The History and Mystery of St Mary’s
The Church of St Mary the Virgin was built in 1843, a response to the growing population and industrial expansion in Cardiff. However, the history of the parish begins in Norman times with the 11th century building and subsequent dereliction of St Mary’s Priory Church. So, the building is significant in many ways and, in its own articular way, is able to tell the story of Cardiff. We value the heritage we have received and want to engage with the extensive and growing numbers of tourists and visitors to our city, as well as with the local community so that all can treasure the rich heritage of the community of which we are a part.
We want to create a visitor experience which will unravel both the history and the mystery of St Mary’s – telling the story of a Christian Community, and the wider, multicultural and multi-religious community of which we are part.
There is an obvious overlap with and an extension from Project 5: Faithful Cardiff but with a specific focus on the heritage of St Mary’s in particular.
This would be done through displays and presentations in the North-East corner of the church, and the North East porch, extending outdoors, and be part of a storytelling project where individuals can learn about, express and share their own history and significance, and where they can also learn about others.
Whilst reaching out to the community and exploring ways in which our resources and buildings can enrich the wider community, it is also important for us to maintain the integrity of St Mary’s Church as home to a Christian community.
We want the church and site to be a thriving hub of activity, with projects which enrich and strengthen the community and supports individuals. In maintaining the integrity of the site as home to a Christian Community, we will continue to enrich our weekly and daily pattern of prayer and worship. We want to reshape the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, by renovating the south East ‘porch’ with a glass door onto Bute Street, and with subtle lighting, and possibly even enclosing the chapel as a separate area.
In order to enable this and other projects to happen, we will need to create a new sacristy and storage space in order to properly free up the other areas of the church. We propose to do in the South-West porch of the church which faces onto the car park.