Cardigan, Ceredigion

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Coordinates: 52°05′03″N 4°39′29″W / 52.08417°N 4.65792°W / 52.08417; -4.65792

Cardigan
Welsh: Aberteifi
Cardiganhighstreet.jpg
Cardigan High Street
Cardigan is located in Ceredigion
Cardigan
Cardigan
 Cardigan shown within Ceredigion
Population 4,203 [1]
OS grid reference SN175465
Principal area Ceredigion
Ceremonial county Dyfed
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CARDIGAN
Postcode district SA43
Dialling code 01239
Police Dyfed-Powys
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Ceredigion
Welsh Assembly Ceredigion
List of places
UK
Wales
Ceredigion

Cardigan (Welsh: Aberteifi) is a town in the county of Ceredigion in Mid Wales. It lies on the estuary of the River Teifi, at the point where Ceredigion meets Pembrokeshire. It was the county town of the pre-1974 county of Cardiganshire.

Demographics[edit]

It is the second largest town in Ceredigion.[citation needed] The town's population was 4,203 inhabitants in 2001.[2]

Facilities[edit]

Cardigan is a significant regional administrative centre for West Wales, harbouring a hospital, college, a modern arts centre (with three-screen cinema) and a recently refurbished nineteenth century guildhall, together with a theatre and shopping facilities.

In 2006 and 2008, the town undertook a co-ordinated programme of building works sympathetically restoring many of the shop facades in the town centre. The quayside has been rebuilt with a new civic area and landing stage.

Barley Saturday, an agricultural event, has been held in the town on the last Saturday in April since the 19th century. Historically the farmers from the surrounding area would come to the town to hire workers and to inspect stallions that are put out to stud. In modern times the horses have become the centre of attention. After judging, the horses are paraded through the town followed by vintage tractors, cars and motorbikes.

In August there is a wine and food festival.

Etymology[edit]

Cardigan is an anglicisation of the Welsh Ceredigion meaning "Ceredig's land." The town's Welsh name Aberteifi means "mouth of the Teifi."

For the Welsh "Ceredigion" refers only to the name of the county, whereas in the past "Cardigan", for the English, referred to both town and county. Distinction was later made by the county being referred to as Cardiganshire, although since 1996 it is referred to as Ceredigion in both languages.

History[edit]

The town is strategically placed on the banks of the River Teifi. The castle was built by Robert Montgomery in 1093 after the Norman army conquered Ceredigion. A walled settlement developed around the castle, and after much unrest the Normans were eventually defeated. In 1176 Lord Rhys instituted the first eisteddfod. Contestants came from all over Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland to compete for chairs in music and poetry. In 1199 the town received its first charter and became an important trade centre. In 1227 a weekly market was established which continues to this day.[3]

Until the 16th century, Cardigan was a small, walled town with some river traffic. Wales was formally annexed by England through the instrument of the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542. This established political and domestic stability and boosted economic prosperity through the increase in maritime trade, for example. The herring fishery developed and by the beginning of the 18th century, there was a large merchant fleet. Exports included herring and salmon, slate, bark for tanning, corn and ale. Imports included oranges, manufactured goods, building materials and coal. Industries that developed included shipbuilding, brickworks, a foundry, ropemakers and sailmakers.[3]

In the 18th and early 19th century, Cardigan was the most important seaport in South Wales. In 1815 it possessed 314 ships totalling 12,554 tons. This was seven times as many vessels as Cardiff and three times as many as Swansea.[4] It had a thriving shipbuilding industry, with over 200 vessels being built both in Cardigan and downstream in the village of Llandudoch (St Dogmaels).[3]

Rural industries and craftsmen were an important part of life in a country town. Information recorded in Trade Directories show that in 1830, there were in Cardigan:[3]
Thirteen boot makers, three bakers, one corn miller, four blacksmiths, seven carpenters, two coopers, six tailors, five dressmakers and milliners, two straw hat makers, two weavers, three curriers, three saddlers, two whitesmiths (tinsmiths), four glaziers, five maltsters, two printers, two tanners and one stonemason.

