Caerphilly  Glamorgan


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Caerphilly like this:

CAERPHILLY, a village, a chapelry, a subdistrict, and a hundred in Glamorgan. The village is in the hamlet tract of Energlyn, in the parish of Eglwysilan; and stands on a plain, surrounded by barren mountains, adjacent to the Rumney railway, near the Rumney river, 7½ miles by road, and 9½ by railway, N by W of Cardiff. ...

It most probably was founded by the ancient Britons. A monastery early stood at it, dedicated to St. Cnydd; and was burnt, in 831, by the Saxons. A fortalice seems to have been built at it soon after the Conquest; was dismantled, in 1219, by Rhys Vychan; rebuilt in 1221, by John do Brasse; enlarged and strengthened by Ralph Mortimer and Hugh de Spencer; used as a fastness, by the Spencers, for plundering the circumjacent country; made the refuge of Edward II., in his flight from his rebellions barons; sustained then a very vigorous and obstinate siege; was held, in 1400, by Owen Glendower, but then was "a fortress great in ruins;" and ceased thereafter to be much noticed in history. The ruins of it, now extant, cover an area of 30 acres; display remarkable magnificence; and include outworks, gateways, towers, a grand hall 7 feet by 30, and a ponderous leaning tower, 80 feet high, much shattered, 10 feet out of the perpendicular, and supposed to have sustained its injuries from a steam explosion at the time of the great siege. Tennyson resided sometime in the vicinity; lays the scene of his "Idylls of the King" in the immediate neighbourhood; and seems to refer to the castle in the following lines:-

All was ruinous:
Here stood a shattered archway, plumed with fern;
And here has fallen a great part of a tower,
Whole, like a crag that tumbles from the cliff,
And, like a crag, was gay with wilding flowers.

The village is an irregular assemblage of small houses, contiguous to the castle. It was formerly a borough; it has a post office‡ under Cardiff, a railway station, and an inn; and it is a seat of petty sessions. Markets are held on Thursdays; and fairs on 5 April, Trinity Thursday, 19 July, 25 Aug., 9 Oct., 16 Nov., and the Thursday before Christmas. Some blanketing and woollen shawls are made; and numerous collieries and iron works are in the neighbourhood. Pop., with Energlyn, 1,047. Houses, 237.—The chapelry includes all Energlyn and part of Bedwas, and was constituted in 1850. Pop., 1,193. Houses, 264. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Llandaff. Value, £300. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Llandaff. The church is in the later English style; and there are chapels for Baptists, Calvinistic Methodists, and Wesleyans.-The subdistrict contains six parishes, and part of another; and is in the district of Cardiff. Acres, 27,164. Pop., 10,012. Houses, 2,089.-The hundred contains four parishes, and parts of three others. Acres, 62,966. Pop., 67,612. Houses, 13,358.

Caerphilly through time

Click here for graphs and data of how Caerphilly has changed over two centuries. For statistics for historical units named after Caerphilly go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Caerphilly in Glamorgan | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 13th June 2024

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