"CARDIFF, called by the Welsh CAERDYDD, a seaport, borough, and market town, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the hundred of Kibbor, county of GLAMORGAN (of which it is the shire town), SOUTH WALES, 158 miles (W.) from London, containing 6187 inhabitants.
This place is by most antiquaries supposed to have been originally built by Morgan ab Hywel ab Rhys, on or near the site of an ancient station, or fort, occupied probably by Aulus Didius, who succeeded Ostorius in the command of the Roman legions in Britain ; and, with great probability, to have derived from that circumstance its Welsh name of Caerdydd. This opinion is strengthened by the discovery of Roman relics within the walls of the castle, the direction of the Roman road between the stations Isca Silurum and Bovium, and by other corroborative circumstances. The Roman station anciently occupying this site is supposed by Camden to have been the Ratostabius, or Ratostibius, of Ptolemy, from which the adjoining parish of "Rath," called by the English " Roath," is said to have obtained its name ; and, by others, to have been the Tibia Amnis of Antonine, which Richard of Cirencester places near this town, between the stations Isca Silurum and Bovium. Others think that the present name of Cardiff is modernized from Caer-daf, signifying " the fortified place on the river Taf," which equally shows it to have been a fortified town, or military post, from a period of remote antiquity ; but the arguments adduced in support of these two opinions are in favour of the former etymology.
From the departure of the Romans from Britain till the conquest of Glamorgan by Fitz-Hamon, only a few slight notices are found of this place, scattered in ancient manuscripts, according to which it appears that, to avoid the frequent predatory incursions of the Saxons into the kingdom of Gwent, the seat of government was transferred, on the death of the renowned King Arthur, by his son Morgan, from Caerlleon to this place, which became the capital of the kingdom called from that prince Morganwg, a district including only that portion of Gwent which was situated to the west of the river Usk, and so continued till its destruction by Cadwaladr, after which it was rebuilt by Morgan ab Hywel, about the year 900 ; but having been again destroyed, it was, according to Caradoc of Llancarvan, rebuilt, in 1080, by Iestyn ab Gwrgan, who also erected here a strong castle. Iestyn, the last native sovereign of Morganwg, between whom and Rhys ab Tewdwr, Prince of Dinevor, a series of retaliating inroads had been commenced, entered into a compact with Einon ab Collwyn, one of the leaders of an unsuccessful insurrection against Rhys, pledging himself to give him his daughter in marriage, with the lordship of Miskin, provided that the latter would secure the assistance of some of the Norman knights with whom he had served abroad under the Conqueror. Einon accordingly repaired to London, and having engaged the services of Robert Fitz-Hamon, a relation of the king's, aided by other Norman knights, Iestyn and his auxiliaries commenced active hostilities against Rhys, whom they defeated, with the loss of nearly all his troops, on an extensive common called Hirwaun Wrgan, and, according to the Welsh Chronicle, afterwards beheaded in a secluded valley, some miles to the southward, whither he had fled for concealment. But Mr. Jones, in his history of Brecknockshire, is of opinion that Rhys fled, after the battle, to the territory of his brother-in-law, Bleddyn ab Maenarch, and was present at the battle fought between the latter and Bernard Newmarch, near Caer Bannau, after which he was beheaded at a place called, from that circumstance, Penrhys. Iestyn, having thus subdued and slain his enemy, refused to fulfil his contract with Einon; whereupon the latter hastened to Fitz-Hamon, who was preparing to embark his forces for England, and having represented to him the faithless conduct of Iestyn, and shewn the facility of obtaining possession of his dominions, induced the Norman commander to retrace his steps. Being joined by other native chieftains, whose fidelity and allegiance the tyrannical and unprincipled conduct of Iestyn had alienated, the confederated forces advanced against him, and found him posted near Cardiff, with the few forces which the suddenness of the revolt had enabled him to muster. A short conflict then took place, which ended in the defeat of the Welsh prince, who was obliged to seek safety in flight ; and having for a short time been a destitute wanderer in his former dominions, he found an asylum in a neighbouring convent, where he passed the remainder of his days, and died at the advanced age of one hundred and twenty-nine.
