The older inns of Cardiff

Cardiff Records: Volume 5. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1905.

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'The older inns of Cardiff', Cardiff Records: Volume 5, (Cardiff, 1905), pp. 438-445. British History Online [accessed 12 June 2024].

. "The older inns of Cardiff", in Cardiff Records: Volume 5, (Cardiff, 1905) 438-445. British History Online, accessed June 12, 2024,

. "The older inns of Cardiff", Cardiff Records: Volume 5, (Cardiff, 1905). 438-445. British History Online. Web. 12 June 2024,

The Older Inns of Cardiff.

Authors of fiction have often revelled in the atmosphere of romance which hangs about an old inn. Even poets have not disdained to sing the charms of an ancient hostelry. Antiquaries are well aware of the interest attaching to inns and inn-signs, particularly to heraldic signs. In those of the Cardiff District the names and arms of the principal local families are represented, and we have examples of most of the quaint titles by which Boniface has in all ages been wont to designate his hospitable house. This Schedule, however, comprises only the names and signs of inns which may be termed old-established, from the palatial hotel down to the humble tavern. Wherever possible, I have mentioned the earliest date at which the name of the inn has been found in records; and, in the case of houses which are no longer licensed, the latest date also. The situation of each house is also given, where it could be ascertained.

ALEXANDRA. Crockherbtown (c. 1875.) North-west corner of Taff Vale Approach. An early Victorian house with a porch on the pavement, modernised c. 1895.

ANGEL. North side of Angel Street (1666, 1731, 1792.) A later inn under this sign and the same license was on the south side of the street, but is now the Bute Estate Office. At the latter transformation the license was transferred to the Cardiff Arms. When the last-named hotel was rebuilt it was called the Angel.

BEAR (1719, 1770.)


BLACK BEAR (1798.)

BLACK LION. On the east side of Saint Mary Street (1792, 1798.)

BLACK LION, Llandaff; south-east corner of High Street and Cardiff Road. The sign is taken from the arms of Mathew of Llandaff, "Or, a lion rampant sable."

BLUE ANCHOR. In Saint Mary Street, on the east side, adjoining the new Market (1711, 1792, 1835.) Now near the south end of the street.

BLUE BELL. High Street (1873.)

BOAR'S HEAD. Somewhere near the Market Tavern (1792, 1835.)

BOAR'S HEAD. South-east side of Leckwith Road, Canton Common.

CANTON CROSS. West side of Canton Cross.

CARDIFF ARMS. An important inn which stood in Broad Street, Cardiff, at the west end of Angel Street (1792.) (fn. 1) It occupied the site of a very ancient building known as the Red House, in Welsh Ty Coch, a name by which the inn was long known (1710, 1731, 1777, 1788.) The Cardiff Arms was demolished 1878, in the course of street improvements. Its license was transferred to a house erected near the old site, but which took the name of The Angel from another discontinued hostelry in Angel Street (now Castle Street.) The Cardiff Arms Park was so called after this house.

CARDIFF BOAT. (fn. 2) Womanby, corner of Quay Street (1792, 1829.)

CARDIFF CASTLE. High Street. It was a ruinous house in 1849.

CARDIFF COTTAGE. East side of Saint Mary Street.

CARPENTER'S ARMS. The Hayes, east side.

CASTLE. Angel Street. Sold under the Improvement Act in 1878.

CLIFTON. At the corner of Clifton Street and Broadway, Roath. Also known as the Tredegar Arms. The Roath Local Board met here in 1859.

COCK. On the east side of the North Gate (1731, 1787.)

CORNISH ARMS. Charlotte Street (1865.)

COW AND SNUFFERS. Llandaff Yard. The sign is said to be the result of a tour-de-force by Lord Beaconsfield, who invented it as the most incongruous title conceivable.

COWBRIDGE ARMS. Broad Street. (fn. 3) Sold under the Improvement Act in 1878.

CROSS INN. Cross Street (1868.)

CROSS KEYS. On the south side of Queen Street, by the Tunnel just outside the East Gate (1792, 1806.) Lord Bute formerly held here his annual Court Leet for the Manor of RoathDogfield. In 1896 the name of the house was changed to The Tivoli—as "more artistic."

CROW (1720.)

