Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for LLANDAFF

LLANDAFF, a city and a parish in Cardiff district, Glamorganshire; and a diocese in Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire. The city stands on the river Taff, and near the Glamorganshire and Cardiff canal, adjacent to the Taff Vale railway, and near the South Wales railway, 2¾ miles NW of Cardiff. Its name signifies ' ' the meetingplace or church on the Taff. ''Its history is mainly ecclesiastical, or is the history rather of the bishopric and the cathedral than of the city. Its situation is very beautiful, on the upper part of a declivity which is feathered with some fine sheltering trees, and which slopes rapidly to a meadowy reach of the river. The town, though technically a city, as the seat of a bishopric, is practically, as to both size and government, a mere village. It contains only about 1,000 inhabitants; presents a plain and straggling appearance; and contains few remains of antiquity, and few genteel or respectable houses. Yet it recently underwent a sort of revival, or at least a strong stimulus to improvement; and buildingsites in it are now sold at a high price. The cathedral is, of course, its main feature; and this will be noticed in the next paragraph. The episcopal palace is a mansion, formerly the seat of the Matthews family, and called Llandaff Court, but now renovated, and called Bishops' Court. Ruins of the ancient episcopal palace, said to have been destroyed by Owen Glendower, still exist; and the gate way is still tolerably perfect, is castellated and of the 13th century, is flanked by two square towers, with their angles chamfered off, and forms the entrance to the garden of the present episcopal palaceResidences for the dean, the canons residentiary, and the minor canons, were formerly a wanting, but were recently erected. Two registry-offices, for respectively civil and ecclesiastical purposes, also were recently built, and are highly ornamental. Spacions and beautiful schools, fot. 30 orphan girls, and for 30 boarders and day scholars, on a plot of about 4 acres, in a commanding situation on the Cardiff road, overlooking the hills of Caerphilly, were erected in 1860, at a cost of £20,000, from the funds of the Howell charity. New and convenient national schools also were lately built. An ancient stone cross, on a pedestal of four steps, is in the town, and has been repaired; and there are vestiges of several buildings of the decorated and later English periods.

The cathedral is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. It succeeded a church, 28 feet long, 18 feet wide, and 20 feet high, which was destroyed at the Conquest; and it was commenced, in 1120, by Bishop Urban, but not completed till 1296. It had no dean for several centuries, till the time of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; and, though it underwent some reconstruction in the 14th century, and perhaps may have undergone some subsequent repairs, it suffered very great neglect, and passed slowly but steadily into a state of decay. It appears to have been considerably dilapidated at the commencement of the 18th century; and it was almost destroyed by a storm in 1703. A proposal was made in 1717 to abandon it, and to erect a new cathedral, in lieu of it, at Cardiff; but that proposal went into abeyance by the collecting of a sum of £7,000, in 1730, to restore the old building. The work of restoration was effected ' ' under the agency of one Wood;'' and was done in so debasing a manner, especially by the erection of an Italian doorway and façade dividing the nave, as to render the structure ' ' absolutely hideous. ''But a new restoration was begun, in 1839, mainly through the exertions of Dean Knight, under the direction of the architects Pritchard and Seddon; was continued by successively Dean Conybeare and Dean Williams till the end of 1866; had then cost upwards of £20,000; had removed the interloping wall in the nave, repaired the W front, re-roofed the W bays, rebuilt the side-aisles and the clerestory, restored the chapter-house, made other changes in the walls, and highly improved and adorned the interior; and was designed to go on to the effecting of much other work, particularly the rebuilding of the SW tower. The edifice is oblong; has an uninterrupted line of roof; comprises nave, choir, and presbytery, with aisles and a Lady chapel; and looks exactly like a large parochial church, plain, flat, and heavy. The nave is 114 feet long, 70 wide, and 65 high; the choir and presbytery are 82 feet long and 65 wide; the Lady chapel is 54 feet long, 25 wide, and 36 high; the chapter-house is 23 feet long, 21 wide, and 8 high; and the entire structure is 245 feet long. The nave is early English, of six bays, with aisles, and has no triforium. The W front has a round double-headed door, and a large central light; and is composed of a tasteful but unpretending gable, between a tower on the N and the fragment of another tower on the S. The N tower is later English, of three stories, and 105 feet high; and the S tower is early English, bold and meagre, and was 89 feet high. The choir and the presbytery are each of two bays, and each with aisles; and the former has sedilia, with rich mosaic panels and four shafts, alternately red and green, erected in 1844. The presbytery is divided from the Lady chapel by a wide Norman chancel arch. The Lady chapel was rebuilt in 1296-1323; and the windows of it, which are of transitional character, with early geometrical tracery, were restored in 1844 at a cost of £1,275. The principal monuments are a cadaver of Bishop Broomfield, a cadaver said to be that of a lady who died for love, and effigies of St. Dubricins, St. Teilo, Bishop de Braose, John de Monmouth, Paschal, Sir Christopher Matthew, David Matthew, and Lady Audley.

