Llandaff Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in a conservation area, with an eclectic mix of architectural styles. The present building, built on the site of an earlier church, dates from about 1120. It was extended and modified several times in the Middle Ages. By the early eighteenth century, it had suffered severe damage and was effectively reconstructed by John Wood. In the nineteenth century, it underwent massive restoration by John Pritchard. The cathedral was badly damaged by a landmine in 1941 and after the war the building was refurbished by George Pace. Sir Jacob Epstein designed the statue of Christ in Majesty above the nave, and the cathedral is also home to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s triptych Seed of David.

Radyr developed in the nineteenth century with the construction of the Taff Vale railway, but one of the early hamlets of the parish was called Groeswen, which took its name from a white cross that would have marked the pilgrimage route. A branch of the Mathew family, who provided hospitality to pilgrims, lived at Radyr Court (now in Danescourt). The poet Rhisiart ap Rhys wrote of Elspeth Mathew that, “Parlwr gan vwr niferoedd i vels draw val osdri oedd” (“Her parlour was to many invalids like a hostelry”). Elspeth is also recorded as having sent a considerable weight of candles to Penrhys.

David Davies of Llandinam brought the railway to Creigiau in 1889 to improve the transport links between his coal mines in the Rhondda and his docks at Barry. The first passenger trains called at the station in 1896. During World War II, wounded American troops were transported to the station on their way to Rhydlafar Hospital. The last train ran in 1962.

The Castell Mynach farmhouse in Creigiau was built for the Mathew family in the fifteenth century, and offered hospitality to pilgrims.

Groesfaen means ‘stone cross’ and it is likely that a cross close to St David’s Church marked the medieval pilgrimage route. Groesfaen was a tiny hamlet until the opening of the Bute and Mwyndy iron ore works in the nineteenth century, which led to a considerable increase in its population.

Llantrisant is home to a splendid parish church, old cobbled streets, the remains of a castle and a Guildhall, recently renovated as a heritage centre. The town was a key Norman stronghold in South Wales. Edward II was briefly imprisoned in the castle before being moved to Berkeley Castle, where he was killed in 1327. In 1346, the town was granted a Royal Charter months before its Archers helped Edward, son of Edward III and known as the Black Prince, win a victory against the French army at the Battle of Crécy. Outside the Model House in Llantrisant is a statue of the eccentric but talented Dr William Price – doctor, Druid, Chartist and pioneer of cremation.

Pant-y-Brâd means ‘hollow of treason’ and is situated on the eastern edge of Tonyrefail. A stone tablet, dated 1909, marks the spot where Edward II was said to have been captured in 1326 by agents of his estranged wife, Isabella. He was taken to Llantrisant Castle and from there to Berkeley Castle, where he was killed in 1327.

The Waun Wen Centre in Trebanog was developed through a community regeneration project under the auspices of the Arts Council of Wales’ Ideas: People: Places initiative. The partnership between Trivallis, Valleys Kids and Artes Mundi in 2018 explored ideas of regeneration through art. The project involved international artists and activities to encourage environmental improvements, community cohesion and skills development.

Penrhys was one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Wales in the Middle Ages. According to legend, a very beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary appeared in the branches of an oak tree near the holy well in the thirteenth century. The statue could not be removed until a chapel and a shrine were built. Pilgrims visited the site until the 1530s, when Henry VIII had all such shrines and statues destroyed. In the 1930s pilgrimages to Penrhys were revived and measures were taken to protect the well. In 1953, the statue of Portland stone was erected.

Across the valley from Penrhys stands the Llanwonno Tip or Tylorstown Tip. Waste from the Ferndown and Tylorstown pits was taken to the top of the hill due to lack of space along the valley floor. Local legend claims it is actually a dormant volcano, filled with mining waste on the orders of the Coal Board to stop smoke rising. In the 1970s, the smoke stopped and street parties were held in the local area to celebrate the end of the volcano’s threat.

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Penrhys is an island at the forest's edge 
With consecrated bread and holy water

by Gwilym Tew circa 1470

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