The following is a history of St James' Church written by the Reverend John R. Guy, vicar of Rudry between 1971 and 1974. His work was published as part of "A History of Rudry", by The Starling Press Ltd in 1976 (ISBN 0 903434 15 6).

In the year 1102, Robert of Hay gave to the great Benedictine abbey of Glastonbury in Somerset the church of Bassaleg (wherein the abbey subsequently established a priory), with its dependencies, the churches of Machen, Bedwas, Mynyddislwyn, Mapmoil (now unidentifiable) and the chapelries of Coedkernew and Pulerid (also now unidentifiable 1). This is the first known documentary reference to what was to be later the mother church of Rudry, that of St. Barrwg in Bedwas. It is very unlikely that at this date there was a church at Rudry, as Bedwas was itself a dependency and not a parish church. 1b However, by the year 1254, Glastonbury Abbey had parted with these churches to the Bishop of Llandaff, and it seems likely that the independent "parish" of Bedwas came into existence about this time, for in that year another former Bassaleg dependency, Machen, is listed as a rectory. 2 The first recorded reference to a church at Rudry is in 1295, when it is listed as among the possessions of the Lord of Glamorgan, Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Hertford and Gloucester, and there are further references to it, with the same designation, in 1306, 1316 and 1317. 3 Taking this evi-dence with the style of architecture of the parish church, and noting that the dedication is to St. James the Apostle, a favourite saint with the Normans, then it is possible to advance the suggestion that Rudry Church was first founded within the parish of Bedwas, as a dependent chapel of that church, sometime between 1254 and 1295. The church is thus some seven hundred years old, and its first recorded parish priest was some six hundred years ago, one David de Tregrug, who appears in that capacity in 13524. The name of this man is significant, Tregrug, or Llangybi as it is today, lay at that time within the Lordship of Usk, another possession of the lords of Glamorgan, and in the closing years of the 13th century, Tregrug Castle was the home of the influential cleric Bogo de Clare, Chancellor of Llandaff Cathedral, and brother of Earl Gilbert of Gloucester. It is perhaps not all that surprising that the priest of Rudry should have come from within the lands of his lord and patron.
The undivided parish of Bedwas was of considerable extent—some 7,715 acres in area, of which in 1901 4,195 lay in Monmouthshire, and 3,520 in Rudry and Van. 5 The fact that the parish spanned the boun-dary between the two counties should not surprise us, for the parish pre-dated the formation of the counties—the parish is 13th century, the county boundary only 16th! By the 16th century, Rudry and Van had come into the possession of the Lord of Senghenydd. 6
Rudry Church is but little mentioned in the records until fairly recently, though the parish's own registers date back to 1627, and the list of the clergy who served the church is complete from 1623, when one Thomas Jones was the curate. Although possessing the right of christening, marriage and burial, and its own churchwarden, until the 20th century St. James' remained technically a chapel-of-ease to the parish church of Bedwas, served by a long succession of curates, who seem to have resided in that community, and either rode or walked over to Rudry to officiate on Sundays. The curate was, in fact, responsible for both churches in the parish because of an historical curiosity. From about 1254, the parish belonged to the Bishop of Llandaff, who held the advowson, or right of appointing the rector (a right which he retained until 1920). Bedwas was, for most of its history, one of the more valuable 'preferments' in the Llandaff diocese, worth 40/- per annum in 1254, £10/17/6d. in 1535, £80 in 1603, and £100 in 1665, 7 whereas the bishopric of Llandaff itself was one of the poorest in the kingdom. Thus from the 17th century onwards there developed the practice of the successive• bishops augmenting their income by holding other pre-ferment "in commendam", i.e. drawing the revenues, but appointing curates to serve the churches on their behalf. This happened with the valuable rectory of St. Andrews Major (Dinas Powis), and also, from 1667-1849, with Bedwas and Rudry. Between the death of the Reverend Jenkin Howard in 1667, and the appointment of the Reverend Watkin Watkins in 1850, the successive, non-resident rectors were the eighteen more (or less) distinguished men who held