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Modern scholars have suggested that the name is shortened from an original “ (The Big Dictionary: Gomer Press) reveals that penardd/penarth eb (feminine noun) means 'promontory'.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.The Penarth area has a history of human inhabitation dating back at least 5000 years.In 1956 several Neolithic stone axe heads were found in the town.All householders in Penarth were tenants of the Plymouth Estates, paying an annual ground rent.The situation would not change until the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, that gave householders the choice of purchasing their freehold or negotiating 999 year extensions on their short leases.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.
Penarth's medieval walled Sheriff's Pound, an early form of multi-purpose gaol, remained in use until the late 18th century, as a place to retain stray sheep, cattle and pigs or to imprison thieves, rustlers and vagabonds.) of land under cultivation as several farms.
In the 1801 census, there were just 72 people living in the Manor.
Even as late as 1851, Penarth was still little more than a small rural farming and fishing village since medieval times, with just 24 houses and 105 residents, being one of five parishes contained within the Hundred of Dinas Powys, with a combined population of just over 300.
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.
This has since been converted into a chain restaurant.