Radyr parish church, Danescourt

button-theme-evacRadyr parish church, Danescourt

This church, dedicated to St John the Baptist, is a remarkable survivor from medieval times amid the 20th-century housing of Danescourt. Among the graves outside is that of a girl who died accidentally after being evacuated from London for her safety.

The church at "Radur" is mentioned in written records from 1254, but it was established even earlier! The place-name was recorded as Arad[ur] c.1100, and comes from the Latin oratorium, meaning “a house of prayer or chapel”.

A hermit named Tylywai reputedly lived here. He was a disciple of St Cadog in the 5th century. Legend has it that the river Taff was wide and rough, and often impossible to cross, until God answered Tylywai’s prayer for it to be reduced to the size it remains today.

According to Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, the existing church building was probably a single cell originally, extended in medieval times. The exterior was re-faced by the Victorians, when the church was still surrounded by fields.

Fundraising events for the church’s late-19th-century restoration included a cricket match in 1899 at Dan-y-Bryn Field – between teams of ladies and gentlemen! The women beat the men in the first innings but lost the match in the second innings.

As Radyr’s population grew, Christ Church was opened in 1910 on a site which lacked space for burials. The old church remained the venue for funerals. The graves here are now in the care of Cardiff council. The official war graves (see the Footnotes for details) include that of Victor Lowrie, one of the RAF’s earliest members. You can discover more about the local war dead on our page about Radyr war memorial.

Also buried here is Patricia Armstrong, evacuated to Morganstown as a child during the Second World War to escape the aerial bombing of London. She was fatally struck by a train on the foot crossing by Gelynis Farm after collecting milk there.

With thanks to Richard Morgan, of the Welsh Place-Name Society, for place-name information

Postcode: CF5 2SH    View Location Map

Parish website

Footnotes: War graves at Radyr parish church

First World War

Fisher, Herbert George, Lieutenant Colonel. Died 29/07/1919 aged 40. Royal Field Artillery, Received the Distinguished Service Order and Bar. Son of Henry Oaken Fisher and Helen Agnes Fisher of Radyr; brother of Lt Col Harry Bruges Fisher who also died in the war.

Hall, GP, Serjeant WR/502200. Died 30/01/1919. Royal Engineers.

Jenkins, Walter Lloyd 34940. Died 01/03/1919 aged 25. Yorkshire Regiment, previously Welsh Regiment. Son of John Lloyd Jenkins and Matilda Jenkins, of Brynhyfryd, Radyr.

Lowrie, Victor William Valette, Lieutenant. Died 27/04/1918 aged 18. Royal Air Force. Son of Alfred Herbert and Marguerite Lowrie, of Lynwood, Radyr.

Second World War

Lewis, Victor John, Sapper 1981943. Died 09/02/1943 aged 43. Royal Engineers. Son of John and Gertrude Lewis; husband of Lilian Doreen Lewis, of Radyr.