Sitting at my WordPress ‘dashboard’, feeling rather like Doctor Strangelove in his War Room, black-gloved hand hovering over the nuclear button, I noticed from the ‘top posts’ list that The oldest pub in Cardiff (see https://tinyurl.com/y799m8jn) persistently attracts a readership even though it is now nearly nine years old and not accurate enough anyway. Time, therefore, for an updated and amended list of the position as it stands at the start of 2019. Note that ‘Cardiff’ here refers to the city centre and the traditional inner-city wards (Butetown, Grangetown, Canton, Cathays, Roath and Splott).
THE TOP 30 OLDEST PUBS IN CARDIFF, 2019
Original names in brackets where applicable
1 Rummer Tavern 1713
2= Elevens 1731 (The Globe)
2= Owain Glyndŵr 1731 (The Mabli Arms)
4= The City Arms 1792 (The Cardiff Boat)
4= The Sandringham 1792 (The Black Lion)
6 The Goat Major 1813 (The Blue Bell)
7 The Cambrian Tap 1830 (The Cambrian)
8 The New Market Tavern 1840 (The New Market Inn)
9 The Old Arcade 1844
10= Be At One 1849 (The Blue Anchor)
10= The Golden Cross 1849 (The Shield & Newcastle)
12 The Canton Cross Vaults 1855 (The Canton Cross)
13= The Clifton 1859
13= The Four Elms 1859
15 The Grange 1861
16 Peppermint 1862 (The Steam Mill Arms)
17= The Cottage 1863 (The Cardiff Cottage)
17= The Cottage (Splott) 1863
19= The North Star 1864 (The Maindy)
19= The Packet 1864
21 The Kings Castle 1866
22 The Borough Arms 1867
23= The Butchers Arms (Canton) 1869 (The Market Tavern)
23= The Canton 1869
25= The Corner House 1872 (The Kings Cross)
25= The Yard 1872 (The Albert)
27= The Woodville 1875
27= The Great Western 1875
29 The Romilly 1878
30= The Mackintosh 1881
30= Queens Vaults 1881 (Queens Hotel)
Don’t forget that there are many even older pubs in outer Cardiff. Drink has been sold at the Church Inn (Llanishen) and the Unicorn (Llanedeyrn – currently closed) since the 15th century, while the Blue Bell (St Mellons) is 16th century. The Birchgrove, the Three Horseshoes (both Birchgrove), the Maltsters Arms, (Llandaf), the Kings Arms (Pentyrch), the Fox & Hounds (Whitchurch), the Butchers Arms (Rhiwbina), the Old Cross and the Rompney Castle (both Rumney), the Coach House and the Fox & Hounds (both St Mellons) all date from the 18th century. Survivors from the first half of the 19th century are the Black Lion, the Butchers Arms and the Heathcock in Llandaf; the Plough, the Three Elms and the Maltsters in Whitchurch; the Hollybush in Coryton; and the two Lewis Arms in Pentyrch and Tongwynlais. Other pubs that existed before the 1881 stop-date in the above list are the New Inn in Birchgrove, the Pineapple and the Railway in Llandaf North, the Tŷ Nant in Morganstown, the Poachers Arms in St Mellons and finally a pair of Royal Oaks, in Whitchurch and Adamsdown.
What I should actually do is scrap the arbitrary split between inner and outer Cardiff, implemented for reasons I can’t recall but which must have seemed perfectly logical at the time, and just amalgamate the lot into one big chronological list – but what would be the point?
Always thought it was one of those Cardiff peculiarities that the Cambrian pub should have the accent firmly on the second syllable, as cam + Brian as in life of, but the Cambrian in Tredegar is pronounced the same way so it could be a South Wales thing.
I stubbornly insist on pronouncing it as per the geological era and the mountain range – Cam-bree-un, with the stress on the first syllable. But I’m in a minority, like when I say Lee-doe rather than Lie-doe in Aberafan.
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