Scroll down below the map to see the histories of the different 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 Gospel Hall
Adamsdown Gospel Hall, an assembly place for the Brethren church, faces onto Kames Place, Adamsdown and is built on the site of the old Adamsdown Farm. The Hall is believed to be the first Brethren assembly in South Wales and started life in 1852 by meeting in a room in nearby Newtown. As numbers grew it was decided to build a permanent Hall. The building was opened in 1877 and originally faced onto Clyde Street but when the ‘black bridge’ over the main railway line was constructed in the early 1900s, bringing lots of pedestrian traffic along Kames Place, it was decided to reverse the interior of the building so it faced onto Kames Place instead. Some of the brethren would meet once a week outside the main doors of the hall, at six o’clock in the morning, to distribute gospel literature and have personal conversations with the men as walked past after finishing their night shift at they finished their night shifts at the steel works, timber yards and dockland. The Gospel Hall, built in the Arts and Crafts style, with its unusual exterior stonework, has changed little over the years. It is now the meeting place of the Adamsdown Assembly.
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.
Ainon Baptist Church
Ainon Baptist church in Walker Road, Splott on the corner with Adeline Steet was a Welsh Baptist church and originally a daughter church of Salem Baptist church and designed to cater for the Welsh speaking community moving into the rapidly expanding area of Splott. It started in 1889 as a mission hall church in Marion Street. The mission hall was no more than ‘an old wooden structure’, close to what became Splott Elementary School. The hall had previously been a meeting place for ‘another religious group’ and was rented for six shillings a week. The first service was on 25 Jul 1889 and that evening the physically blind Thomas Williams preached. The mission hall however was a flimsy structure and it wasn’t unknown for an umbrella to be held over the organist’s head when it was raining outside. The congregation increased rapidly as did the choir who competed in local eisteddfodau. Land on Walker Road was purchased and the first building, a schoolroom, opened on 24 Jan 1892 with a baptistery added in 1894 by which time Ainon had become an independent church from Salem. The main Ainon Baptist church building was constructed in 1895/6 at a cost of £2,500 and opened on 14 Jun 1896. The Marion Street Mission hall continued to operate as a Sunday School and had 200 scholars in 1900. English language services were introduced in Ainon in 1911 and by 1929, all services were conducted in English. Ainon Baptist closed in 1975 and demolished in 1977. The site is now occupied by Ainon Court flats, erected by the Baptist Union of London.
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 (see separate entry) in July 1893. 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.
All Saints, Tyndall Street
All Saints church (Eglwys yr Holl) was in Tyndall Street, Newtown, on the corner with Ellen Street. It was built as a Welsh speaking Anglican church and funded by the Marchioness of Bute. The foundation stone was laid in July 1854 and the paper reports that the young Marquis of Bute and his mother led a procession ‘from St Mary’s church to the neighbourhood of Newtown, a new densely populated locality where a new church is to be erected for the Welsh proportion of the community’. The church opened in Apr 1856. It was designed by architect Alexander Roos and built in Anglo-Norman style with a 105ft tower off to one side. With the population of the area expanding there was a move to create a separate parish of All Saints. This was held up when it was discovered that the site had never legally been conveyed and in the meantime the Marquess of Bute had become a Roman Catholic. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners ended up paying £2,998 to purchase the site outright. It was therefore not until 1866 that the church was consecrated. Unfortunately for the church the demographics of Newtown didn’t develop quite as predicted and rather than a Welsh speaking neighbourhood, Newtown turned out to be home for the Irish immigrant workers who were mainly of Roman Catholic persuasion. By 1870 the services at All Saints were being held in English. The church struggled on but eventually closed in 1899 and was sold to Great Western Railways. Authority to abandon and dispose of the Tyndall Street building required Parliamentary approval, which was granted through the All Saints’ Church (Cardiff) Act 1899. The congregation relocated to St Elvan’s church in Windsor Road which was renamed All Saints and re-consecrated in 1903. The original All Saints church in Tyndall Street had a number of uses over the years. In the 1960s it was an electrical warehouse. It was eventually demolished in 1980. The site is now occupied by the Capital office block.
All Saints, Windsor Road (formerly St Elvan, Adamsdown Square)
St Elvan Mission Chapel opened in Adamsdown Square in Sep 1893 by the Lord Bishop of Llandaff. It was a daughter church to All Saints in Tyndall Street. All Saints however was having difficulty attracting a congregation and its closing was announced in 1898. The plan was too relocate All Saints. One thought was to build a new church at the now closed Adamsdown Cemetery and use St Elvan at a school room. In the end it was decided to build a new church at the St Elvan site fronting onto Windsor Road. The foundation stone (on the first floor level) is dated 1902. The new All Saints consecrated in 1903. It was built in lancet style to designs of Seddon and Carter and had two levels with a schoolroom and vestry below the main worship area. It was a simple rectangle set above a hall, its walls built of Bath, Pennant and Radyr stones in complex interplay. There is a strange western bellcote on a slab-like buttress. It closed in the 1966 and was then used for a variety of commercial premises including L.H.Evans the Electrical Wholesaler, a furniture saleroom and then by a dealer in fireplaces and architectural salvage. It has since been converted into flats in 2012.
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.
