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The Cathedral School

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llandaff, Cardiff

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Latitude: 51.4936 / 51°29'36"N

Longitude: -3.216 / 3°12'57"W

OS Eastings: 315676

OS Northings: 177885

OS Grid: ST156778

Mapcode National: GBR K7G.WJ

Mapcode Global: VH6F6.6QPC

Plus Code: 9C3RFQVM+CH

Entry Name: The Cathedral School

Listing Date: 12 February 1952

Last Amended: 30 June 2003

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 13654

Building Class: Education

Location: On the east side of Cardiff Road and part of an important group of buildings at the south entrance to Llandaff village.

County: Cardiff

Town: Cardiff

Community: Llandaff (Llandaf)

Community: Llandaff

Built-Up Area: Cardiff

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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1744-51, built by Admiral Thomas Mathews as Llandaff Court to replace the ancient manor house of Bryn-y-Gynnen, inhabited by a branch of the Mathews family since 1553. Admiral Mathews did not, however, ever live in the house. It was, by tradition, designed by John Wood the elder who was working on the Cathedral 1734-52, but its quality suggests that it is a copy-book design by a builder, like the many houses of this size in Wiltshire that it resembles. It was the Bishop's Palace 1850-1939, with Bishop Alfred Ollivant (Bishop 1849-82) its most noted tenant. It was he who added the Chapel in 1858-9 (qv) and probably he who put the main entrance porch on the rear elevation. The house suffered a severe fire in 1914 which led to the reconstruction of the roof and attics by W D Caroe. This has led to a roof hipped overall rather than within a parapet as it was before. This form was not fully achieved until after it became the home of the Cathedral School in 1958. Meanwhile the building had been used by American troops 1942-5 and then by St. Michaels' College (qv) 1945-58.


Built of Bath limestone ashlar with Welsh slate roofs on the main classical south-east front, rendered with ashlar dressings on the rear elevation. Both south-east and north-west fronts are of three storeys and nine bays. South-east front of ashlar with long and short quoins, bands and moulded cornice. Double hung 6 over 6 pane sashes with moulded stone architraves and keystones; central pedimented Doric portico at top of a broad flight of steps. Hipped roof with three large multi-flued stacks.
North-west front rendered; central C19 projecting stone porch with double timber doors. Sash windows as before. Area wrought iron railings which have uprights with spear-headed finials and standards with urn finials.
There are considerable late C20 extensions added to the east side of the building. The west side has the Chapel (qv).


Double pile central entrance plan with the staircase in the rear right centre. This is a fine contemporary wood staircase with slender turned balusters with knops, three to each tread, and a softwood handrail with fielded panelling to wall string. The handrail has been heightened by an added modern brass rail. The stair rises to the attic and is grained on the lower floor but painted above, the more probable original treatment. The reorientation of the entrance from south to north must have been done by Bishop Ollivant to make it more convenient for the Cathedral and this has led to the apparent oddity of the stair position if the house is entered this way instead of from the south through the columned hall. Central corridor across the house. The Headmaster's study has some re-arranged pilaster work forming bookcases and said to have come from the Choir of John Wood's ''temple'' in Bishop Ollivant's time, but the interior is now otherwise plain. Upper floor not seen, Attics and roof rebuilt post fire.

Reasons for Listing

Included as a fine mid C18 country house possibly designed by John Wood the elder which has an important historic connection with the Bishops of Llandaff and the Cathedral.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Chapel of The Cathedral School
    Chapel situated to south-west of school and connected to school by a single storey wing contemporary with the chapel.
  • II Boundary Wall to the west of The Cathedral School
    Bounds lane connecting High Street and Cardiff Road on its east side. It extends south from the south-west tower of the ruins of the Bishop's Palace as far as Cardiff Road.
  • II Milepost outside the Cathedral School
    On the east side of Cardiff Road and part of an important group of buildings at the south entrance to Llandaff village.
  • II East Boundary Wall of The Lodge and car park at rear
    Runs from Cardiff Road along eastern boundary of lane (connecting High Street and Cardiff Road) to a point where it joins the original garden wall to St Andrew and St Cross Minor Canonries.
  • II The Lodge
    On the north-east side of the road opposite St Michael's College and between the old Probate Registry and the Cathedral School.
  • I Ruins of the Old Bishop's Palace
    At the south-east end of The Cathedral Green and part of the important group of buildings surrounding it.
  • II St. Andrew
    Part of the group of important buildings at the south-west entrance to The Cathedral Green.
  • II St. Cross
    Part of the group of important buildings at the south-west entrance to The Cathedral Green.

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