the see of Llandaff. The galaxy included some notable politicians, like Dr. Jonathan Shipley (1769), aristocrats (The Hon. Shute Barrington, 1769-1782), scholars (Dr. Richard Watson, the eminent chemist and theologian 1782-1816), and even one who subsequently became archbishop of York, (Dr. John Gilbert, 1740-49)! Admittedly, the direct influence upon the parish of these "bishop-rectors" was minimal, though the great educationalist Dr. Edward Copleston (1828-49) was responsible for the founding of the Rudry National School in 1835. The parishioners at both Bedwas and Rudry probably never met any of these men, but only the curates whom they appointed to serve the parish for them. These men, too, are not without interest. For example, from 1668-1749, three successive gene-rations of the Hyett family served the curacy, all named Edward. One. Watkin Watkins, served four successive bishop-rectors as curate from 1817-1850, before becoming in the latter year the first independent rector of the parish for over 150 years. And one, it has to be confessed, was a "black sheep". The Reverend Thomas Rimbron had been born at Peterston-super-Ely, the son of the parish sexton. After a period as a shop-clerk in Bristol, he returned to his native Glamorgan as school-master at Capel Llaniltern, and was ordained in January 1767, as cur-ate of Welsh St. Donats in the parish of Llanblethian. In 1769, the Hon. Shute Barrington as Bishop of Llandaff appointed him to the curacy of Bedwas and Rudry, where he married the widow of one of his predeces-sors. the Reverend Watkin Jones (1749-66). Until 1775, his ministry in the parish has been described as that of "an uncommonly conscientious priest" who was of "strong and independent intellect". 8 But then, after Mattins one Sunday in May, 1775, Rimbron was accused by one of his parishioners, Robert Thomas, of having "begotten a bastard on the body of his servant maid"—who happened to be Thomas's daughter. Rimbron was forced to admit his fault "What can you have of a fox or a dog but his skin?" he is reported to have replied. His ministry in the parish was over, and he abruptly left, returning ultimately to Bristol. Sadly, the child, born in July 1775, was laid to rest in Bedwas church-yard the following month.
Perhaps the most notorious priest to live in Rudry was one who never, in fact, served the church as curate. The Reverend William Price was born in 1761, the son of Charles Price of Porsett, and grandson of Nicholas Pryce, Ironmaster, of Pentyrch. 9 He was, therefore, one of a family of "some social standing in the locality (which) has a family memorial on the north wall of the nave at Bedwas Church". ) 10 After education at Cowbridge Grammar School, Price went up to Jesus College, Oxford, and in 1786 became a Fellow of that college. However, in the following year he fell from his horse whilst hunting, and soon after began to exhibit "very strange behaviour." He resigned his Fellowship, and came to live at Tynycoedcae in Rudry, marrying in 1790 an illiterate maidservant, one Mary Edmunds of Machen. 11 From 1790 until his death in 1841, the behaviour of this Reverend gentleman was the cause of continual comment in the parish. "His main occupation was going for walks in the woods to collect pieces of bark from the trees in order to burn them secretly when he got home; or collecting stones to spit on them, which he believed added greatly to their value .. . Perhaps his most endearing habit was his love of water. Whenever the oppor-tunity arose, he would bathe in the local ponds. Sometimes he would take off his clothes; sometimes only his hat. But if he did he never neglected to wet his clothes or fill his hat with water before putting them on again." 12 Some of this unfortunate man's eccentricities were not quite so harmless or pleasant. In 1814, an attempt was made to prove him insane, and the testimony of two of his former servants, Edmund William and Elizabeth Samuel, from the investigation, survives." William testified that his former employer had "carried his own excrement in his pockets, burned it on the fire, and rubbed it on his head and on the walls of his room saying it was paint" and that he had threatened his servant "with a knife." Samuel added that Mr. Price was in the habit of "running in the field in his shirt or naked." 13 Insane or not, the Reverend William Price fathered four sons and three daughters, and his eccentricities were inherited by his most famous son, and namesake, Dr. William Price, the pioneer of cremation, who was baptised in St. James' Church on 4 April 1800. 14

