Articles of Faith

Every item has a story to tell. We want to share them with you! Many of the items will share something of our faith and beliefs, and how we worship and pray.

They are also the story of a Community of Faith, and many items come with personal tales to tell – just waiting to be discovered. The items tell the story, too, of the wider community of Butetown, Tiger Bay and the city of Cardiff.

Whilst some items are part of our church space, visible to all, others are hidden away in our archives so we hope you enjoy getting a glimpse of some of them! This is a work in progress, and we hope to arrange the items into themes, and we will be adding to our collection, so be sure to return soon!

Wordsworth Poem

Page with the words of Wordsworth's poem
An original copy of the poem written by William Wordsworth in 1842, and sold at a fund raising fayre at Cardiff Castle to raise funds for the new St Mary’s Church which was opened in 1843
Item donated by Lynette who received it from her grandfather via her mother. Her grandfather, John Griffiths (d.1947) who was Principal of South Wales Baptist College

Church Bell (1843)

large old bell
The original bell of 1843 which was removed from the south east tower to make way for a digital bell system. It’s currently hiding away in a store room! As well as calling people to public worship, the bells also ring out three times a day for the Angelus (The Memorial of the Incarnation).

Letter from 1882

hand written letter
The first page of a letter of 1882 from Revd J.W> Doran Doran to Fr Jones regarding their work on a Welsh Translation of the Psalter. There’s a longer read here about the work In 1891, 15% of Butetown’s population could speak Welsh, significantly higher than the Cardiff average, and particularly high in the areas of Loudon Square and James Street.
There were several Welsh language chapels and, in 1856, an Anglican Church for Welsh speakers was opened on Tyndall Street, called All Saints’ Church or, more appropriately,  Eglwys yr Holl Sant

Station of the Resurrection

Painting of the risen Jesus standing with arms open
The fifteenth Station of the Cross painted by Welsh artist, Tony Goble (b1943), just before his death in 2007.  Although it completes the whole series of Stations, it has an integrity of its own, and is  characteristically identifiable as Goble’s work some of which can be viewed at the National Museum of Wales. The painting was carried in front of Goble’s coffin at his funeral at Llandaff Cathedral.

George Pace Letter

hand written letter
A letter from renowned architect, George Pace, regarding the reordering of St Mary’s Church which included the rood screen from the former St Dyfrig’s Church and the siting of a new Nave Altar. It had been planned to move the choirstalls and the site of the present nave altar was only a temporary measure!. You can discover a longer read in our blog post

Rood Crucifix

An anchor shaped crucifix scene
The figures of Jesus, Mary and John came from the rood screen of St Dyfrig’s Church and is now fixed inti the north end of St Mary’s. The anchor shape bears witness to the seafaring history and heritage of the Docks Community known as Tiger Bay

Book of Remembrance

A Book of Remembrance of Merchant Seafarers who died during the Second Word War. This book found its way to St Mary’s when the Mission to Seafarers. Flying Angel centre closed down

St Dyfrig Statue

Holding the head on the bishop – a small and battered image of St Dyfrig which once stood aloft the lectern which formed part of the rood screen at St Dyfrig’s Church in Wood Street. Read our long story about the screen and St Dyfrig’s Church.

PCC Minutes Book (1846)

Cover of an old book with the words St Mary the Virgin Cardiff.  Rev W.L. Morgan. R. Corey, J. Owen Churchwardes.  1846
The Minute’s book for the Parochial Church Council from 1843 onwards with fascinating accounts of change, disagreement and controversy!

A pair of pulpits

There are two pulpits at St Mary’s although only one is used. The pulpit at the front of this photograph came from the now redundant St Stephen’s Church in Mount Stuart Square. The pulpit to the rear was originally a large three decker pulpit which stood in the centre of the Nave. You can read its story, as well as that of two very different priests who climbed into it in our blog post, ‘A pulpit pulled down.’

Sacred Heart

The statue of the Sacred Heart came from the house in North Church Street occupied by the Sisters of the Society of St Margaret, East  Grinstead, who ministered here from 1873 to 1937.

Memorial Plaque (1861)

The Ailsa set sail from Cardiff on  Monday 18 February, 1861.  By 5pm that day, she had reached  Lundy as Captain Edward Alexander sat down to write to the owners that all was well. Within hours he would be swept off deck in a raging storm, along with the ship’s mate, James Florence, never to be seen again.  At the age of 40 years, he left behind a widow and two children.

The Twelve Apostles

The figures of the Twelve Apostles were situated in place of the taller windows which were in the apse. They were begun in 1884 by Searle of Exeter as part of the whole reordering of the East end.

High Altar Tabernacle

The door of the Tabernacle at the High Altar underneath the reredos and above the High Altar – painted from a design from Sedding by Mr Westlake

Our Lady of Walsingham

The image of Our Lady of Walsingham at St Mary’s. At Walsingham in Norfolk there is an eleventh century shrine with a replica of the holy house of Nazareth where Mary was greeted by the angel Gabriel. Many people from South Wales make pilgrimage there each year.