Bethlehem Welsh Congregational Chapel
Bethlehem Welsh Congregational Church, Splott was on the corner of Eyre Street and Railway Street. It had its 1892 origins in a loft room in Pearl Street, where a Sunday School and services were started with a nucleus of 80 members who moved from Ebenezer in town. The Congregationalists or Independents were at the forefront of educational provision. The growing attendance meant that a new site was acquired for a school-chapel at the junction of Railway Street and Eyre Street, which opened in June 1895. It had 219 scholars by 1900. In Oct 1908 a new church was built alongside the school-chapel to the design of architects Habershon, Fawkner and Co. In the same year the school-chapel was being used to hold classes ‘aimed at giving people an insight into Welsh literature and at those who wished to become more familiar with the gems of Welsh literature and be able to write correct idiomatic Welsh’. The first wedding to be solemnised at the new church was in July 1910 when the pastor himself, Rev. D R Jones, was married to Miss Agnes John of Keppoch Street. In Dec 1924 a Sunday-school service was taking place when the organist noticed a flamed coming from behind the organ. The young scholars got out safely but it took the fire brigade two hours to subdue the flames. Although the main building was saved, the organ was destroyed. By 1934 some English services were being held at the church. In Dec 1974 HTV televised the morning Carol Service from Bethlehem church, Splott. The church subsequently closed and was demolished 1988. The site is now occupied by flats called Bethlehem Court.
Broadway Wesleyan 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
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.
Cathays Cemetery Anglican and Non-conformist Chapels
Cathays Cemetery opened as the New Cardiff Cemetery in 1859 and at 110 acres it is the third largest cemetery in Great Britain. The chapels near the entrance on Fairoak Road are built in Gothic style were opened the same year the cemetery opened. The Anglican chapel is on the left and the Non-Conformist chapels on the right as you approach from the road. The chapels were designed by architect Robert Thomas of Newport in collaboration with Thomas Waring, the Borough Surveyor and cost £5,200. The bell tower standing between the chapels originally had a taller spire than is seen on it today. Each of the chapels had its own portico to house a horse and hearse during the funeral services. The chapels are now Grade 2 listed buildings. By the 1980s the chapels had fallen into a state of disrepair and were cordoned off for safety reasons. The last fifteen years however has witnessed great efforts by Cardiff Bereavement Services, Friends of Cathays Cemetery, local funeral directors and others to restore the chapels. Roof and masonry repairs began in 2009 and major restoration work began inside the chapels in 2013. The pews in the chapel were beyond repair and Friends of Cathays Cemetery kindly purchased ten Victorian Pews from St. Catwg’s, Pentyrch to be used in the restored chapel. Work on restoring the central bell tower began in 2017. Funeral services and wedding are now once again held in one of the restored chapels.
Cathays Cemetery – Roman Catholic Chapel
The Roman Catholic chapel at Cathays Cemetery was near where the Celtic Cross memorial to the Irish Famine which now stands not far from the cemetery’s Catholic gates on Allensbank Road. The Catholic chapel was opened in Nov 1859, a while after the cemetery opened. A crowd of 1500 gathered for the opening, far too many to be accommodated in the small chapel so the service was held outside. Although the officiating priest prohibited entry to the chapel in order to avoid injury, the temptation proved too much for one man, Mr Roberts, a printer. The rest of the crowd was furious that he should defy the priest and attempted to beat him. Mr Roberts was locked in the Lodge at the cemetery for his own safety. Fortunately, the priest managed to calm the angry crowd and the man escaped with no more injury than a reprimand from a magistrate the following Friday. The chapel fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1986. Some of the stones that formed part of the Catholic chapel were used in the construction of the Irish Famine memorial unveiled in 1999.
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.
Clifton Street Welsh Calvinistic Methodist (Clifton Street Presbyterian)
Clifton Street Welsh Calvinistic Methodist church dates from 1868 when a group of friends began to hold prayer meetings in Shakespeare Street. Shortly afterwards a plot of land had been secured and a lecture hall constructed on the corner of Clifton Street and Newport Road. In its early days the church was often referred to in the papers and directories as Libanus Chapel. The church building we see today was built and opened in Dec 1880 from which time English became the main language used in services. The church saw great success in those early years under the guidance of Rev. John Pugh, with the building regularly filled to its 650 capacity. The building was enlarged in 1899. Rev. John Pugh, along with the evangelist Seth Joshua, sought to expand leading to a series of mission halls being built in Cardiff under the umbrella of the Forward Movement. The Clifton Street chapel, later known as the Clifton Street Presbyterian Church, is built in the Gothic style of the gable-entry type and with a particularly fine tiered 99ft spire and cost £2,500 when constructed. The 1890s also saw the church reintroduce a service on Thursdays for Welsh-speakers, with Rev John Pugh saying the language went ‘straight to the heart’. The church was still going strong in 1957 when the paper reported that it hosted and won the district Sunday school Scripture Union examination competition. The church closed in around 1970 when the lease expired. Since 1995 the building has been an art venue known as Inkspot – The Old Church. The building was Grade 2 listed in 2003.
Cottrell Road Baptist Mission
Cottrell Road Baptist Mission was at the Albany Road end of Cottrell Road, where Dave’s Gym now is. The building used to be a stable and with the mission church on the first floor. Access to the chapel was via an internal staircase and it was likely that those attending services would have to walk through the stables with the horses in stalls on either side. Church records note that cork matting was purchased for the stairs though this was later replaced by oil-cloth purchased at a cost of 14s.11½d. The first service was held in July 1893 with the sound of an occasional neigh no doubt punctuating the sermon. 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. In March 1898, the congregation moved to the Albany Road Baptist school chapel on Blenheim Road.