 

In the year 1914, the church in Rudry underwent a change in status. With the agreement of the Reverend George Thomas, Rector of Bedwas, the Bishop of Llandaff, Dr. Prichard Hughes, presented a petition to Archbishop Randall Davidson of Canterbury requesting that St. James' chapel-of-ease should be raised to the status of a parish church. On 14 May, 1914, under Section 26 of the Pluralities Act of 1838 (which provided tor chapelries to he separated from the mother parish) and Section 8 of 11w Church Building Act of 1839 (allowing the creation of siich new benefices) H.M. King George V signed an Order in Council It .0 Mr Oar parish of It udry, vesting the patronage in the Bishop of Llandaff, and authorising the appointment of two churchwardens. 15 In the same year, Bishop Hughes appointed as the first Vicar of Rudry Ire Reverend William Jones, who had been serving the church as curate since 1899. Previously he had served as a curate in the parishes of Pontypridd, Eglwysilan and Ebbw Vale after ordination in 1892. Mr. Jones was already 70 years of age at the time of his appointment, and died only two years later. After him there were to be only three inde-pendent incumbents of Rudry. The Reverend John Mathias Raymond (1916-1933), the last appointed by the Bishop of Llandaff as patron before the disestablishment of the Church in Wales, who came to Rudry from the curacy of Caerphilly, and died "in harness"; the Reverend David Richard Jones, (1934-1937), formerly curate of Griffithstown, and subsequently vicar of Crumlin; and the Reverend Gwilym John Teilo Jones-Evans, formerly curate of Marshfield, and subsequently vicar of L lanedeyrn. In the year 1949, the living of Rudry was suspen-ded. and the Reverend John Anthony Augustus Jones appointed Priest-in-charge. On his removal to Tredegar in 1951, the parish was united in plurality with that of Machen—a situation which endured to the year 1975 during which time Rudry was again served by a succession of assistant curates, who have, however, lived in the parish at the former Vicarage (renamed Parsonage). In 1975 the Monmouth Diocesan Con-ference authorized the uniting of the benefice with that of Michaelston-y-Vedw, and on Sunday 16th March the Revd. Canon L. C. Bartle-Jenkins was Collated and Inducted as Vicar. The Parsonage was sub-sequently sold.

 

The church building itself is of considerable interest. It consists of chancel. nave, south porch, and western tower with a saddleback roof. The massive construction reveals its antiquity; the nave walls are some 2'6" thick, and those of the tower at the base some 4'. Careful obser-vation reveals some of the ancient features somewhat obscured by subsequent restoration. On the exterior of the chancel, the footing of the original east window can be traced below that of the present one. and in the south wall the outline of the blocked priest's door. The out-line of another. round-headed, door can be seen in the south wall of the nave, and this was the original entrance to the church. The present door and porch, attached to the nave by a square joint in the masonry, dates only from the end of the last century. High in the south-east corner of the nave an irregularity in the masonry marks the site of the small window which lit the now-vanished Rood Loft, and in the north-east corner of the nave, another, greater. irregularity gives away the situation of the staircase which led up to it from the floor of the nave. Inside the tower, at first floor level in the east wall, is a blocked door-way which led almost until living memory into a now dismantled gallery which projected into the nave, and contained extra seating. This explains why, although the Diocesan Year Book gives the seating capacity of St. James' as 80, the pews today in fact will only seat 54.
The church as it stands today is largely the result of two major restorations, undertaken in 1885 and 1961. On 12 February 1885, the Rudry Vestry approved plans for a complete restoration of the church submitted by the Llandaff Diocesan Architect, John Prichard (the man responsible for the restoration of Llandaff Cathedral itself). The Diocesan Consistorial Court approved the plans on 1 April the same year, and on 6 May the contract was signed between the Reverend William Williams, Rector of Bedwas, and Thomas & William Cox, Builders, of Llandaff, for the work to be carried out. The total cost was given as £610/16/-, payable to the builders in seven instalments, as and when the work was carried out. 16 Prichard's plans envisaged: "the removal of whitewash from the internal and external walls (a common, and attractive, Glamorgan practice, now died out), the removal of the font to a new position (it used to stand under the chancel arch) and the provision for it of a new base; the removal of the pulpit and prayer-desk from the north-east corner of the nave; the provision of a new altar, the insertion of a lancet window in the north wall of the nave, and the alteration of the south nave windows; the provision of a new roof; the insertion of a flue for a stove in the north-east corner of the tower (the hooded outlet for this still survives high on the tower's north face): the renewal of the floor; new pews." 17 Much of Prichard's work survives; the pews, to his characteristic design, are still in situ, the font, a massive medieval stone basin 21" square, and standing 29" high upon its new base, remains where he placed it, in the north-west corner of the nave, the roof and windows are unaltered. The chancel and nave gangway Prichard paved with memorial slabs, some of which were no doubt taken down from the walls, as the earliest now in that position dates only from 1916. These stones, now largely hidden by either pews or carpet, are among the earliest surviving in the church or churchyard, and date from the 18th century, the earliest from 1702. The historian David Jones assiduously copied their inscriptions when he visited the church in 1889. 18 Perhaps the most interesting lies in the chancel floor, and records not a burial but a benefaction:

Charles Edward Edmund by his will bearing date 22 April 1743
did charge his freehold in this parish with the yearly payment of 40 /- to the poor of this parish for ever.