The city has a post office‡, under Cardiff, and a station on the Taff Vale railway; is near the Ely station of the South Wales railway; and is a seat of petty sessions. A market was formerly held, but has fallen into disuse. Fairs are held on 9 Feb., Whit-Monday and WhitTuesday, the first Monday of Sept., and the first Monday of December. A considerable trade is carried on in vegetables, for the supply of neighbouring towns; and some traffic is conducted northward to Merthyr-Tydvil, both by the Taff Vale railway, and by the Glamorganshire canal. -The parish contains also the hamlets of Canton, Ely, Fairwater, and Gabalva. Acres, 4,352; of which 465 are water. Real property of Llandaff-proper, £5,539; of Canton, £12,637; of Ely, £1,160; of Fairwater, £90 4; of Gabalva, £2,657. Pop. of the whole, in 1801,860; in 1831,1,299; in 1851,1,821; in 1861, 6,585. Houses, 1,182. The increase of pop. was chiefly in the vicinity of Cardiff, and arose from the extension of dock, harbour, and railway-works, and of the coal and iron-trades. The cathedral is also the parish church. There are several dissenting chapels.

The bishopric claims, according to some writers, to be the most ancient in Great Britain; and appears, according to less partial writers, to have been founded in the early part of the fifth century. It never made any such figure as some other ancient British bishoprics; and it became utterly impoverished at and soon after the Reformation. One of its bishops, about that time, announced himself at the royal court as the Bishop of "Aff," meaning thereby, in the quaint humour of the age, to intimate that all his land had been taken away; and, though some later bishops had considerable ecclesiastical wealth, they got it through plurality of preferment. The first bishops were Dubricus and Teilo, who were canonized after their death, and are still revered throughout Wales. Among the other bishops have been Cymeliauc, who was seized in his church by the Daues, and was ransomed for £40 by the king; Kitchen, ' ' Who for ever spoiled the good meat of Llandaff; ''Owen, who died in his chair at the news of Land's death; Beaw, who fought in the cause of the king; Godwin, called the industrious; Marsh, called the orthodox; Barrington Van Mildert, and Copleston, called the munificent; and Watson, who was thirty years non-resident, and who wrote the ' ' Apology for the Bible. ''The cathedral establishment includes the bishop, the dean, the chancellor of the church, the precentor, four canons-residentiary, five prebendaries, two archdeacons, and two minor canons. The income of the bishop now is £4,200; of the dean, £700; of each of the canons-residentiary, £350; of each of the minor canons, £150. The diocese comprehends all Glamorganshire, except the deanery of Gower, and all Monmouthshire; and is divided into the arch-deaconries of Llandaff and Monmouth. Acres, 797,864. Pop. in 1861,421,336Houses, 78,650.

