Local laws governing the conduct of residents and visitors at Kenfig were published in the form of Ordinances. In many cases the Ordinances also specified the penalty wrong-doers could expect to incur. They were produced by the Portreeve, an office bearer with duties not unlike those of a Chief Executive Officer, together with the aldermen. At the Glamorgan Record Office you can see a copy of the Ordinances published on the twentieth of May in the fourth year of the reign of Edward III, that is 1330. The copy you can see now was written on parchment in 1572, containing 51 ordinances dating back to 1330 and a few extra ones added in the years after 1330. It comprises seven sheets of parchment sewn together into a roll some two metres long. To read it you put on a pair of gloves and unroll one end while rolling up the other. It is written in English. As an alternative to going to the Glamorgan Record Office you can read a full transcript of the Ordinances in "The Buried City of Kenfig", a wonderful book by Thomas Gray published in 1909.
Unless you are a collector of rare books do not try to buy a copy of "The Buried City of Kenfig". The current asking price is about £75. The book has, however, been reprinted in a paperback edition by Lightning Source UK (shame about the quality of the illustrations, but at least the text is legible).
All I can do here is to pick out a few of the more revealing Ordinances. Brawlers who drew blood would be fined 3s 4d, or more at the discretion of the Portreeve. Strangers were banned from walking after nine of the clock without a reasonable cause or fire in their hand. Every resident living within the town walls had to keep the pavements and causeways to and from their pastures free of dung and other filth. Moreover, where the streets were unpaved every man had to pave the streets before his door. There was a ban on saying "unfitting words which should be rebukeful or spiteful to the portreeve or any of the council or will gainsay the good rule and ordinance of the town". For this particular offence the penalty would be imprisonment and a fine of 10s, half of which would go to the Lord and the other half to him to whom the rebuke was given.
No dice, cards, bowls, or other unlawful games were to be played within the town. No one was allowed to keep no licentious naughtipacks, bawdrey, or suspected harlots, vagabonds, nor loiterers in their houses.
According to Bernard Butler naughtipacks were wicked, dissolute, perhaps promiscuous men. Bernard would like to see the word come back into common usage.
Several Ordinances mention the High Street. Butchers were not allowed to slaughter or scald animals in the High Street. Cattle were not to be kept or milked there. Tennis was not to be played there.
Not many of the Ordinances refer to women. There is, however, one that states that if any woman be found guilty of scolding or railing any burgess or their wives or any other of their neighbours, then at the first offence she will be brought to the cucking stool and made to sit there one hour, at the second offence she will be made to sit there for two hours, and at the third offence she will be let slip or else given a high fine at the pleasure of the portreeve.
We have seen that the charter of 1360 contained indications that the sand was approaching. In a similar way the Ordinances of 1330 suggest that the people of Kenfig understood the threat of the sand, and moreover that they were aware that their own actions might affect the rate at which the sand dunes might advance inland. Ordinance 51 ordains that no burgess nor burgess’s stranger nor inhabitant shall reap or pluck any sedges nor any other roots upon the borough; but only such person or persons as the portreeve and council shall admit, and in such place upon the borough as the portreeve and council shall appoint.
As I have mentioned, one of the main objectives in creating a castle and town at Kenfig was to assert and maintain Norman rule over the local Welsh population. It came under attack many times. On the first occasion, in 1167, when the town had already grown outside the walls of the castle, much of the town was destroyed by fire. Further such incidents occurred over the next twenty years. Indeed there is a statement in the Annals of Margam Abbey asserting that the town was burnt in 1185, but "had not been burned for a year or more". In 1232 the people of Kenfig had to sustain a major assault by a neighbouring Welsh leader, Morgan Gam, and there was another attack in 1242 led by Morgan's cousin, Hywel ap Maredudd. The last attack of which we have a record took place in 1321, when a group of English nobles unhappy with the rule of King Edward II linked up with Welsh forces. On this occasion the inhabitants of Kenfig quickly surrendered and little damage was done.
I do not wish to dwell on these events, but there is a full account in Barrie Griffiths, The First Borough of Kenfig 1147-1439, The Kenfig Society, 2011.