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CARDIGAN, TOWN

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 33041

Map Reference SN14NE

Grid Reference SN1778146137

Unitary (Local) Authority Ceredigion

Old County Cardiganshire

Community Cardigan

Type of Site TOWN

Broad Class CIVIL

Period General

Site Description Cardigan is a town in the county of Ceredigion in West 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. The town's population was estimated at 4,000 inhabitants in 2007, though it is a significant regional administrative centre for West Wales, harbouring a hospital, college, a modern arts centre and a currently under-used nineteenth century guildhall together with a theatre and good shopping facilities. Cardigan is twinned with Brioude, France. The town has recently (2006/2007) undergone a renaissance with a co-ordinated programme of building works restoring many of the facades of the town centre shops in a sympathetic style. The quayside has been rebuilt with a new civic area and landing stage.

The town was founded in 1093 by the Norman Roger de Montgomery. In the following century Rhys ap Gruffydd, the ruler of the kingdom of Deheubarth, made a number of attempts to wrest the town from the Normans, finally succeeding in 1165. The castle was rebuilt in stone by Rhys ap Gruffydd 1171. In 1176 first National Eisteddfod of Wales was held in the town. By the mid 13th century the town was in the hands of the Normans once again who enhanced the town defences by building a stone town wall. During the English Civil War, Cardigan Castle was attacked by the parliamentary forces.
Throughout the Middle Ages, Cardigan’s port grew in importance until by Elizabethan times it was, after Milford Haven, the most important port in Wales. A small shipbuilding industry and allied trades like rope and sail making were established in the port in the 17th century. By the early 19th century over 300 sailing vessels giving employment to more than 1,000 men were registered at the port and more than 200 ships were built in the five shipyards. Cilgerran slate was exported from the port. The river silted up and the port died by the early part of the twentieth century.

M. Lloyd Davies, RCAHMW, 20 January 2008.

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