Crwys Hall (now Highfields Church)
Crwys Hall on Monthermer Road, Cathays opened in 1900. It was part of the evangelical Forward Movement in Cardiff led by Rev John Pugh. An elevated exterior pulpit is still in place on the corner with Daniel Street. The Arts and Crafts style Hall could accommodate 1000 and cost £3000 to erect. The building expanded over the next six years to include a large schoolroom called Pierce Hall on the corner with Robert Street that could accommodate 1200 children. A three-storey building, the Women’s Training Institute, was designed for the space between the two halls but it was never built. The Rev Pugh had wanted a facility where young Christian women could train in Wales for work with the poor, instead of having to go to England or Scotland, but he died in 1907 and the institute was never constructed. Instead, a modest two-storey structure later filled the space. Over time the church became Crwys Hall Presbyterian church. Highfields Church, a breakaway from Heath Evangelical church, purchased the building in the mid-1990s. The building by that time had been empty for some time and was in a poor condition. The history of Highfields Church describes how nearly £1 million has been invested in the building’s renovation.
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.
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 Mission Hall
East Moors Forward Movement Mission Hall on Carlisle Street, Splott, was established by John Pugh, minister at Clifton Street church and founder of the Forward Movement of the Calvinistic Methodist movement. East Moors began with a Tent Mission on the 5 May 1891. Not all of Pugh’s Clifton Street congregation were supportive of the idea. One is reported to have said “You might as well try to demolish the Fort of Gibraltar with boiled peas as to convert the people of Splott in a tent!”. The tent mission led by Mr Seth Joshua was however very successful but was destroyed by a gales on 13 Oct 1891. The tent was replaced by a wooden building which became known as Noah’s Ark. In time a permanent East Moors Hall building was erected in 1892 and opened on the 17 Jul of that year. Although only ever called a Hall it was evidently a substantial building. It could hold 1000 worshipers and a side hall for children could accommodate 400. The East Moors Forward Movement Hall ceased to be used by the congregation in 1928, which moved to Jerusalem Calvinistic Methodist, Walker Road. The building was subsequently used as a youth centre and became the East Moors Youth Community Centre. The work of John Pugh at East Moors and other mission halls in Cardiff is described in this blog post.
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Pearl Street / Cardiff Sikh Gurdwara temple
Ebenezer Baptist church in Pearl Street was a daughter church to Tredegaville Baptist church. It started as a mission in Theadora Street in 1879, moved briefly to Broadway before a building was constructed in Pearl Street in 1884. In 1886 the papers report that the communion plate and baptismal dress and other items were stolen from the church. In Nov 1891 the foundation stones were laid for the new Ebenezer Baptist church in Pearl Street and the former building probably became the schoolroom at the rear of the new church, adjacent to the railway. The church was built in Gothic style with a capacity of 450 in mind though the galleries were not added at that stage. The cost was projected to be £1,250. Alderman R Cory JP laid the foundation stone and donated £100 towards the building fund. The church opened on 1 Oct 1892 with Rev Schaffer preaching a sermon entitled ‘the Preservation of Mankind’. The following year however Rev Schaffer was dismissed and Alderman R Cory led a service in Nov 1893 in fort of a ‘meagre congregation’. The church survived this wobbly start and in the late 1920s was redeveloped. A picture in the paper of 1928 is taken outside the building at the re-opening and in 1929 a new organ is dedicated. The church closed in 1976 and the congregation moved to Belmont Baptist church, formerly named Tremorfa Baptist church. In 1979 the building was opened as a Cardiff Sikh Gurdwara temple. 2014 saw a modern extension added at the rear of the building.
An expanded version of the church history has kindly been provided by Richard Howarth and is available here.
Eglwys y Crwys
A modern church built on the site where Richmond Road Congregational church used to stand, which suffered bomb damage in WWII. The shell of the old church was eventually demolished in 1958 and the new church constructed in the early 1960s by the Christian Science church. They held services in the building till the mid-1980s after which they moved to North Road. In 1988 the Welsh speaking congregation of Eglwys y Crwys (Church of the Cross) moved here from their former building on Crwys Road, which in turn became a mosque. Eglwys y Crwys carried out a series of building modifications including adding a pitched roof to the building to detract from the original austere nature of the flat roof building. The church is actually an amalgamation of three previous congregations, Crwys Road, May Street and Pembroke Terrace.
Eglwys Dewi Sant – Howard Gardens
The original All Saints church in Tyndall Street was constructed for the Welsh speaking Anglican population of Cardiff but congregation numbers were low because of its location and services later instead held in English. For a time the Welsh speakers met in various temporary locations but by the late 1880s, the strength of feeling was such that a renewed effort was made to re-establish a Welsh church. As the first stage, a new church hall – Capel Dewi Sant – was opened in Howard Gardens for this purpose in 1889. Rapid progress was now made towards construction of a new Eglwys Dewi Sant and this opened, adjacent to the church hall, in 1891, with the land for the hall and church being given by Lord Tredegar. The church was designed by architect Bruce Vaughan, and, unusually, furnished with an immersion font. Eglwys Dewi Sant remained as part of the Parish of All Saints until 1922 when it became an independent parish whose boundaries were, most unusually, limited to the church’s precincts. The building unfortunately only lasted fifty years because in 1941 Eglwys Dewi Sant was severely damaged by an air-raid and services were transferred to the church hall. In November 1956 the congregation moved to Eglwys Dewi Sant in St Andrew’s Place in the centre of Cardiff, a church that had previously been St Andrew’s. The site of the former church is now occupied by flats.
