THE MAJOR HISTORIC FAMILY ESTATES IN THE CARDIFF AREA
Mountjoy Estates Ltd (The Bute Estate)
In the mid 16th century (1547 & 1550) King Edward VI gave the Manors of Miskcin, Glynrhondda, Senghenydd and others to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1557), along with the towns and castles of the Norman Lordship of Glamorgan. These possessions remained in the Herbert family until 1674 when Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke & Montgomery, left them in his will to his daughter, Charlotte. She had married the 1st Viscount Windsor & Mountjoy and their grand daughter Charlotte Jane married John Stuart, Lord Mountstuart, later created 1st Marquis of Bute. Mountjoy Estates Ltd was the company which eventually was formed to administer the Bute family estates in Cardiff area, which were very substantial. In the mid 1940s the Bute family estates were said to amount to round 120,000 acres.
Cardiff Castle and its surrounding estate were given to the City of Cardiff by the Marquis of Bute for the use of the people of Cardiff and form a huge area of parkland which extends from the centre of the City as far as Llandaff near to the edge of the City. As a young boy I used to be able to cycle almost all of the way from my home in Whitchurch to the centre of Cardiff (a distance of about three and a half miles) without ever having to ride on the road.
In Cardiff one will find many reminders of the Bute family in road names like Dumfries Place named after the Earl of Dumfries the courtesy title of the eldest sons of the Marquises of Bute, Sophia Street & Sophia Gardens named after a Marchioness of Bute, Bute Street, Mountstuart Square and many others.
Plymouth Estates Ltd
Edward ap Lewis settled at the Van in Caerphilly in the early 16th century. He and his descendants acquired extensive lands in the Taff & Rhymney Valleys and in the Vale of Glamorgan, particularly in Llanishen, Whitchurch, Radyr, St.Fagans & Penmark, plus property in Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire. In 1616 Sir Edward Lewis of Van purchased St.Fagans Castle and its surrounding lands from Sir William Herbert and set about improving the castle (really a fortified manor house rather than a true castle). The last male of the senior branch of the Lewis family left a daughter, Elizabeth Lewis, who married Other Windsor, 3rd Earl of Plymouth. The eventual heiress of this branch of the Windsor family married into the Clive family (the family of soldier Clive of India) and became Windsor-Clive. Although the title Earl of Plymouth had died with the last male of the family, a later descendant in the Windsor-Clive family was created Earl of Plymouth so that the Plymouth association with Cardiff continued for many years.
Eventually the Earl of Plymouth gave St.Fagans Castle and its surrounding estate to the County and it has, for many years now been used as the Welsh Folk Museum (now called the National Museum of Wales - Museum of Rural Life). The castle itself is a museum and in the grounds have been built many buildings transferred from all over Wales to show what life was like in days past.
As with the Bute Estate (Mountjoy Estates Ltd) one can trace links to the Plymouth Estate through street names eg in Grangetown, Cardiff which formed a part of the Plymouth Estate there are roads named Redlaver Street, Penhevad Street, Llanmaes Street, Stockland Street, Pentrebane Street all named after farms in the St.Fagans area which were part of the Plymouth Estate. In addition there are Clive Street and Clive Cottages (St.Fagans) named after the Clive family and Windsor Place named after the Windsor family. Similarly in Penarth, which also formed part of the Estate one will find Plymouth Rd., Windsor Rd, & Forrest Rd (name after Robert Forrest Agent to the Plymouth family).
On a personal note I used to enjoy cycling from my home in Whitchurch to St.Fagans Castle and my father used to tell me that as a child living in the docks area of Cardiff his grandfather used to take him by pony and trap to visit a relative who lived in St.Fagans. When I became intersted in genealogy it took me some little time to find out who this relative was, and a few years ago I saw someone in the Glamorgan FHS was researching the Morgan family in St.Fagans. This turned out to be he grandson of the relative my father used to visit. The family lived at 4 Clive Cottages, St.Fagans and I have discovered that my family connection with this site goes back to before 1762 when my ancestor was leased the land and a house on it by the then Earl of Plymouth, though it had almost certainly been occupied previously by the new lessee’s brother-in-law and possibly before that by his father-in-law. The last member of the family to live there died in 1968.
The Plymouth Estate in Glamorgan in the mid 1940s amounted to around 17,000 acres.
The Tredegar Estate
The Morgan family of Tredegar, a very old family of princely descent, was a very large and powerfull family in Glamorgan & Monmouthshire from ancient times, being direct descendants of Rhys ap Gruffydd, King of South Wales. Tredegar near Newport was the seat of the main branch of the family, with various other branches in the surrounding area. In all the family held vast amounts of land in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire and although the senior line died out in the 16th century, the family property passed to a junior branch, the Morgans of Machen. The eventual heiress of the family married Sir Charles Gould, who was created a Baronet in 1792 and changed his name to Morgan. His grandson Sir Charles was created a Baron in 1858 as Lord Tredegar and his son the famous Crimeaa War hero was created a Viscount in 1905.
Over the years, in addition to the extensive lands inherited from their ancient ancestors the Morgan family extended their holdings in Glamorgan, Monmouthshire & Brecon by purchase and by marriage
Large parts of Whitchurch and Rhiwbina formed part of the Tredegar Estate. The deeds of one of my past homes in Rhiwbina showed that the land on which it had been built had been part of the Tredegar Estate.
