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CARDIFF

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 318 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CARDIFF, a city, municipal, county and parliamentary borough, seaport and market-town, and the county town of Glamorganshire, South Wales, situated on the Taff, 1 m. above its outflow, 1451 M. from London by the Great Western railway via Badminton, 402 m. W. of Bristol and 451 M. E.S.E. of Swansea. Cardiff is also the terminus of both the Taff Vale and the Rhymney railways, the latter affording the London & North-Western railway access to the town. The Barry line from Barry dock joins the Great Western and Taff Vale railways at Cardiff, and the Cardiff Railway Company (which owns all the docks) has a line from Pontypridd via Llanishen to the docks. The Glamorganshire canal, opened in 1794, runs from Cardiff to Merthyr Tydfil, with a branch to Aberdare. The increase of the population of Cardiff during the 19th century was phenomenal;from 187o inhabitants in 18or, and 6187 in 1831 it grew to 32,954 in 1861. The borough, which originally comprised only the parishes of St John's and St Mary's, was in 1875 and 1895 extended so as to include Roath and a large part of Llandaff, known as Canton, on the right of the Taff. The whole area was united as one civil parish in 1903, and the population in 1901 was 164,333, of whom only about 8% spoke Welsh. Probably no town in the kingdom has a nobler group of public buildings than those in Cathays Park, which also commands a view of the castle ramparts and the old keep. On opposite sides of a fine avenue are the assize courts and new town hall (with municipal offices), which are both in the Renaissance style. The Glamorgan county council has also a site of one acre in the park for offices. The University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, founded in 1883, under the principalship of J. Viriamu Jones, for some time carried on its work in temporary buildings, pending the erection of the commodious and imposing building from the plans of Mr W. D. Carne, in Cathays Park, where the registry of the university of Wales (of which the college is a constituent) is also situated. The Drapers' Company has given 15,500 towards building a library, in addition to previous donations to the engineering department and the scholarship fund of the college. The college has departments for arts, pure and applied science and technology, medicine, public health, music, and for the training of men and women teachers for elementary and secondary schools. Its library includes the Salesbury collection of books relating to Wales. Aberdare Hall is a hostel for the women students. The Baptist theological college of Pontypool was removed to Cardiff in 1895. The public library and museum were founded in 1863, but in 1882 were removed to a new building which was enlarged in 1896. The library is especially rich in books and MSS. relating to Wales and in Celtic literature generally. These comprise the Welsh portion of the MSS. which belonged to Sir Thomas Phillipps of Middlehill (including the Book of Aneurin—one of the " Four ancient books of Wales "), purchased for 3500. A catalogue of the printed books in the Welsh department, which soon became a standard work of reference, was published in 1898, while a calendar of the Welsh MSS. was issued by the Historical MSS. Commission in 1903. There are six branch libraries, while a scheme of school libraries has been in operation since 1899. The chief features of the museum are collections of the fossils, birds and flora of Wales and of obsolete Welsh domestic appliances, casts of the pre-Norman monuments of Wales, and reproductions of metal and ivory work illustrating various periods of art and civilization. There is also a unique collection of Swansea and Nantgarw china. The fine arts department contains twenty-seven oil paintings by modern English and continental artists bequeathed by William Menelaus of Dowlais in 1883, the Pyke-Thompson collection of about roo water-colour paintings presented in 1899, and some 3000 prints and drawings relating to Wales. In 1905 Cardiff was selected by a privy council committee to be the site of a state-aided national museum for Wales, the whole contents of the museum and art gallery, together with a site in Cathays Park, having been offered by the corporation for the purpose. A charter providing for its government was granted on the 19th of March 1907. In Cathays Park there is also a " gorsedd " or bardic circle of huge monoliths erected in connexion with the eisteddfod of 1899. The other public buildings of the town include the infirmary founded in 1837, the present buildings being erected in 1883, and subsequently enlarged; the sanatorium, the seamen's hospital, the South Wales Institute of Mining Engineers (which has a library) built in 1894, the exchange, an institute for the blind, a school for the deaf and dumb, and one of the two prisons for the county (the other being at Swansea). There are a technical school, an intermediate school for boys and another for girls, a " higher-grade " and a pupil teachers' school. A musical festival is held triennially. In the business part the buildings are also for the most part imposing and the thoroughfares spacious, while the chief suburban streets are planted with trees. The Taff is spanned by two bridges, one