Fitz-Hamon, having thus acquired possession of Iestyn's territories, parcelled them among his followers and allies, retaining to himself the towns, castles, and manors constituting the body of the lordship of Morganwg, of which Cardiff was the chief place; and is said to have enlarged and almost rebuilt the town, and to have taken down the castle built by the Welsh sovereign, which was of wood, erecting in its place that durable and magnificent structure, the present remains of which are of so highly interesting a character. In this castle the lords of Glamorgan, who exercised jura regalia throughout their lordship marcher, held their county courts and courts of chancery and exchequer; and here also the twelve knights, who owned the different baronies subject to this paramount lordship, were obliged by their tenures to attend on a certain day in every month, each having separate apartments for his accommodation in the outer ward of the castle. On the day after holding the county court, at which the sheriff presided and the knights attended, the chancellor was accustomed to sit in the chancery of the castle, to determine causes of equity arising within his jurisdiction ; on which day also the knights gave attendance on their lord, and on the next withdrew to their respective baronies, where they held their own courts, each having a distinct jurisdiction, similar to that of the lordship marcher, except that, in cases of supposed wrong decision, the unsuccessful suitor had the privilege of appeal to the court of the latter.
The strict servitude of the feudal tenures, thus introduced into the newly-established lordship, being ill suited to the independent spirit of the native landowners, and the Norman settlers continuing to extend their conquests westward into Gower, the Welsh of Glamorgan rose in great force, in the year 1094, and, under the command of Payne Turberville, one of Fitz-Hamon's feudal knights, having seized upon several castles, and put the garrisons to the sword, advanced to the castle of Cardiff, in which they surprised Fitz-Hamon, who, unprepared for effectual resistance, was obliged to grant a restoration of their ancient laws and customs. Robert Duke of Normandy, having unsuccessfully endeavoured to maintain his right to the English crown, and being made prisoner by his younger brother, Henry I., was committed to the custody of Fitz-Hamon, and immured in this castle, where, as it has been related, after being deprived of his eye-sight for attempting to escape, he lingered out a miserable captivity of twenty-eight years ; but this act of barbarity is denied by the most respectable historians. One of the towers over the principal entrance served as his prison, and he is said to have obtained a release from close confinement, and liberty of twelve miles round the castle, through the intercession of Ivor ab Cadivor, called also Ivor Bach, or the Little, a chieftain who resided among the hills to the north of Cardiff.
Robert Earl of Gloucester, natural son of King Henry, having succeeded to the lordship of Glamorgan, by marriage with Mabel, Fitz-Hamon's only daughter and heiress, attempted to enforce the feudal system among his tenants, whose spirit being again roused, they advanced, under the command of Ivor ab Cadivor, to besiege the castle of Cardiff, which they took by storm, and made the earl and his lady prisoners, but released them, in pursuance of terms entered into with the English monarch, on condition that the Welsh of Glamorgan should be allowed the unmolested enjoyment of their ancient usages. To protect himself against further insurrections, the earl immediately began strengthening the defences of Cardiff; and having built a wall round the town and castle, he encompassed the whole with a ditch, communicating with the river Taf both above and below the town.
In 1172, Henry II. passed through Cardiff, on his expedition against Ireland, and again, shortly afterwards, on his return. In the reign of Henry IV., the town and castle were besieged, in 1404, by Owain Glyndwr, who assumed to himself the sovereignty of Wales, and burnt and laid waste the possessions of all who adhered to the king's cause. Having obtained possession of the town, he destroyed the whole, with the exception only of one street, in which was situated the convent of the Friars minor, a religious fraternity who had publicly espoused his cause. He then made himself master of the castle, which in a great measure he destroyed, carrying off a considerable quantity of treasure, that had been deposited for security in it.
In the year 1570, a congress of the bards of Glamorgan assembled at this castle, under the auspices of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, for the purpose of collecting and digesting the laws of their order. During the parliamentary war the castle was garrisoned for the king, and was assaulted by Cromwell in person, by whom it was bombarded for three successive days ; but the garrison made a valiant and spirited defence, and all his efforts might have been unavailing, but for the treachery of a deserter, by whom his forces were introduced by a subterraneous passage communicating with the open country, and whom Cromwell caused to be hanged, as a warning to his own troops. Charles I. slept three nights in the castle, in August, 1645, and thence wrote a letter to Sir Edward Nicholas, then Secretary of State.
