Cardiff Records: Volume 3. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1901.
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The early ecclesiastical history of Roath is wrapped in unaccountable obscurity. Very strangely, the Llyfr Llandaf does not seem to contain any clear reference to it, even as a chapelry; yet Roath was a parish before the Reformation. The mediæval church, dedicated, like the present, to Saint Margaret, was demolished in 1868; and so completely, that not a vestige remains, save traces of the foundations, and a couple of carved stones which formed part of some moulded arch and are now placed on each pillar of the south gate to the churchyard. The old building appears, from a photograph, to have been a somewhat modernised Perpendicular structure, consisting of chancel, nave, north transept, south porch and western bell-turret. There was one pointed Perpendicular window in the north wall of the nave; and a squareheaded one, of the same period, in the slightly projecting north wall of a side chapel, in the angle between nave and north aisle. Another pointed window was over the west door, which, with the windows, shewed the usual hood-moulding. Between the window in the north wall of the nave, and the west end of the same wall, was a large, plain, sloping buttress —probably added in modern times. In the turret was a bell.
The modern church was completed in 1873, and is a cruciform edifice in the Decorated style, solidly constructed; with a low, square, central tower, on which a spire is meant to be raised. To the main building has been added a very ornate and beautiful north aisle chapel, of rich Decorated design. It forms a mausoleum for several of Lord Bute's ancestors, (fn. 1) whose plain and massive tombs, of polished granite, occupy most of the space in the chapel. This portion of the church is divided from the rest, on the south and west, by an exceedingly graceful gilt wrought-iron screen, and has a handsome pavement of black and white tiles. On the walls are painted shields of arms of the Stuarts, &c. The whole church has a fine vaulted roof.
East Window. The Crucifix; Saints Mary, John Evangelist, Dyfrig and Mellon. Above, angels swinging censers and playing musical instruments, around the Saviour enthroned. Below, Old Testament types. At base, shields bearing emblems of the Passion.
Windows in Bute Chapel, of two compartments each, from west to east. Name-saints of the persons interred in the chapel. Saints Gertrude, Henry, Emily, Elizabeth, John Evangelist, Charles Borromeo, John Baptist, Francis. [The glass of these is not equal to that in the other parts of the church.]
Mural Tablets in Roath Church.
Jane Stoker, wife of William Richards of Cardiff, and daughter of Charles and Margaret Vachell; died 1847, aged 32. Also Charles Richards, only son of the above William; died 1847, aged 2. Also Margaret Alicia, his eldest daughter, died 1840, infant.
Ann Howell, daughter of William and Anne Meredith, of Lanishen; died 1799, aged 66. Also the Revd William Lewis, Rector of Peterston super Ely, and Vicar of Corsham, grandson of the above; died 1813, aged 59. Also William Lewis Evans, of Cardiff, Surgeon; died 1822, aged 25. Also Anne Evans, wife of Edward Evans, of Cardiff, nephew of the abovenamed William Lewis; died 1825, aged 74.
John James Watkins, Esqe, of Crockherb Town, Cardiff; died 1842, aged 51. Also Elizabeth Watkins, his mother; died 1842, aged 86. Also Harriet, wife of the abovenamed John James Watkins; died 1868, aged 79.
Susana, Joanna and Thomas, children of William Morgan of Pengam in this parish, gent., who died in their Infancy, 1748—50. Also Jane Morgan, his wife; died 1781, aged 69. Also his daughter Eleanor Morgan; died 1782, aged 37. Also his son William Morgan; died 1753, an Infant. Also his daughter Hannah Morgan; died 1787, aged 44. Also the said William Morgan, gent.; died 1791, aged 77. He was a Son of Edward Morgan of Pintwyn in the Parish of whiteChurch, gent. Also Mary Morgan, daughter of the said William Morgan; died at Pengam, 1819, aged 78.
Evelyn Fanny, daughter of John Bird, of Cardiff; died 1843, aged 13 months. Also Jemima, wife of John Bird; died 1858, aged 47. Also Mary Ann Strutt, widow of Joseph Strutt, of Isleworth, Middlesex, mother of Jemima Bird; died 1865, aged 81.
Henry Morgan, of Pwllcoch near Llandaff; died at Pengam, 1839, aged 88. Also Henry Morgan of Pengam, gent., son of Lewis Morgan and nephew of the above Henry Morgan; died 1838, aged 49. Also Jennetta Morgan, of Pengam, sister of Henry Morgan; died at Cardiff, 1842, aged 56.
Brass, in the splay of the window, to the memory of George Insole; died 1851, aged 61. Also Mary his wife. "They were buried, previous to the rebuilding of this Church, in a vault near the site of this window." (The window displays an effigy of Saint Margaret, and a picture of her martyrdom.)
Inscriptions in Roath Churchyard.
The churchyard of Roath lies contiguous with Roath Village Green on the west, the flat land of the Deri Farm on the north and the lane or approach to Ty Mawr on the south. The churchyard is entered by gates on the south and west. There is a fine old yew tree by the south porch of the church, but no remains of the churchyard cross. None of the tombstones are older than the 19th century. On the west the wall of the yard is immediately bounded by a cart-road leading to Roath Mill (fn. 2) and the Deri Farm; which road until lately crossed an arm of the Nant Mawr by a stone bridge of low arches, close to the church. Since 1890 the brook has dried here, and been partly filled up with rubbish. The picturesqueness of the surroundings has been further marred by enclosing the best part of the village green within very inaesthetic iron railings, and planting shrubs within this area, besides other alterations, of a nature more utilitarian than beautiful. However, the proximity of Roath Court, Cwrt Bach and Ty Mawr retains for this neighbourhood some remains of old-world rustic beauty—too soon, we fear, to be sacrificed to the irresistible advance of "public works."
Thomas John; died 1838, aged 77. And family:—
"Am hynny byddwch chwithau yn barod." (fn. 3)
Harriet, widow of Lieut.-Col. Jonas Watson, late 13th Regt; died at Cardiff, 1832. Also their sons William Jonas Watson and Richard Watson, and daughter Harriet. Also Martha, widow of the said Richard Watson.
Sergeant Thomas John, late of the 43rd Regt. "He fought under Generals Moore, and Wellington, through all the late War in the Spanish Peninsula. He was also engaged at Waterloo." Died 1864, aged 83. Also Mary, his wife; died 1882, aged 99. "She accompanied her husband through the Peninsular war as above."