History of the area
Originally set in Cardiff’s historic county of Monmouthshire, the St Mellons area has a rich history with evidence suggesting a heritage that spans back to the time of the Silures over 2,000 years ago.
The exact origin of the English name, St Mellons, is uncertain but there are many possible theories. Its Welsh translation is Llaneurwg suggesting that the town was named in honour of the local chief Eurwg/Eirwg who lived on the hill at St Mellons where the church now stands. Another theory is that it is named after Mellonius, the first Bishop of Rouen in the 4th Century who was born in the area.
The most likely explanation, however, is that St Mellons was named after the Normans’ patron saint – St. Mellon. After the Normans conquered the region in the 11th century they dedicated a new church to the saint.
The Normans dominated St Mellons, as indeed most of Cardiff, until the early 13th century. Robert Fitzhamon, the Norman conqueror of Glamorgan built a hunting lodge for his daughter Mabel in the area now known as Cefn Mably. This beautiful building was set in 6,000 acres of countryside with its own herd of roaming deer. Rebuilt over the centuries, Cefn Mably’s reign as one of Wales’ finest country seats came to an end when it was converted into a hospital in 1920.
The town of St Mellons began life as a small commercial centre relying mostly on rural agriculture, farming and travel. Numerous coaching inns catered for travellers using the Newport Road, the old Roman road lining Cardiff with London.
The St Mellon’s Fair was an annual event held in the town by the monks of the monastery at Llanrumney until the middle of the Reformation in 1959. A ploughing match took the place of the Fair and was held at Llanrumney Park until the modern housing estate was built. It continues as a popular annual event at Tredegar House to this day.
In 1974 St Mellons became part of the district of South Glamorgan.
Today, the historic area with many of its buildings dating back to the 19th century is known as Old St Mellons, with St Mellons used to describe the newer part of the town to the south and east.