Churches

3 February 2021 ·

Vintage photo of church interior. Sepia toned

Merthyr Dyfan Church is supposedly built on the oldest Christian site in Wales. It is one of the oldest churches in Britain.

Merthyr Dyfan Church was built in the early 13th century by the Normans. The ground was consecrated in 1250 by Bishop William de Burgh of Llandaff. Many records show that the Feast of St. Dyfan is celebrated on May 26th.

The Barry and Cadoxton Burial Board was set up in 1887, and included the parishes of Cadoxton-juxta-Barry, Merthyr Dyfan, and Barry. Land was purchased at Merthyr Dyfan for a cemetery, which was opened in November 1889. The Burial Board appears to have been taken over by Barry Urban District Council, but the date at which this happened is unclear. The last recorded meeting of the Board is 20th March 1895, but the minutes of this meeting contain no suggestion that this was the final meeting of the Board. (Glamorgan Archives)

In September 1889, the cemetery was formally opened by the Chairman Dr PJ O’Donnell and the Members of the Board.

In October 1889, the Burial Board met and decided to close all the burial grounds in the area with the exception of Barry Cemetery. This was due to overcrowding. It was reported at the meeting, that over the past two weeks, skulls had been thrown up and human remains had been found shovelled into buckets at Cadoxton Churchyard. This was deemed to be unacceptable, so burials were confined to the new Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery.

The first burial was in October 1889. This was eighteen year old, William Marra, who was a sailor from the S.S. Doris that had docked at Barry. At this time, people considered it to be unlucky to be the first burial in a new cemetery, so this may well have been a conscious decision.

Vale of Glamorgan Baptist History & Salem

In 1813 the congregation of Croes Y Parc Baptist Church bought an orchard in Cadoxton and built a small chapel. The chapel was called the Philadelphia. Membership was small in the beginning but as the docks expanded, so too did the congregation. Philadelphia soon diverted into two other churches, the Welsh Church of Salem and the English Language Church that was called Mount Pleasant.

The Philadelphia Baptist Chapel Graveyard

This graveyard is next to the King William IV Public House in Cadoxton. The Chapel was built in 1813 and although it no longer exists, this is not the case for the graveyard which is still in existence with a total of twenty two burial plots.

The ruins and graveyard are not accessible due to it being an historic site.

Salem Baptist Church

In 1897 the foundations were laid for Salem Baptist Church and in May 1898 the church building was opened.

Building costs were around £3,400.

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church

Mount Pleasant was formed in 1886, after many of the dock workers and believers could not participate as services were given in Welsh. The meetings were first held in a local school building and services were in English. The pastor was appointed in 1887 and work began on building the church in 1889.

Photo: Jaggery / Mount Pleasant Baptist church and hall, Cadoxton, Barry 

Holton Road Baptist Church, Barry (1890 – 1980)

Around 1890, several worshippers were meeting in a loft above a stable in Barry Dock. It was decided that it would be better to rent a room above a shop in Holton Road for this. Soon after they decided to build a small building in the same road. The building seated three hundred people and cost them approximately £500 to build. The church was formed in 1892. 
In 1893, the Rev. T. Pandy John was invited to the pastorate.  When the Rev. arrived the membership in Holton Road was ninety, and by 1912 this had risen to three hundred and thirty four. There were four hundred scholars in the Sunday School and thirty seven teachers.  The church had now become too small, and a wooden extension was added that would accommodate another three hundred people.  The chapel was built in 1898, and it included seating for a thousand people and it cost £3,500 to build. The new chapel also included school accommodation for eight hundred children.

In 1979 Holton Road Baptist Church only had nine years left on the lease, and the landlord set the freehold cost at a much higher level than had been previously quoted. Alternatives were now being looked at, and a merger of Salem Welsh Baptist Church and Holton Road was now a serious consideration. The Holton Road Church had no future in its present location and Salem was a Freehold property. This solution would be beneficial for both churches. In January 1980 joint worship of both churches took place, and in 1982 the merger of both churches was completed. Rev. W. Arthen Edwards was appointed Minister at Salem – he had been the Minister at Holton Road

Holton Road Baptist Church was demolished in 1982 and there is now a Superdrug store built in its place.

St Barucs

The ruins of St Barucs Chapel are still used on the feast of St Baruc on 27th September, but the current church is a much newer building on Barry Island.

All Saints Church – Park Road

The Church of All Saints’ was built in 1908. This was due to the population growing rapidly with the expansion of the docks.

Porthkerry Road Methodist Church

Porthkerry Road Methodist Church was built in 1889 by Thomas Walker who had also built the docks. There was a schoolroom and chapel and lighting was provided with oil lamps until it was replaced with gas.

St Nicholas Church

 The earliest reference to St Nicholas Church is in 1254 and the records date back to 1620. It also may possibly have been a chapel for Barry Castle.

The old Church had become so decayed that in June 1876, a new church was built and consecrated. It cost £900 and was able to accommodate a hundred and twenty people. In 1881 the census showed eighty five people living in the area. As the population continued to grow a bigger church was needed and All Saints Church was built.

St Helens Roman Catholic Church

The foundations for St Helen’s Church were laid in September 1906 by Edaliza Sheckell Leonard. The building took seven months to complete and cost around £1,150.

Cadoxton Wesleyn Chapel

Early 1900s Cadoxton Wesleyn Chapel. This photo shows Cadoxton Common went right up to the chapel door.

St Marys Church – Holton Road

St Mary’s is a large church that was built around 1903-1905. The building was never completed due to the loss of the wealth of the Principal Patroness of the church. The church was able to seat around five hundred people but has now been reduced to around one hundred and fifty.

The Scandinavian Lutherian Chapel – Barry Docks

This chapel was built in 1890 and cost around £350 to build. It had enough seating for two hundred and fifty people and was situated next to Barry Dock Train Station.

St David’s Methodist Church

The Foundation Stone for this church was laid on July 24th 1965. The church then officially opened in 1967.

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