Evidence remains in the form of the Round Barrows, Pond Cairn and Simondstown Cairn at Coity – with significant proof of early use of coal and cereals; Bronze Age burial mounds on Stormy Down; Iron Age Forts at Dunraven; Flint Arrowheads found on Merthyr Mawr Warren together with traces of primitive smelting hearths of the Iron Age and the Standing Stone at Sunnyside, beneath which were found cremated remains from the New Bronze Age, c.1500BC.
The Romans came to the area but left no military encampments, though several coins and artefacts have been found, especially along the Roman road from Isca (Caerleon) to Nidum (Neath), which skirts the town to the south. This important means of communication – at a much later date – was a major factor in the founding of the medieval settlement which gave birth to the town today.
The present name of the town is authentically derived from the name ‘Bryggen Eynde’ and is mentioned in a document dated 1447, soon after the first bridge was erected. The name evolved over many years until its present day version of Bridgend and its Welsh equivalent of Penybont ar Ogwr.
The original medieval settlement was on the banks of the river Ogmore. The rivers name comes from the combinations of two words: the Welsh for salmon – Eog and the old Welsh word – Môr, which nowadays refers to the sea, but formerly referred to ‘any expanse of water’, such as an estuary or lake. In all early Norman documents it is referred to as ‘Oggemor’, ‘Uggemore’ or ‘Ogmor’ but never the version – Ogwr.