St Cadoc’s Church, Caerleon

St Cadoc’s Church, Caerleon

This church stands in the centre of what was once a Roman piazza! The church was built on the site of the principia (headquarters) of Isca legionary fort.

It’s thought that a wooden church was constructed here before the Norman conquest. The dedication is to Cadoc, a 6th-century saint, and a pre-Norman cross fragment was found in the churchyard.

The Normans’ stone church was rebuilt several times but two 12th-century arches still stand inside. The tower also has medieval features.

In 1188 Gerald of Wales and the Archbishop of Canterbury passed through Caerleon on their tour of Wales to recruit for the third crusade. In his journal of the tour, Gerald noted that Caerleon was built by prominent Romans and that parts of its palaces and other buildings remained visible. Inside and outside the ruined town walls was a web of trenches, created by the Romans for water and ventilation.

Gerald also wrote that two nobles, Aaron and Julius, were martyred by the Romans in Caerleon (killed for their Christian belief), and two of Caerleon’s three churches were dedicated to them.

When St Cadoc’s Church was extensively rebuilt in the 1860s, nine windows were installed which tell the Gospel story in sequence. They commemorate Charles Williams (1633-1720), who left £3,000 in his will for the church’s repair and for local road improvements. He also provided funds for the school in Caerleon which still bears his name. He had made his fortune as a trader, initially overseas – where he had fled after killing a cousin in a duel!

The church has eight bells, covering a full octave and dating from the 1880s. The lychgate was built in 1919 as a memorial to local men who died in the First World War.

Postcode: NP18 1AZ    View Location Map

Church website

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