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Welsh: Llandaf
Cew llandaff.jpg
Llandaff electoral ward of Cardiff
Population 8,997 (2011) [1]
Principal area Cardiff
Ceremonial county South Glamorgan
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CARDIFF
Postcode district CF5
Dialling code 029
Police South Wales
Fire South Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Cardiff West
List of places
Llandaff Castle, 1823

Llandaff (/lænˈdæf/; Welsh: Llandaf [ɬanˈdɑːv]; from llan "church" and Taf) is a district in the north of Cardiff, capital of Wales, having been incorporated into the city in 1922. It is the seat of the Church in Wales Bishop of Llandaff, whose diocese covers the most populous area of South Wales.


Most of the history of Llandaff centres on its role as a religious site. Before the creation of Llandaff Cathedral it became established as a Christian place of worship in the 6th century AD, probably because of its location as the first firm ground north of the point where the river Taff met the Bristol Channel, and because of its pre-Christian location as a river crossing on a north south trade route. Evidence of Roman-British ritual burials have been found under the present cathedral. The date of the moving of the cathedral to Llandaff is disputed, but elements of the fabric date from the 12th century, such as the impressive Romanesque Urban Arch, named after the 12th century Bishop, Urban. It has had a history of continual destruction and restoration, as a result of warfare, neglect, and natural disaster. Llandaff has been a focal point of devastating attacks by Owain Glyndŵr and Oliver Cromwell. It was the second most damaged Cathedral in the UK (after Coventry Cathedral) following Luftwaffe bombing during World War II, and subsequently restored by the architect George Pace. One of its main modern points of interest is the aluminium figure of Christ in Majesty (1954–5), by Jacob Epstein, which is suspended above the nave. In 2007 a lightning strike to its spire sent a surge through the building which destroyed its organ. Its replacement, the largest to be built in the UK for over 40 years, was inaugurated in 2010.

A Bishop's Palace, now in ruins, lies to the south of the Cathedral. It is believed it was constructed at a similar date to Caerphilly Castle, in the late 13th century. It is also believed it was abandoned after being attacked and damaged by Owain Glyndwr in the 15th century.[2] The gatehouse of the Palace survives and the courtyard is now a public garden.[2]

Sign entering Llandaff

Llandaff never developed into a chartered borough, and by the 19th century was described as reduced to a mere village... It consists of little more than two short streets of cottages, not lighted or paved, terminating in a square, into which the great gateway of the old palace formerly opened, and where are still several genteel houses.[3]

Speed's map of Llandaff (1610).

Historically Llandaff was informally known as a "city" because of its status as the seat of the Bishop of Llandaff. This status was never officially recognised, largely because the community did not possess a charter of incorporation.[4] The ancient parish of Llandaff included a wide area. Apart from Llandaff itself, it included the townships of Canton, Ely, Fairwater, and Gabalfa.

During the development of the South Wales coalfield and Cardiff Docks, the parish was gradually absorbed into the Borough of Cardiff during the 19th and 20th centuries. Seen as a clean and green up-market countrified village location close to the fast developing city, many of the better-off coal merchants and business people chose to live in Llandaff, including the Insole family. The house now known as Insole Court dates originally from 1856. Llandaff itself became a civil parish and from 1894 to 1922 was part of the Llandaff and Dinas Powis Rural District. On 9 November 1922 the county borough of Cardiff was extended to include the area.[5]

Welsh language[edit]

In the 2011 census 15.3% of the population over 3 years old in Llandaff were recorded as speaking Welsh, or 1337 people. This was a small drop compared to the 2001 census figure, which was 15.4%.[6]

The headquarters of BBC Cymru are in the ward.

Research by Owen John Thomas shows the historical strength of the Welsh language in Llandaff. According to his book 'Yr Iaith Gymraeg yng Nghaerdydd c. 1800–1914’ (The Welsh language in Cardiff .c1800-1914), the nonconformist church in Cardiff Road was a Welsh-language church in 1813.

His work also shows that Welsh was the main language of the street in Llandaff in the 17th century.[citation needed]


Location map Cardiff.png

Llandaff is both an electoral ward and a community of the County and City of Cardiff. There is no community council for the area. The electoral ward of Llandaff is bounded by Radyr & Morganstown to the north west; Llandaff North to the north; Riverside to the west; Canton to the south; and Fairwater to the west. The ward is represented by two councillors, Kirsty Davies and Gareth Aubrey, both members of the Liberal Democrat Party. In 2012, they were re-elected with an increased majority.[7]

In the UK Parliament, Llandaff is part of the constituency of Cardiff West. Its most prominent MPs were former Speaker of the Commons George Thomas and former Welsh Labour leader Rhodri Morgan. The current MP is Labour's Kevin Brennan, elected in 2001. The current Mayor of Llandaff is long term resident and former contestant on the Great British Bake Off Kathryn Smith.