The Guildhall, built in a Gothic design, and opened in 1860

The Guildhall, built from 1858-60, was erected on the site of the 1804 grammar school, and that of a house and coach-house owned by Abraham Morgan, with open ground behind. The cost of building was £1,880-5s-0d for the front buildings, and £2,174-15s-0d for the markets.[5]

The river silted up and larger vessels could no longer reach the port, which had largely become inactive by the early part of the 20th century. Plans for dredging have come to nothing over the years.

Cardigan Castle[edit]

A view of Cardigan looking north across the River Teifi. The castle is on the right (2008)

In 1176, Cardigan Castle became the site of the first competitive Eisteddfod. Cardigan also hosted the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1942 and 1976. The castle was for many years privately owned and, as a result, became run down and derelict. The town council itself showed little interest in saving it. However, a group of volunteers and the local Catholic Priest (Saemus Cunane), working separately, did raise its profile. Ceredigion County Council finally bought it in 2003.

Renovation work has continued for some years since then, and when completed the castle will be reopened to the public, hopefully in 2014.[6] It is anticipated that there will be luxury accommodation for hire, a heritage centre with education facilities, a restaurant, an events an open-air concert area, and rooms for hire for classes.[7]

Government[edit]

Cardigan is an ancient borough which had its own municipal council from the early nineteenth century. In 1889, Cardiganshire County Council was formed although the former county town was rarely the venue for its meetings. Levi James, one of the town's two inaugural county councillors, was immediately made an alderman and be came the second chairman of the Council.

Transport[edit]

Cardigan railway station (arrowed), located south of the River Teifi, with the line curving in from the south, as shown on a 1930s map.
A goods train at Cardigan railway station in 1962
View eastward, towards Whitland in 1962

Cardigan railway station was the terminus of the Whitland and Cardigan Railway, opened on 31 August 1886. The line, previously known as the Whitland and Taff Vale Railway, and later familiarly as the Cardi Bach, was built between 1869 and 1873. With the extension to Cardigan opening in 1886, operations were taken over by the Great Western Railway.[8]

Situated on the south side of the River Tefi, the arrival of the railway to Cardigan saw a gradual decline of trade from the port, with goods thereafter travelling on the railway.

The station closed to passengers on 10 September 1962 (prior to the notorious Beeching Axe) but remained open to goods traffic until 27 May 1963. After that date the station remained open as a coal depot until April 1965, being staffed by British Railways staff until November 1964. Final closure came on 6 September 1965.[9] Now just the old goods shed marks the site of the former station.

Geography[edit]

Cardigan Island lies just 200 metres offshore near the village of Gwbert. The village of Moylegrove is also nearby.

Welsh language[edit]

Cardigan is predominantly a Welsh language speaking community. At the 2001 census more than 69% of the residents were recorded as being able to speak or understand spoken Welsh, with 45% able to speak, read and write in the language.[10] In 1176, and again 800 years later, the National Eisteddfod was held in the town. In 2003 the community, together with the Welsh Language Board, set up a language action plan designed to provide opportunities for people of all ages to get together to speak Welsh. The county council, Twf, Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin, the Urdd, Cardigan town council, the local Young Farmers, Menter Aberteifi and the Board are now working together in pursuit of this objective.

Climate[edit]

As with the rest of the British Isles, Cardigan experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest official Met Office weather station for which online records are available is at Aberporth,[11] about 6 miles east north east.

Typically, less than 3 days[12] of the year will reach 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above, the warmest of which should rise to 26.8 °C (80.2 °F)[13] - The highest temperature recorded at Aberporth was 32.7 °C (90.9 °F), during July 2006.[14] On average 18.3 nights will report air frost and the coldest night of the year should fall to −4.5 °C (23.9 °F).[15] The lowest recorded temperature was −9.9 °C (14.2 °F), during January 1963[16]

Rainfall averages around 870mm a year, with at least 1mm falling on 143.5 days.

