Churches etc

Scroll down below the map to see the histories of the different churches.


CHURCHES


Adamsdown Cemetery Mortuary Chapel

Adamsdown Cemetery Mortuary Chapel dates back to 1848 when the burial ground was consecrated on land donated by Lord Bute. It was officially named the St John’s and St Mary’s Burial Ground and managed jointly by the parishes of St.John and St.Mary with the ground was divided into two sections, one for each parish. The ground was closed in respect of new graves in 1877, and became known as the Old Cemetery, a new one having been opened at Cathays in 1859.  Adamsdown Library was established in the former cemetery chapel in 1950.  By the late 1960s it was reported to be in a poor condition and beyond economic repair. It was scheduled to be closed on March 31st 1968, and the Libraries Committee proposed that it be demolished as soon as possible after closure. In the event the building and contents were destroyed in a fire on March 29th. Owing to the close proximity of a children’s playground to the burnt-out building, the Council approached the Church authorities for agreement to early demolition.  A major regeneration took place in 2006 memorial garden was created, incorporating the available cemetery-related masonry, including gravestones arranged around the perimeter and in a central feature. The area now being called Cemetery Park.  Credits:  Much information from the excellent cardiffparks.org website.

Adamsdown Cemetery Mortuary Chapel

Painting – The Ten Acre Field, Cardiff by Alexander Wilson shows two gentleman standing outside the Adamsdown Cemetery Chapel (facing the road that later became Moira Terrace) – on display at the Cardiff Story Museum. Adamsdown Cemetery Mortuary Chapel. Aerial shot: Welsh Government RAF shot 1956.


Albany Road Baptist Church

Cottrell Road, original Albany Road Baptist Church

Albany Road Baptist Church  sits on the corner of Albany Road and Blenheim Road (CF24 3NU).  It started life as Cottrell Road Baptist Mission in July 1893 above a stable with the occasional neigh punctuating the sermon (right).  Initially, it was ‘Particular Baptist’ church, with Communion available only to those baptised by Immersion, and membership denied to anyone involved in the drinks trade.

Albany Road Baptist church old and new

In March 1898, the congregation moved to the school chapel, adjacent to the current church (top left and right).  The current church building opened in December 1932 (bottom left and right) after having been delayed by the war and lack of funds, but the perpendicular tower never completed.  The old school rooms were modernised in 1971 and an extra floor added but the Renaissance style exterior maintained.  In 1994 a glass-fronted entrance was added to the main church. The Bath stone on both buildings has recently undergone extensive cleaning and solar panels added to the church roof.


Agate Street Mission Church

In 1889 the Society of St Margaret’s, an Anglican order of nuns cantered in East Grinstead, took over a Mission Church at 18 Agate Street that had been established a year earlier. It served the churches of St German and St Saviour as well as St Mary’s, Butetown. In the 1922 Cardiff Directory it is referred to as St German’s Mission   The building later became inadequate for local requirements, although it was not put up for sale until 1927.  It was superseded by St Lawrence Mission Hall  on Ruby Street.

St German's Mission House, 18 Agate Street - obscured by the bus

Splott Bridge looking towards Agate Street, 1902. St German’s Mission, 18 Agate Street – obscured by the bus


Assemblies of God

Assemblies of God, Stacey Road meet in the church at the rear of 45, Stacey Road (CF24 1DS).  The building was originally the Church of the Nazerene, opened in 1971. People recall Cliff Richard turning up sometime in the 1970s and giving people a ride in his Rolls Royce.  Prior to the new church being constructed the Church of the Nazerene congregation met in the adjoining house.

Assemblies of God Church, Stacey Road, Roath, Cardiff


Broadway Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

Broadway Methodist Chapel

 The church was situated on Broadway at the junction with Cyril Crescent (CF24 1NF) was built in 1879 by architect William Gilbert Habershon.  It was proceeded by  mission hall in John (later Nora) Street.  Broadwat Methodist church closed in 1950 when the congregation merged with Newport Road and Roath Road Methodists to form Trinity Methodist church.  The building and then became a studio building for the BBC and then later a mosque.  Sadly destroyed in a fire on September 19th 1989.  Now replaced by new housing. Some pictures of the aftermath of the fire.


Cardiff Royal Infirmary Chapel

Cardiff Royal Infirmary chapel

The Cardiff Royal Infirmary chapel was opened on 12 December 1921, some 38 years after the infirmary itself was constructed.  It is said to have been  built to a design by E.M. Bruce Vaughan who also designed St James the Great opposite. He may never have seen the result of his work as he died in 1919. The large stained glass window facing Glossop Terrace is thought to have suffered bomb damage in WWII and was still boarded up some years later.  It is believed to have held it’s last service in 1999 and was then used to store many of the CRI’s displaced artifacts.  Current proposals are to convert it into a library and cafe.  Roath Park Mark has posted some lovely pictures of the interior on Flickr.