In the Welsh Assembly, Llandaff is part of the constituency of Cardiff West, whose current AM since 2011 is Mark Drakeford of Labour, he succeeded Rhodri Morgan upon the latter's retirement. The constituency falls within the electoral region of South Wales Central, whose four current AMs are Conservatives Andrew R. T. Davies and David Melding, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood and Liberal Democrat Eluned Parrott.


Demographics shows that the electoral division of Llandaff had a population at the United Kingdom Census 2001 of 8,988, of whom 4,227 were male and 4,761 female. The majority of the population (94.7%) were recorded as being of white ethnicity. Approximately 76% of the population were returned as Christian, with about 1% each being Hindu or Muslim, and 20% having no religion or no stated religion. About 13% of the population of Llandaff can read, write and speak Welsh, while 78% have no knowledge.[8]


Llandaff is home to a co-educational independent school for children between the ages of 3–16. (The Cathedral School). The independent GDST school, Howell's School Llandaff, is also based in the area and recently expanded from an all-girls school to include the co-educational Howell's Sixth Form College. There are two state Church Schools; Llandaff City Church in Wales Primary School and Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales High School. There is the Welsh Primary School Ysgol Pencae and State Primary School Danescourt Primary. Llandaff is also home of the Cardiff Metropolitan University Llandaff campus.


Llandaff is served by railway stations at Danescourt, Fairwater and Waun-Gron Park, each is about a mile from the cathedral. There is a half hourly service to and from Cardiff on the Cardiff City Line. Llandaf railway station is located in Llandaff North.

Cardiff Bus services 1/2 (City Circle), 24/25 (Whitchurch), 62/63 (Radyr/Morganstown), 64/65 (Heath Hospital/Llanrumney), 66 (Danescourt) and Stagecoach service 122 (Tonypandy) operate through the area to/from Cardiff central bus station or city centre.

Western Avenue (A48) runs through the south of the area heading eastbound to Gabalfa & M4 J30 and westbound to Ely, Culverhouse Cross and M4 J33. Cardiff Road leads south towards the city centre.


The major employment sectors in the area are:

  • Public administration, education and health (35.26%)
  • Banking, finance and insurance (19.44%)
  • Distribution, hotels and restaurants (16.46%)
  • Other services (9.13%)
  • Manufacturing (8.81%)
  • Transport and communication (4.82%)
  • Construction (4.43%)[8]

BBC Wales have their headquarters at Broadcasting House, Llantrisant Road in Llandaff. The Doctor Who episode The Eleventh Hour, broadcast on BBC 1 on 3 April 2010, was filmed here, renamed "Leadworth", the home of Amy Pond.[9]

Notable people[edit]

Mrs Pratchett's former sweet shop in Llandaff, Cardiff has a blue plaque commemorating the mischief a young Roald Dahl played on her by putting a mouse in the gobstoppers jar.[10]
  • Sir David ap Mathew of Llandaff (1400–1484), Grand Standard Bearer of England to Edward IV, fought in the War of the Roses at the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461, and is credited for saving King Edward IV's life. Sir David ap Mathew's tomb is located in Llandaff Cathedral.
  • Idloes Owen founded the Welsh National Opera at a meeting in his home, 40 Station Road, Llandaff North, in 1943
  • Ivor Atkins, choirmaster and organist, was born in Llandaff on 29 November 1869.[11]
  • Charlotte Church, singer and television presenter, born in Llandaff 21 February 1986
  • Roald Dahl, author, was born in Fairwater Road on 13 September 1916. He subsequently attended the Cathedral School until 1925, and his family moved to Kent in about 1928.[12]
  • Francis Lewis, signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York, was born in Llandaff on March 21, 1713.
  • The Welsh artist Ivor Williams lived and painted in Llandaff House until his death in 1982.
  • Cheryl Gillan, politician, born in Llandaff on 21 April 1952.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′36″N 3°12′48″W / 51.49333°N 3.21333°W / 51.49333; -3.21333