8 historical buildings you can find in Llandaff


Llandaff has an ancient history that can be traced back to Roman times. Take a historical walk through the village and discover the stories behind the people, the buildings and the landmarks of your local village

Llandaff Cathedral

The Cathedral dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. Its foundations are linked to St Teilo, who lived in the 6th century. The first church was a wooden one and successive churches have been built on the site since.

The cathedral fell into disrepair after the Reformation but underwent a great restoration in the 1850s. During WWII, a landmine destroyed a large part of the Cathedral. Another restoration took place seventeen years later, incorporating the now-famous Christ in Majesty figure by Jacob Epstein.

Cathedral School

Formerly called the Bishop’s Palace, or Bishop’s Court, the Cathedral School was built between 1742 and 1746 by Admiral Thomas Mathews to replace the ancestral home of the Mathew family. In 1851, this Georgian house was bought by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for Bishop Ollivant, who had added a chapel by 1859. During the Second World War, it was occupied by the army, their buildings having been damaged by bombing. 

In 1958, it became the home of the Cathedral School, a year after the school had been incorporated into the great Woodward Corporation.


The Old Probate

Built in 1861, the Probate Registry was built by Thomas Williams of Canton, who was later responsible for overseeing the creation of the Cathedral’s spire. The Registry was built at a cost of £1000 to house the civil administration of Probate, which up until 1857, had been an ecclesiastical duty.


The Archdeacon's Castle

Nothing visible remains today above ground of the Archdeacon’s Castle, which was once a substantial building. Henry II is said to have been entertained here and stood between Dean’s Wood and the river.


The Bishop's Palace

The Old Bishop’s Palace was probably built by William de Brewse, Bishop between 1266 and 1287. After Owain Glyndwr’s rebellion against Henry IV, the building was superceded as the Bishop’s residence by the Palace at Mathern. Records tell us that the building provided refuge for the people of Llandaff during a violent dispute between local families in 1597.

The enclosing wall and corner towers remain to this day, the gatehouse showing great similarity to parts of Caerphilly Castle. On the wall to the left of the entrance can be seen the sloping roof of the Bush Inn, which stood against the gatehouse, which was still inhabited in the 18th century.


St Michael's College

Part of St Michael’s College which now houses the Theological College of St Michael and All Angels was originally built by John Prichard as his own residence and offices. After his death, the building underwent many extensions, including a restoration in 1957 following damage from a landmine in 1941. The restoration included a new chapel designed by then Cathedral architect, George Pace.


Prebendal House

Much modernised, the Prebendal House is ‘the new house built by the Chapter in the Churchyard’ as mentioned in the Act Book of 1679. Orders were given for its furnishing to provide accommodation for meetings of the Chapter in 1684. It now houses a song room for the Cathedral choir, and is also used for meetings and vestries. There are two stone urns in front of it. These are remnants of John Wood’s Italian Temple.


The Preaching Cross

Preaching Cross
The Preaching Cross is placed at the traditional site where Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury stood to appeal to the Norman-French and Welsh to join the Third Crusade (as mentioned in Journey Through Wales by Gerald of Wales) in 1188. The shaft is 13th century, with the cross being restored in the mid-1800s.


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