Christ Church / Splott Chapel

As early as 1857 the barn of the Upper Splott farm had been converted into a church known as ‘the Splott Chapel’ or ‘Christ Church’ on Metal Street (between Iron and Tin Streets). The church was a forerunner to St German’s church.  It was later used as the Infants’ Department of St. German’s Schools.  Although no photograph of the church is known to exist it is marked on Waring’s map of Cardiff from 1869.

Christ Church or Splott Chapel, Metal Street map


Diamond Street Bible Christian chapel

The Bible Christians were started in the early 1800s by William O’Bryan in Cornwall. He was a preacher on the Bodmin circuit of the Methodist church but was rejected as a candidate for ministry on account of being married so he started his own denomination in 1810.  The main fundraiser behind the Diamond Street church in the early days was W F James but Richard Cory also backed it financially. Their early minister was Rev J C Honey who retired in Aug 1906 after 50 years of being a minister. The church championed the temperance movement so must have been upset when Brains opened their bottling plant around the corner to the church. The Bible Christian nowadays are an almost forgotten denomination which ceased to exist in 1907 when they merged with two other Methodist splinter groups to form the United Methodist church. Although called Diamond Street church, the main entrance was on Nora Street, opposite Topaz Street. It opened on 18th July 1879 and was later enlarged in 1889.  It was initially designed with 450 seats but as it was being built it was decided to add a balcony with 150 extra seats making a total of 600 seats. The chapel closed in 1965 and was used for a time as a furniture warehouse.  The church was demolished around 1980 and replaced with housing.

Diamond Street Bible Christian Chapel

Diamond Street Bible Christian Chapel, later called United Methodist Chapel.


East Moors Bible Christian chapel (also known as Swansea Street Mission Hall)

The foundation stone of the East Moors Bible Christian chapel on Swansea Street, Splott,  also known as Swansea Street Mission Hall, was laid on 13th Dec 1893. The Bible Christians merged with two other denominations in 1907 to form the United Methodist church.  In 1919 it was noted that the mission hall had cost £800 and that debt had remained and a fund raising effort was held to reduce it.  A photo dated 1922 shows a foundation stone being laid for the new Sunday School with Moorland School in the background.  On Nov 19th 1943 Cardiff Education’s Sites & Buildings Committee agrees to hire the Swansea Street Mission Hall `to provide urgent temporary accommodation for certain scholars of the Moorland Road Infants’ School.  The church must have had an active youth club as there are a number of photos showing their events from the 1940s. The building is thought to have been demolished in the late 1970s together with some of the housing of Swansea Street. We have not been able to locate a photograph of this church.

East Moors Bible Christian chapel

East Moors Bible Christian chapel, also known as Swansea Street Mission Hall or Swansea Street Methodist.


Good Shepherd Convent chapel

The land on which the convent and chapel were constructed was donated by the Marquess of Bute, a keen catholic. It was opened on 24 Sep 1874. The chapel included an ornately decorated altar designed by William Burges and incorporated a large gothic baldequin seen in the picture.  The building was abandoned in the 1960s and subsequently demolished to help make way for the eastern Avenue bypass.  The site of the actual chapel is now occupied by St David’s College, formerly Heathwood House school.

Good Shepherd Convent church Ty Gwyn Road CardiffA The history of the convent and its chapel is covered in a paper by Fr Sebastian of St Alban on the Moors church reproduced here.  (photo credits: interior shot – St Peter’s church archive, exterior shot – J Osborne Long)


James Summers Chapel Newport Road CardiffJames Summers Chapel

James Summers Funeral Directors was established in 1878 in Broadway by James Summers after he left his home in Bridgewater and moved to Cardiff.  John Summers took over the business from his father and expanded the Funeral Directors after the Second World War.  In 1952, the eldest son of John, Morlais Summers, purchased Roath Court, an 18th century mansion, and transformed it into a funeral home.  In 1949, Paul Summers, great grandson of James, joined in the family funeral services.  The building now houses a small chapel that was rededicated in 2015 by Rev Stewart Lisk of St Margaret’s.


Minster Christian Centre

The Minster Christian Centre was formerly Minster Gospel Hall (a Brethren Assembly).  It started life as an offshoot of Mackintosh Gospel Hall and initially met in a converted garage on Westville Road, called Penylan Assembly Room.  The present church building on Sturminster Road was opened on 15th October 1927.  The hall was damaged in WWII when bombs fell on Sturminster Road.  In the 1990s, with congregation numbers falling, the church began a relationship with Highfields Church that was to lead to the building becoming Minster Christian Centre in 2001, affiliated with the Federation of Independent Evangelical Churches.  More information on the history of the church can be found on their website.  Photos: Under construction 1927 (top left), early years (top rt, bottom left), today (bottom right)

Minster Hall Church Roath


Miskin Street Bible Christian chapel

Miskin Street Bible Christian ChapelThis church stood on the corner of Miskin Street and Llanbleddian Gardens (CF24 4AQ).  The construction of Miskin Street Bible Christian church was instigated by Rev J.C.Honey, the then minister at Diamond Street Bible Christian church in Roath.  The school and lecture hall were built in 1885 and the chapel in 1891 at a cost of £3,400.  The chapel was built in the Gothic style of the gable-entry type by architect J Follett Fawckner of Newport.  By 1996 the chapel had fallen into disuse.  Sometime over the following 12 years the church was demolished and new flats constructed.  The Bible Christians were founded in Devon by William O’Bryan in 1810 after he had been expelled from the Methodist society.  Evangelism and spiritual life were the order of the day for the Bible Christians.  The Bible Christians were later to merge back into the Methodist church movement.


