhinoceros
Rhinoceros , also known as rhino, is a group of five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae. Two of these species are native to Africa and three to southern Asia....

 and mammoth
A mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus. These proboscideans are members of Elephantidae, the family of elephants and mammoths, and close relatives of modern elephants. They were often equipped with long curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair...

 have been discovered there. A bone cave at the western tip of Caswell Bay
Caswell Bay
Caswell Bay is a popular UK holiday resort in the south east of the Gower Peninsula, Swansea, Wales.Access to the beach is relatively easy and inland from the sandy beach is a recreational park. Caswell is ideal for surfing, holidays in the nearby Hotels and Chalet Park. The beach regularly...

 was excavated in 1832 but has since been destroyed by the sea. Another cave, at the Inner Sound, Mumbles Head, was blown up by quarrymen in 1838 but not before elephant bones had been found. Also scattered around the bays of Mumbles and Gower
Gower Peninsula
Gower or the Gower Peninsula is a peninsula in south Wales, jutting from the coast into the Bristol Channel, and administratively part of the City and County of Swansea. Locally it is known as "Gower"...

 are the bones of sixteen Ice Age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

 mammals, including a mammoth tooth measuring ten centimetres across, which is on display in Swansea Museum
Swansea Museum
The Swansea Museum in Swansea, Wales, UK is the oldest museum in Wales. The building was built for the Royal Institution of South Wales in 1841 in the neo-classical style.-Main museum:...


The first human crop growers
History of agriculture
Agriculture was developed at least 10,000 years ago, and it has undergone significant developments since the time of the earliest cultivation. The Fertile Crescent of Western Asia, Egypt, and India were sites of the earliest planned sowing and harvesting of plants that had previously been gathered...

 arrived in Mumbles over 3,000 years ago: Swansea Museum has two well-finished flint axe
Flint axe
A flint axe was a Flint tool used during prehistoric times to perform a variety of tasks. These were at first just a cut piece of flint stone used as a hand axe but later wooden handles were attached to these axe heads. The stone exhibits a glass-like fracture similar to obsidian, and can be...

-heads, one from Newton and one from an allotment
Allotment (gardening)
An allotment garden, often called simply an allotment, is a plot of land made available for individual, non-professional gardening. Such plots are formed by subdividing a piece of land into a few or up to several hundreds of land parcels that are assigned to individuals or families...

 on Mumbles Hill
Mumbles Hill
Mumbles Hill is a hill near the south eastern tip of the Gower Peninsula, Wales. Parts of the hill form a designated Local Nature Reserve, declared in 1991.Defensive gunnery positions were built on the hill in World War II...

. Much of what we know about the first metalworkers
Metalworking is the process of working with metals to create individual parts, assemblies, or large scale structures. The term covers a wide range of work from large ships and bridges to precise engine parts and delicate jewelry. It therefore includes a correspondingly wide range of skills,...

, in the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, has been learned from their tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...

s: pieces of pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, a cairn
Cairn is a term used mainly in the English-speaking world for a man-made pile of stones. It comes from the or . Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas...

 and remains of a hut
Hut (dwelling)
A hut is a small and crude shelter, usually used for dwelling. Its design favors local techniques and materials to allow for swift and inexpensive construction.-Modern use:...

 were found. The cliff
In geography and geology, a cliff is a significant vertical, or near vertical, rock exposure. Cliffs are formed as erosion landforms due to the processes of erosion and weathering that produce them. Cliffs are common on coasts, in mountainous areas, escarpments and along rivers. Cliffs are usually...

s above the Redcliffe flat
Mudflats or mud flats, also known as tidal flats, are coastal wetlands that form when mud is deposited by tides or rivers. They are found in sheltered areas such as bays, bayous, lagoons, and estuaries. Mudflats may be viewed geologically as exposed layers of bay mud, resulting from deposition of...

s at Caswell Bay contain the ridged remnants of a Redley Cliff Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...


