There is evidence of habitation from thousands of years ago, but the clearest signs are the standing stone near Water Street and the extensive earthworks of Pen Castell camp in Kenfig Hill. Norman churches stand at Mawdlam and Pyle, the manor houses of The Hall and Ty Maen are still in existence and so is the mill at Llanmihangel. When the road between Cardiff and Swansea moved northwards, Pyle Inn was built in the 1780s to serve as a coaching inn on the main route to London.
The Industrial Revolution brought rapid development: firstly with the Bedford Ironworks at Cefn Cribwr, followed by coal mines between Kenfig Hill and Aberbaiden.
Today coal is extracted from a large opencast site and, in South Cornelly, quarries supply limestone for building, road construction and steel-making.