Llanedeyrn History

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This page is about the history of the area that I have lived in nearly all my married life. I have been in the area since 1970, moving not more than a mile or two from the first place that we had here. We now live only a couple of hundred yards from the flat we first moved into in 1970.

This area is one of the biggest housing estates in Cardiff, and has had a poor reputation over the years. Fairly unjustified I would say. There are problems here, but no more than any other large housing estate.

What it does have is a long history. Many people just think that it was built and named in the late sixties when Cardiff decided they needed to build a new housing estate for the expanding city. But the name has been around for nearly 1500 years.

The history below is just a small part of a fascinating history of the area written by local historian Mr. Malcolm Ransom. The full history can be found in the local library, which is where I found all these details. This is just a very abridged version, but if you are interested, please ask the librarian for the copy of the work on this area.

The name came when in the year 537when a monk named St.Edeyrn was directed by the newly established church at Llandaff to find more "Llans", found this place, and decided that it would be ideal as a place of worship. The welsh name "Llan" means worship or place of worship and together we have Llanedeyrn.

He gathered together a community of about 300 that lived and worshiped in the area, and built his first place to worship. This would have almost certainly been a wooden preaching cross at the time. The first church was built later, and the present Llanedeyrn Church still stands on the foundations of the old place of worship.

The community of 300 or so people did not change much in size for many hundreds of years, and in fact until well into the industrial revolution did more people come this way.

This way of life would have continued for hundreds of years, with the villagers not moving very far from the place they were born, and marrying local people. Between 1450 and 1920 the land was owned by the Kemny Family. They were huge land owners of the time.

The land would have been worked by serfs that were owned by the land owners, and who would have lived in small wooden homes, with the whole family living and sleeping in the one room. They would, like all of there kind have worked from dawn until dusk, and the profit from the land went straight to the land owners. This went on for several hundred years until eventually the land workers gained the right to buy and work there own land.

At the time, the life of the village apart from work would have revolved around the church and the pub. Llanedeyrn Church is hundreds of years old, and was well established in 1123. In 1236 the church tile was given from the main church at Tewksbury and granted to the church of LLandaff. Today you can still see signs of the Norman history in the walls and windows of the church.

The main pub in the area was The Unicorn. This also goes back many hundreds of years and was owned by the Davies family until 1966 when it was sold to the Ansells brewery chain. It is still thriving today, and although it is altered, you can still imagine how it was years ago.

In the year 1870 the first school was built in the area to teach the local children how to read and write their own names at least. The real change to the land came after World War 1 when the huge lands that were owned by just a few, were broken up and sold. In 1921 the land that had been owned since 1450 by the Kemny family was sold off.

In 1961 a decision was taken by the council that as Cardiff was expanding so rapidly a new housing estate was needed. This was to be built in the Llanedeyrn area and would eventually have 3500 homes for 12,000 people. 2000 owned by the council and 1500 private homes. The first of the estates was opened in 1968, and I moved to the estate known as Brynfedw in 1970. I am still in Brynfedw 35 years later, just a couple of hundred yards from where I started out.

We now have four schools including the first purpose built comprehensive school in Wales, the Llanedeyrn High School, Llanedeyrn primary school, and Springwood school and , two pubs, a community centre and what at the time was the largest covered shopping area in Wales. Although it has to be said that this needs a lot of repair now.

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