Unfortunately, the location of Mr. Edmund's freehold is now unknown, and attempts to trace it made by the Parish Council in 1895, and currently by the present Church Treasurer have so far failed to locate it, so this charity is no longer distributed in accordance with the donor's wishes.

A further major restoration was undertaken in 1961, a Faculty being granted in that year for the "removal of the stone coping, the provision of a new roof, new foundations to the nave walls, the pointing of the walls and tower, the provision of external drainage channels and soak-a ways, the re-inforcement of the tower walls, and the replacement therein of two floors."19 The work, undertaken by Messrs. Graham Bros. this time cost £3,826.20 Apart from some leakage in the tower. which does cause concern, St. James' is at present secure.

There have been other, less "root and branch" restorations. In Sep-tember, 1936, Messrs. W. Crowe of Caerphilly carried out a complete scheme of repainting and decorating, including the varnishing of the roof, at a cost of £49, work dedicated at two thanksgiving services during October, at which Canon H. G. Stanley, Rural Dean of Bassaleg, and the Reverend T. W. Davies, Rural Dean of Caerphilly, were the preachers. 21 The church was again repainted, this time by voluntary labour, in 1956, and during 1973 Mr. Philip Jones, Churchwarden, carried out substantial repairs to the nave flooring.
Until 1951, the church was lit by oil lamps, which had been first installed in 1915. During 1951, the Parochial Church Council considered the cost of lighting and heating the church by electricity, accepting a scheme which, along with the conversion of both church hall and vicar-age to electric light, cost £102. During the following year, they explored the possibility of replacing the heating system (which dated from 1937) with radiators, work carried out at a cost of £150 in 1954.22 With no major alteration, the scheme implemented at that time is still in use today.

The sanctuary contains a number of features of interest. The altar cross dates from 1918, and was the gift of the Moses family of Cynant Farm. The altar bookstand was given in 1919 by Mr. & Mrs. Ephraim Jones of Abertridwr, and the Credence Table by members of the Mothers' Union in 1959. The east window, the only stained glass window in the church, is the memorial to the Reverend John Mathias Raymond, Vicar 1916-1933. Erected by W. Maile and Son of London, the cost was met by public subscription in the parish, and it was dedicated in 1934 by the Reverend H. G. Stanley, the Reverend T. W. Davies, and the vicar, the Reverend D. R. Jones. The banner, bearing the emblem of St. James, was designed by Mrs. Jennifer McLachlan of the Cardiff College of Art, made by Dr. Jean Guy, and dedicated at the Patronal Festival in 1972 by the Rt. Revd. E. M. Gresford Jones, Assistant Bishop of Monmouth. The altar itself has four seasonal frontals, in white, red, green and purple, the oldest being the red, dedicated in 1921. The white, a splendid piece of embroidery, was dedicated in 1958. The church is justly proud of its altar silver. There is a fine, plain silver communion cup with paten-lid, hallmarked "London 1587"—the church's greatest treasure—now used only on Holy Days, and another chalice and paten bought in 1951 for £42, and dedicated in April of that year by the Bishop of Monmouth. The large Wine Flagon, now used only on the credence table at great festivals, was given in 1931 by the now defunct Young Ladies' Church Guild.

The chancel today contains only temporary furnishings. The choir-stalls, placed in the church in 1885, were removed because of rot in 1959, and destroyed. Replacement stalls, brought in 1974 from the closed church of St. James, Leckwith, are eventually to be placed in position after alteration and repair. It is perhaps interesting to note that the parish choir was first surpliced on Easter Day, 1915, when it consisted of ten boys and four men. The services were accompanied by a harmonium, purchased in 1903, of which the present instrument (at the time of writing), moved to the back of the nave in 1972, is the lineal descendant!

