European Heritage Weekend
by CADW and organised by the Civic Trust for Wales
Church is a Grade 1 Listed Building, and each year we are pleased to
take part in the scheme of welcoming Open Days.
In 2009 we were open to visitors on Saturday 19th September, from 12—5.30pm
and Sunday 20th September, 2pm –5.30pm.
On offer were:-
•Guided Tours – to learn the history of this Grade 1 Listed
church, its ancient site and its links with the Bute family
•Visits to the Mausoleum – to see the massive polished granite
tombs of the 1st Marquess and eight members of his family
•Climbing the tower (weather permitting) – for panoramic
views of the city and, on a clear day, both Severn bridges
•Tracing your ancestors – the Parish Registers date back
•A Children’s quiz trail – in the church and grounds
•Enjoying delicious refreshments – tea, coffee and home-made
•To take home a souvenir – guidebooks, leaflets, DVDs, plants
and mementos of your visit
Vicar Stewart stands ready to welcome the first visitors.
In addition to regular
displays about the history and fabric of this Grade 1 Listed Building,
our visitors are offered home-made produce, hand crafted greeting cards,
local history videos and books, and home grown plants on the several
small stalls available.
This year we were
able to offer for continuous viewing a short video from the Archive
of the National Library of Wales showing a wedding which took place
here in St.Margaret’s Church on Sept. 11th 1923.
And here is the entry (top line) from the Wedding Register. It shows
the Groom’s Rank or Profession as a Shipowner no less.
Throughout the whole
of our weekend opening times our visitors are offered the hospitality
of a chance to sit down and soak up the atmosphere while they enjoy
tea (or coffee!) and a selection of cakes, before or after tackling
the tower spiral stairs, or joining a guided tour of the church.
The guided tours
were conducted on the Saturday by a former Parishioner and local historian
Mrs. Diane Walker. Diane’s knowledge of the history of St.Margaret’s
is immense, and we are very grateful to her for travelling up from Devon
where she now lives to continue being one of our expert guides for visitors.
It is probably fair
to say that the only time all the silverware is displayed together like
this from it normal secure storage is on these special occasions.
One of the items
that attracts visitors on the Heritage Weekend is the availability of
all the Parish Registers for examination. The oldest of these copies
date back to the 1730s, and having free access to them is obviously
of great interest to many people.
Our church organ
is on display too, but in between when the guided tours are taking place
inside the church our visitors can hear a background of music (e.g.
Gregorian chant, Hildergard of Bingen) through the church audio system.
Another big attraction
we offer to able-bodied visitors (and children supervised by a responsible
adult) is the chance once a year to climb the narrow spiral staircase
to the belfry and ultimately the tower roof to see 360degree views over
our fair city.
Although the tower
is not exceedingly high (it’s 67 steps to the belfry) it is high
enough to look out over all local houses and trees, and with Cardiff
being quite flat there are views are far as both Severn Bridges, Somerset,
and Castell Coch on fine days.
On the Sunday the
guided tours were given by Parishioner and expert on the Churches of
Cardiff Mrs. Jean Rose.
This year she was joined on the Sunday by Mrs. Chris Webb who gave special
tours for the many children present.
This year we were
blessed by fine weather throughout the weekend, which made the occasion
very pleasant for all involved.
But eventually the
sun set on the event, and our thanks go to all our visitors for coming,
and our church members who worked so hard to make them welcome.