Parkminster United Reformed ChurchParkminster United Reformed Church

Parkminster URC on Minster Road (CF23 5AS) was originally built in 1927 as a hall for a future Church which Star Street Congregational Church planned to build alongside. The sanctuary, however, was never built, but an interesting part of the story is that the mother-church in Star Street closed in 1985 and joined with Minster Road URC, as the premises were known at that time.  In 2008 the Church changed its name to Parkminster URC which seeks to incorporate the names of the uniting churches, Roath Park & Minster Road. The building is also used by another Church – Calvary Church of God in Christ.  The URC National Synod of Wales is based in the adjoining building.


Plasnewydd Presbyterian Church

Plasnewydd Presbyterian Church, Keppoch Street - Ted Richards

This church on Keppoch Street, started life in Richmond Road in 1885 where meeting were initially held in a house.   The congregation grew and interviews with the trustees of the Mackintosh Estate secured the site on Keppoch Street, close to the mansion of the Mackintosh family, Plasnewydd (now the Mockintosh Sports Club).  The chapel schoolroom in Keppoch street was built in 1886.    The church building itself, designed by W B Rees, opened in November 1901.  By 1906, membership had increased to 388 and by 1918, the figure was 487.    The church closed in 1996.  The building now houses The Gate Arts Centre which opened in 2004.  Cardiff Vineyard church also now meet in the building.


Roath Park Wesleyan Methodist Church

This church was on the corner of Albany and Wellfield Road.  The building survives but the congregation left in 1990 and were for a time holding their services in the Mackintosh Sports and Social Club before finally closing in 2007.  The church building was built in 1898 to the design of architects Jones, Richards and Budgen of Cardiff.  The chapel is Roath Park Wesleyan Methodist church rainbow bargindescribed as stone built in the Gothic style with a long-wall entry plan, an integral tower and perpendicular leaded windows.  It was extended and altered in 1911.  Part of the ground floor of the original church building is today used by retailer Rainbow Bargain.  Much of the interior survives including the stone pulpit now surrounded by bargains.  The church had a roll of honour of all the 109 men who served in the armed forces in WWI which was thought lost but then found for sale and is now mounted in Roath Park Primary school.  The press reported in 2017 that the church building had been sold to a private buyer for £410,000.  There is a tree and plaque remembering the church in Roath Park Recreational Ground near Pen-y-lan library.


Roath Road Wesleyan Methodist Church

Roath Road Wesleyan Methodist Church on the corner of Newport Road and City Road and opened in May 1871 when Newport Road was known as Roath Road. It had 1000 seats. When Roath Road was renamed Newport Road in the early 1880s the church kept its original name.  The church started life as a mission room near St Peter’s church in 1862 and had a school chapel in Castle Road (City Road) in 1868. The church was badly damaged during an air raid on March 3rd 1941. It never reopened and the shell was eventually demolished in 1955.  The WWI war memorial that stood outside the church survived the bombing.  It was relocated outside Trinity church before being discarded.

Roath Road Wesleyan

Roath Road Wesleyan Methodist Church, Newport Road, Cardiff


Salvation Army Barracks, Cecil Street.

These were probably built built c. 1880 and continued to be used by the Salvation Army until about 1920.  It subsequently had  wide variety of uses including a “Holiness” Mission (1924), a Spiritualist Temple (1927-29), Bethlehem Hall (1937), the St German’s Scouts Hall from at least 1949 until c. 1964, a Brains Brewery beer case repair centre probably in the 1960s.  It then housed the Cardiff Aikikai Club, established 1968 probably into the 2000s.  Looking at Google Street View, the Aikikai Club board was still up in 2008 but the windows were boarded up.  In 2011 building work was underway, presumably to convert it into the current flats.   The weathered plaque, which must have been covered up for many years by the Aikikai Club sign is difficult to read apart from being able to make out 76th Corps on the left and the right.  The newspaper cutting from 1884 describes an altercation with an individual who claimed a member of the army threatened to “knock his brains out with a cornet”. He was not believed.

