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Memories of St. Mary's

By Stan Phillips

Hello,

I have just come across the website

http://www.stmaryscaerau.org/contacts.html

I am now living in Ontario Canada - came here in 1968.

For a few mins I was wondering if it was the same place that I knew as a youngster. Looking at the map and the pictures - the area has really changed. I was born in Cardiff, and after WW2 we moved to one of the new houses being built on Lon Owain (the original name was ‘New Road’ and the subdivision was called “Sweldon”. Family friends had a farm close to St. Mary’s. Recently on TV the Time Team were digging around the old Fort. A lot of trees have grown since I was last there. Just down the hill there was an old Brick Quarry. I seem to remember the explosions when they were working, but the first time I remember going there, the old kilns were closed down. I can remember going in to take a look up the tall chimney to see if it was true that during the day one could see the stars, but I did not see any - just the blue sky.

The Web site article says that the church closed down in 1957 - but I think it was closed down before that date - or at least were not holding any services. In a few weeks I will be 80. My wife Shirley died a year and a half ago just two weeks after reaching 80.

If I get the chance to visit Wales again I will try and visit the old church. (My granddaughter and her husband wants me to take them around the places I knew.)

God bless,

Stan

[Stan continues with further recollections...]

There is another area that you may be interested in looking at. An old Roman road, where as youngsters we would go digging around the stones ( the Roman road surface). There were all kinds of things there, old coins etc. One thing dug up that was not Roman - an old wooden box wrapped in cloth - that had a pair of duelling pistols. That is now in the Museum in Cardiff somewhere.

Let me direct you to this old Roman road is. It starts where the A48 curves around the hill for a shallower grade. Start with this map:

On the top right is the A48 coming from Ely past what used to be a roundabout but now looks like a circle with the A4232 going under it. Follow the A48 between the two groups of white buildings to where it curves towards the top left but keep straight on towards the trees. Zoom in.

The original old Roman road is in the line of trees going towards the line marked ‘Grant’s Field’. As it comes out of the trees you can see that it is a road named Grant’s Field.

Grants Field as it continues West IS the old Roman Road.

I have been using Google earth to take a look around - in the 3D format almost as good as being there. Places have really changed. Colonel Llewellyn’s place/stables has homes all around it now. My parents knew them and now and again I would go over with Mr. Clapp, the chief stable boy ( I wondered why a man would be called a boy?) and with him walk the horses, both on the property and out on the street, with and without blinkers. They knew which pocket I kept the sugar lumps in :-) My mother would listen to the races and shows and tell me that “One of MY horses had won again. I did not think much of it then, but I wonder how many kids ever had the chance to ride Foxhunter?

Writing about it is bringing back all kinds of memories. During WW2, where Caerau Lane joins Cowbridge road, on the South side was an RAF base. Every so often, On the old Ely Racecourse, a barrage balloon would be fitted with a cabin underneath it and airmen/solders would get in - the balloon would go way up high for them to jump out practicing parachute jumping. Almost every night, German bombers would fly over Cardiff on their way to bomb Liverpool. Now and again one would get caught in the searchlights and the anti-aircraft guns - down by Cardiff Docks would start shooting at it. It was a bad night when Grangetown was the target. Not very far as the crow flies from where we lived in Ely.

One of these days I must write them down - my granddaughter has been bugging me for years .........

All the best,

Stan