Gateway Christian Spiritualist Church
Gateway Christian Spiritualist Church is at 2a Northcote Street. There has been a Spiritualist church in Northcote Road since 1914. The original Roath Spiritualist Mission Room was opposite the present church. The current church was founded by Ray Williams in 1977.
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 Heathfield House school.
A 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
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.
Jerusalem Welsh Calvinistic Methodist
Jerusalem Welsh Calvinistic Methodist church was on the corner of Walker Road and Marion Street. A school-room was built in 1892 and had 136 scholars by 1900. The church itself, built in the Gothic style with a gable-entry plan, was probably built around 1895, possibly 1902, and seated 250. It closed and became an English church in 1928 when the fellowship at East Moors Hall in Carlisle Street transferred there. During WWII the vestry was used to teach some of the children displaced from Moorland Road school that had suffered bomb damage. Jerusalem was demolished in 1987 and the site redeveloped by the Moors Community Housing Association and the Wheeler Court flats erected.
Longcross Street Baptist Church
Longcross Street Baptist church, on the corner of Longcross and Orbit Street, opened on 12 Sep 1877, prior to the Infirmary being built. It was intended for the congregation that had hitherto met at Zoar Chapel, Windsor Road who wanted to move because of their growing congregation and the fact they wanted a separate room in which to hold Sunday School. For the first years after it was opened it was known as Zion Baptist church. The congregation that moved from Windsor Road were ‘Particular Baptists’, a strict form of the Baptist denomination. The building was built on land leased from the Marquess of Bute, in Gothic style, and consisted of a vestry, school room, underground boiler-house and manse at the rear. It had cost an estimated £1600 to build. By 1883 however the congregation had split and the Particular Baptist returned to their original church in Windsor Road. In fact the church’s history appears somewhat tumultuous with Alderman Richard Cory, a church trustee, temperance supporter and a wealthy Cardiff businessman often mentioned. In 1900 he financed the addition of a gallery and baptistery. In 1911 a newspaper headlines with ‘A Cardiff Heresy Hunt’ and details Richard Cory and the trustees of the church serving notice on the minister and deacons and demanding his teaching be bought into line with the church deeds. The minister was evicted in 1913. Longcross Street Baptist Church closed in 1967 and purchased by Cardiff Royal Infirmary. It was used by the infirmary for storage for 40 years before being demolished in 2007. The space is currently used as a car park.
Mackintosh Gospel Hall, now Mackintosh Evangelical church
Mackintosh Gospel Hall is on Mackintosh Place at the junction with Braeval Street. It was opened in 1897. Minster Gospel Hall was an offshoot of Mackintosh Gospel Hall. In 1986 BBC Wales broadcast a service from the Hall. In the same year a new venture in the form of a monthly men’s evening meeting began. The attendance averaged 35 including about twelve unconverted. In 2012 Mackintosh Gospel Hall became the home of Mackintosh Evangelical church, shortened to the ‘Mack’.
Metal Street Presbyterian
Metal Street Presbyterian church, also known as Metal Street Mission church, was on the corner of Metal Street and Constellation Street. It was originally established by the members of Clifton Street Presbyterian church in an old builders shed in Metal Street in 1903, ‘with the aim of making a determined effort to reach a class of people who had never entered a place of worship’. The church was built in 1905 in the Simple Gothic style of the long-wall entry type to a design by architects Habershon and Fawckner. It was opened on a Wednesday afternoon in Jan 1906 by Rev R.J.Rees of Aberystwyth, former minister from Clifton Street with 200 people present. The main hall could accommodate 350. Leading off the main hall were six classrooms and the building also had a kitchen and a boiler house. In 1910 the paper reported that on Christmas Day 270 needy children were provided with a free breakfast. The paper of 1914 also reported that the church ran an annual flower show, one of the few churches in the country to do so. The church closed around 1993 and after being empty for a number of years the building reopened as Adamsdown Community Centre (Family Contact Centre).
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)
Miskin Street Bible Christian chapel
This 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.
Moorland Road Hall
Moorland Road Presbyterian Forward Movement Hall, Splott was on the corner with North Park Road. The church began in 1900 in a temporary hall which was part of the old dockland offices, bought cheaply some years before by John Pugh. This was replaced by a permanent hall in 1903 costing £1098, which was opened in March 1904, in time for the Revival which arrived in Cardiff at the end of that year. The site was described as being ‘close to the subway to the new park’. The original temporary hall was moved to the back of the site. The hall could accommodate 300 people and space was remained alongside it too build a large hall which seemingly never materialised. The building was constructed in Gothic style with the main feature being a five light lanced headed window at the front. The hall was destroyed by fire started by vandals in 1974. The old church building was going to be converted into a Community Centre prior to the arson attack, having been purchased by the council in the late 1960s. Later, a new day-centre for the elderly was opened on the site in July 1978.
Mount Hermon Primitive Methodist, later Salvation Army Citadel
Mount Hermon Primitive Methodist was on the corner of Pearl Street and Splott Road. The mother church was Mount Tabor and the memorial stone was laid in Aug 1891 in wretched weather conditions, by among others, Alderman Cory. It was an unusual hexagonal gothic design topped with a conspicuous venilator fashioned as spirelet. The chapel opened in 1892 with a capacity of 375. The adjacent Splott Road bridge was remodelled in 1899. The building had a relatively short life as a Methodist church and closed in 1917. The building soon became the Salvation Army Citadel and remained so until the 1980s. When the Salvation Army vacated it became a commercial premises for among others a furniture warehouse. There then followed a long period where the building remained empty and the fabric deteriorated. Permission to demolish the building was given in 2016. A demolition worker was tragically killed during the demolition process in 2017.