Climate data for Aberporth 133m asl, 1971-2000, Extremes 1960- (Weather Station 6 Miles ENE of Cardigan)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.4
(56.1)
15.2
(59.4)
21.0
(69.8)
25.6
(78.1)
26.6
(79.9)
31.5
(88.7)
32.7
(90.9)
31.5
(88.7)
25.2
(77.4)
22.0
(71.6)
17.0
(62.6)
14.1
(57.4)
32.7
(90.9)
Average high °C (°F) 7.3
(45.1)
7.3
(45.1)
8.7
(47.7)
10.6
(51.1)
13.7
(56.7)
15.9
(60.6)
18.0
(64.4)
18.1
(64.6)
16.1
(61)
13.2
(55.8)
10.0
(50)
8.3
(46.9)
12.3
(54.1)
Average low °C (°F) 2.9
(37.2)
2.6
(36.7)
3.8
(38.8)
4.9
(40.8)
7.5
(45.5)
10.0
(50)
12.2
(54)
12.3
(54.1)
10.7
(51.3)
8.4
(47.1)
5.6
(42.1)
3.9
(39)
7.1
(44.8)
Record low °C (°F) −9.9
(14.2)
−7.5
(18.5)
−6.6
(20.1)
−2.0
(28.4)
0.1
(32.2)
1.7
(35.1)
5.6
(42.1)
5.5
(41.9)
3.3
(37.9)
−0.9
(30.4)
−5.0
(23)
−6.0
(21.2)
−9.9
(14.2)
Precipitation mm (inches) 88.5
(3.484)
62.7
(2.469)
63.7
(2.508)
50.7
(1.996)
48.2
(1.898)
61.1
(2.406)
49.2
(1.937)
68.2
(2.685)
75.7
(2.98)
104.2
(4.102)
98.3
(3.87)
99.2
(3.906)
870.2
(34.26)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 54.6 74.0 109.7 168.6 213.6 190.5 198.7 184.8 141.0 100.1 63.3 45.6 1,544.5
Source: Met Office[17]

Radio and television[edit]

Much of the town can receive the standard six multiplexes of DVB-T digital television from the transmitter at Preseli, about 12 miles to the south. For those areas of the town close to the river where Preseli is shadowed by hills, the three main multiplexes can alternatively be received from the repeater at St.Dogmaels, ⅔ of a mile or so to the west.

FM radio is provided from Preseli (for Classic FM and Real Radio), or from the mast at Penwaun (for Radio Ceredigion). BBC radio on FM is available from Blaenplwyf, though a decent outdoor aerial is needed for this - the transmitter is 31 miles away to the north, over rolling hills.

DAB Digital Radio coverage comes from Preseli. There are no repeaters carrying DAB in the vicinity.

Shrine to Our Lady of Cardigan[edit]

Cardigan is also the site of Our Lady of Cardigan, a Roman Catholic shrine, also known as the shrine to Our Lady of the Taper. In pre-English Reformation times it was known for a statue of the Virgin Mary, who held a candle whose flame never extinguished.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Community, 2001 census
  2. ^ Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Ceredigion
  3. ^ a b c d Jenkins, J. Geraint. Ceredigion: Interpreting an Ancient County. Gwasg Careg Gwalch (2005).
  4. ^ Gathering the jewels website
  5. ^ Cardigan Guildhall Retrieved 14 February 2012
  6. ^ Tivyside Advertiser - Cardigan Castle restoration work
  7. ^ Cardigan Castle - When we open
  8. ^ Cardigan railway station Retrieved 14 February 2012
  9. ^ Disused Stations - Cardigan
  10. ^ 2001 Census. Neighbourhood Statistics: Cardigan Speak or Understand spoken Welsh: 3125 out of a population of 4497; Speak, read, write: 2031 out of a population of 4497
  11. ^ "Station Locations". MetOffice. 
  12. ^ ">1971-2000 average >25c days". Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  13. ^ ">1971-2000 average warmest day". Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  14. ^ ">2006 Maximum". Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  15. ^ ">1971-2000 average coldest night". Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  16. ^ ">1963 Minimum". Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  17. ^ "Aberporth 1971-2000 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 26 Sep 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceding station Historical railways Following station
Cilgerran   Great Western Railway
Whitland & Cardigan Railway
  Terminus