Apart from the Mothers' Union Banner. dedicated in 1948 by the Archdeacon of Newport, the main interest in the nave centres upon the wall memorials. The oldest is that to the Reverend William Jones, Vicar 1914-1916, dedicated in 1917 by the Reverend T. Parry. The other is to Mrs. Burris, for many years organist at St. James', and dedicated by the Reverend Stephen Jackson, R.D. in 1923. Also in the nave is a War Memorial, unusual in that it lists not only the parish's fallen in the 1914-1918 War, but also, as a thankoffering, those who returned safely from the conflict.

The tower contains the church's three bells, sometimes lightheartedly referred to as "The Three Blind Mice". They are of especial interest, and the oldest, cast by John Palmer of Gloucester, is a great rarity. It bears the inscription : REES EDMOND : WATKIN PHILLIP : CHVRCHWARDENS : OCTOBER 6 1659. Thus it not only dates from the period of the Commonwealth and Protectorate, when the use of church bells was frowned upon, but from the short and confused Protectorate of Richard Cromwell—great Oliver's less distinguished son. Of the others, one dates from soon after the Restoration of Charles II: IOHN PHILLIP RICE : HOWELL WILLIAM : CH.WARDENS 1664 (and also cast by Palmers of Gloucester), and the other, with the inscription PHILLIP WILLIAM : WILLIAM ROBBERT : CH. WARDENS : EE 1708, and cast by Evan Evans (EE) of Chepstow, from the reign of Queen Anne.23 The wooden bell-frame, upon which these hung, had fallen victim to the worm by 1956, and today the bells, suspended from concrete beams, can only be chimed.

In Christian terms, the church is not so much a building as a worshipping community of believing people, and both the changing and developing pattern of public worship, and some of the personalities who have been associated with the church, other than the clergy, deserve some attention in this study. The earliest surviving evidence 24 of the nature of the Divine Worship offered in the parish church dates from 1771, during the ministry of the Reverend Thomas Rimbron. In that year. there was one service per Sunday, Morning Prayer, with a sermon preached on alternate Sundays. The Holy Communion was celebrated three times a year (probably at Christmas, Easter and Michaelmas). The pattern was the same at the mother church of Bedwas, except that there Holy Communion was celebrated monthly, and Evening Prayer read in the summer months. The church's own Register of Services begins in 1899, with the arrival in Rudry of the Reverend William Jones, and we are fortunate in that a complete set of these volumes has survived to the present day, 25 enabling us to chart the pattern of worship in some detail for the present century. By 1899, there had been one major change from 1771—and that in the language of the liturgy. In the 18th century, Divine Worship had been conducted exclusively in Welsh. but by 1899, the language was English, except that once a month at Mattins there was a Welsh sermon. This last was discontinued on Mr. Jones' death in 1916, and since that date the English language has been used exclusively. The church still, however, contains the lec-tern Bible in Welsh, as a (now mute) reminder of the past.

By 1899, the pattern of worship was 11 a.m. Morning Prayer, 6 p.m. Evening Prayer, followed by Holy Communion once a month. This remained unchanged until the early 1920's when the Reverend J. M. Raymond introduced a second celebration of Holy Communion, after Morning Prayer, and later an additional one at 8.30 a.m. on the major festivals. His successor, the Reverend D. R. Jones in 1935 added a further celebration on the 2nd Sunday in the month, so that by 1936 there was normally only one Sunday in any month upon which there was no Eucharist. In 1943, the Reverend Teilo Jones-Evans made the first radical alteration in the pattern of worship, when he introduced a weekly celebration of Holy Communion at 8.30 a.m. in place of one after Mattins, and in 1948 took this a stage further when on the first Sunday in every month in place of an early celebration and Mattins, there was held one service, a Parish Communion at 9.30 a.m. Since that date, it has been this service which has become the centre of the church's worshipping life. In 1952, it was extended to the 1st and 3rd Sundays, and then in 1955 to every Sunday, and Mattins was discon-tinued. Today, the Parish Communion is celebrated every Sunday at 9.30 a.m.

