Friday, March 31 2006 @ 09:36 AM UTC
Contributed by: webmaster
Maps - of Rumney and the surrounding villages can be seen in Media Gallery.
Names and their Origins.
Since the early part of the 20th century, Rumney and St. Mellons have been engulfed by the overspill from the City of Cardiff. In earlier times they each had their own identity. Rumney and St. Mellons started as small settlements on or near the ancient overland ridgeway route across South Wales. They would later become villages, ecclesiastical parishes, and suburbs.
In 1896, Arthur Mee, journalist and amateur historian, described Rumney as ‘a small place a short distance out of Cardiff - the first English village as you journey eastward along the Newport Road, being divided by a streamlet. This circumstance and the existence of the Welsh Sunday Closing Act gives Rumney an evil reputation on the ‘day of rest’ and has brought it into a notoriety it would not otherwise have enjoyed.’
There are many references to Rumney in the Cardiff Records where it is described as situated in the manor called Rompney under the lordship of Gwentllwg and possessing a handsome one-arched bridge of 1800. In Volume V (page 425) there is mention of Tredelerch (the homestead of swans), the Welsh name for the village of Rhymney or Rumney. The ‘d’ in Tredelerch is of philological interest, as an intrusive consonant, which appears in late Cornish, a language to which Gwentian Cornish is closely akin. In ancient times, the Rhymney River was called the Afon Elarch or Swan River. The river, moors and marshes of Rumney are thought to have been the habitat of large numbers of swans thus giving their name to the area and its river.Tredelerch was the name of a modern house on Rumney Hill, now Hillcrest Residential Home. It is also perpetuated in the new Tredelerch Park and Tredelerch Road, which linked Newport Road with New Road until 1966, when the widening of Rumney Hill resulted in closure to vehicular traffic, at its junction with Newport Road.
Rumney was formerly called Romney or Rompney and the river on which it stands is the Rhymney, which shares its name with the town at the top of the valley, but there are other variations. Remni, Remne, and Rempney all appear in old documents and maps as far back as 1100. There have been various suggestions for the origin of the name. Some say Roman, others believe it derived from the Saxon word ‘Rumanea’ which means ‘a water or watering place’.A certain John Griffiths found a river Rhymnus in the Urals, and there is said to be a Gaelic word ‘Ruimne’ meaning marsh. We also have the word rhyne or reen meaning a sea-marsh ditch.
All these studies suggest a connection with water, a boundary stream or marshes, which, of course, would be most appropriate, as the river used to form the boundary between Gwent and Morgannwg (Glamorgan) and Rumney includes the moors or marshes which are part of the low-lying Wentloog Level.
In 1275, the area now called Llanrumney was described as‘the whole Park of Romney’. This was probably the hunting Park of the Manor of Romney. The name ‘Llan’ suggests that there was a church there, or possibly it was Glanrhymney, meaning, on the banks of the river Rhymney.
The ancient village of St. Mellons, situated some four and a half miles to the east from the centre of Cardiff, capital city of Wales since 1955, enjoys the distinction of being the only place in Great Britain which perpetuates the memory of the first foreign missionary bishop of British extraction. Mellon, surnamed Probus, was born in Cardiola in Glamorgan in about 229 A.D. Cardiola was the Roman name for today’s Caerdydd or Cardiff. Mellon was the son of notable Welsh parents who sent him, as a young man, to Rome, to accompany the taxes paid by his province. There, Mellon studied Latin, Christian truths, virtues and beliefs and was baptised by Pope Stephen I. He distinguished himself by his austerity and Christian vision and the same holy Pontiff later ordained him priest and consecrated bishop, appointing him to the See of Rouen. After 50 years of active ministry in Rouen, Mellon retired, died in 314 A.D. and was buried in the crypt of St. Gervais Church in Rouen.
The Normans, long-sworn enemies of the British race, but influenced by their own home traditions, were the first to raise a monument to the name of Mellon in Wales. The church, which they dedicated in his honour, then gave its name to the village. The name of the patron saint is now spelt St. Mellons, but until 1801 was written as St. Mellans and in Latin, the name occurs as St. Mellans or St. Melanus. Numerous variations appear in Latin, French and English. Before the Norman invasion of Wales, the village of St. Mellons bore the name of St. Lucius since it was called Llanlleurwg, later Llaneurwg or Llaneirwg in Welsh. The church is said to have been founded as early as the second century by King Lucius who introduced Christianity into Britain. Lucius or Lleurwg was the son of Coel, son of Cyllin, son of Caradawg (Caractacus), who was defeated by the Romans in A.D.51 and sent as a prisoner to Rome. The earliest reference to Lleurwg is by Bede in A.D. 180.
Rumney and St. Mellons were part of the Lordship of Gwentllwg. It is said by some that Wentloog is derived from Gwent but others disagree, saying that it is a corruption of Gwynllwg, meaning the territory or land of Gwynllyw. Gwynllyw the Warrior was the son of Glywys, lord of Glywysswg. The territory of Gwynllwg passed to him as a share of his father’s kingdom. We must remember that people perhaps misheard names or pronounced them in different ways and when pen was put to paper spelt them in the way they thought that name sounded. Various spellings include: - Gunliuc, Gunlion, Gunliou, Gwentluc and Wentllooge.