By Karl-James Langford

THE Barry and District does not hold back on its old churches.

Medieval remnants within structures at Porthkerry, Merthyr Dyfan, Sully to name a few, and no exception in the Barry and District is that at Cadoxton. If anyone asked me, "Karl-James Langford what church is your favourite in the Barry and District?" it would surely be Cadoxton.

I was introduced to Cadoxton church in the early 1980’s by my granddad; Noah. Then in 1989, my sister Janine got married there. But of note also to me is my assistance on an excavation with the late and very eminent archaeologist Howard Thomas, in the late 1980’s also. On this excavation Howard along with Gary Tyler, excavated externally the rear of Cadoxton church at the back of the chancel: shown as the white extension to the building in the image.

The excavation revealed a number of burials of children. The work at the church was being undertaken to assist with renovation; and they needed archaeologists to excavate a trench close to the chancel wall. The children's burials represented those that had been buried in the dead of night on consecrated ground; due to the fact that they had not been baptised. Back then you could only be buried on hallowed ground, if you had been baptised. But parents of the deceased children wanted their own buried on holy ground, and had to do so at night without churches permission.

Howard Thomas believed we may find the remains of the original pre-Norman medieval church, but alas to no avail. It may be according to some local opinion, that the earliest church maybe several metres over to the West; who knows the truth? Maybe one day we shall have the answer.

It is established thought that Cadoxton church is named after St. Cadoc, although on my opinion this is based along the lines of Norman thoughts of Saints and Christianity after 1100 in this part of Wales. We know next to nothing of the pre-Norman religion in the Barry and District, and it is likely that the original church may have been dedicated to another Saint. Although, Cadoc does sound like a Welsh name, although it is not a Welsh word, the Welsh translation is in fact Gatwg or Catwg.

The burial ground around the church was once much more extensive, and holds a number of burials with dates going into the 1700s, with much earlier burials hidden deep under these. The church of Cadoxton today has its stone structure founded in the 1100s, and has seen considerable charge over 900 years. Although the church at Cadoxton holds a quintessential air about it and over the surrounding landscape.

Although the church at Cadoxton is in what may be described as a Cwm, it does dominate the buildings around it. Many of those buildings are also very old, nestled around a stream. In many ways you could say that the church with the buildings close to it, are a remnant memory of those villages that once made up the Barry and District before the Dock of 1884.

More from our Barry and District next week.