This changing pattern reflects another, that of social habits. In 1899, the evening service was that which drew the largest congregations—in 1906, Mr. Jones noted in the register, for example, that there had been 27 present at Mattins, but 82 at Evensong on an ordinary Sunday (Trinity XXI). The development of the Parish Communion since the Second World War reflects a change in emphasis, with churchpeople preferring to come to worship in the morning rather than in the evening, and, as the tendency has been for worshippers to attend but once of a Sunday in recent years, to have an opportunity of making their Com-munions on that occasion. By the early 1960's Evensong had become an afternoon service, by 1970 only offered twice a month, and in 1972 the Parochial Church Council voted to discontinue it altogether as a public service.
Easter is by ancient tradition the day upon which all communicants are urged to receive the Sacrament, and the figures for "Easter Communicants" are an instructive graph. In 1906, for example, when Mr. Jones recorded congregations of over 80 at Evensong, there were only 20 Easter Communicants, although the celebration then followed the Evening Service. During the ministry of Mr. Raymond, the numbers climbed steadily, reaching their peak in the years 1926-1940, when they averaged over 100. The highest number recorded was 127 in 1929. Since the War. they have gradually declined again, so that by 1974, the figure of 48 saw a return to the position of 1915.

Many Rudry people have given notable service to St. James' Church over the years, and particularly through the medium of the Parochial Church Council, first constituted in 1920 after the disestablishment of the Church in Wales. The first council consisted of Messrs. Z. Burris, I. Burris, B. Davies, C. Morgan, Harold Jones, Mesdames J. Jones. Harris, and Miss E. Stephens, with the two churchwardens. Of these Mr. Jones served until 1958, and was still a Sidesman at the time of his death at Easter, 1974. Mr. Richard Green, who had been first elected during the incumbency of the Reverend D. R. Jones, served, with only one break from 1953-59, until his death in 1974, a period of some thirty years. It is, however, among the churchwardens that longevity has been the rule. Since 1919, there have been only two Vicar's Wardens, Mr. Walter Howells, for 36 years (1919-1955), and the present one, Mr. Philip Jones, who has now been in office for 19. Among the Wardens elected by the parish, Mr. Joseph Thomas Titley served for 29 years (1921-1950), and Mr. Albert Page is so far the only warden elected to serve for two separate periods (1957-1960, 1964-1972).

The Parish's registers are in themselves a fascinating record of social as well as religious history, and in this capacity they appear in another section of this work. Suffice it to say here that, apart from the Registers of Public Worship, dating from 1899, the Registers of Baptisms take us back to 1625; of Marriages to 1640; and of Burials to 1637; of Banns of Marriage to 1824; The Minutes of the Vestry survive from 1878, and of the Parochial Church Council from 1934. Detailed Account Books survive from 1921. 26

Something should also be said about the churchyard, the glebe, and the Church Hall. St. James' stands in an ancient burial ground, and many of the stones close to the building itself date from the 18th and early 19th centuries, some of them bearing inscriptions in the Welsh Language. The ancient churchyard was about one rood in extent, and by the beginning of this century was inadequate. In 1910, an extra rood was given by the Earl of Plymouth, and consecrated by the Bishop of Llandaff in May, 1912. 27 This extension has served the parish until the present day, though now it is almost full, and in the near future burials will have to take place in the Municipal Cemetery at Bedwas. The churchyard gates date from 1906, and were dedicated in August of that year by the Rector of Bedwas. Some minor alterations have been made in recent years; in 1967-68, many kerbstones were removed from graves, along with iron railings from some of the old tombs, and four trees felled, to facilitate cleaning and grass-cutting, and in 1960 the north side of the churchyard was set aside as a Garden of Remembrance for Cremated Remains.

The ancient glebe-land attached to the church was of small extent, consisting only of a single field behind the National School. In the 19th century, the tenant of this Glebe was the Bishop of Llandaff as Rector of the parish. At the time of Disestablishment in 1920, the glebe was vested in the Representative Body of the Church in Wales, and in 1937 it was slightly reduced in extent when a garden was formed from it for the tenant of Church House. In a letter of 1 January, 1938, the Reverend Teilo Jones-Evans submitted to the "R.B." that it was desirable that the vicar of Rudry should have the control of the glebe field. and he subsequently became the tenant in place of Mr. William Thomas at a rent of £2 per annum. In 1961, the Representative Body sold the glebe-land to the Glamorgan County Counci1. 28
When the National School closed in 1902, the buildings were used as a Hall for Rudry Church, and a house for the sexton-caretaker. In 1914, on the formation of the parish of Rudry, it passed under the control of the Vicar and Churchwardens as trustees. This situation remained until 1936, when, under a scheme formulated by the Board of Education under the Charitable Trusts Acts 1853-1925, they were discharged from their trusteeship, and the property was vested in the Monmouth Diocesan Trust "protecting the property for the parish (and) not affecting the local administration and control of the schoolroom by the vicar and churchwardens."29 Thus from 1936, the Vicar and Wardens had the use of the property, but not the legal ownership, a situation which endures to the present day (at the time of writing). Until 1957, when the Parish Hall was opened, the Church Hall was used for nearly all the community's social activities, but since that date its use has been increasingly confined to church meetings.