Salvation Army, Cecil Street, Roath

Salvation Army, Cecil Street, Cardiff – 1894 (photo credit: Cardiff Libraries), 2014 (photo credit – Google Streetview), 2019 (Ted Richards), Western Mail 13th Dec 1884 (Wales Newspapers Online)


Splott Road Baptist Church

Splott Road Baptist Church original

Splott Road Baptist Church  was opened in May 1895 on the corner of Splott Road and Railway Terrace (CF24 2EA).  The original building was demolished in 1983.  The last residence of Splott Road Baptist Church was on Burnaby Road/Railway Street, the church’s original school room, now occupied by the Redeemer Church.  More history of Splott Road Baptist Church


St Agnes

St Agnes church was on the corner of Bertram Street and Pearl Street.  It opened in 1884 as a mission church. It was a high Anglican church.  It separated from the parish of Roath in 1961, when it became part of the parish of St German’s.  The church closed in 1966 and the name survives as a chapel in St German’s and  where its war memorial is now located.  The altar of St Agnes Church was relocated to St Mary’s Church at Butetown. Used to be a warehouse in the 1970s and 1980s and the building demolished around 1988 and replaced by flats called St Agnes Court.

St Agnes church, Roath, Cardiff

St Agnes church, Roath, Cardiff, corner of Bertram Street and Pearl Street.


St Andrew and St Teilo

The church of St Andrew and St Teilo is in the corner of Woodville Road and Flora Street, Cathays.  The church, originally called just St Teilo, started life as a tin tabernacle in 1879 and was enlarged in 1885. It was built to serve the large numbers of railway yard workers who lived in the district.  Work began on the permanent church in 1895, with £3000 being contributed to the project by the Mackintosh of Mackintosh. The aisles and nave were dedicated in 1897. The chancel was added in 1901. The architect’s original plans had included a grand tower. The tower was begun in 1913 with a lady chapel being installed at the same time, but the plans proved financially overambitious, and only the lowermost portion of the tower was ever built. The reredos was installed by John Coates Carter in 1924. The church became Grade II listed in 1975. The west window of the nave, which dates from 1919, is the largest in the Diocese of Llandaff. In 1954 St Andrew’s Church in the centre of Cardiff closed and the congregation joined with St Teilo’s and the church renamed St Andrew and St Teilo. In 2007 it became part of the new Parish of Cathays. A new vicarage was built next to the church on  the grassed area that had been popular with wedding parties who used to have their photographs taken there. Since the 1960s it has served as the Cardiff University Parish Church. In 2000, it was adapted for use as both a music rehearsal centre and place of worship. In 2020 the building became home of building home of the newly launched Citizen Church.

St Andrew and St Teilo, Cathays, Cardiff

St Andrew and St Teilo, Cathays, Cardiff. Top left: drawing of the original design of the church with a tower. Top rt: church in modern times (pic: Explore Churches website), bottom left: statue above the door, presumably St Teilo (pic: Roath Park Mark on Flickr), a wedding party next to the church in the 1950s, the altar and west window.


St Andrew’s United Reformed Church

Early view of St Andrews - from within Roath Park - note railings

St Andrew’s United Reformed Church sits at the corner of Marlborough Road, Wellfield Road and Pen-y-lan Road (CF24 3PB).  It holds a special interest to us as it is where Roath Local History Society hold hold our monthly meetings.  The church originally met in the present church hall that was built in 1897.  The main church building was completed in 1900 and was originally called Roath Park Presbyterian Church.  More history and pictures of this church can be found by clicking on the link above or here.


St Anne

St Anne’s church, Roath on Snipe Street closed in 2015 after 128 years of worship but the building has recently re-opened and being used by Urban Crofters, a Church of Wales Anglican church.

St Anne’s church began in 1872 when the vicar of Roath, Reverend Puller, founded a school chapel, St Clement’s, there. At the time, the district’s population had grown from 300 to 9000 in twenty years, and the existing places of worship were no longer adequate. The founding stone of the present church was laid in 1886. The church was designed by J. A. Reeve, a pupil of William Burges. Reeve’s original design was displayed at the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1887, but it proved unrealistically elaborate, and only the chancel and spire were built as intended, with the nave being of a plainer, more modest design than the original plans. Even so, the church’s opening ceremony was attended by 500 people, who crowded into a space designed for 350. The north aisle was installed in 1891.

In 1904, the church tried to tempt extra members by opening a church pub. “The Moon and Stars” was opened by the Vicar Rev Frederick Beck, on 30 January. But after he left the parish, the following year, the project came to an end. The south aisle was not built until 1937. In 1991, the half and single bay at the western end of the church were partitioned off to form a church hall.

The adjoining church school closed in 2011 after 132 years, having only twenty pupils by this time. In 2015, the church’s congregation had dwindled to around 12 and when it was learnt that the church required £250,000 worth of repairs, the decision was taken to close. The last service was held on Christmas Eve 2015.

St Anne's Church, Roath, Cardiff

St Anne’s Church, Roath, Cardiff. The panels surrounding the pulpit were war memorial plaques to the fallen. They are now in St Edward’s church in Pen-y-lan.