The archdeaconry of Llandaff comprises the deaneries of Llandaff-Upper SW, Llandaff-Upper SE, LlandaffUpper N, Llandaff-Lower E, Llandaff-Lower W, Groneath-Lower E, Groneath-Lower W, Groneath-Upper E, and Groneath-Upper W. The deanery of LlandaffUpper SW contains the rectories of St. Bride-super-Ely, Michaelstone, St. Fagan, St. George, and Peterstonesuper-Ely; the vicarages of Llandaff, Llantrisaint, Llantwitvairdre, Pendoylan, Pentyrch, and Radyr; and the p. curacies of Llanillterne, and Llantrisaint-St. JohnThe deanery of Llandaff-Upper SE contains the rectories of Cogan, Penarth, Llandongh, Lavernock, and Leckwith; the vicarages of Cardiff-St. John, Cardiff-St. Mary, Ruddry, Llanedarn, and Roath; and the p. curacies of Caeran, Lisvane, Llanishen, and Whitchurch. The deanery of Llandaff-Upper N contains the rectories of Dowlais, Gelligaer, and Merthyr-Tydvil; the vicarages of Aberdare, Eglwysilan, and Llanfabon; and the p. curacies of Aberdare-St. Fagan, Aberdare-St. Margaret, Hirwain, Brithdir, Caerphilly, Glyntaff, Llanwonno, Cyfartha, Pontyrhin, Pendarran, and Ystradyfodwg. The deanery of Llandaff-Lower E contains the rectories of St. Andrew, Llanhaly, Llansannor, Llantrithyd, Michaelstone-le-Pit, Sully, and Wenvoe; and the p. curacies of Welsh-St. Donats and Ystradowen. The deanery of Llandaff-Lower W contains the rectories of Barry, Cadoxton-by-Barry, Merthyr-Dovan, St. Nicholas, and Porthkerry; the vicarages of St. Hilary, Llancarvan, St Lythans, and Penmark; and the p. curacy of Bonvilston. The deanery of GroneathLower E contains the rectories of St. Athan, Eglwysbrewis, Gileston, Llanmaes, Llanmihangel, Llandonghnear-Cowbridge, Llandongh-near-Penarth, and Flemingston; and the vicarages of St. Donats, Colwinstone, Cowbridge, and Llanblethian. The deanery of GroneathLower W contains the rectories of Coychurch, Coyty, Llandow, Llangan, Llysworney, Llanilid, and Marcross: the vicarages of St. Bride-Major, Llantwit-Major, Llanfrynach, and St. Mary-Hill; the p. curacies of Wick, Nolton, Peterstone-super-Montem, Llanharan, MerthyrMawr, and Monknash; and the donative of EwennyThe deanery of Groneath-Upper E contains the rectories of Bettws and Newton-Nottage; the vicarages of St. Bride-Minor, Kenfigg, Laleston, Llangeinor, Llangynwyd, Newcastle, and Pyle; and the p. curacies of Baidan, Llandyfodwg, Maesteg, Margam, and Tythegston. The deanery of Groneath-Upper W contains the rectory of Lantwit-Juxta-Neath; the vicarages of Aberavon, Baglan, Cadoxton, Killybebill, Michaelstone-super-Avon, and Neath; and the p. curacies of Briton-Ferry, Aberpergwm, Crynant, Skewen, Glyncorrwg, and Blaengwrach.