Fr Jones of Cardiff

Cover of book with title Father Jones of Cardiff a Memoir
Copy of the biography of Fr Griffith Arthur Jones who arrived as parish priest in 1872 and published just after his death in 1906. Written by two of his former Curates, and with an introduction by Rev George Body, Canon of Durham. It was dedicated in thanksgiving for Fr Noel’s thanksgiving for his many kindness to Fr Jones. He was the former Vicar of St Barnabas, Oxford who in his retirement resided in Adamsdown with Fr Jones in their retirement

Silver Chalice

A chalice and paten
Chalice and Paten from the Chapel at the Mission to Seafarer’s’ Flying Angel Centre now closed. Full story here

Havannah’s Bell

brass bell
The bell from the Havannah Ship which stood in Cardiff Docks from 1860 -1905 as an Industrial ship for boys, and now rung before each Mass at St Mary’s. The story of this bell is explored in our blog post for the Silver Chalice from the Mission to Seafarers

Stone Corbel Head

Stone corbel head, fixed into the wall of St Mary’s Church, the only remains of the old Norman Priory Church of St Mary’s, built c1100 and destroyed by flood and civil war, You can read the long story in our blog post

Reredos: Adoration of the Shepherds

Close up of Jesus sat on Mary's lap with a shepherd adoring him
Detail from the High Altar reredos depicting the adoration of the Shepherds by Victorian artist, Philip Westlake.

Stained Glass Window

Detail of stained glass window with three men in a boat reaching for another in the sea
Detail of the Stained Glass window in memory of those who died during the Russian Convoys of the Second World War.
The route was hazardous with strong, bitter winds, freezing temperatures and the close proximity of Nazi air and sea bases in Norway.  The Russian Convoy Club was  founded in December 1987. The Cardiff and district branch of the club     acquired its own standard in 1991 bringing together South Wales men who risked their lives to ensure   supplies reached our Russian allies during World War II.  The branch disbanded in 2008 and the standard was officially handed to St Mary’s for safe keeping.

Baptism Register (All Souls’ Chapel)

Cover of old book with title Register of Baptisms
The Baptism Register from the former All Souls Chapel of the Mission to Seafarers which stood in Cardiff Docks

Brass Lectern

Eagle shaped brass lectern, accompanied by Easter candle and flowers
This brass lectern was donated in thanksgiving for the 32 year ministry of Fr Jones by his lifelong friend Robert Hughes who had been a boy in Llanegryn, the former parish of Fr Jones. Fr Jones arranged employment for him as a clerk in a Cardiff brewery at the age of 15 years.  He worked through the ranks, entered politics and became the first Lord Mayor of Cardiff when the town received city status in 1905.  As well as being a friend and supporter of Fr Jones, he was a Sunday School teacher here and a sponsor for many boys being confirmed. You can read more in our blog post This photograph was taken during Easter indicated by the presence of the Paschal (Easter) Candle which remains in place for the fifty days of Easter at which point it is placed near the font and moved only for funerals when it is placed near the coffin.

Letter (1904)

A typed letter
A letter from our archives and written to the successor of Fr Jones who retired as Vicar in 1903. The letter was sent just a year later from the rather ominously sounding “Royal Commission of Ecclesiastical Discipline” to the Reverend Gilbert Heaton after a Mystery Worshipper reported his experience to them! There’s an article about it in our blog pages

Memorial Plaque (1846)

John Biggs was one of many brewers in Cardiff at the time, a trade which  remained within his    family into the early   twentieth century. Their great grandson was Norman Biggs (above), a member of the 1893    Triple Crown winning Welsh Rugby team, and the youngest player to represent Wales, a record he held for over a century.

Our Lady and Child

This beautiful image is a special place in St Mary’s. Installed in memory of one the Sisters of East Grinstead who lived and worked in the parish, it is a place where people pray and light candles.

List of Incumbents

A list of Incumbents of the twelfth century Parish of St Mary’s. By 1221 the monks had been  withdrawn, leaving only a prior.  When Pope John XXII prohibited the living of solitary monks in 1318,  Simon, the last known prior, was recalled to Tewkesbury, leaving the church and parish to the care of a  vicar, an office which dates back to 1254.

The Good Shepherd Banner

Fr Griffith Arthur Jones established The Guild of the Good Shepherd soon after his arrival. This guild for men “enabled him gradually to gather together a band of faithful adherents who loyally tried to strengthen his hands, and gave him assistance and encouragement in various ways….It met every fortnight, and at most of the meetings some subject was introduced for discussion, or lecture given, bearing on the doctrine or history of the Church.” (Fr Jones of Cardiff: A Memoir)

Tabernacle (Lady Chapel)

Detail of Tabernacle Door in the Lady Chapel, illustrating the scene of the Annunciation.
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