DOLPHIN. "The Old Dolphin," South side of Church Street. Perhaps identical with the Ship and Dolphin.

DUKE OF WELLINGTON. The Hayes, near Waterloo Buildings.

ESPLANADE. Beach Road, Penarth. This hotel represents the old Penarth Beach Inn, demolished c. 1875.

FAIR OAK. Angel Street (1861.)

FIVE BELLS. In Broad Street (1748, 1792, 1821.) Pulled down circa 1859, on the erection of the new bridge over the mill-leat.

FOUR ELMS. Elm Street Roath. So called from its proximity to the Four Elms (1859.)

FOX AND HOUNDS. Whitchurch.

GENERAL NOTT. The westernmost house of the middle row in Smith Street. The north part of it, which had been the Post Office, was demolished 1849. The other part was occupied latterly by Battista Pedrazzini, watchmaker.

GEORGE. At the West Gate (1710, 1780.)

GLOBE. East corner of Castle Street and Homanby (1731.) (fn. 4)

GLOVE AND SHEARS. Duke Street, at the corner of North Street (1792.) The Judges' servants used to be lodged here (1829.) The house displays a Welsh announcement: "Cymry a Chymraeg i mewn." (Welsh people and Welsh speaking within.)

GOLDEN LION. Between Saint Mary Street and Barry Lane. The mail-coach horses used to be stabled here. The yard was in the occupation of the South Wales Carriage Co. till 1898, when the Morgan Arcade was built over it. Baker's Row runs southward from Wharton Street to Barry Lane. Before reaching Greenmeadow Court it widened out into Golden Lion Court. The inn stood at the east corner of Wharton Street and Baker's Row.

GOLDEN LION. Glebe Street, Penarth. Starting-place of the Cardiff breaks.

GREEN DRAGON, The (New.) A former name of Messrs. Fulton & Dunlop's wine and spirits vaults, at the corner of Duke Street and Saint John Square (1792, 1825.)

GREEN DRAGON, The (Old. 1720, 1792.)

GREYHOUND (1777, 1792.)

GRIFFIN. High Street (1798, 1827.)

GRIFFIN. Saint Mary Street. Sign derived from the arms of the family of Morgan of Tredegar.

GRIFFIN. Lisvane.

HEATHCOCK. High Street (1674.)

HEATHCOCK. City of Llandaff. A heathcock is the family crest of Mathew of Llandaff.

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL. Somewhere near the north side of Wharton Street (1848-1879.) Query whether a corruption of "Heoly-cawl"?

HORSE AND GROOM. West side of Womanby.

IRISHMAN'S GLORY. Charlotte Street (c. 1830.)

IVY BUSH. Corner of Saint Mary Street and Mill Lane (1867.)

JOLLY BOATMAN. Charlotte Street (c. 1830.)

KEMEYS-TYNTE ARMS. Later known as the Tennis Court, now Nell's Brewery and licensed premises, between Church Street and Saint John Square. This was anciently the town house of the Kemeys-Tynte family.

KING DAVID (1750.)

KING'S ARMS. In Castle Street (1833.)

KING'S CASTLE. On the north side of the Cowbridge Road, at the south-east corner of King's Road. Named after the King's Castle, an ancient building which stood a short distance further east (1866.)

KINGS' HEAD (1719, 1792.) Saint Mary Street, where the Town Hall was erected in 1849. The inn was ordered to be pulled down in 1850.

LAMB. Trinity Street (1818.)

LAMB AND FLAG. Next to the King's Head, where the Town Hall was built in 1849, on the west side of Saint Mary Street.

MALTSTER'S ARMS. In the city of Llandaff.

MARKET TAVERN. In Trinity Street (1840.) It was originally called the New Market Inn, and had an opening into Church Street (1835.)

MASONS' ARMS. (fn. 5) On the north side of Queen Street, near the East Gate (1792, 1822.) It is still standing, though threatened.

MERRY HARRIERS. In the parish of Llandough, at the Cogan cross-roads.

MITRE. City of Llandaff. This house was the property of the Dean and Chapter in 1750, when it was rebuilt.

NEW INN. South side of Queen Street, just within the East Gate and the canal. Also called the Prince Regent. Late Carey's spirit vaults. The name occurs in 1768.