The town is situated in an extensive plain, on the eastern bank of the river Taf, over which it has a handsome stone bridge of three arches, with two smaller land arches to carry off the water in floods, which are here very violent, and by which two unfinished bridges, from designs by the same architect, Mr. Parry, had been previously destroyed. The site of the present structure, which was finished in 1796, has been judiciously selected, and the new entrance which it has opened to the town is among the principal recent improvements. The situation of the town, within a distance of three miles from the sea, and in a tract of country remarkable for its fertility and the beauty of its scenery, renders it desirable as a place of residence. Its appearance is highly prepossessing : the streets are regularly formed and well paved, the houses handsome and well built, and the town is lighted with gas and abundantly supplied with excellent water : it was formerly surrounded with a moat and defended by high walls, in which were gates in the direction of the four cardinal points, at the entrance to the principal thoroughfares.
The suburb of Crockerton, or Crockherbtown, which forms the eastern entrance, is a spacious street, consisting entirely of handsome houses, adapted to the residence of opulent families. The theatre, erected by a proprietary of twenty-seven shareholders of £60 each, is a neat edifice, ornamented with a handsome receding portico of Grecian architecture, but has not, for the last four years, been used for dramatic performances. The armoury belonging to the Glamorganshire militia, a neat plain building, is situated in St. Mary's-street. The Glamorganshire races were formerly held annually on Cardiff heath, and continued for two days ; but they have not taken place since the year 1830. A horticultural society has recently been formed, under favourable auspices, but it is yet only in its infancy. The environs abound with interesting scenery, and a fine promenade, planted with shrubs and evergreens, is open to the pubhc on the ramparts of the castle.
The trade of the port, which comprises within its jurisdiction the creeks of Barry, Sully, and Aberthaw, consists in the exportation of iron, tin-plates, and coal, to a very considerable extent; and in the importation of various articles of general consumption, necessary for supplying the surrounding district, in addition to some timber. During the year 1830, notwithstanding the great depression of the iron trade, the quantity of iron brought down the Glamorganshire canal, to be shipped at this port, was eighty-seven thousand three hundred and seventy-two statute tons; of coal one hundred and thirteen thousand seven hundred and fifty three tons ; and more than fifty thousand tons of miscellaneous articles. The custom-house is a plain neat building, well adapted to the purpose ; and, though no exact entry is kept of the number of vessels which enter inwards and clear outwards in every year, it appears that one thousand vessels of two hundred and fifty tons' burden each were employed, in the year 1830, to ship off the various articles brought down the canal only, during that year.
Cardiff is indebted for its commercial prosperity to its facility of communication with the manufacturing districts in the vale of Taf and places adjacent, by means of the Glamorganshire canal, since the completion of which, in 1798, the place has considerably increased in importance and extent. The Glamorganshire, or, as it is sometimes called, the Cardiff, canal commences about a mile and a half below the town, near the entrance of the river Taf into Penarth harbour, and extends to Merthyr-Tydvil, a distance of twenty-five miles. In its course, which is nearly parallel with the river, it passes by the city of Llandaf, and is carried over the Taf by an aqueduct, within a short distance of which it is joined by the Aberdare canal, and then, winding round the base of the Twyn Mawr hills, is continued to Merthyr-Tydvil: at its junction with the tideway of the river Taf there is a floating-dock, sixteen feet deep, with a sea-lock, capable of admitting vessels of three hundred tons' burden. The proprietors are limited to eight per cent. on the capital subscribed, after dividing which, and reserving an adequate sum for necessary and incidental expenses, the remainder is to be returned to the parties freighting goods. The freight is fixed at fivepence per ton per mile on iron and manufactured goods, and threepence per ton for ore, coal, culm, and other raw produce ; the amount remitted to the freighting parties, in the year 1830, was 2 per cent. on the gross payments.