St Columba

St Columba mission church on the corner of Sanquhar Street and Adamsdown Place had a short existence as a church.   It opened on 14 January 1877 to cater for the rapidly expanding population of the East Moor area including those working at the nearby Tharsis Copper Works.  The land was donated by Lord Bute. St Columba’s was closed for worship when St Saviour’s was consecrated in 1888 but remained in use as an infant’s school under the responsibility of St Saviour’s. In 1889/90 it was described as Infants School/Reading Rooms.  It was demolished in 1927. The site today is occupied by the Indian Centre, the Hindu Cultural Central Association for Wales.  Given the short life of the church it is no surprise that no pictures have yet been found.  It is good however to find a map of the time with the church marked.

St Columba's Church, Sanquhar Steet


St Cyprian

St Cyprian's exterior and interior

St Cyprian’s mission church was on the corner of Monthemer Road and Bruce Street (CF24 4QY)  and was a daughter church to St Martin’s on Albany Road.  St Cyprian’s was constructed in 1899 and formerly known as Holy Cross Chapel which in itself had replaced Daniel Street Mission church.  St Cyprian’s served as the parish church 1941-55 following incendiary bomb damage to St Martin’s.  The church was closed around 1956, and later became a warehouse for Shaw’s the drapers.  The building was demolished around 2005 and has now been replaced by Cyprian House student flats.


St Edward

St Edward's Westville Road Penylan old and new

St Edward the Confessor is on the Blenheim Road/Westville Road corner (CF23 5DE) was opened as a daughter church to the parish church of St Margaret’s.  The original church (top) was constructed in 1915 but burnt down only some four years later on September 11th 1919.   The new brick built building (bottom) was built as a parish war memorial and opened in November 1921 with a temporary iron nave that was replaced by a more permanent structure in 1968.  Later in 1992 a schoolroom and vestibule was added.  The pulpit came from All Souls’ chapel (Mission to Seamen) in Cardiff Docks in 1953.  More information on the history of St Edward’s can be found on their website.


St Francis

St Francis church used to stand in Singleton Road, Splott.  The Sunday school memorial stone was laid in Sept 1894. The newspaper of the day noted that ‘the church of St Francis is as yet a temporary building as the money is not as yet forthcoming to build the church’.  The site was given by Lord Tredegar.  The new Sunday School could accommodate 500-600 children and was designed by Habershon and Fawckner.  The building served the community  working in the nearby steel and copper works of East Moors.  St Francis replaced an iron church that used to stand on the corner of Neath Street and Pontypridd street.   It was temporarily used as a school when Moorland Road school suffered bomb damage in WWII. St Francis was closed 1969 and demolished around 1970. Thought that the altar/font from St Francis church was placed in St Saviours church in Splott Road. Moorland Rd Nursery School now on the site.

St Francis church, Splott, Cardiff

St Francis church, Singleton Road, Splott, Cardiff. bottom rt photo: cleaning ladies in the early 1950s.


St German

St German’s is on the corner of Star Street and Metal Street, Adamsdown.  The church is named after St Germanus of Auxerre (a town in Burgandy, France), a Dark Age Celtic saint, who may have passed through these parts.  The first church in the area was Christ Church nearby on Metal Street.  In 1874 a  second-hand iron building brought from Dudley was erected adjacent to the current St German’s church.  With the local population of Roath expanding rapidly architect George F Bodley was employed to design a more permanent structure.  The church was built between 1881 and 1884 on land donated by Lord Tredegar and is the only church with flying buttresses in Cardiff.  It has been described as ‘a sort of greyhound church, strong, lithe, and thin’.  The church was consecrated in March 1886, the same month that the new parish of St German was formed.  St. German’s was narrowly missed by bombing in 1941 (although some damage was done), but the parish hall alongside was destroyed and killing Sister Teresa.  A new hall has since been built on the same site.  Close to the west entrance is a Calvary in wrought iron, the work of sculptor Frank Roper, the stone Calvary having been destroyed in WW2.

St German's Star Street, Adamsdown, Cardiff

St German’s Star Street, Adamsdown. Top L: 1880 maps showing the metal church, and an empty plot where the current St German’s stands. Top R: 1890, View of St German’s with the Great Eastern Hotel in the foreground. Bottom L: Former church hall and sculpture, destroyed in WWII. Bot R: St German’s in 2019.


St Illtyd

St Illtyd church was at the north-west end of Crwys Road.  Ring any bells?  It probably didn’t.  It was an iron church that opened in November 1886 with the first evening service preached by the Venerable Archdeacon of Llandaff.   It had seating for 201 people.  It closed in the late 1930s.  For a time it was said to be headquarters of the 4th Cardiff (St. Andrew’s) Scouts in 1946. The building has now been demolished and replaced by an electricity sub-station with what looks like a false shop front. Still searching for a picture of the old building.