OLD ARCADE. A part of this inn is built over the passage from Church Street to the Market, hence the name. This was the first of Cardiff's numerous arcades.

OLD HOSTRY, The (1600.)

PANNIERS (1596.)

PINE APPLE. Whitchurch Road, Llandaff Yard.



PRINCE REGENT. On the south side of King Street, now Queen Street, just within the East Gate and the canal, opposite the Masons' Arms and the Unicorn (1829.) Late Carey's spirit vaults. Also called the New Inn.

QUEEN'S HOTEL. On the west side of Saint Mary Street, just north of the end of Wharton Street. It was called the Stogumber Hotel in 1861. Rebuilt c. 1895.

RED COW. Womanby Street (fn. 6) (1776, 1792.) Uninhabited from about 1890, but still standing in 1903. It was from this house that the Cowbridge carrier used to start.

RED LION. East corner of Smith Street and North Street (1792, 1809.) Still licensed, 1903. Mass was for a time said in the ordinary-room of this inn, at the beginning of the 19th century.

RISING SUN. On the west side of the Hayes, a little south of Wharton Street, and on the north-east corner of Rising Sun Court. Demolished 1898.

ROCK AND CASTLE. On a rocky eminence behind Pentyrch church, the site of Pentyrch Castle.

ROSE AND CROWN. On the east side of the North Gate (1787.)

It still exists.

ROYAL HOTEL. On the west side of Saint Mary Street, at the north-east corner of Wood Street (1870.) Rebuilt c. 1895.

ROYAL OAK. Saint Mary Street (1683.)

ROYAL OAK. Whitchurch.

RUMMER Tavern. South side of Duke Street.

SHIP (1792, 1798.)

SHIP AND CASTLE. In High Street, opposite the Wheat Sheaf (1792, 1821.)

SHIP AND DOLPHIN. Church Street (1792, 1818.)

SHIP ON LAND. Ship on Launch. Quay Street.

SHOULDER OF MUTTON (1731, 1792, 1812.)

STAR. Llanilltern.

SWAN. High Street (1666.) The Little Swan, 1731.

TENNIS COURT. An old name (but lately revived) for the licensed premises attached to Nell's Brewery (1731, 1829.) It was so called from a tennis-court which was made in what is now the yard of the brewery, behind the houses which form the northeast end of Church Street. Before that court was constructed (circa 1777), the tennis-balls were thrown against the north wall of Saint John's church tower, hard by. A still older name for this house was the Kemeys-Tynte Arms, it having anciently been the town house of that family.

THATCHED HOUSE. Lewis Street, west side near the Hayes bridge. This is said to have been the last thatched house in the town.

THREE CASTLES (1792, 1798.)

THREE CRANES. Saint Mary Street or High Street (1770, 1792, 1842.)

THREE CUPS. Llandaff Yard.

THREE ELMS. Whitchurch Green.

THREE HORSE SHOES. High Street, west side (1798.)

THREE MARINERS. Near the Quay (1779.)


THREE TUNS (1792, 1798.)

TON INN, The Old. Tongwynlais.

TY PWLL COCH. Pwll Coch, Ely Common. On the north side of the Cowbridge Road.

UNICORN. North side of Smith Street, now Queen Street, between the East Gate on the east and the Masons' Arms inn on the west (1772, 1829.) It stood on the site of the town wall, where now is Herne's draper's shop, close to the canal. It was demolished c. 1877.

UNICORN. Llanedern village, close to the church. A comfortable old thatched house, with an inn-kitchen of the picturesque sort, open chimney, oak settles, and flitches of bacon under the beams; and a native Welsh-speaking landlady.

WHEAT SHEAF. In High Street, opposite the Ship and Castle (1821.)


WHITE LION. In Castle Street (1778, 1798.)

WHITE LION. In the hamlet of Ely.



  • 1. See the illustration facing p. 145, Vol. IV.
  • 2. See the tail piece on p. 310, Vol. IV.
  • 3. See the illustration facing p. 353, Vol. IV.
  • 4. This comfortable old inn happily still exists in its original form, unspoilt.
  • 5. See the tail-piece on p. 98, Vol. IV. This and the Globe are the last of the old inns in their original state.
  • 6. Hence sometimes called Red Cow Lane.