Mount Tabor Primitive Methodist, now Cardiff Reform Synagogue
Mount Tabor Primitive Methodist church on Moira Terrace, opposite Howard Gardens, was opened in Feb 1875. In the summer of the same year, the schoolroom under the chapel was rented out at a rate of £25/yr, to become Cardiff’s first Board School, a temporary measure till Adamsdown Board School was built. In Dec 1884 a bazaar was held at the Public Hall in Queen Street in an attempt to clear some of the £4,500 debt that Mount Tabor had. The opening speeches referred to the chapel not paying its way and to people who objected to bazaars but the speech maker defended them saying that those people soon became quiet when it was suggested they put their hands in their pockets instead. In 1940 the Western Mail reports that the licence to hold weddings at the church had been withdrawn as the building was no longer used as an active place of worship. In 1941 the building had become a Bible Pattern church – part of the Pentecostal movement which could be seen as an offshoot of the Elim Pentecostal Church. The building was purchased in 1952 by the Cardiff Reform Synagogue (originally called Cardiff New Synagogue) which had been founded in 1948 and until then meeting in the Temple of Peace. It provided Jewish religious services in a less traditional style than those previously available in Cardiff. This attracted newly arrived immigrants from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria and elsewhere.
Mount Zion Primitive Methodist Church was as the NW end of Aberdovey Street, East Moors. It opened in 1896 and appears to have had a relatively short existence. It is still mentioned in the 1914 Cardiff Directory and on a map from 1919 (which was possibly drawn up some time earlier). In the 1922 Cardiff Directory however the building was occupied by the Towler, Pontiss and Company, City Baby Carriage Manufacturing Company. Later again it became the Splott Labour Club and Institute. The building is now the Splott Sports and Social Club.
Nazareth House Church
Nazareth House Church, these days called the University Church, is a Roman Catholic church on Column Road. It is the chapel belonging to Nazareth House, home of the Sisters of Nazareth. Nazareth House was built in 1875 by John Prichard, architect of Llandaff, for the 3rd Marquess of Bute as an orphanage and nursing home. The Sisters of Nazareth had previously had a base in Tyndall Street. Nazareth House was extended for an Industrial School in 1887. The church costing between £7000 and £8000 was added in 1897-8. It was opened in Nov 1898 by the Bishop Hedley of Newport who had also visited the previous month to christen the bell ‘Joseph’. From the outside the church appears taller than it actually is as the lower level is a series of rooms and the church itself based on the first floor. The 1901 census return for Nazareth House lists the Superior and 16 sister assistants, along with 196 female and 16 male inmates. The church was renovated in 1922. With declining demand from the 1950s onwards, Cardiff’s Nazareth House reduced its provision for children but continues to provide residential care for the elderly. Nazareth House became a listed building in 1972. The Sisters of Nazareth kindly allow the University Catholic Chaplaincy to use their church.
Parkminster 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.
Pentyrch Street Baptist Church
Pentyrch Street Baptist Church was opening in early winter 1905 and had cost £1,350. Until then a small group had been meeting first in Merthyr Street Mission and later in premises at the corner of Llantrisant Street. It was a daughter church of Tredegaville Baptist church. The church was initially called Cathays Baptist Church but two years later, in 1907, the name was changed to Pentyrch Street Baptist Church. In 1933 the papers reported that it was the last week of a ‘young person campaign and mission led by Rev Oscar Allwright from New Zealand with three services on a Sunday and four more during the week. An abstract of records deposited at Glamorgan Archives appear to suggest that in 1941 the Cardiff & District Baptist Board took over the charity of Pentyrch Street Baptist Church to ensure its survival as a place of worship. Oct 1955 saw the church celebrate its 50th anniversary accompanied by a specially produced programme. A picture of the church interior from the programme shows it to be a single storey building with side balconies. In recent years the building has become home of ‘The Table’, still under the Baptist umbrella. The upstairs of the building has been converted into a flat and downstairs is open as a cafe three days a week. Other more traditional church activities such as a Sunday service still take place. In 2019 the grassed area adjacent to the church building released for development and as of 2020 flats are being built on the site.
Plasnewydd Presbyterian Church
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.
Redeemer Cardiff, Railway Street, Splott is a small, loving and lively international church family. It has been meeting in the former school hall of Splott Baptist church since 2018. th hall has recently undergone some modernisation.
Richmond Road Congregational
In Oct 1881 a meeting at Ebenezer church hall in Charles Street in town unanimously resolved that an English cause should be established at or near Cathays. The foundation stone of Richmond Road Presbyterian Lecture Halls was subsequently laid on 12 Mar 1884 by Mrs Edgar Jones. The lecture hall on Gordon Street acted as both a Sunday School and church for the next 17 years until the building of the new church was approved and completed. The church, costing £5,000, was of English Gothic architecture with the front facade being flanked with a square tower, surmounted by a spire reaching to a height of 117ft. The minister from 1917 to 1925 was Rev. William Evans who became better known under his bardic name of Wil Ifan, and was the Archdruid of Wales from 1947 to 1950. The new minister in 1939 was David Davies. In the preceding years he had become increasingly aware of the foreboding growth of Nazism and he became a leading member of the Socialist League and associated with leading Marxists. He was appointed a member of a delegation to visit Spain which was in the throes of the Civil War. The horror he experienced there affected him badly and he attempted suicide. He later became a respected author and journalist. The church was destroyed in 1941 after being hit with an incendiary bomb during an air raid. It remained a ruin until 1958 when it was eventually demolished. Neighbours said that when gales raged loose masonry would dislodge and tumble down with a tremendous bang.