The Wingfield & Mackintosh Estate
Edward Prichard of Llancaiach Fawr, Glam., one time Royalist Governor of Cardiff , but later a Parliamentarian, owned by inheritance lands in Llancaiach in the Taff Valley and at Merthyr. His grandson, another Edward Prichard died leaving two daughters who each inherited a share of the estate. One, Mary, married David Jenkins of Hensol from whom descended the Wingfield family. The other, Jane, sold her interest to Michael Richards, Alderman of Cardiff from whom it descended to the Mackintosh family (see below). Most of this joint estate was outside Cardiff in the Taff Valley, but there was a part in Whitchurch & Rhiwbina, particularly Rhiwbina Farm from which this suburb of Cardiff took its name when a Garden Village was constructed there in the early part of the 20th century.
The Mackintosh Estate
Separate from the joint Estate above was the Mackintosh Estate.
William Richards, Alderman of Cardiff in the late 17th century, left two sons, William & Michael. Michael Richards (1672-1729) married Mary Powell of Energlyn, Caerphilly and obtained lands from that union. Their son another Michael Richard purchased lands in Cardiff and was the Michael Richards mentioned above in connection with the purchase of part of the Llancaiach estate. The Cardiff estate passed down this family His grandson John Matthews Richards (1803-43) built a house called Plasnewydd in the Roath area of Cardiff where much of the family estate was located. When he died the estate passed to a relation Edward Priest Richards, whose daughter and heiress Harriet Diana Arabella married The Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Chief of Clan Chattan.
Much of the Roath area of Cardiff formed this estate. Street names like Mackintosh Place, Inverness Place, Arran Street, Argyle Street, Keppoch Street show the Scottish Mackintosh link. Arabella Street, Diana Street, Harriet Street are named after the Richards heiress, subsequently Mrs Mackintosh. The connection of Richard Street is obvious! Plasnewydd, the home of the Richard family later became the Mackintosh Institute.
The Homfray Estate
William Richards (1674-1731) the younger son of Alderman William Richards mentioned above in connection with the Mackintosh Estate, also held lands in Cardiff, which his descendants added to as they became more and more prominent in the affairs of the town. His grandson, John Richards (1746-1824) was Constable of the Castle and Manor of Cardiff (1792-1817) and held various other public appointments in the town, He married the daughter of Peter Birt of Wenvoe Castle, Glam. and their daughter Anna Maria Richards married John Homfray, son of the ironmaster Sir Jeremiah Homfray. He had purchased Penlline Castle near Cowbrudge from the Gwinett family and thus the Penlline Estate lands in Cardiff, Cowbridge & Whitchurch combined with the Richards lands in Cardiff into a substantial estate which remained in the Homfray family until fairly recent times.
The Stacey Estate
This small estate came into being with the marriage of Mary Ann Richards of the Roath family above to the Revd Thomas Stacey, Rector of Gelligaer, Glam. It largely comprised land in Roath & Whitchurch. Stacey Road, Roath takes its name from the estate.
The Roath Court Estate
Charles Williams, a tanner from Caerleon, Mon. came to Cardiff in the mid 18th century. His son married a daughter of the David family of Fairwater, Llandaff, and came into possession of some land in Whitchurch & Llandaff. A later descendant Charles Crofts Williams settled at Roath Court, Roath, Cardiff (previously occupied by John Matthews Richards - see above) after his marriage to his cousin Blanch Phillips of Llantarnam, Mon.in 1836. He was active in the public life of Cardiff being an Alderman and Mayor several times. He purchased a large amount of land which became available with the Enclosure of the Heath in 1835, mostly around Albany Road & Richmond Road in Roath. His eldest son and his descendants occupied Roath Court for some years afterward, whilst his younger son acquired Llanrumney Hall, St.Mellons, Mon (on the eastern outskirts of Cardiff).
Again there are roads in Roath area which show the link - Croft St.in particular.
The family home Roath Court still exists as a Funeral Home.
The Lewis Family Estates
Mention has been made above of Edward ap Lewis founder of the Lewis Family in connection with the Plymouth Estate. Amongst the many descendants of Edward ap Lewis was a branch which settled at Llanishen near Cardiff. The main line of this family sold their lands in Llanishen to the Marquis of Bute when Wyndham Lewis died in 1835, but another branch of the Llanishen family had earlier settled at the New House in Llanishen when Thomas Lewis a son of the main Llanishen line married the daughter of Henry Morgan of Rhiwbina ( a scion of the Morgans of Tredegar) and built the New House. It was this Thomas Lewis who was one of the founders of the Dowlais Ironworks and his descendants were involved with that company for many years afterward (the Glamorgan Historian, Antiquarian & Genealogist, George T Clark whose works should be well known to family historians of Glamorgan was Managing Director of the Dowlais Iron Co and his wife was a New House Lewis who inherited land at Talygarn, Pontyclun which remained in the Clark family for many years)
By marriage, Wyndham Lewis son of Thomas Lewis of New House, inherited a large estate in Pentyrch, Capel Llaniltern and Tongwynlais. One of his sons, Henry Lewis, inherited much of the land in the Tongwynlais area and he settled at Greenmeadow in that village, another son, Wyndham Lewis, was MP for Cardiff & for Maidstone, Kent and a great friend of Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister, who married Lewis’s widow, Mary Ann; New House remained with the eldest line of the family, evetually passing by marriage to the Murray-Thriepland family. New House still exists and is a hotel. Another branch of the family obtained much of the Enclosed Heath land in the vicinity of Allensbank Road. This estate is now mostly taken up by Heath Park, a large open park, and by the adjacent University Hospital of Wales.