Pendragon House, Caerleon

button-theme-womenLink to Spanish translationLink to French translationPendragon House, 18 Cross Street, Caerleon

This house dates back to 1760, and stands above remnants of earlier ages. During the Second World War it was home to children who had been evacuated from the Spanish civil war.

The building may have been single-storey originally. It was remodelled in early Victorian times to form a house with shop. A butcher traded from here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Below the house is a structure thought to be the drain constructed by the Romans to take the water from their nearby baths. A trapdoor in the hall opens to reveal the surface of a medieval cobbled street.

A blue plaque on the façade commemorates the house’s role in sheltering Basque refugees from November 1939. Some 4,000 children had left northern Spain in May 1937 as the right-wing Nationalists, aided by Spain’s army and the fascist leaders of Germany and Italy, fought to oust the left-wing Republican government. Maria Fernandez, who had moved to Wales with her family some years earlier, became guardian of 56 of the child refugees at Cambria House, Caerleon. Shortly after the Second World War broke out, 30 of the children and Mrs Fernandez moved to Pendragon House.

The children returned to Spain after the war, but Mrs Fernandez remained at Pendragon House until she was 97 years old. She continued to receive updates from the former refugees until her death in 2001.

A memorial to Welshmen who died in the Spanish Civil War is located in Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff.

Postcode: NP18 1AF    View Location Map