St Fagans - Gazetteers
"FAGAN'S (ST.), a parish in the hundred of DINAS-POWIS, county of GLAMORGAN, SOUTH WALES, 4 miles (W. N. W.) from Cardiff, containing 446 inhabitants.
This parish takes its name from the Saint to whom its church is dedicated, and who, according to all testimony on this subject, arrived in Britain about the year 180, to preach the doctrines of the Christian religion, and founded the church of this place, which may be consequently regarded as one of the earliest Christian establishments in the island. St. Fagan's is celebrated as the scene of a sanguinary battle, which took place during the protectorate of Cromwell, between the recreant leaders of the parliamentary forces in the principality, and Colonel Horton, who was sent by the protector, with a small army, to enforce the order for disbanding them. The former, among whom were Major-Generals Stradling and Laugharne, having embraced the cause of royalty, contrived to keep their forces under arms, and to augment their number by fresh recruits of such as were favourable to the cause of royalty ; and having increased their army to eight thousand men, they confidently advanced to meet Colonel Horton, who had stationed his forces at St. Fagan's. The battle was fought on the 8th of May, 1648, and terminated in the defeat of the Welsh troops with great slaughter, and the capture of many of their principal officers. Among the slain, on the part of the Welsh, were sixty-five of this parish alone; and in the ensuing harvest, so great was the scarcity of labourers, that the crops were chiefly cut and gathered by women. This victory was considered by the parliament to be of such importance, that a day of public thanksgiving was appointed on the occasion.
The village, which is situated on the river Ely, a stream abounding with trout and other fish, has a very prepossessing appearance ; it lies on a substratum of limestone, and is abundantly supplied with excellent water : plenty of coal is found within five miles of the place, and is supplied at a moderate price to the limeworks in the parish.
The living is a rectory, with Llanilterne annexed, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Llandaf, rated in the king's books at £ 14. 9. 7., and in the patronage of the Earl of Plymouth. The church is a very neat edifice, in excellent repair.
The Rev. John Cooke, in 1729, gave £ 50, producing £ 2. 10. per annum, and secured on the Cardiff turnpike trust, for the instruction of three children of this parish, and two of the chapelry of Llanilterne ; and there are some small charitable bequests for distribution among the poor.
Here is an ancient castellated mansion, formerly belonging to the family of Lewis, the heiress of which has conveyed it by marriage, together with a large estate in this county, to the Earl of Plymouth: it is still habitable, and is now in the occupation of a tenant under the present proprietor.
The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor amounts to £327. 13."1/2: the Rates being levied by the acre. It is 4 m. W. b. N. from Caerdiff. This Parish contains 1475 customary acres, or, 2300 Statute acres, all inclosed: and the Chapel contains about 1000 statute acres more. The present most amiable and intelligent Rector, The Rev. WILLIAM BERKIN MEACKHAM LISLE, LL. D., (for whose great exertions to promote his Topographical inquiries, the Author takes this opportunity publicly to express his most grateful Acknowledgments), in the kindest manner adds, " There was a great Battle fought here, in 1648, in which the Republicans were victorious. Lime costs about 2d. the Winchester Bushel at the Kiln. Best Coal, at the Pit, at Pentyrch about five miles distant, costs 4s. per Ton, and is delivered at the Kiln at 9s. per Ton: one Ton of Coals burns about 80 Winchester Bushels of Lime. Turnips are making progress here. The Wheat Crop, when well managed, often produces Forty Winchester Bushels per acre. Up-land Pasture lets for 40 and 50s. per statute acre, and arable Land at 30s. The River Elay runs through the Parish, and affords Trout, Pike, Eels, Roach, and Salmon. Being situate on the Limestone, it has plenty of good water, and nearly equal to the hot Wells. On the 15th of July 1808, we were visited by a great Storm of Rain, and Hail, accompanied with Thunder: a Ball of Fire made a hole in my Garden, and broke nearly Two thousand panes of glass in the Hot Houses: the Hail-stones were so large as to make holes, in many instances, without breaking the pane, like a Pistol ball. The Water was several feet deep in the Village, and scarcely a Person was dry in their Beds, out of the Rectory. The Chapelry of Llan Illtwrn chuse their own Warden, and make their own Rates; but pay a third towards the repair of St. Fagan's Church and Bridge. The Glebe measures about 74 acres; and the value of the Benefice may be estimated at £400. per annum. Corn Tythes are taken in kind; but a Modus of a shilling an acre for Hay, and ten-pence for Pasture, covers the small Tythes. The Name of this Parish is derived from a Saint, who first preached Christianity here, about A. D. 180. St. Fagan's Register of Births goes back to the year 1689, but it is not perfect: From 1729, both Births and Burials seem accurate. The Burials for the last seven years, average about Seven every year, and about One in Fifty Persons."
[Last Updated : 4 Feb 2005 - Gareth Hicks]