|English: St Mary the Virgin Church at Caerau, Cardiff, in 1971 before it was deconsecrated and fell into ruin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
I grew up in the shadow of the mighty Caerau Hill fort and the (then) beautiful medieval church of St Mary's with it's adjacent (and mysterious) ring work, my family (and others) would picnic at the church (try doing that now) using my imagination with British warrior engaging in battle with the Roman legionary storming it's mighty ramparts. Then walk with me a thousand years later into the 13th Century as you smell the incense and hear the bells as the priest elevates the chalice in is vestments of gold as the faithful surrounded by wall paintings of the saints who are present and are windows into the eternal. Then into the 16th Century when the Reformers sold, the vestments whitewashed the images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints blocking out the eternal. This church stands as a link between our ancient past, and our tragic present. In the 1950s, a priest, holy man of vision, a leader of his community Father Victor Jones, summoned up the courage to rebuild St Mary's restoring her image a Statue, (that now graces St Timothy church, Heol Pennar) and an icon that was given as a gift by the Greek Orthodox Church to St Mary's (that icon disappeared when a curate had it sent away to be valued and was never seen again). Recently the church was badly vandalized and left in a dangerous state and it was rumored that the council was going to demolish it. That was prevented when 2 intrepid Ely expats (Rosemary Lewis and Delia Jay) wrote letters and saved it when Cadw. Thanks to the ladies, and the "Friends of St Mary's at Caerau" http://www.stmaryscaerau.org/ St Mary's will saved for future generations, and just to show that this not just a minority interest, the kids at Trelai School made a movie in 2005 which shows their enthusiasm for their hill http://www.firstlightonline.co.uk/movies/hillfort-the-lost-world-of-ely The lost world of Ely. Time Team came along to help the Cardiff Archeologists excavate one of the biggest hill forts in south Wales. I live in Dodge City and often visit the Boot Hill Museum, which is located exactly where Boot Hill was. We have travelled all over the United States and visit living history museums, in fact my daughter was In San Antonio Texas and visited the Alamo , and we visited Vicksburg and the fort there. I don't see why Caerau could not have a Caerau Hill Heritage park, we just need people with vision to see it through because I believe the people of Caerau deserve it.