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On the Ring Works overlooking Cardiff and beyond.

St. Mary's News, Summer 2016

The 'Big Picnic' in early May organised by Friends, Ace, and CAER was huge success, attracting over 80 residents to the Caerau Hill Monument during the course of the afternoon. Around 50 people, adults and children, took part in CAER's very popular newly- trialled geocaching activity.

People sat eating their picnics on the ringwork and, thanks to lovely weather, enjoyed the far-reaching views over Cardiff and further afield towards the Garth Mountain and Castell Coch.

Others took the opportunity to admire the imposing medieval church ruin up close and to explore St. Mary's small grave yard, poignantly awash with spring flowers. Thanks to local volunteers working on the site prior to the Event, the whole area was clear of rubbish and looking its best.

Adults and children also enjoyed exciting stories as told by our much-loved story teller, Cath Little.

It was great to see so many friends, old and new, particularly Rosemary Lewis, the Friends Co-founder, who has been absent for some time due to illness. It is in part thanks to Rosemary's dedicated historical and archaeological research for our book that there is today greater awareness of this ancient site.

The much-appreciated tea and cakes were supplied by ACE and Friends' supporters.
Geocaching in and around St. Mary's.

St. Mary's Repair Meeting, 5th July 2016

The meeting was attended by Councillors Peter and Elaine, Louise from Cadw, Carmel from the Bereavement Department, and Friends supporters and residents.

Our guest speaker, Leila from Cardiff University, informed us of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid for funding for CAER projects that includes funding for repointing the church tower. Leila told the meeting that getting the funding would take time and that Cardiff Council should be prepared to match any HLF funding if possible. Council money is tight, as always, but, if the twenty and half thousand pounds could be found to repoint the upper parts of the tower, these repairs will last for at least 50 years and would secure St. Mary's iconic tower, one of the oldest heritage landmarks in Cardiff.

Other issues discussed included security measures to better protect the church and graves against repeated criminal damage. It was noted that other councils, many smaller than Cardiff, have installed CCTV successfully to deter anti-social behaviour, and it is regrettable that suggested plans to do the same at St. Mary's have not been implemented.

Next St. Mary's repair meeting will be on Tuesday 1st November, 2016.

Rosemary and Delia, Founders, the Friends.

CAER Heritage News

CAER has been working at the medieval village site near St. Michael's church at Michaelston-Super-Ely. Interesting discoveries have been made and these will go on display later this year. Look out for news about this on the CAER website and Facebook page.


We were surprised & pleased to see at the Friends' July Taskforce gathering, 40 students from St. Mary's Immaculate School hard at work on a project that involved surveying the condition of St. Mary's graves using the Friends' grave map, refurbishing the gravel paths around the church ruin, and other routine garden-maintenance tasks. The students were under the supervision of Denise and Carmel from the Bereavement Dept., Dr. Jessica Hughes from Cadw, and enthusiastic teachers from St. Mary's Immaculate. This work being carried out at St. Mary's will count towards the students' Baccalaureate qualification.

Friendly Visiting

Finally, thanks to all who regularly visit St. Mary's and the hillfort. Please keep it up, especially over the long holidays!

Delia Jay, Founder.

Photography by Paul Kemble and Tony Jay (click on photos for larger versions)

Students relaxing after a morning's hard work!

Did you know..............?

5 things you may not have known about St. Mary's Church at Caerau
  1. Caerau - ancient spelling "Kay-re" was first mentioned in William the Conqueror's Doomsday Book in 1086.
  2. St. Mary's Church was built in 1260, long before Cardiff existed, and has for 7/8 centuries watched over our community.
  3. In the battle of St. Fagan's 1648 Oliver Cromwell's men hid in St. Mary's church during the battle.
  4. In 1960, after many years of neglect and vandalism, St. Mary's was lovingly restored to its former glory by local priest, Father Jones, who lived at the bottom of the hill in Heol Carnau.
  5. St. Mary's landmark tower and small cross can be seen from many places in Ely and from the bypass.