In 1830 an act of parliament was obtained for constructing the Bute Ship canal, at the sole expense of the Marquis of Bute, which, however, had not been commenced in the middle of 1832. The main object of this undertaking is to construct a safe basin, into which ships of great burden can be admitted, to receive the whole of their cargoes, and from which they may sail at half-tides: it is intended to commence near the mouth of the river Taf, where it is to have a sea-lock and flood-gates, to keep the surface water forty-one feet above low water mark in Cardiff harbour at spring tides, and will proceed to the south side of the town, where a basin, fifteen hundred yards in length, and twenty feet deep, is to be formed, from which there will be two communications with the Glamorganshire canal : the whole is to be supplied by a feeder from the river Taf, about a mile north of Cardiff castle, passing through some of the streets in the town, in its course to the basin. This design, when carried into effect, will greatly facilitate the conveyance of coal from the banks of the rivers Taf and Cynon to the London market, and materially promote the trade of the town.
The only manufacture at present carried on in the town is that of iron, for which there is a foundry conducted by Messrs. Moggridge and Towgood, affording employment to about fifty men ; also an establishment on a smaller scale, for lighter castings. The glass-works, established here a few years since, by Messrs. Guest & Co., have been recently discontinued. There are weekly markets on Wednesday and Saturday ; that on the former day is now but thinly attended, but on the latter there is an abundant supply of corn and provisions of every kind, besides various articles of merchandise : the shambles for butchers' meat are commodiously ranged in two long avenues leading out of High-street : hardware and vegetables are exposed for sale in the open street in front of the guildhall. The fairs are on the second Wednesday in March, the second Wednesday in April, the second Wednesday in May, June 29th, September 19th, and November 30th, all of which are great cattle fairs, and are numerously attended.
The town received a charter of incorporation either from Iestyn ab Gwrgan, the last of the native sovereigns of Glamorgan, or from the first of its Norman lords : the oldest charter extant is one of Hugh le Despencer, in the reign of Edward II., dated October 14th, 1335, confirming the grants and privileges of his predecessors, Lord William de la Zouche and Elinor his wife. The most recent is that of James I., dated July 18th, 1608, by which the government is vested in a constable of the castle (who holds his office during the royal pleasure, and is the chief member of the corporation), a steward or recorder, twelve aldermen (of which two are chosen bailiffs), twelve common-councilmen, and an indefinite number of burgesses, assisted by a town-clerk, two common attorneys (one of whom is a capital, and the other a common, burgess), two serjeants at mace, a water-bailiff, two ale-tasters, and other officers. The constable of the castle is appointed by the Marquis of Bute, who is lord-lieutenant of the county ; the bailiffs are chosen annually at Michaelmas, by the aldermen and common-councilmen, who nominate four aldermen, out of which number the constable of the castle, or his deputy, elects two, and swears them into office : vacancies in each of the other bodies are filled up, by a majority of themselves, from those next in succession. The constable of the castle, the bailiffs, and the senior alderman, are justices of the peace within the borough, which, with its liberties, is co-extensive with the parishes of St. John and St. Mary, and the boundaries of which are given in the Appendix to this work. The borough is divided into four wards, for each of which three constables are annually appointed, and sworn into office by the bailiffs. Conjointly with Cowbridge and Llantrissent it returns one member to parliament : the right of election was formerly in the burgesses at large, but is now, by the late act for amending the representation of the people, vested in the resident burgesses only, if duly qualified according to the provisions of the act, and in every male person of full age occupying, either as owner or as tenant under the same landlord, a house or other premises of the annual value of not less than ten pounds, provided he be capable of registering as the act directs : the number of houses in the borough worth ten pounds per annum and upwards is four hundred and sixty-four : the bailiffs are the returning officers.