Roath Park Congregational
Roath Park Congregational Church started in a room in Dalcross Street before it opened as an iron church on Pen-y-wain Road at the junction of Mackintosh Place on 5 Dec 1898 with a dedication service held by Rev.Urijah Thomas. A permanent structure was built in 1910 but even this wasn’t enough to handle the growing congregation and the church as seen today was built in 1927. The chapel was restored in 1950. In 1972 the church became Roath Park United Reformed church. In the late 1970’s the finials and top part of the tower was removed as the stone work was suffering from weather damage and it was deemed cheaper to remove than repair. The congregation merged with Minster Road URC to form Parkminster URC in 2008 and vacated the Pen-y-wain Road building. The building was not to stay shut for long however and opened as Tabernacle evangelical church in 2009. Tabernacle is an independent church formed in 2003 as a splinter group of Heath Evangelical church. It’s services were originally held at Heath Citizens Hall.
Roath Park Wesleyan Methodist
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 described 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
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.
Salem Welsh Baptist, later Church of Christ
Salem Welsh Baptist church was on the corner of Moira Terrace and Meteor Street. The church was opened on Sunday 27 Sep 1861. On Monday another series of services took place, all to packed congregations. The paper reports that after the Monday morning service the ministers partook of an excellent dinner in the Splottlands Inn at the expense of Mr J. Evans, Pengam, and Mr John Jones builder from Newtown. The church was built to accommodate 600 people and cost £1,200. The building was later modified in 1877 and again in 1919. The church had an active time particularly during the revival period of the first decade of the 20th century with many meetings, eisteddfodau and concerts. 1904 saw a tea party to honour Rev T.T.Jones who was departing after 23 years as minister having baptised 395 people in the church. Salem closed in 1972. The photograph from 1982 shows it being used by Church of Christ. The building was put up for sale in 1987 and it was demolished in 1991. The site is now occupied by Callaghan House, Cardiff Community Housing Association (CCHA) offices and flats.
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 – Walker Road
The Salvation Army – Cardiff East church is on Walker Road at the corner of Janet Street. The building is a replacement for the citadel on Pearl Street which was vacated in the early 1980s due to high maintenance costs. The new church is built on the site of the old Splott police station. The work of the Salvation Army is also evident in the area with their Homelessness Services Unit at Crichton House on Vale Road in Splott which runs the Bus Project service for rough sleepers and people experiencing homelessness in the capital plus the Salvation Army South and East Wales Division offices are on East Moors Road.
Splott Road Baptist
Splott Road Baptist Church used to be on Splott Road at the corner of Railway Street. The church was established by those in Pearl Street Baptist Mission-room which was built in 1880. The Splott Road Baptist Sunday School building on the corner of Burnaby Street and Railway Street was built in 1884. Splott Road Baptist Church itself was built in 1894 by architects Habershon and Fawckner of Cardiff and builders E.Turner & Sons also of Cardiff in the simple Gothic style of the gable-entry type. It was designed to hold 1100 worshipers and cost £9000. The foundation stone had been laid by Lord Tredegar at a ceremony in June 1894. In his speech he said it gave him great pleasure to lay the stone but he could not claim to be a martyr of the religion being more or less a devoted servant of the Established Church but in Cardiff there was room for all. The church was opened in May 1895. The building was demolished in 1983 and the congregation moved to the old school room on the corner of Burnaby Road and Railway Street before later disbanding in 2017. The school-room is now used by Redeemer church (see separate entry above). The site of the original church is now occupied by Splott Baptist Court flats.
Splott Road Wesleyan Methodist
Splott Road Wesleyan Methodist church, on the corner with Habershon Street, was opened in Oct 1896 where the preacher on the opening day was Rev Dr Randles, president of the Wesleyan Conference. The new church had cost £4500 and designed to hold just under a thousand people. The architects were Messrs Habershon & Fawkner, after which Habershon Street is named. The congregation had until then been meeting in the schoolroom built in 1886 and prior to that in private houses. Further construction work on the school room is believed to have taken place around 1905 when the Revival movement was in full swing. The 11th battalion of the Cardiff Boys Brigade started meeting there in 1914. In May 1933 Miss Isabel Garn was married at the church and was recipient of the Bute Dowry. The £30 dowry is given by the Lord Mayor to be the most deserving in the city. The Bute dowry also had a supplementary gist of a bedroom suite donated by the Roath Furnishing Company. It was her lucky day as she was presented with a black cat on leaving the church. The church was demolished 1964 and the old school room was adapted for services. In 2014 the former school rooms were taken over by Oasis, a non-profit charity that aims to help refugees and asylum seekers in Cardiff.
