Latest News: Autumn Update 2019
The medieval church of St Mary, sadly now a fragile ruin, stands on an Iron Age hill fort overlooking the ancient village of Caerau and the post-war housing estate of Ely. Adjacent to St Mary's is a medieval castle ringwork which in its time would have had palisade fencing and a tower. There are magnificent views of Cardiff and the Ely Valley, the Garth Mountain and Castle Coch, Tongwynlais. The steep climb along the narrow road to St Mary's is well worth the effort. The beginning of the Friends of St Mary's Church at Caerau ("the Friends") reach back to late 1994, however it was not until late 1999 that the two founder members, Delia Jay and Rosemary Lewis, set up the Friends and gave it its title. The Friends, a small pressure group striving to protect the ancient church from further decay and destruction, has had its successes and failures. It had been a priority to save St Mary's magnificent west tower which was still intact until the winter of 2000/2001 when severe storms finally caused its collapse. The tower had been on the brink of collapse for several years. Part of the tower still stands, and we are still trying to ensure its preservation. A future aim is for the tower to be rebuilt, as it was a saddleback tower and only a small number of towers of this type exist. The Church of St Mary's is a Grade II* listed building. We think it disappointing that a prominent landmark such as this in Cardiff has virtually disappeared. Elsewhere on this site we write about the history of the Church and the community it served, including the 1960 rebuild by Father Victor Jones and his assistants, and the history of our activities as the Friends, which should provide an insight into the mechanisms of bureaucracy and the difficulties encountered. Please see our news items to keep to up date with the work and events of the Friends. The Friends of St Mary's Church at Caerau is an entirely not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers.
The church in its prime.