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Friends of St Mary's Church at Caerau

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Annual Inspection 2008

The lane looking nice and clear.
We are pleased to report that the damage to the Arch, see previous report, has been well repaired. There are still stones missing from a corner of the tower, as we reported last year, and we have written to the authorities asking for this to be attended to on the next maintenance visit.
Red granite grave stone, top off.

We were delighted to find that the lane and graveyard had been cleared of litter and the overhanging brambles and hedgerows cut back, both in the lane and in the churchyard, by the British Conservation Trust Volunteers. The overall effect is that the entire site looks tidy and cared for, and on this occasion, a pleasure to visit. We have written to Martin Birch, manager of the Bereavement Department at the Council, to express our approval.

The only downside on this visit was the ongoing damage by vandals to some of the grave stones. In particular, the prominent 'red granite' tombstone at the entrance to the church yard had its top prised off, and at the rear, near the stile, the top of a stone coffin has been partially dislodged.

Finally, we are very impressed with the work of Iona Gordon (and Jane Clemence before her) in Communities First who, by involving people of Caerau and Ely in social and cultural activities, are promoting awareness of this important historical site, and building on the activities of local children, notably a tableau play about the history of the Hill Fort - see earlier report - performed by the pupils of Heol Trelai primary school.

The inspection team this year, pictured below left in front of the repaired arch, were Delia Jay, co-founder of Friends of St. Mary's, Cliff and Jean Evans, Jean is the daughter of the late Charles Jewell, and Iona Gordon, Communities First project. Tony Jay took the photos. For the first time in thirteen years, Rosemary Lewis, fellow co-founder, was unable to attend, but expects to be back next year.


The 2008 inspection finished on a "high." We learned from Iona of Communities First that, after our midday inspection, Iona returned with a group of 23 local people (including two in a double buggy), the gate was then unlocked by a local farmer, and the group enjoyed a "St. David's Day Walk" up to the church, where more daffodils were placed on the altar and a local resident conducted some of her Church choir, ending with the Welsh National Anthem. Of the group, 17 had never seen St. Mary's and the Hill Fort before.

The inspection team in front of the repaired arch. Gravestones, some vandalised.
The choir singing at St Mary's.

Delia Jay
1st March 2008