There is evidence
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

 that the Romans
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 were based in Mumbles in a villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

 on the site of the present All Saints Church in Oystermouth. When the site was being extended in 1860, workmen removing a bank of earth on the south side of the original building accidentally broke up a Roman tessellated pavement
Tessellated pavement
A tessellated pavement is a rare erosional feature formed in flat sedimentary rock formations lying on some ocean shores. The pavement bears this name because the rock has fractured into polygonal blocks that resemble tiles, or tessellations...

, or mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

 floor. This was previously a pagan
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 site, as were many sites of worship
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

 in the UK which subsequently became places of worship at the onset of Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. Indeed, in this area it has been reported that Romano British gentlemen of Roman Wales may have eaten oyster
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified....

s from the oysterbeds off the shore below the site at Oystermouth, Ystumllwynarth.

Three of the bell
Church bell
A church bell is a bell which is rung in a church either to signify the hour or the time for worshippers to go to church, perhaps to attend a wedding, funeral, or other service...

s in All Saints Church once belonged to the Jesuit church of La Compañía ("The Company") in Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

, Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

. They seem to have been brought to Mumbles by Aubrey Vivian after the fire of 1863
Church of the Company Fire
The Church of the Company Fire is the largest fire to have ever affected the city of Santiago, Chile. Between 2,000 and 3,000 people died, and it is considered one of the worst fire disasters in history.-Events:...

 burnt down the Jesuit church, killing 2,000 people. The family of industrialist Henry Vivian
Henry Vivian, 1st Baron Swansea
Henry Hussey Vivian, 1st Baron Swansea was a Welsh industrialist and politician.-Biography:Born at Singleton Abbey, Swansea, Henry was the eldest son of industrialist and MP John Henry Vivian and his wife Sarah, daughter of Arthur Jones, of Reigate. His uncle was Sir Richard Hussey Vivian, first...

 had business connections with the copper mines of Chile.

In 1793, the Mumbles Lighthouse
Mumbles Lighthouse
Mumbles Lighthouse is a lighthouse located in Mumbles, near Swansea. The structure, which sits on the outer of two islands off Mumbles Head, is clearly visible from any point along the five mile sweep of Swansea Bay...

 was erected on the outer of the two tidal islands of Mumbles Head. In 1806, the Oystermouth Railway was built between Oystermouth and Swansea with the intention of carrying coal to Swansea. The potential for carrying passengers was soon seen and a horse-drawn railway
Wagonways consisted of the horses, equipment and tracks used for hauling wagons, which preceded steam powered railways. The terms "plateway", "tramway" and in someplaces, "dramway" are also found.- Early developments :...

 passenger service was started on March 25, 1807, making it the first such service in the world. It became enormously popular and was commonly called 'the Mumbles train'. Following the development of the rail service, Mumbles became a popular tourist
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 destination. To capitalise on this, the Mumbles railway was extended and a pier
Mumbles Pier
The Mumbles Pier is an long Victorian pier built in 1898. It is located at the south-eastern corner of Swansea Bay near the village of Mumbles within the city and county of Swansea, Wales.-Construction:...

 was constructed and opened in 1898 to serve as the new terminus. An RNLI lifeboat
Lifeboat (rescue)
A rescue lifeboat is a boat rescue craft which is used to attend a vessel in distress, or its survivors, to rescue crewmen and passengers. It can be hand pulled, sail powered or powered by an engine...

 slipway was added to the pier in the summer of 1916 and a boathouse was finally built on it in 1922; these remain in use.

Mumbles was part of Oystermouth Urban District established in 1894, which was merged with the County Borough of Swansea in 1918. On 23 April 1947, the Mumbles lifeboat lost a crew of eight men while attempting to rescue the crew of the Samtampa
SS Samtampa was a 7,219 ton steamship wrecked on Sker Point, off Porthcawl and Kenfig, Wales, in the Bristol Channel on 23 April 1947...

that had run aground on Sker Point
Sker Point
Sker Point is a headland of South Wales between Port Talbot and Porthcawl.On April 23, 1947 the Samtampa, a liberty ship, was wrecked at Sker Point. Her crew of 39 perished and all eight volunteer crewmen of the Mumbles RNLI lifeboat were lost while attempting to rescue her.Sker Point is also the...