St Illtyd church, Crwys Road, Cathays, Cardiff


St James the Great

St James the Great church on the corner of Newport Road and Glossop Road was designed by Cardiff architect E. M. Bruce Vaughan and is described as his ‘masterpiece’.  He also designed the Queen’s Building of Cardiff University further along Newport Road and helped design an extension to the Infirmary opposite the church.  St James was a daughter church of St John’s in the centre of Cardiff and replaced an iron church that stood on the site.  It cost a substantial £10,000 to complete and was partly funded by Lord Tredegar.  The newspaper of Nov 1893 shows a picture of Mrs Canon Thompson, wife of the vicar of St. John’s Church, descending the scaffolding from the top of the unfinished St James the Great church.  The interesting and unique ceremony had been held on top of the 150ft spire on a breezy platform and had involved fixing the weather vane on top of the spire. The church was officially opened in June 1894 by the Bishop of Llandaff. Moves were afoot at the time to disestablish the Church in Wales which did not please the Anglican church authorities. Feelings were evidently running high for in the speeches afterward it was said to be necessary to remove the crass ignorance of the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary as to the state of Church in Wales.

St James the Great, Cardiff through the ages.

St James the Great, Cardiff – 1893 affixing the weather vane, before traffic and 2018.

Externally, the church is finished with Sweldon limestone, Bath stone and ashlar while, internally, the nave pillars are alternatively round and octagonal. The carved pulpit was described as ‘a sumptuous piece’ in pink, green and buff coloured stone. The church building became a Grade II listed building in 1975. It closed in 2006 having been open for 112 years. Some of the items in the church were relocated. The font is in Tredegarville school adjacent to the church and the war memorial plaques are in St John’s. The building was sold in 2007 by the Church in Wales for £500,000. Planning permission was granted in 2008 to create 12 one and two-bedroom flats and, in addition, a seven storey apartment in the church tower.  It seems as if the work is still underway in 2020.

St James the Great, Cardiff interior and exterior

St James the Great, Cardiff (photo credits: pulpit, lectern and reredos – RoathParkMark on Flickr, interior undergoing change – the developers)


St Lawrence Mission Church

The Society of St Margaret’s, an Anglican order of nuns centred in East Grinstead, established St Lawrence Mission Church at 56 Ruby Street.  It opened in June 1908, eventually replacing their Agate Street Mission Church. The running costs were met by St German’s and St Saviour’s churches.  It was known as the St German’s Mission House by 1955.  It was closed in 1963 and was sold that year to the Arts Council of Great Britain.  Since then it has housed the Welsh Theatre Company, the Casson Studio Theatre, St David’s Gypsy School and Cardiff Community Dance Project which, in 1982, became Rubicon Dance, the present occupiers.  The building has been remodelled since being closed as a church.  A foundation stone laid in 1907 and inscribed  ‘To The Glory of God and in Honour of Saint Lawrence the Martyr’ is just inside the front door of Rubicon’s main entrance behind a plasterboard wall. High on the side wall of the Mission overlooking Nora Street was a niche which housed a statue of St Lawrence.  The statue was stolen sometime during the life of the Mission.  The niche is now inside the building just by the first floor lift exit. St Lawrence’s Mission Hall had a large hall on the ground floor (now the downstairs studio) and a chapel (now the upstairs studio) above.  The chapel was used by the Sisters and for public services and said to be very beautifully kept.  There was an altar with a painted from and a statue of Our Lady (Italian) which went to St Saviour’s when the Mission closed.  More reminiscences of the former church are detailed in a Rubicon Dance blog.

St Lawrence's Mission Hall, Ruby Street, Cardiff

St Lawrence’s Mission Hall, Ruby Street (photo credits: Left – Rubicon Dance, Rt: John Sennett on Splotlands Facebook page)


St Margaret

St Margaret's church Roath old and new

St Margaret’s lies on the corner of Waterloo Road and Albany Road (CF23 5AD).   St Margaret’s  is the old parish church of Roath and was founded by the Normans in the late eleventh century.  The previous church (top) was demolished in 1869 and replaced by the present building (bottom) which dates back to 1870.  It was designed by John Pritchard and financed by the third Marquess of Bute at around the same time as his conversion to Catholicism.  The church houses the Bute Mausoleum where nine members of the Bute family are interred.  The tower was a later addition and was dedicated as a War Memorial in 1926.  The churchyard only has a few gravestones remaining, the bulk of them having been removed in 1961.  The St Margaret’s website details their rich history.


St Martin

St Martin's Albany Road

St Martin’s is at the western end of Albany Road (CF24 3RP).  The church was built in 1899 on land donated by the Mackintosh estate, to a design by Frederick R Kempson.  The population of Roath was expanding fast at the time and a larger building was needed to replace the iron church on the site that had been built in 1886.  The foundation stone of the new church was laid by the mayoress Mrs S A Brain, wife of the brewer.  The brick built church in late Decorated Gothic style was opened in 1901 and St Martin’s became a parish in itself in 1903.  Its original lady chapel was decorated by a Belgian refugee artist in gratitude for the kindness shown by the parishioners during the First World War.  The interior of the church,  described as one of the most elaborate church interiors in South Wales, was largely destroyed in February 1941 when it was it by an incendiary bomb. The church was restored and reopened in 1955.  More of St Martin’s history is on their website.


