Friends of St Mary's Home

Friends of St Mary's Church at Caerau

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In the bleak mid-winter. Photo courtesy of Michael Davies.

Cyfarchion yr wyl / Season's greetings

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We have had an eventful year!

Our annual inspection in March this year was marred by the gaping hole in St. Mary’s Tower, which had been awaiting repairs for many months, and meant we could not safely invite Young Friends and children to join us for the St. David Day celebrations, which take place alongside the inspection. However, it was a good turnout and we were pleased to meet up with our old friends and supporters again, although some were missing, sadly due to illness.

The publication in The South Wales Echo of Paul Kemble’s letter and wonderful photo of the Hill Fort, in which St. Mary’s was clearly visible, generated much interest and shortly afterwards The Friends received an email from a local archaeologist at Cardiff University expressing an interest in the area. This has led on to the creation of the CAER Heritage project, see below.

Our main event this year was the Celebration of the Rev Victor (Father) Jones’s life, held in June, and earlier that day the scattering of his ashes by members of his close family. The Celebration was a truly lovely and happy occasion, well attended by The Friends and Young Friends, family, local residents and their families and community and school groups. In addition, we were delighted to note that St. Mary’s Tower had, at long last, been repaired. Our letter of thanks to all was published in the South Wales Echo.

This autumn we turned our attention to mapping the graves of the people buried in St. Mary’s churchyard, inspired by an earlier discovery of a map included by local resident James Frowen in his college thesis, which we found filed in Cardiff Central Library. That map omitted some of the graves which we knew to be present and because we wanted to make our map as accurate possible, we consulted a variety of earlier sources and adopted a “hands on” approach to mapping the graveyard as it stands today. Our list of graves will be published soon on the website, but there are more graves which remain unidentified due to decay or vandalism. In time we may discover records not yet accessed, or people may come forward with personal or local knowledge of relatives buried in St. Mary’s ancient cemetery.

Finally, we were fortunate to have received from local supporter Angela Frowen lovely photos of St. Mary’s taken by her son in the deep snow of November 2010. We had these printed as Christmas cards, which have all gone to “good homes” and I hope you may be lucky enough to receive one!

Our next event will be the 2012 annual inspection, taking place on Saturday March 3rd. More details to follow early next year, so please keep checking the website.

NB: The CAER (Caerau and Ely Rediscovering) Heritage project is an exciting initiative funded by Cardiff University and intending to explore the history and archaeology of the Caerau hillfort. “A Secret History of Ely”, was published in the Echo 14th October 2011 fronted by our valued supporter, Sue Brooke. Our letter in response to the article, “Putting History of Ely on Map” was also published in the Echo.

Delia & Rosemary