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 Alban’s on the Moors
St Alban’s on the Moors Roman Catholic church is on Swinton Street, Splott. It began as a school chapel in 1891 followed by an iron church which opened on 30 Nov 1897. Lord Bute contributed towards the work and attended the opening ceremony. The altar and reredos were a gift from St Peter’s church. The parish of St Alban’s had been created as a separate parish to nearby St Peter’s sometime between 1888 and 1892. The presence of a new Catholic church in the emerging area of Splott reflected the population and in particular the Irish immigrants arriving to work in heavy industry and the construction of the docks. The current church, with its two towers, was built in 1911. It was designed by architect F R Bates. The altar was given by blast furnace men of the Blast Furnace Department, Cardiff Dowlais Works. The Lady Altar is a valuable piece of work by Pugin, and comes from St. Marie’s, Rugby. The ‘-on-the-Moors’ suffix is reference to the nearby countryside at the time of construction of the original church, some farm fields belonging to Splott and Pengam farms surrounded by a marshy expanse, something that is not very evident today. The iron church was later removed to the Heath and became the new St. Joseph’s church.
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’s United Reformed Church
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, now Urban Crofters
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 Margaret of Antioch church 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). 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’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 Monica church was on the corner of Merthyr Street and Llantrisant 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 and school in 1893 on land donated by Lord Tredegar. A sketch in the newspaper of 1893 when the foundation stone was laid using an engraved silver trowel, shows the church with a dome on top of the tower but it is unclear if this was ever built. The paper describes that a large school room which was to be used as a church, was to have a chancel with altar, choir stalls, vestry, and organ chamber at one end. A figure of St Monica was to be placed in a gable facing Merthyr Street. 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 in favour of the Council and the fundraising started to build a new church on Whitchurch Road which was called St Michael and All Angels. The original building remained as St Monica’s school until 2005 it relocated to the corner of Cathays Terrace and Whitchurch Road. The old St Monica school/church is now the Cardiff Muslim Primary School.
St Paul, Newtown
St Paul’s Roman Catholic church in Tyndall Street started as a school chapel in Sept 1876. A few years earlier an unsuccessful bid had been made in Parliament to convert the nearby All Saints church to the Church of Rome. When that bid failed the Marquess of Bute erected St Paul’s. It was permanently, full and soon a larger building was needed. In Jul 1889, at an auction at the Royal Hotel, Father Butler bid £1600 and won the stone buildings adjoining the school chapel. It was thought at the time they would be converted into a new church but it appears they were demolished and a new church built. It was opened in Aug 1893 after a delay caused by a building strike. The columns inside the church were originally intended to be made of Bath stone but ‘owing to certain circumstances it was deemed advisable to substitute iron columns’. The Stations of the Cross were supplied by a Belgium firm, partly paid for by a man ‘who did not belong to the faith of the Church’. The new church could seat 800 people. Between 1900 and 1920 many of the neighbouring houses in Tyndall Street were demolished leaving the church somewhat isolated before new houses were built. The famous boxer, ‘peerless Jim Driscoll, worshipped there, and thousands lined the streets when his funeral procession wound its way to Cathays cemetery in 1925. The church closed in 1967 and was demolished in 1970, along with most of Newtown, whose inhabitants were moved to outlying estates. Memories are kept alive by the Newtown Association, who in 2005 created a memorial garden in Tyndall Street to commemorate the community and its church – ‘the beating heart of little Ireland’.
St Peter’s Roman Catholic church is on St Peter’s Street between City Road and Richmond Road. In Aug 1858 a site for the building of the church was secured and Father Laurentio Gastaldi laid the foundation stone on 20 Aug 1860. St Peter’s was designed by Charles Hansom, brother of the Hansom cab creator. The completed church, with room for 1000 worshippers, was opened over one year later by Bishop Brown on 24 Sep 1861. The splendour of the opening celebrations was ‘in stark contrast to the difficulties faced by the Mission. The dreadful housing conditions, widespread drunkenness among their parishioners and a chronic shortage of money, all took their toll on the priests’. The location and isolation of the church was also a deterrent to worshippers, as being set in open fields (it was known originally as St Peter’s-in-the-Fields), it was too distant for the majority of the Irish who lived in Newtown near the centre of Cardiff. It is said that plans for East Grove to reach Richmond Road were abandoned as a result of opposition to a ‘Papist’ church fronting a main road. Matters were to improve from 1868 with street collections to raise funds and the conversion of the very wealthy Marquess of Bute to Catholicism who donated an ornate rood screen in 1898. St Peter’s School opened on 5 Aug 1872, with St Peter’s itself becoming a parish in 1884. Stained-glass windows in the porch (1929) commemorate Catholic martyrs Father John Lloyd and Phillip Evans who were executed nearby at the junction of Crwys and Richmond Road. In 2006 a magnificent organ by Spath of Switzerland was given in memory of Sir Julian Hodge, Cardiff businessman and philanthropist.
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 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’s is now once again in the same parish as St German’s under, the name of, Parish of Cardiff: St German with St Saviour.
St Teilo’s Priory Chapel
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
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.