The Mumbles railway was closed in January 1960 and dismantled - a controversial decision that still resonates in the locality (calls to "bring back the Mumbles train" are still frequently heard and printed in local newspapers).

An amusement complex was developed at the land end of the Mumbles Pier
Mumbles Pier
The Mumbles Pier is an long Victorian pier built in 1898. It is located at the south-eastern corner of Swansea Bay near the village of Mumbles within the city and county of Swansea, Wales.-Construction:...

 in 1966, replacing an earlier popular dance hall. This proved to be a profitable attraction to visitors, resulting in the addition of a new building containing an amusement arcade, restaurant and bowling alley.
The 'Mumbles Mile' is a stretch of road in Mumbles once notable for its concentration of pubs
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

. It has long been a popular destination for pub crawl
Pub crawl
A pub crawl is the act of one or more people drinking in multiple pubs or bars in a single night, normally walking or busing to each one between drinking.-Origin of the term:...

s and binge drinking
Binge drinking
Binge drinking or heavy episodic drinking is the modern epithet for drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time. It is a kind of purposeful drinking style that is popular in several countries worldwide,...

. Famous poet Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas
Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer, Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 January 2008. who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself...

 was said to have enjoyed many hours at The Mermaid. The 'Mumbles Mile' began to decline in popularity during the 1990s, owing to pressure from the local council and increased competition from Swansea's night attractions. Now, there are only five pubs on the 'mile', whereas there were once upwards of twenty.

The Encyclopedia of Wales says that Mumbles has always been considered a place apart... as the verse puts it:
Mumbles is a funny place,
A church without a steeple,
Houses made of old ships wrecked
And most peculiar people.

The origin of the name "Mumbles" is obscure. Wyn Owen and Morgan (2008) cite several possibilities: Middle English
Middle English
Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century....

 momele ("to mumble"), describing the "mumbling" of the sea next to the rocks; Latin mamillae meaning "breasts", in reference to the breast shaped silhouette
Breast shaped hill
A breast-shaped hill is a mountain in the shape of a human breast. Such anthropomorphic geographic features are to be found in different places of the world and in some cultures they were revered as the attributes of the Mother Goddess, like the Paps of Anu, named after Anu, an important goddess of...

 of the islands and headland, and Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 múli (snout, promontory).

Notable people

  • Richard Valentine Pitchford (aka Cardini) Master Magician and sleight of hand legend was born in Mumbles in 1895.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones
    Catherine Zeta-Jones
    Catherine Zeta-Jones, CBE, is a British actress. She began her career on stage at an early age. After starring in a number of United Kingdom and United States television films and small roles in films, she came to prominence with roles in Hollywood movies such as the 1998 action film The Mask of...

     and Michael Douglas
    Michael Douglas
    Michael Kirk Douglas is an American actor and producer, primarily in movies and television. He has won three Golden Globes and two Academy Awards; first as producer of 1975's Best Picture, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and as Best Actor in 1987 for his role in Wall Street. Douglas received the...

     have a house in Mumbles.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones
    Catherine Zeta-Jones
    Catherine Zeta-Jones, CBE, is a British actress. She began her career on stage at an early age. After starring in a number of United Kingdom and United States television films and small roles in films, she came to prominence with roles in Hollywood movies such as the 1998 action film The Mask of...

     grew up in Mumbles.
  • Ian Hislop
    Ian Hislop
    Ian David Hislop is a British journalist, satirist, comedian, writer, broadcaster and editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye...

     was born in Mumbles.
  • Joanna Page
    Joanna Page
    Joanna Louise Page is a Welsh actress, best known for playing Stacey in the television series, Gavin and Stacey.-Early and personal life:...