a four-arched bridge rebuilt in 1858–1859 leading to Llandaff, and the other a cantilever with a central swinging span of 190 ft. 8 in. In virtue of its being the shire-town, Cardiff acquired in 1535 the right to send one representative to parliament, which it did until 1832, from which date Cowbridge and Llantrisant have been joined with it as contributory boroughs returning one member. The great sessions for the county were during their whole existence from 1542 to 1830 held at Cardiff, but the assizes (which replaced them) have since then been held at Swansea and Cardiff alternately, as also are the quarter sessions for Glamorgan. The borough has a separate commission of the peace, having a stipendiary magistrate since 1858. It was granted a separate court of quarter sessions in 189o, it was constituted a county borough in 1888, and, by letters patent dated the 28th of October 1905, it was created a city and the dignity of lord mayor conferred on its chief magistrate. The corporation consists of ten aldermen and thirty councillors, and the area of the municipal borough is 8408 acres. Under powers secured in 1884, the town obtains its chief water supply from a gathering ground near the sources of the Taff on the old red sandstone beyond the northern out-crop of the mineral basin and on the southern slopes of the Brecknock Beacons. Here two reservoirs of a combined capacity of 668 million gallons have been constructed, and a conduit some 36 m. long laid to Cardiff at a total cost of about £1,250,000. A third reservoir is authorized. A gas company, first incorporated in 1837, supplies the city as well as Llandaff and Penarth with gas, but the corporation also supplies electric power both for lighting and working the tramways, which were purchased from a private company in 1898. The city owned in 1905 about 290 acres of parks and " open spaces," the chief being Roath Park of Too acres (including a botanical garden of 15 acres), Llandaff fields of 70 acres, and Cathays Park of 6o acres, which was acquired in 1900 mainly with the view of placing in it the chief public buildings of the town. Commerce and Industries.—Edward II.'s charter of 1324 indicates that Cardiff had become even then a trading and shipping centre of some importance. It enjoyed a brief existence as a staple town from 1327 to 1332. During the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. it was notorious as a resort of pirates, while some of the ironfounders of the district were suspected of secretly supplying Spain with ordnance. It was for centuries a " head port," its limits extending from Chepstow to Llanelly; in the 18th century it sank to the position of " a creek " of the port of Bristol, but about 1840 it was made independent, its limits for customs' purposes being defined as from the Rumney estuary to Nash Point, so that technically the "port of Cardiff" includes Barry and Penarth as well as Cardiff proper. Down to the end of the 18th century there was only a primitive quay on the river side for shipping purposes. Coal was brought down from the hills on the backs of mules, and iron carried in two-ton wagons. In 1798 the first dock (12 acres in extent) was constructed at the terminus of the Glamorgan canal from Merthyr. The commercial greatness of Cardiff is due to the vast coal and iron deposits of the country drained by the Taff and Rhymney, between whose outlets the town is situated. But a great impetus to its development was given by the 2nd marquess of Bute, who has often been described as the second founder of Cardiff. In 183o he obtained the first act for the construction of a dock which (now known as the West Bute dock) was opened in 1839 and measures (with its basin) 192 acres. The opening of the Taff Vale railway in 184o and of the South Wales railway to Cardiff in 185o necessitated further accommodation, and the trustees of the marquess (who died in 1848) began in 1851 and opened in 1855 the East Bute dock and basin measuring 464 acres. The Rhymney railway to Cardiff was completed in 1858 and the trade of the port so vastly increased that the shipment of coal and coke went up from 4562 tons in 1839 to 1,796,000 tons in 186o. In 1864 the Bute trustees unsuccessfully sought powers for constructing three additional docks to cost two millions sterling, butunder the more limited powers granted in 1866, the Roath basin (12 acres) was opened in 1874, and (under a substituted act of 1882) the Roath dock (33 acres) was opened in 1887. All these docks were constructed by the Bute family at a cost approaching three millions sterling. Still they fell far short of the requirements of the district. for in 1865 the Taff Vale Railway Company opened a dock of 26 acres under the headland at Penarth, while in 1884 a group of colliery owners, dissatisfied with their treatment at Cardiff, obtained powers to construct docks at Barry which are now 114 acres in extent. The Bute trustees in 1885 acquired the Glamorgan canal and its dock, and in the following year obtained an act for vesting their various docks and the canal in a company now known as the Cardiff Railway Company. The South Bute dock of 502 acres, authorized in 1894 and capable of accommodating the largest vessels afloat, was opened in 1907, bringing the whole dock area of Cardiff (including timber ponds) to about 210 acres. There are also ten private graving and floating docks and one