Prior to the passing of the late bill of reform, Aberavon, Kenvig, Loughor, Neath, and Swansea, were united with the above-mentioned boroughs in the return of a member to parliament; but these places now constitute a district to which a separate representative has been given. The freedom is inherited by birth, acquired by servitude of seven years' apprenticeship to a resident freeman, by marriage with a freeman's daughter, or by gift of the corporation at large. The corporation, under their charter, hold a court of record in the guildhall, every alternate Thursday, for the recovery of debts to any amount, at which the bailiffs and senior alderman preside, assisted by the town-clerk : by a provision enacted in the 3rd of James II., this court might be held before the steward and bailiffs, but the steward seldom acts, and the processes are generally issued under the former officers : at this court also burgesses, of whom there are at present upwards of three hundred and fifty, are admitted and sworn in. The assizes and the Epiphany sessions for the county are also held in the guildhall, a plain modern building, comprising one court-room and a record and a jury room on the upper story, underneath which are the corn and dairy markets, and two apartments appropriated as a borough prison.
The county gaol, a respectable edifice fronted with freestone, and constructed on the plan of Mr. Howard, being too small for the increased population of this manufacturing district, a new building upon a more enlarged scale was commenced in 1827, which will be open for the reception of prisoners at the close of the present year (1832). The new gaol, which occupies an airy situation to the south of the suburb of Crockherbtown, is a substantial stone edifice, surrounded by a lofty wall with a massive gateway entrance, over which is the place of execution. The governor's house is in the centre of the area, and communicates by cast-iron bridges with three detached wings ; on one side of the entrance are the apartments of the turnkey, and on the other the committee-rooms for the meeting of the magistrates. The gaol, which is capable of accommodating eighty prisoners, including twenty debtors, is well adapted to their classification, and comprises day-rooms, work-rooms, and airing-yards : it includes also a house of correction for the eastern parts of the county : the whole expense of the building is estimated at £ 10,000.
Cardiff consists of the parishes of St. John the Baptist and St. Mary, the livings of which are discharged vicarages consolidated, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Llandaf, the former rated in the king's books at £ 13.4.6 1/2., and the latter at £4. 5. 10., and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester.
The church of St. John, formerly a chapel to that of St. Mary (which was a large cruciform building, with a square tower, situated near the margin of the river, at the south-western extremity of the town, and was destroyed by an inundation in 1607), is a spacious and handsome structure, in the early style of English architecture, with a lofty square embattled tower in the later style, and equally remarkable for the elegance of its design and the symmetry of its proportions. It was built in 1443, by Hart, the architect of Wrexham church, and of St. Stephen's, Bristol: the tower is crowned with an embattled parapet of delicate tracery, with angular pinnacles of open work of light and beautiful character, and the doorway and belfry windows are ornamented with finely pointed and richly moulded arches. The interior of the church consists of two aisles, separated by a range of lofty and sharply pointed arches, resting on massive pillars, and a chancel, of which the roof has been lowered to admit light into the body of the church, which had been darkened, about twenty years since, by the erection of two galleries, containing five hundred additional sittings. Among the monuments is one, in a dilapidated condition, to the memory of two brothers of the family of Herbert of Swansea, whose effigies in a kneeling posture are represented under a canopy of white marble, supported by four Corinthian pillars of black marble, one in the habit of an ecclesiastic, and the other in military attire : a Latin inscription, now nearly obliterated, records that the younger brother, Sir John Herbert, was principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth and James I., and ambassador at the courts of Frederick II. and his son Christian, kings of Denmark, Sigismond of Poland, and Henry IV. of France.
There are places of worship for English and Welsh Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists, Independents, and Presbyterians, the last of which has an endowment of £300, and the interest of £ 100 bequeathed by Mr. Arthur, to be distributed among the poor of that congregation.
In 1710, Mr. Cradock Wells, alderman of the borough, left by will certain freehold houses in Cardiff, and lands at Canton, in the parish of Llandaf, in trust to the corporation, for the establishment of a free school for instructing poor children of the borough in reading, writing, and arithmetic. This school having been discontinued since the year 1790, application was made to Chancery in 1819, and a decree obtained in 1821, appointing the aldermen for the time being trustees of the property, which is applied to the education of six boys and six girls in the National school, which was established in 1815, under the patronage of the Marquis of Bute : these children are annually clothed, and, when of proper age, placed out apprentices, with suitable premiums. An equal number of children, who are also instructed in the same school, are clothed annually from funds invested for that purpose by the Marquis of Bute. Two capacious school-rooms were erected at Crockherbtown, in 1818, on ground given by the Marquis, who also contributed £52. 10. towards defraying the expense of the building, which cost £700, of which the corporation gave £300. A house for the master and mistress, with a committee-room, has since been built, at an expense of £600, of which the Marquis of Bute contributed £50, and the corporation £ 100. Mrs. Jane Herbert gave £500 to be invested in the purchase of land, for the establishment of a school for the instruction of fifteen poor children ; but this object has not yet been carried into effect, in consequence of which an application has been made to the Lord Chancellor.