     was born in Mumbles.
  • Bonnie Tyler
    Bonnie Tyler
    Bonnie Tyler is a Welsh singer, most notable for her hits in the 1970s and 1980s including "It's a Heartache", "Holding Out for a Hero" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart".-Early life:...

     lives in Mumbles.
  • The 2004 mini-series Mine All Mine
    Mine All Mine
    Mine All Mine is a British television series produced by Red Production Company for ITV. It was written by Russell T Davies and starred Griff Rhys Jones...

     starring Griff Rhys Jones
    Griff Rhys Jones
    Griffith "Griff" Rhys Jones is a Welsh comedian, writer, actor, television presenter and personality. Jones came to national attention in the early 1980s for his work in the BBC television comedy sketch shows Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones along with his comedy partner Mel Smith...

     was filmed in Mumbles.
  • The Right Reverend Graham Charles Chadwick
    Graham Charles Chadwick
    Graham Charles Chadwick was a British Christian missionary, bishop and anti-apartheid campaigner in South Africa....

     served in curacy at All Saints Church and is buried in Oystermouth Cemetery.
  • Thomas Bowdler
    Thomas Bowdler
    Thomas Bowdler was an English physician who published an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare's work, edited by his sister Harriet, intended to be more appropriate for 19th century women and children than the original....

     is buried in Oystermouth.
  • Jean Jenkins
    Jean Jenkins
    Jean Alice Jenkins is an Australian educator in languages and served as an Australian Democrats senator for Western Australia from 1987 to 1990. She is also noted as an originator in Western Australia of NAATI-accredited level 2 courses in translation and interpreting, and as a campaigner for...

    , an Australian senator (1987–1990), was brought up in Mumbles,
  • Mal Pope
    Mal Pope
    Mal Pope , is a Welsh musician and composer, who is especially notable for his contribution to music theatre portraying Welsh national identities and themes...

     lives in Mumbles
  • Peter Richards
    Peter Richards
    Peter Richards may refer to:*Peter Richards, rugby union player*Peter Richards , , artist & curator, Belfast*Peter Richards, a supporting character from Dallas, played by Christopher Atkins...

     actor and theatre director lives in Mumbles
  • Andy Secombe
    Andy Secombe
    Andrew Secombe , better known as Andy Secombe, is a Welsh actor, voice actor, and author.He played Rover the Dog in the Channel 4 children's series Chips Comic....

    , Welsh actor, voice actor, and author was born in Mumbles
  • Melanie Walters
    Melanie Walters
    Melanie Walters is a Welsh actress, who has worked frequently in television. She is best known for playing Gwen West in the BBC comedy-drama Gavin & Stacey....

     actress (Gavin & Stacey
    Gavin & Stacey
    Gavin & Stacey is a British comedy television series. A romantic comedy-drama, the show follows the long-distance relationship of Gavin from Billericay in Essex, England, and Stacey from Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. The writers of the show, actors James Corden and Ruth Jones, also...

    ) lives in Mumbles
  • Alan Curtis
    Alan Curtis
    Alan Curtis may refer to:* Alan Curtis , American film actor* Alan Curtis , English actor and announcer* Alan Curtis , former Welsh international footballer...

     ex-Welsh international footballer lives in Mumbles
  • Robert Pugh
    Robert Pugh
    Robert Pugh is a Welsh film and television actor.Pugh was born in Cilfynydd and graduated from Rose Bruford College in 1976. In 2007, he co-starred alongside Genevieve O'Reilly and Geraldine James in ITV1 drama The Time of Your Life, where he played a parent whose 36-year-old daughter was...

     actor lives in Mumbles
  • Hannah Stone
    Hannah Stone
    Hannah Stone is a Welsh Harpist from Swansea, Wales.- Personal life :Stone was born in Swansea and grew up in Treboeth and Mumbles. She is engaged to Welsh Baritone Gary Griffiths.- Education :...

    Royal Harpist, grew up in Mumbles

External links

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