The archdeaconry of Monmouth comprises the deaneries of Aberggavenny SW, Abergavenny NW, Abergavenny E Abergavenny-Blaenan-Gwent, Netherwent W, Nethrrwent-Middle, Netherwent E, Newport, Usk W, and Usk E. The deanery of Abergavenny SW contains the rectories of Bryngwyn, Goytrey, Llangattock-nigh-Usk, Llansaintfraed, Llanvair-Kilgidin, and Llanvihangel-nigh-Usk; the vicarages of Llanarth, Llanellan, and Llanover; and the p. curacies of Abersychan, Kemeys-Commander, Bettws-Newydd, Clytha, Mamhilad, Pontnewynydd, Trevethin, Pontypool, and Trostrey-The deanery of Abergavenny NW contains the rectories of LlanthewySkirrid, Llanfoist, Llangattock-Llingoed, Llanvapley, Ilanvetherine, and Llanwenarth; the vicarages of Abergavenny, Llanthewy-Rytherch, Llantillio-Pertholey, and lllanvihangel-Crucorney; and the p. curacies of Abergavenny-Trinity, Blaenavon, Capel-Newydd, Bettws, Cwmyoy, Llanthony, Citra, Llanwenarth-Ultra, and Oldcastle. The deanery of Abergavenny E contains the rectories of Grosmont, Llangua, and Llanvihangel-Ystern Llewern; the vicarages of Dingestow, Tregare, DitonNewton, Llangattock-Vibon-Abel, St. Maughans, Llantillio-Crossenny, Monmouth, Penrhôs, Rockfield, Skenfrith, and Wonastow; and the p. curacies of Llanfaenor, Llanvair, and Overmonnow. The deanery of Abergavenny-Blaenan-Gwent contains the rectory of Bedwas, and the p. curacies of Aberystruth Abertillery, Beaufort, Nantyglo, Bedwelty, Cwmgelli, Mynyddyslwyn, Abercarne, Penmaen, Llanhilleth, Rhymney, Tredegar, and Ebbw-Vale. The deanery of Netherwent W contains the rectories of Kemeys-Imperior, Llanmartin, Wilcrick, Llangstone, Llanwern, and Widson; the vicarages of Caerleon, Christchurch, Goldcliff, and Nash; and the p. curacies of Bishopstone, Llanhennock, Llandevand, Llanvrechva, and Cumbrane. The deanery of Netherwent-Middle contains the rectories of Netherwent-St. Bride, Llanvihangel-Roggiett, Penhow, Portskewett, St. Pierre, Sudbrook, Roggiett, and Ifton; the vicarages of Caerwent, Caldicott, Redwick, and Undy; and the p. curacy of Llanvair-Discoed. The deanery of Netherwent E contains the rectories of Itton and Tintern-Parva; the vicarages of Chepstow, Matherne, Newchurch, and ShireNewton; and the p. curacies of St. Arvans, Chapel-Hill, Whitebrook, Mounton, Devanden, and Ponterry. The deanery of Newport contains the rectories of Machen and Michaelstone-y-Vedw; the vicarages of Bassaleg, Marshfield, St. Mellons, Newport-St. Woollos, and Rhymney; and the p. curacies of St. Bride-Wentllooge, Coedkernew, Henllis, Upper Machen, Malpas, Newport-St. Paul, Pilgwenlly, Bettws, Peterstone-Wentllooge, and Risca. The deanery of Usk W contains the rectories of Gwernesney, Llandegveth, Llangibby, Llanllowell, and Panteague; the vicarages of Llangwm, Llantrissent, and Usk; and the p. curacies of Llanbaddock, Llanddewi-Vach, LLlangeviewPertholley, Llanvihangel-Llantarnam, Llanvihangel, Pont-y-Moile, Monkswood, and Glascoed. The deanery of Usk E contains the rectories of Llansoy, LlanvihangelTor-y-Mynydd, Mitchel-Troy, Cumcarvan, and WolvesNewton; the vicarages of LLlandenny, Ragland, Trelleck, and Penalt; and the p. curacies of Kilgwrrwg, ILlangoven, Pen-y-Clawdd, Llanishen, and Trelleck-Grange.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a city and a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Llandaff AP/CP       Cardiff PLU/RegD       Glamorgan AncC
Place: Llandaff

Go to the linked place page for a location map, and for access to other historical writing about the place. Pages for linked administrative units may contain historical statistics and information on boundaries.