An organisation which has given loyal and devoted service to the parish church, and which deserves mention here, is the parish branch of the Mothers' Union. In 1934, on the arrival of the Reverend D. R. Jones, plans were prepared for the forming of a branch, and on 15 January 1935, the first enrolment of members took place, at a service at which Lady Mather Jackson gave the address. In 1974, the branch celebrated its 40th anniversary, with a Thanksgiving Service at which the Bishop of Llandaff gave the address. At the time of writing, two of the original "enrolment", Mrs. Eliza Titley, and Mrs. Lock, are still actively concerned in the work of the branch (at the time of writing).

 

NOTES IN THE TEXT
I C. A. H. Green : Notes on churches in the diocese of Llandaff (Aberdare, 1906-7), p.14.
1 b Unless Rulerid is Rudry in which case the church is 100 years older than the other evidence suggests.
2 ibid. p.15.
3 ibid. p.143.
4 John R. Guy : St. James' Church, Rudry—a short guide. (1973) p.4.
5 Green. op.cit. p.143.
6 ibid.
T ibid.
8 This 'biography' and the quotations are taken from notes kindly lent to the author by Mr. Barry Davies.
9 The Pedigree of Dr. William Price. Cardiff Library MS. 4.1162.
10 Islwyn Nicholas : A Welsh Heretic—Dr. William Price, Llantrisant, (London 1940) p.8.
11 The Pedigree of Dr. William Price, op. cit.
12 John Cuie : The Eccentric Dr. William Price of Llantrisant (1963), p.102.
13 The Reverend William Price : Minutes of evidences of his insanity, 1814. (Cardiff Library MS. 4.838).
14 Register of Baptisms 1767-1812, in the Church Safe.
15 The Order in Council is preserved among the parish papers in the Church Safe. The biographical details of the clergy are from Crockford's Clerical Directory for a number of years.
16 The Consistorial Court decree and the Contract are among the parish papers on deposit at the Glamorgan County Record Office.
17 Prichard's plans are contained in the Consistorial Court decree (see 16).
18 David Jones, Inscriptions, Vol. IX (Cardiff Library MS. 207.38D).
19 Details given to the P.C.C. on 26 February 1961, and contained in the Minute Book of the Vestry 1934-1967, now on deposit at the Glamorgan County Record Office.
20 ibid.
21 Register of Services 1935-1948, at the G.C.R.O.
22 Minute Book of the Vestry 1934-1967 (see 19). The information given in the subsequent paragraphs is from this volume, and from the Registers of Services 1917-1935, 1899-1915, at the G.C.R.O.
23 Arthur Wright : Church Bells of the diocese of Llandaff. No. 5. in the " Llandaff Diocesan Magazine ", January 1918, Vol. X, No. 4. p.67.
24 Answers to the Bishop's Visitation Queries, 1771. National Library of Wales MS. LL/QA/5.
25 1899-1915; 1917-1935; 1935-1948; 1948-1958; 1958-1967. All now on deposit at the G.C.R.O. The current Register dates from 1967.
26 The Register of Banns, the Minute and Account Books are all on deposit at the G.C.R.O.
27 Register of Services 1899-1915. Letter to the Reverend Teilo Jones-Evans, dated 18 March 1938.
28 Letter of Mr. Jones-Evans 1 January 1938. Of the R.B. to Mr. Jones-Evans 18 March 1938. Of the R.B. to the Reverend D. R. Jones 14 December 1937. All among the parish's papers at the G.C.R.O.
29 Letters of n.d. 1936 and 16 July 1936 to the Reverend D. R. Jones, and of 26 May 1938 to the Reverend T. Jones-Evans. At the G.C.R.O.

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