The original warehouse here was built in 1745, though later remodelled with the addition of another storey. A plaque reads “This granary was erected by David Parry Esq. of Noyadd in Cardiganshire. March ye 26 1745”. In 1745 David Parry was the Sheriff of Cardiganshire and became the Mayor of Cardigan.
In 1768 Griffith Jones and Evan Davies, Merchants, had a lease of the “Granary”. On 29th September 1771 “Mr. Parry’s Storehouse”, together with “…the quay therto belonging and a messuage…”, was leased for 21 years by Marmaduke Gwynne of Noyadd Trefawr to Griffith Jones of Cardigan. On 26th June 1772 a lease was negotiated of the limekiln and half roof (lean-to) behind Mr. Parry’s Storehouse – the property of John Owen. On the 29th June 1772 land adjoining that limekiln was leased for the building of another kiln. In 1779 Griffith Jones still held the lease.
In 1785 Francis Gwynne, who had married into the Parry family of Noyadd Trefawr, Llandygwydd, sold the building to Thomas & John Davies, slate merchants from the Parrog, Newport, Pembrokeshire, in lieu of an outstanding debt of £2000 that he owed them. The firm later known as “David Davies, Merchants, Cardigan” was formed. Reference was made on 5th April 1786 to “Tredeved limekiln”, perhaps nearby. In 1786 the building was visible in an illustration by J. Greig, based on a drawing by F. Grose. It appears in a painting of June 1793 by Richard Colt-Hoare.
In 1825-59 David Davies, Bridge House & Castle Green, had a sail-loft here. In 1828 he had the 46-ton sloop “Ruth” of Cardigan built. In 1829 he acquired the 32 ton smack “True Briton”. In 1833 the 133 ton Cardigan brig “Sarah Ann”, which had been built in the Bahamas in 1799, was rebuilt at Cardigan for David Davies. The building is indicated as “storehouse” on John Wood’s 1834 map. In 1841 David Davies’ ships were involved in emigration runs to America.
In 1842 David Davies’ vessel, “Triton”, took 100 emigrants from Cardigan to New York. David Davies was still trading as both rope and sail maker from the building in 1844-59. In 1865 he passed the business to his son, David Griffith Davies, and Launcelot Lowther. On 19th March 1868 reference was made to Messrs. Davies & Lowther’s new lime kiln. The Davies/Lowther partnership was dissolved on 18th June 1869 and David Griffith Davies continued alone. Reference was made on 3rd March 1870 to a rental of “…two modern lime kilns and premises…” with wharf, steam crane and 150ft beach here. These had formerly been leased by Thomas Edwards. By 20th May 1870 Evan Jenkins had taken up the lease.
Reference was made on 10th March 1871 to two limekilns here dating from before 1780. David Griffith Davies was still the proprietor and owner in 1875. On 1st January 1876 David Griffith Davies announced the formation of the “Cardigan Mercantile Company” to take care of his business interests and commercial premises, by means of a letter. Thomas Davies was appointed the Managing Director. The property passed to the Cardigan Mercantile Company on 31st March 1876 and the quay was generally referred to as “Mercantile Wharf”.
In 1878 the Cardigan Mercantile Company purchased the ship “Mouse” from David Davies, ‘Ship & Bonded Stores’, Pendre, Cardigan. In 1884 the company still acted as ship chandlers, rope-makers and merchants. On 26th April 1897 John Griffiths, a workman for the Cardigan Mercantile Company, fished a bottle out of the river nearby. A parchment inside read:- “…The barque Alexandria, lost off Cape Horn, July 16th 1895. May God help us – Capt. Foster…” In 1899 Launcelot Lowther was the Manager of the Cardigan Mercantile Co. On 2nd August 1901 Stanley Jenkins was about to succeed Launcelot Lowther as the Manager. In 1959 ‘George Foster & Co (Merchants) Ltd’ were based here.
It became a listed building in 1961. By 1984 it had been converted into flats with “The Granary” restaurant on the ground floor. The application for planning was made on 11th April 1983. The flats here were occupied in 1994. By 6th April 1995 Hanes Aberteifi had announced plans to open a heritage centre in the long-vacant ground floor. In July 1995 planning permission was sought for change of use to heritage centre and café. By 25th April 1996 the lease had been signed and Hanes Aberteifi moved in. The heritage centre opened on 17th March 1997 with an official opening held soon afterwards on 13th June that year. On 7th April 1999 ‘Lewis Albion Ltd.’ purchased the property from the Cardigan Mercantile Company. The property was advertised for sale in November 2003 with Heritage Centre and six flats. It was sold in 2004. In February 2009 work began on replacing the windows. Cardigan Heritage Centre closed and moved out in September 2009.
It was described by CADW in 1992:
“…1745 warehouse thoroughly remodelled in mid C19, now flats. Blue lias rubble stone with slate roof and stone end stacks. Four-storey 5-window range, C20 hardwood windows with cambered brick heads. Windows are 2-light to lower floors, 3-light to upper floors and centre windows replace loading doors. Top floor openings have been raised through eaves with small gables. East end wall has 3-storey stone lean-to, with ground floor door and plaque ‘This granary was erected by David Parry Esq. of Noyadd in Cardiganshire March ye 26 1745’; outside steps to left to first floor entry and steps continued within to second floor. Second floor window to right. Main range has E end third floor window.
Rear is similar to front, with centre loading doors and renewed brick heads to windows. Steel C20 access stairs and galleries.
The warehouse of 1745 is illustrated into early C19 as probably 2-storey, 5-window range with eaves dormers and east end gabled projection. It was sold by the Parrys of Noyadd Trefawr to T & J Davies in 1785 who founded the important maritime business later called The Cardigan Mercantile Co and was rebuilt before the 1880’s. It is possible that the shell of the 1745 building survives, re-windowed and with two extra floors added but the evidence is not conclusive…”
ADDITIONAL – Photographs of c1977 show gable-fronted pulley housing to eaves above centre bay, and loading doors in boarded timber. Top floor openings were small and lacking dormers.
NLW Noyadd Trefawr MSs 935; 943; 944; 1041
Unpublished Bill re. William Webley 1773
Gloucester Journal 09/08/1779
Cardigan Castle (illus.) J Greig 1786
Bridge & Castle, Cardigan (illus.), Rook & Co, 26/08/1801
Map of Cardigan, John Wood 1834
Pigot’s Directory 1837; 1841; 1844
Poster – Triton to New York, Feb. 1841
Poster – Triton to Quebec 09/04/1842
Slater’s Directory 1859
Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1868-71; 1876; 1897; 1901; 1959; 1994-2003; 2006; 2008-09
Worrall’s Directory 1875
Letter – D G Davies 01/01/1876
Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1884
All About Cardigan, Cardigan Chamber of Commerce 1923
Cardigan Mercantile 1875-1975
Maritime Heritage, J Geraint Jenkins 1982
Planning Application – Bridge-End Warehouse 11/04/1983; 05/10/1993
Notice of Planning Decision – Bridge End Warehouse 28/03/1983
The Gateway to Wales, W J Lewis, 1990
Buiildings of Architectural or Historic Interest – Cardigan, Julian Orbach, CADW 1992
Sale Particulars – Bridge Warehouse 03/10/2003
St. Dogmaels Uncovered, Glen K Johnson 2007
© Glen K Johnson 20/06/2013