Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales

St. John's Church, Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales

St John’s is Cardiff’s Parish Church, however, for many years it was merely a Chapel of Ease for the Castle. The first parish church was St. Mary’s built around 1100 by the River Taff. St. John’s was not that much later in foundation, but had a very different working life. In 1180 St. Mary’s was placed under the aegis of the Benedictine Monks of Tewskbury and became a Priory. Ten years later it was agreed that St. John’s should take over the role of parish church.

Oddly, in 1254 the Benedictines appointed a vicar to St. Mary’s who was not a monk and so it ceased to be a Priory and became a church once more. Up until the Dissolution the Benedictines retained the right to appoint the vicar at St. Mary’s and St. John’s became more and more associated with the Parish.

In 1404, during Owain Glyndwr’s rebellion, St. John’s was sacked and all but a few walls were destroyed. By the turn of the 16th Century it had been rebuilt in more or less the way we see it today.

In the early 1600s the fortunes of St. Mary’s and St. John’s digressed considerably. St. John’s, at the heart of Cardiff, grew into the ecclesiastical heart of the City. In 1607 St. Mary’s was badly flooded. By 1678 it had no roof and by 1808 there was almost nothing left to see beyond the ruins which still stand in a park near the River today.

In 1808 St. Mary’s parish was revoked and St. John’s became the Parish Church for the whole of Cardiff. However, in 1846 the Marquis of Bute gave land in the growing dock area of Cardiff for a new St. Mary’s to be built and the Parishes were split in two once again.

Today, St. John’s church stands squarely at the heart of Cardiff, one of the UK’s nicest, neatest and most manageable cities.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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