public graving dock. There is ample equipment of fixed and movable staiths and cranes of various sizes up to 70 tons, the Lewis-Hunter patent cranes being largely used for shipping coal owing to their minimizing the breakage of coal and securing its even distribution. The landing of foreign cattle is permitted by the Board of Trade, and there are cattle lairs and abattoirs near the Cardiff wharf. The total exports of the Cardiff docks in 1906 amounted to 8,767,502 tons, of which 8, 433, 629 tons were coal, coke and patent fuel, 151,912 were iron and steel and their manufactures, and 181,076 tons of general merchandise. What Cardiff lacks is a corresponding import trade, for its imports in 1906 amounted to only 2,108,133 tons, of which the chief items were iron ore (895,610 tons), pit-wood (303,407), grain and flour (298,197). Taking " the port of Cardiff " in its technical sense as including Barry and Penarth, it is the first port in the kingdom for shipping cleared to foreign countries and British possessions, second in the kingdom for its timber imports, and first in the world for shipment of coal. The east moors, stretching towards the outlet of the Rhymney river, have become an important metallurgical quarter. Copper works were established here in 1866, followed long after by tin-stamping and enamel works. In 1888 the Dowlais Iron Company (now Messrs Guest, Keen & Nettlefold, Ltd.) acquired here some ninety acres on which were built four blast furnaces and six Siemens' smelting furnaces. There are also in the city several large grain mills and breweries, a biscuit factory, wire and hemp roperies, fuel works, general foundries and engineering works. At Ely, 32 M. out of Cardiff, there are also breweries, a small tin works and large paper works. The newspapers of Cardiff include two weeklies, the Cardiff Times and Weekly Mail, founded in 1857 and 187o respectively, two morning dailies, the South Wales Daily News and Western Mail, established in 1872 and 1869 respectively, and two evening dailies. History and Historic Buildings.—In documents of the first half of the 12th century the name is variously spelt as Kairdif, Cairti and Kardid. The Welsh form of the name, Caerdydd (pronounced Caerdeeth, with the accent on the second syllable) suggests that the name means " the fort of (Aulus ?) Didius," rather than Caer Daf (" the fortress on the Taff "), which is nowhere found (except in Leland), though Caer Dyv once existed as a variant. No traces have been found of any pre-Roman settlement at Cardiff. Excavations carried out by the marquess of Bute from 1889 onward furnished for the first time conclusive proof that Cardiff had been a Roman station, and also revealed the sequence of changes which it had subsequently undergone. There was first, on the site occupied by the present castle, a camp of about ten acres, probably constructed after the conquest of the Silures A.D. 75–77, so as to command the passage of the Taff, which was here crossed by the Via Maritima running from Gloucester to St David's. In later Roman times there were added a series of polygonal bastions, of the type found at Caerwent. To this period also belongs the massive rampart, over 10 ft. thick, and the north gateway, one of the most perfect Roman gateways in Great Britain. After the departure of the Romans the walls became ruinous or were partly pulled down, perhaps by sea rovers from the north. In this period of anarchy the native princes of Glamorgan had their principal demesne, not at the camp but a mile to the north at Llystalybont, now merely a thatched farmhouse, while some Saxon invaders threw up within the camp a large moated mound on which the Normans about the beginning of the 12th century built the great shell-keep which is practically all that remains of their original castle. Its builder was probably Robert, earl of Gloucester, who also built Bristol castle. Then or possibly even earlier the old rampart was for two-thirds of its circuit buried under enormous earthworks, the remainder being rebuilt. It was in the keep, and not, as tradition says, in the much later " Black Tower " (also called " Duke Robert's Tower "), that Robert, duke of Normandy, was imprisoned by order of his brother Henry I. from 11o8 until his death in 1134. Considerable additions of later date, in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, are due to the Despensers and to Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, while the present residential part is of various dates ranging from the 15th century down to the last half of the 19th, when a thorough restoration, including the addition of a superbly ornamented clock-tower, was carried out. The original ditch, about 20 yds. wide, still exists on three sides, but it is now converted into a " feeder " for the docks and canal. Geoffrey of Monmouth was at one time chaplain of the castle, where he probably wrote some of his works. The scene of the " sparrow-hawk " tournament, described in Geraint and Enid, one of the Arthurian romances, is laid at Cardiff. On the conquest of the district by the Normans under Fitz Hamon, Cardiff became the caput of the seigniory of Glamorgan, and the castle the residence of its lords. The castle and lordship descended by heirship, male and female, through the families of De Clare, Despenser, Beauchamp and Neville to Richard III., on whose fall they escheated to the Crown, and