Tedegarville Baptist now home of Tredegarville International Church
Tedegarville Baptist church is on the corner of The Parade and East Grove. It was formed by a group led by Rev Alfred Tilly and 120 others who had left Bethany Baptist church amicably to set up a new church in the Tredegaville area. The group met temporarily in Plucca Lane (City Road) whilst plans for Tredargaville were being drawn up and the building constructed. The site was donated by Lord Tredegar who is said to have insisted that the church be cruciform in design. A lengthy article in the Cardiff Times on 2 Aug 1861 describes the ceremony at which the memorial stone was laid and a bottle containing coins of the day buried in a wall cavity. A crowd of 800 gathered in horrendous weather conditions in a especially erected marquee to hear speeches by the minister and architect W G Habershon. The church when finished would hold 1,100, cost £3,000, largely funded by the Cory shipbuilding family, and was the largest non-conformist church in Cardiff at the time. The unusual salt and pepper appearance of the exterior limestone stonework is thought to be ballast from Cory coal ships coming into Cardiff from Galway. The founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth, used the church as a venue for his first worship in Cardiff. In its earlier years, the church had two small pinnacles on its roof, but these have since been removed. The church has always has always been known for its evangelical and missionary work. In Dec 1919 the three-sortie house adjacent to the church was purchased. It has previously been called Trafalgar House but was renamed Tredegarville Memorial Hall in memory of those that had died in WWI. It was to be used for the purpose of carrying on the social life of the church. Today the church is known as Tredegarville International church.
Tremorfa Baptist Church, later called Belmont Baptist
The church that started off as a mission hall in Taymuir Road in 1936 on land adjacent to the preset church building. In Oct 1936 the Western Mail records the opening of Tremorfa Baptist Sunday School. In Feb 1938 there is a first anniversary meeting of the Sisterhood and in July 1939 the first minister, Rev John Edgar Collier, is appointed. The building was solemnised for marriages in 1941. The current church building on the corner of Taymuir Rd and Tweedsmuir Rd was built and opened in 1950. The London Gazette of Nov 1950 records that it was certified for worship and ‘substituted for a building of the same name on an adjoining site, now disused’. In 1975 Tremorfa Baptist church was joined by the congregation of the closed Ebenezer Baptist church in Pearl Street and renamed Belmont Baptist Church. The church has since been renamed Belmont Tremorfa Family Church and is also home of Eden Cardiff, an outreach group.
Trinity Methodist church
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.
West Grove Unitarian chapel, now United Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG)
The Unitarian church has a long history in Cardiff where the first non-conformist chapel in Cardiff was in Womandy Street and in the 1700s it had a Unitarian minister. The Unitarians failed however to get established. In 1879 however a nucleus of a new Unitarian church began meeting at 101 Castle Road. The group changed meeting places a few times in the coming years in some well named venues: the Great Western Coffee Tavern, the Cardiff Arms Hotel and the Good Templers in the Arcade Buildings. Finally under the ministry of Hobart Clark of Massachusetts (1882-8) it was decided to go ahead and build the church in West Grove at a cost of £3,000. It was constructed in 1889 and designed of architect Edward Henry Bruton and is quite unlike any other church in Cardiff. It is brick built in the Lombardic/Italian style with a gable-entry plan, multi-tiered tower and leaded segmental-head windows. West Grove chapel is now a Grade 2 Listed building. The church thrived in the early 1900s but as the century wore on began to struggle with numbers. In 2005 the congregation came to the decision to sell the building but continue to meet at the Friends’ Meeting House in nearby Charles Street. The newspaper reported it was sold for about £500,000 to a property developer who had ideas for opening a high-class restaurant there but was open to ideas of leasing it as a church. It is currently used by the United Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), a Pentecostal church with its headquarters in São Paulo, Brazil.
Woodville Road Baptist Church
Woodville Road Baptist Church, on the corner of Woodville Road and Crwys Road, began as an offshoot of Bethany and Tabernacle Baptist churches in the 1870s. It started as a group meeting in an upper room at the town end of Cathays Terrace. The school room was then constructed on the site of the present church, the first mention of which in the newspapers appears to be 1876. By 1881 it had 280 scholars attending. Membership continued to increase and the main church was constructed and opened in 1887 with galleries added in 1892. A pipe organ and a young men’s institute followed, and organisations for all ages made for a lively church. In 1904, the year of Revival, over 100 baptisms took place. In the 1920s the church was often filled, and the Sunday school peaked at 611 with 45 teachers. Over the years however the building deteriorated and in Jan 1990 a gale damaged part of the roof. When the chapel building was declared unsafe in 1993, the church continued to meet in the adjacent school-room until 2001, by which time plans and finance for a new church building were in place . The church and school-room were demolished in 2001 and the new church Woodville Baptist Church – ‘Woodville Christian Centre’ constructed and opened in 2002 on part the same site whilst the corner part of the original site is now a retail outlet, currently an Italian desert parlour. The history of the church is detailed on their Woodville Baptist Church history page.
Zoar Baptist Chapel
Zoar Baptist Chapel was on Windsor Road, close to the junction with Davis Street. It probably opened around 1860, the year the lease started and the Zoar Chapel appears listed in the 1863 Cardiff Directory. They were ‘Particular Baptists’, a denomination somewhat known for their strictness. The Cardiff Times in 1876 records a baptism service at which a large crowd gathered on the banks of the River Taff to witness a lady being welcomed into the membership by total body immersion baptism in the river. Soon after in 1877 the congregation relocated a new church they had had built, Zion Baptist church, in Longcross Steet. By 1881 the Windsor Road chapel was up for sale at auction. Their move to Longcross Street was however short-lived. An apparent split in the congregation meant they relocated back to Windsor Road by 1883. The church still appears in the Cardiff Directory of 1958. It is not known when it closed. It has since been demolished and the site now occupied by flats and Davis Street rerouted.
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.
One very useful source of information used in compiling this page is a book by one of our members Jean Rose, Cardiff Churches Through Time (Amberley Publishing; 978-1-4456-1092-4) (see our Publications page on our website)