Normans and Religion

By 8th century the Kingdom of Morganwg was established, and peaceful Gelligaer was part of Senghenydd Cantref. The arrival of the Normans in 1066 changed everything across the country, and in 1094 Gelligaer was attacked, resulting in some important Norman Lords being killed. The remains of motte and bailey Norman castle can still be seen in Gelligaer.

Well into the 14th century, this was a time of unrest, however, it was also the time when the current St Catwg’s church was built. Originally the church would have been colourfully painted with religious scenes, and the exterior would have been limewashed, ensuring that it was clearly visible across the whole area. Nowadays, the church tells much of the history through the artefacts that it contains – including a 10th century carved stone, the village stocks and a screen presented by David Morgan, who founded the Cardiff department store.

Gelligaer also shows tells the story of nonconformity – Edward Pritchard established a Baptist congregation at his home, and John Wesley preached a sermon in the village on 25th may 1744. Horeb Chapel (built 1848) is a reminder of the simplicity of nonconformity.

A Short History of St Catwg’s Church, Gelligaer