St Michael and All Angels

St Michael and All Angels is on the corner of Whitchurch Road and Gelligaer Street in Cathays. The history of the church can be traced back to the sale of a school in Working Street, near the Hayes, in the centre of Cardiff in Victorian times.  The proceeds of that sale were used to build St Monica’s church on Merthyr Street, Cathays in 1893.  However, when the Education Act of 1902 came into operation,  Cardiff Council claimed that the whole premises was under an education trust and that the separation of part of the building for the purposes of a church was not in accordance with the terms of the trust.  The case was finalised in 1907 and the fundraising started to build a new church on Whitchurch Road.    The church started as a tin tabernacle which was built in 1922 and was a replacement for St Monica’s chapel.  The metal church lasted for over 70 years.  Redevelopment took place in 1995 which included construction of a new church and the building of retirement flats on the site. The new brick-built church has a steeply angled roof.  On the wall facing Whitchurch road is mounted a sculpture by Theo Grunwald of Saint Michael triumphant over the Devil.

St Michael and All Angels, Cathays, Cardiff

St Michael and All Angels, Cathays, Top: exterior and interior of the original St Michael and All Angels church (photo credit: J Rose), Bottom: The new church – exterior, interior and sculpture (photo credits: Jaggery on Geograph, church Twitter account and Verbcatcher on Wikipedia)


St Philip

St Philip’s on Tweedsmuir Road, Tremorfa was founded in 1930 to serve what was then a new estate. It was originally a hall, which was replaced in 1937 by a tin tabernacle which had itself formerly been St Joseph’s, Heath and also St Alban’s, Splott, both of which had been replaced by permanent buildings. It was replaced by a permanent building in 1966, an avant-garde design with a central altar beneath a lantern. In 1992 the church facade was enhanced by this beautiful brick bas-relief of a Calvary.  It was separated from the Parish of Roath in the late 20th century and has been partnered with St Mark’s, Gabalfa since 2004. In 2009, £80,000 was raised from several sources and the church was re-roofed, thoroughly renovated and rededicated by the assistant Bishop.  Reflecting St Mark’s evangelical emphasis, the interior has been reordered for multi-purpose use and termed a ‘Messy church’, very popular with the children.  It has been renamed St Philip’s community church.

St Philip's, Tremorfa, Cardiff

St Philip’s, Tremorfa. Top: the iron church installed in 1937 and replaced in 1966. Bottom: St Philip’s today with the bas-relief from 1992.


St Saviour

St Saviour’s, an Anglo-Catholic or high church, is located on the corner of Splott Road and Carlisle Street, set back from Splott Road, behind railed forecourt with war memorial cross.  Designed by architect G F Bodley, the three-gabled design is modelled on the 15th century church of St Mary, Tenby but without a tower or spire.  The nave and chancel were flanked by aisles and side chapels.   It was consecrated in 1888 and originally formed part of the new parish of St German’s. An earlier iron church of St Saviour’s had been dedicated in Dec 1884, which from 1888 became the church hall.  The church also came to be served by the Dowlais Church Mission room in Swansea Street, an infant sunday school in Marion Street and mission rooms in Pearl Street.  Although originally a daughter church of St German’s, St Saviour’s saw the creation of its own parish on 30 January 1893. The Splott War memorial sits in front of the church.  The church became Grade II listed in 1952. In 1961, it saw a restoration by George Pace which saw the subdivision of the nave into a hall. The aluminium Stations of the Cross were designed by Frank Toper (1963) and the modern and colourful reredos was designed by local artist Tony Goble. In 1985, the old church hall on the opposite side of the street was sold off and demolished and replaced by Callaghan Court.

St Saviour, Splott Road, Cardiff

St Saviour, Splott Road, Cardiff. Top rt: church in 1925. bottom left: dedication of war memorial in 1921, bottom rt: St Saviour’s church hall.


St Teilo’s Priory Chapel

St Teilo's Priory Chapel old and new

St Teilo’s Priory Chapel is on Church Terrace, next to Waterloo Gardens (CF23 5AX).  The building was originally the chapel of St Margaret’s House of Mercy, opened in 1882 and run by the Society of St Margaret’s, an Anglican order of nuns centered in East Grinstead.  The building to the left of the chapel was a children’s home opened in 1894,  described in the 1914 Western Mail Directory as “a home for the rescue and training of 20 fallen girls. Hand laundrywork and plain needlework are undertaken”.   When the sisters left in 1934 the building became St Teilo’s Hall, a men’s hostel for university students. In 1945, still housing students, it became St Teilo’s Priory, staffed by monks from the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield.  They left in the late 1960s when more Sisters arrived, this time from the Community of the Holy Name, Malvern Link (later moved to Derby).  They ran the Priory as a conference centre and retreat house, with pastoral duties in the parish.  These sisters left in the late 1970s, after which the building was sold to a housing association, initially catering for retired clergy, though no longer. The statue of St Margaret, originally in a niche on the front of the priory chapel, was at that time brought into St Margaret’s church for preservation, and mounted on the wall of the north transept.