A dispensary, situated in Union-street, was established in 1823, and is supported by subscription an addition of £256. 16. 6 1/2. was made to its funds by a ladies' bazaar, opened at the time of the races in 1828, with which the present building was purchased. An institution for the relief and assistance of poor lying-in women during their confinement has been recently formed, called the "Cardiff Charitable Midwifery Institution." A Sympathetic Society was established in 1794, for the benefit of widows : there are at present seventy-nine members, and nineteen widows are now receiving annuities of £ 15 each from the funds, which, in 1829, were vested in the purchase of £4300 New four per cent. annuities. There are no fewer than eight benefit societies. A rent-charge of £8, paid by the Mackworth family, another of £2. 10. left by Mr. William Jones, £ 100 Navy five per cents by the late Mr. John Rice, and various other charitable bequests and donations, are distributed among the poor.
On the north-east side of the town was anciently a convent of Grey friars, founded in 1280, by Gilbert Earl of Clare, who dedicated it to St. Francis, and made it a cell to the monastery of Bristol : at the dissolution its site was granted to the Herberts, a branch of the Swansea family : the walls are still remaining, but in a dilapidated state. Without the Westgate was a convent of Black friars, founded by Richard de Clare, about the year 1250 ; and two other religious houses, of which there are no vestiges, are noticed by Tanner, one supposed to have been that of the friars minor, founded by Robert, first Earl of Gloucester, and which, as noticed above, was spared, together with the street in which it was situated, when Owain Glyndwr burnt the rest of the town.
Among the remaining antiquities of this place are portions of the town walls, which seem to have been built on the site of Roman fortifications. The castle still forms an interesting object, though greatly altered by being converted into a modern castellated mansion. The west front, which is flanked by a massive octagonal tower of great strength, is seen to advantage from the great western road to the town. On the summit of a circular mound within the walls are the ruins of the ancient keep, commanding an extensive prospect over the surrounding country : this tower was used as an armoury during the parliamentary war. The moat by which it was surrounded has been filled up, and the whole area has been converted into a fine lawn : the acclivities of the ramparts have been planted with shrubs and evergreens, and on the summit a fine gravel walk has been formed, which is carried round the whole enclosure, and is open to the public as a promenade. On the west side of the gateway is the Black Tower, in which Robert Duke of Normandy is said to have been confined, during his captivity here. At the south-west angle of the court, the remains of a Roman hypocaust were exposed to the view about eighty years ago ; and a coin of the Emperor Trajan has been found within the castle. The eastern part is distinguished by the insertion of small pointed windows, behind which were discovered, a few years ago, the remains of a series of interesting Norman arches, probably coeval with the original structure ; and great alterations have been made, to adapt the habitable part of this ancient fortress to the uses of a mansion. The apartments contain several good portraits of the ancestors of the house of Bute, and some fine paintings by Kneller, Vandyke, Dahl, Romney, and other eminent artists.
According to the testimony of the Liber Llandavensis, the renowned King Arthur was a native of this place. Among distinguished natives of more modern times may be mentioned William Cadogan, member of the privy council of Charles I., and governor of the castle and borough of Trim in Ireland, who was born in 1601. The Rev. Mr. Erbury, who was vicar of this place during the usurpation of Cromwell, was author of a volume of sermons and other tracts, addressed to his parishioners, which present a curious specimen of the divinity of that period. Nathaniel Thomas, B. A., editor of an Abridgment of Ainsworth's Latin Dictionary, and other school books, and subsequently editor and proprietor of the St. James' Chronicle, was born in this town, in 1730. Cardiff gives the inferior title of baron to the Marquis of Bute.
The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to £ 1351. 9."