Roath Local History Society was founded in 1978, by the late Alec Keir and a group of enthusiastic local historians.
Our main unit of study was the ancient parish of Roath and the researching and recording of its history. Today, the object of the Society is to promote, encourage and maintain an active interest in, and research into, the local history on any area or subject, but with particular reference to the Ecclesiastical Parish of Roath.
The officers of the Society are:
- Chairperson: Ted Richards
- Vice Chairperson: Jeff Childs
- Honorary Secretary: Elizabeth Morgan
- Programme and Events Organiser: Alan Knight
- Treasurer: Peter Jones
- Research Convenor: Malcolm Ranson.
- Committee Members: Martin Sheldon, Gareth Brown, Graeme Brown, Carol Ball, Geraint Denison-Kurg and Carole Underwood.
The main functions of the R.L.H.S. are:
Winter Lecture Programme
A series of lectures by prominent speakers, on the second Thursday of the month, from September to May (see Programme)
Summer Field Trips
A series of outside visits to places of interest in and around our area once a week in June and into July.
Research and Investigations
Members conduct research into specific aspects of our local history, that personally interest them; with the help and support of a Members Forum, convened by Malcolm Ranson.
Members and visitors are invited to join in these activities, covering a wide range of topics on aspects of local history.
Why not bring a friend?
Constitution and Policies:
R.L.H.S. Safeguarding Policy
Pictures of our Activities:
Summer Programme 2019
2019: A visit to the Masonic Hall, Cardiff. Built in 1863 as a Methodist Church, the premises were originally, jointly bought by three Masonic Lodges in 1893 and after further fundraising and refurbishment, opened to Freemasonry in 1895. Gradually, from 1918, adjoining cottages were acquired resulting in the complex we see today, that is fully used by many Lodges. Beautiful, original features such as the sweeping staircase and rotunda have been retained, augmented by high quality wood panelling and decoration throughout, with masonic regalia and memorabilia adorning walls and cabinets.
2019: We went to Tewkesbury Abbey to see this guy, William Fitzhamon, and ask him what he was playing at marching into Wales, defeating our Welsh prince and establishing a Norman castle in the middle of Cardiff. He didn’t have a lot to say for himself – he’s been dead 900 years. Being a second cousin of William the Conqueror he probably thought he could do what he liked, but that’s no excuse. So what’s it got to do with Roath? Well, having built a castle you suddenly find everyones a bit peckish. That’s where Roath comes in. It becomes the breadbasket of Cardiff, rearing the animals, growing the crops, and milling the flour at Roath Mill, all so that William Fitzhamon and his followers could be supplied with sandwiches. And where does Tewkesbury come into it? Well, it was Fitzhamon’s HQ. He was Baron of Gloucester as well as lord of Glamorgan. William Fitzhamon founded Tewkesbury Abbey in 1102, though didn’t live to see it finished but they did have the decency to bury him in a prime spot, next to the altar. Towards the end of the 12th century Roath, which covered a much larger area of Cardiff than it does today, was divided up and a large part of it gifted to Twekesbury Abbey and hence called Roath Tewkesbury. It may still be called that today had it not been for the Dissolution of the Monasteries in around 1540 when the land reverted to Henry VIII. Over time it got sold off to people like the Butes, Mackintoshs and the Tredegars, who in turn gave bits away or sold it on again to builders so we can have the Cardiff we all know and love today.
On a less flippant note, here are some notes on the connection between Roath and Tewkesbury Abbey
2019: A visit to the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay where our own Alan Knight introduced us to the history of the building itself, Cardiff Docks, the Scott expedition and a whole lot more.
2019: A long anticipated visit to Maindy Barracks. Among the interesting things we learnt was that the clock was donated to the Regiment by a member of the Mackintosh family. The goat mascot didn’t come out to see us but we did see where his predecessors were buried.
Cardiff Masonic Temple
Our third visit, to the Cardiff Masonic Temple or Hall, was really well attended. We were made very welcome by Mr. Naunton Liles and his masonic colleague, who were both immaculately turned out, in dark suits, highly polished shoes and a red rose in their lapels.
Built in 1863 as a Methodist Church, the premises were originally, jointly bought by three Masonic Lodges in 1893 and after further fundraising and refurbishment, opened to Freemasonry in 1895. Gradually, from 1918, adjoining cottages were acquired resulting in the complex we see today, that is fully used by many Lodges. Beautiful, original features such as the sweeping staircase and rotunda have been retained, augmented by high quality wood panelling and decoration throughout, with masonic regalia and memorabilia adorning walls and cabinets.
Naunton was very open to questions and discussion, explaining the Masons reputation for secrecy started in 1930’s, when it was thought expedient to keep a low profile. Freemasonry has been an entirely male province, for most of its history. Nowadays there is also an exclusively female lodge, albeit comprised largely of the female relatives of their male Masonic counterparts – mixed meetings are never held. All meetings culminate with a hearty dinner, with toasts being drunk, firstly to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, then the Grand Master, the Duke of Kent, followed by toasts to the presiding Master and important guests.
Cardiff Reform Synagogue
2019: Ted Richards gives a talk to the local Beavers on the history of Roath Mill (photo: from 25th Cardiff Scout Group Facebook page)
2018: Ted Richards looking intently at the 3-D scale replica of the Medieval Newport Ship
2018: Malcolm Ranson, Research Convenor and Elizabeth Morgan, Honorary Secretary, with R.L.H.S. Exhibition at Insole Court Heritage Day.
2018: The Grade 1 Listed Adelina Patti Theatre, Craig y Nos Castle, where R.L.H.S. celebrated it’s 40th. Anniversary with a History Tour and Luncheon.
2017 December Meeting with Festive 40th Anniversary of the Roath Local History Society Feast
Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenafon. R.L.H.S. Members waiting to be taken to the coal face.
The Gallery of the Senedd
The Senedd Chamber