Stacey Road Congregational Chapel 

Stacey Road Congregational Church building and maps

In 1880 some members of Star Street Congregational church separated from the congregation and formed a new iron church in Newport Road. The minister from 1883 was Rev. J. Lloyd Williams BA. who had trained in Memorial College Brecon and New College, London.  Reported to be a kindly, unassuming man, a thoughtful congregation grew.  For some years he also held the position of Hebrew Lecturer in University College.  When Rev. Lloyd Williams left for a church in Tenby the ministry was handed over to Rev. E. Nicholson Jones in 1893. It was under his ministry that the church migrated to Stacey Road.  Stacey Road Hall was purchased with the original intention of transforming it into a church but the plan never materialised and instead a schoolroom was erected at the rear of the building which henceforth became the home of Stacey Road Congregational church (also thought to be called Roath Congregational chapel) (CF24 1SD).  In the early 1900s after a succession of ministers and falling numbers the Church was eventually disbanded in 1919. The building has probably gone through a number of changes and uses over the years and was part of the BBC Studios along with the adjoining Hall.  Today occupied by the spares division of Kitchen Economy.


Star Street Congregational Church  / Gurdwara Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple

The first challenge with looking at the history of this church is to work out why it is called Star Street Congregational when it is actually on Copper Street.  The answer may lie in the fact it was built prior to Copper Street being named, at  time when people expected Star Street to continue eastwards to Clifton Street. The church began with an active Sunday school in a building behind nearby Comet Street in the 1860s, a building that was damaged and demolished following an air raid in 1941.  The Sunday school soon filled up and work on the Star Street church began which opened in 1871 costing £1,700, the debt of which was paid off by 1894. The early years of the church were somewhat thwart with poor attendance and finance issues but by the 1880s the church was going from strength to strength and the building renovated in the 1890s. Under Minister Sinclair Evans the chapel’s 500 seats were full.  Seat rents were contentious, however, and members left when the minister did. Renovation came in the 1890s, and all seats were made free once a month. Sunday school, Band of Hope (temperance), Reading Circle and Boys’ Brigade are evidence of a vigorous church life. The pastor in the 1890s and early 1900s was Rev John Morris who later held the chaplaincy at the nearby Infirmary. When he resigned the chaplaincy at the Infirmary, Star Street church donated 100 Guineas to the hospital in 1919 in honour and memory of his work, (approx £55,000 in today’s terms). The Infirmary in turn decided to name the private ward off the Insole Ward, the John Morris Ward.  Star Street church still flourished up to the 1970s but declined thereafter and closed in 1985 when the congregation was absorbed by its ‘daughter’ Minster Road URC, now Parkminster.  The old Star Street church building has been renovated and is now home to the Sikh Gurdwara Nanak Darbar temple.

Star Street Congregational church history

L to R: early photo of Star Street Congregational church, Whitsunday Treat trip 1931, Rev John Morris, Gurdwara Nanak Darbar temple (2020), inside the temple (photo credit: Jasbir Singh).


Tabernacle

Tabernacle church old and new

Tabernacle church is on Pen-y-wain Road at the junction of Mackintosh Place (CF24 4GG).  Tabernacle is an independent church formed in 2003 as a splinter group of Heath Evangelical church. Services were originally held at Heath Citizens Hall but moved to the present premises in January 2009.

The building was originally Roath Park Congregational church built in 1927 and an expansion of the neighbouring building to the west built in 1909.   Bomb damage in WWII necessitated the removal of the upper part of the tower.   In 1972 the church became Roath Park United Reformed church but closed in 2008.


Trinity Methodist church

Trinity Methodist

Trinity Methodist church  (CF24 1LE) at the junction of Four Elms Road and Piercefield Place is now the Trinity Centre, an outreach project of the Methodist church working especially with refugees and asylum seekers.  Built in 1896 it was originally named Newport Road Wesleyan Methodist Church.  It was renamed Trinity Methodist Church in 1951 upon the merger with Roath Road Methodist destroyed in the blitz) and Broadway Methodist church.


Woodville Road Baptist Church

Woodvillle Baptist Church - Copy

Woodville Road Baptist Church on the corner of Woodville Road and Crwys Road (CF24 4DZ) was constructed in 1887 and the galleries added in 1892.  The church was demolished in 1993 and the new church ‘Woodville Christian Centre’ opened in 2002 on part the same site whilst the corner part of the original site is now an Italian desert parlour.


SYNAGOGUES:


Penylan synagogue and map

Picture credit: People’s Collection of Wales, Map Credit: Old Maps

Penylan Synagogue was on Ty Gwyn Road, or more precisely in the space between Brandreth Road, Arnside Road and Birchwood Road. The foundation stone for the synagogue was laid in November 1952 by the Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie.  The building was sold in 2003 with the congregation moving to its current premises in Cyncoed Gardens.