University of the Third Agers listening to talks about St. Mary's history. Photo by Tony Jay, Friend. Yes it is June, despite our attire. Thankfully the heavy rain held off until after the event!
St. Mary's NewsAutumn 2017
Visit by U3A Sully History GroupIn June, Caerau Friends and residents welcomed Sully University of the Third Age history group and their tutor to St. Mary's to learn about its history. Many of the group had not previously visited the church or Caerau and were immediately impressed by the magnificent medieval ruin. Delia gave a potted history of St. Mary's seven centuries of local history and Paul delivered an excellent talk about recent archaeological developments on the hillfort, including mention of the visit from Time Team several years ago. The group spent several hours at the church talking to residents, learning about their passion for preserving what was left of St. Mary's and their dedicated commitment to keep the church and grounds a pleasant place for people to visit. Also appreciated was the tea and homemade cakes provided by Friends of St. Mary's volunteers. After U3A's visit, their leader wrote to Delia expressing thanks and saying how much everyone had enjoyed the event and offered a donation, which Delia asked to be sent to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), an organisation that had for many years faithfully supported the Friends in opposing demolition of St. Mary's. In addition to the Third Agers attending the talks we were joined by our new SPAB representative, Kath, whom we met for the first time.
Arch repaired and hedges cut.
Missing CrossOn the anniversary of the theft of the cross, Delia wrote to the South Wales Echo and her letter was published just prior to the August 17 bank holiday. As the Echo headline stated, "Loss of Cross leaves us all culturally poorer". As it seems increasingly likely that the cross will not be recovered, even though Peter and police are continuing their investigations, St. Mary's supporters have requested a replacement cross. To this end, one of our supporters is making enquires of other churches who have similar crosses to St. Mary's in the hope they may have design templates that could be used to make a replica cross. None of St. Mary's five crosses were preserved and their originality or otherwise cannot be confirmed. Nor is there any documentation available at present that could be used to make a replica cross for St. Mary's.
Repairs to Chancel ArchFollowing recent criminal damage to the arch by person/s unknown, very effective and speedy repairs have now been made and our thanks in particular to Jill and Martin for bringing this about.
St. Mary's Repair MeetingA shortened meeting was held at the home of two of our supporters and we were very comfortably accommodated. Our sincere thanks to them both. Among items discussed, we heard from Peter and Elaine that they had met with police and requested better security for St. Mary's and the police have agreed to extra patrols of the area. This is a big step forward. Our thanks to Peter and Elaine for their efforts in this. Thanks were also given to the Bereavement gardening team for cutting the hedges to a lower height, thereby decreasing the isolation effect, and also allowing the wonderful views to be seen from the church grounds, for example, Llandaff Cathedral visible through the chancel arch. Thanks were expressed to Paul for his regular litter picking and for organising anti-vandal surveillance over the recent August holiday weekend. It was noted that a new sign has been erected just outside the security gate at the bottom of the hill that describes the archaeology of the hillfort and includes a very nice photo of St. Mary's. Appreciation of the new sign has been sent to David Wyatt, Senior Archaeologist, CU. Next repair meeting will be held in March. Details to follow nearer the time. All photography by Paul Kemble except where noted.
Llandaff Cathedral visible through chancel arch. Castell Coch across the valley.