The Cyncoed Ministry Area
In September 2014, the Rectorial Benefice of Cyncoed became one of the first Ministry Areas in the Diocese of Monmouth. Building on the firm foundation of the past, the new Ministry Area looked again at what we are all called to do in this corner of Wales.
Around the Churches
St Edeyrn’s Church
A Brief History of an Ancient Foundation
St Edeyrn, to whom the Church is dedicated, was born in this district in AD 464. He was one of the three sons of Gwertheyrn. According to the old historian Nennius, he was baptised by St Germanus who adopted him and trained him for the Priesthood. He became a member of the congregation of St Cadoc. Later, in the words of Nennius, Germanus “built a city (or community centre) on the banks of the river Renis” (Rumney) and Edeyrn founded a Cor or religious community there. This community, comprising 300 members, was centred on the site now occupied by the Church.
Like many other Celtic Saints, Edeyrn travelled to Scotland, Ireland and also to Brittany where there is a church also dedicated to St Edeyrn.
Edeyrn died in 522 and was buried at Llanedeyrn churchyard. It is interesting to note that the Church was dedicated to him during his life-time, a very rare event for any Saint. In the days of Cadwalladr Fendegaid (“The Blessed”), the last of the Welsh princes, the community was over-run by the Saxons and demolished. In a few Welsh calendars of the 15th and 16th centuries, the Festival of St Edeyrn occurs on 11th November.
The Present Building
It was the Normans who were responsible for the establishment of the present building, as a Chapel of Ease for the mother church of St Mary in Cardiff centre (which has since been demolished).
In a Deed dated AD 1153/1183, the Chapel of St Edeyrn and the Chapel of Llanbordan (at Coed-y-Gores) “with all their belongings” were recognised as being the property of Tewkesbury Abbey. It was Robert Fitzhamon, Lord of Glamorgan and Cardiff, who was responsible for this transfer. However, in 1236, the “Abbott” and Monks of Tewkesbury gave the Church of Llanedeyrn to Lord Elias, the Bishop of Llandaff. At this point, Llanedeyrn became a parish in its own right. In 1535, it is styled as a Rectory, and in 1603 a Vicarage.
During this period, the Patronage was in the hands of Sir William Herbert and Edward Kemeys, Esq. In 1835, the Living was grouped with St. Mellons. This grouping was dissolved in 1949, when St Edeyrn’s became the parish church, a situation which continued until 1979, when it became the Rectorial Benefice of Cyncoed, with the church of All Saints’ becoming the parish church.
Documents and Plate
Unfortunately most of the old Registers have disappeared. The oldest in our possession, in Facsimile, was commenced in 1701. The originals, written on Parchment, partly in Latin, recording Christenings, Marriages and Burials up to the year 1812 are now in the care of the Glamorgan Archive Service. The vicars mentioned are Thomas Harris, David Davies and Thomas Price. They probably lived in the thatched cottage opposite the Unicorn Inn.
Two valuable possessions that are still in use are the Silver Chalice and Paten. The chalice is porringer-shaped, having two handles. Round the bowl is engraved a flower and ribbon ornament, hanging from which, within an oval, is the word “Llanedern.” The cup is hallmarked 1786. The Paten is saucer shaped, having two handles; wheat and grapes are engraved upon it. It is hallmarked 1652 and is, therefore, a product of the Commonwealth period. It is now on loan to the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. During the Ministry of the Rev. Stephen Jackson, 1909-1925, these vessels were taken to London and exhibited in the Ecclesiastical, Education and Art Exhibition.
Bells of St Edeyrn’s
In 1766 a ring of five bells was installed in St Edeyrn’s. All five bells were cast at the foundry of William Evans in Chepstow, and were installed in a wooden frame, parts of which are on display in the ringing chamber. These bells were chimed using hammers operated by ropes that extended down into what is now the clergy vestry.
The bells are inscribed as follows:
Treble – “Glory to God in the Highest”
Second – “Peace and Good Neighbourhood”
Third – “Prosperity to this Parish”
Fourth – “Thos. Hudgins, Geo. Griffiths Churchwardens.
Tenor – “John Williams Gent”
“William Evans cast us all”
In 1994, during a major restoration of the church, these original five bells were tuned, a new Treble was added, and all were rehung with completely new ringing fittings in a new cast-iron bell frame. The new Treble was cast by John Taylor of Loughborough and is inscribed
“To the Glory of God in memory of Walter Lintill”.
The peal is tuned to the key of B flat (924Hz). The Treble bell weighs 3cwt 3qtrs 20lbs (199.6 kg) and the Tenor weighs 6cwt 20lbs (313.9 kg).
St Edeyrn’s Today
Over the centuries, St Edeyrn’s has changed with the times. Periods of neglect have been followed by renovation. During the period of the Commonwealth, in the 17th century, the Rood loft, and possibly an elaborately carved screen, would have been removed, leaving only the stairway. Parts of the structure, and many of the internal furnishings, date back to the Victorian restoration, when the stained glass in the Sanctuary area was introduced.
St Edeyrn’s is still in regular use as a centre for Christian worship and the members of the congregation are dedicated to maintaining the building as a visible witness to their commitment to service in Christ’s name. We are also dedicated to working with other Christian denominations in the area, to bring the Good News of Christ to the various communities in which we live and work.
Services of Holy Communion are held here every Sunday morning (except the fifth Sunday) at 9.30 a.m. and everyone is welcome to join us. Baptised members of all denominations, who regularly receive Communion in their own churches, are welcome to share the bread and wine in our services.
(For further information, please speak to the clergy or the person who welcomed you as you came into the church.)
A modern church in an ancient building
St Edeyrn was born locally in A.D. 464 and established a religious community for about 300 people on the site of the present church in Llanedeyrn village.
(The name, Llanedeyrn, means “the church, or village, of Edeyrn”.)
The original church and community were both destroyed by the Saxons in the time of Cadwalladr Fendegaid, the last of the Welsh Princes.
After the Saxons retreated, a new church was built on the site and the present church still has some parts dating from the Norman period, with other parts being dated between the 13th and 16th centuries.
The church maintains a peaceful and prayerful atmosphere and gives a warm welcome to all those who visit for special occasions and all its regular worshippers.
“Though we are many, we are one body, for we all share in the one bread.”
Although St Edeyrn’s offers traditional Anglican worship, it is an active member of the Local Ecumenical Partnership in Cardiff East, and united services are frequently held in the church. This shows our commitment to churches of different denominations working together to proclaim the Good News that Jesus came to bring us. All Christians, of any tradition, are always welcome at all our services.