were granted later, first to Jasper Tudor, and finally by Edward VI. in 1550 to Sir William Herbert, afterwards created Baron Herbert of Cardiff and earl of Pembroke. Through the daughter and grand-daughter of the 7th earl the castle and estates became the property of the 1st marquess of Bute (who was created Baron Cardiff in 1776), to whose direct descendant they now belong. The town received its earliest known grant of municipal privileges sometime before 1147 from Fitz Hamon's successor and son-in-law Robert, earl of Gloucester. In 1284 the inhabit-ants petitioned the burgesses of Hereford for a certified copy of the customs of the latter town, and these furnished a model for the later demands of the growing community at Cardiff from its lords, while Cardiff in turn furnished the model for the Glamorgan towns such as Neath and Kenfig. In 1324 Edward II. granted a number of exemptions to Cardiff and other towns in South Wales, and this grant was confirmed by Edward III. in 1359, Henry IV. in 1400, Henry VI. in 1452, and Edward IV. in 1465. Its most important early charter was that granted in 1340 by Hugh le Despenser, whereby the burgesses acquired the right to nominate persons from whom the constable of the castle should select a bailiff and other officers, two ancient fairs, held on the 29th of June and 19th of September, were confirmed, and extensive trading privileges were granted, including the right to form a merchant gild. A charter granted in 1421 by Richard de Beauchamp provided that the town should be governed by twelve elected aldermen, but that the constable of the castle should be mayor. In 1581 Queen Elizabeth granted a confirmatory charter to the mayor and bailiffs direct without reference to the lord of the castle. The town was treated as a borough by prescription until ,6o8, when James I. confirmed its status by express incorporation, adding also to its rights of self-government, and granting it a third fair (on the 3oth of November). In 1687 the town surrendered this charter to James II., who in a substituted one, which, however, was never acted upon, reserved to the Crown the right of removing any member of the corporation from office. The first step towards the modern improvement of the town was taken in 1774, when a special actwas obtained for the purpose. Nineteen private acts and provisional orders were obtained during the ,9th century. Among the many early English kings who visited or passed through Cardiff was Henry II., on whom in 1171, outside St Piran's chapel (which has long since disappeared), was urged the duty of Sunday observance. About 1153, Ivor Bach (or the Little), a neighbouring Welsh chieftain, seized the castle and for a time held William, earl of Gloucester, and the countess prisoners in the hills. In 1404 Owen Glendower burnt the town, except the quarters of the Friars Minors. In 1645, after the battle of Naseby, Charles I. visited the town, which until then had been mainly Royalist, but about a month later was taken by the Parliamentarians. In 1648, a week after the Royalists had been decisively defeated by Colonel Horton at St Fagan's, 4 M. west of Cardiff, Cromwell passed through the town on his way to Pembroke. Outside the north-west angle of the castle, Richard de Clare in 1256 founded a Dominican priory, which was burnt by Glen-dower in 1404. Though rebuilt, the building fell into decay after the Dissolution. The site was excavated in 1887. Outside the north-east angle a Franciscan friary was founded in 1280 by Gilbert de Clare,which at the Dissolution became the residence of a branch of the Herbert family. Its site was explored in 1896. The only other building of historic interest is the church of St John the Baptist, which is in the Perpendicular style, its fine tower having been built about 1443 by Hart, who also built the towers of Wrexham and St Stephen's, Bristol. In the Herbert chapel is a fine altar tomb of two brothers of the family. A sculptured stone reredos by W. Goscombe John was erected in 1896. The original church of St Mary's, at the mouth of the river, was swept away by a tidal wave in 1607: Wordsworth took this as a subject for a sonnet. In 1555 Rawlins White, a fisherman, was burnt at Cardiff for his Protestantism, and in 1679 two Catholic priests were executed for recusancy. Cardiff was the birthplace of Christopher Love (b. 1618), Puritan author, and of William Erbury, sometime vicar of St Mary's in the town, who, with his curate, Walter Cradock, were among the founders of Welsh nonconformity. As to Roman Cardiff see articles by J. Ward in the Archaeologia for 1901 (vol. ]vii.), and in Archaeologia Cambrensis for 1908. As to the castle and the Black and Gray Friars see Archaeologia Cambrensis, 3rd series, viii. 251 (reprinted in Clark's Medieval Military Architecture), 5th series, vi. 97; vii. 283; xvii. 55; 6th series, i. 69. The charters of Cardiff and " Materials for a History of the County Borough from the Earliest Times" were published by order of the corporation in Cardiff Records (5 vols., 1898, sqq.). See also a Handbook of Cardiff and District, prepared for the use of the British Association, 1891; Cardiff, an Illustrated Handbook, 1896; the Annual Report of the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce; the Calendar of the University College. (D. LL. T.)
End of Article: CARDIFF
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