The house was probably built circa 1630 and later extended. In April 1804 a lease of the building was available from John Colby and the property was described as being “…in very good repair…” In January 1816 Thomas Howell lived here with his wife, Anne Howell.
Rev. Griffith Thomas probably moved here in 1824 when he became the Vicar of St Mary’s Church. If so he lived here in 1824-76. On 24th June 1828 Rev. Griffith Thomas married Hannah Jones, daughter of Richard Jones, Pantirion, St. Dogmaels. In 1830-76 Rev. Griffith Thomas lived here. On 17th February 1832 Rev. Griffith Thomas & Hannah Thomas, had their son, Richard Griffith Thomas, christened at St. Mary’s Church. Hannah Thomas died within a few days of the baptism. In 1834 the building was marked on J. Wood’s map of Cardigan as the property of John Colby. In 1836 Rev. Griffith Thomas owned shares in the 78 ton ship ‘Olive’. In 1837 he owned shares in the 31 ton ship ‘’Ann”. In 1840 he owned shares in the 151 ton Cardigan ship ‘Susan’. In 1841 the following persons lived here: Griffith Thomas, 50, clerk; Ann Evans, 20, servant; Sarah Evans, 20, servant; and John Enos, 45, clerk. In 1849 Rev. Griffith Thomas owned shares in the 155 tons Cardigan ship ‘Europa’. On 23rd July 1851 James Thomas of this address was buried at St. Mary’s Church having died aged 19.
In 1851 the occupiers were:- Griffith Thomas, 62, Vicar of St. Mary’s Church; David Thomas, 24, his nephew; William Thomas, 22, nephew; and servants – Anne Evans, 35; and Elizabeth Harries, 23. On 24th June 1852 Ann Evans, a servant here, married Lewis Griffith, painter & glazier, St. Mary Street. On 19th July 1859 Mary Davies, servant here, married Griffith Davies, carpenter of St. Mary’s Street. In 1861 Rev. Griffith Thomas, 72, widower, Vicar of St. Mary’s Church, lived here with two servants – Mary Evans, 37, house keeper; and Elizabeth Jones, 18. In 1871 the following persons lived here: Rev. Griffith Thomas, 81, Vicar of St. Mary’s Church; Mary Evans, 49, servant; and Elizabeth Jones, 24, servant. Rev. Griffith Thomas died on 20th May 1876 aged 87. In 1877 it seems probable that the new Vicar of the parish, Rev. William Cynog davies, moved here. In 1881 the following persons lived here: Rev. William Cynog Davies, 46, Vicar of St. Mary’s Church; Mary Eliza Davies, 46, wife; Eliza Howells, 27, cook; and Hannah Griffiths, 21, housemaid.
On 31st March 1882 the property was advertised to let with stable, coach house, gardens and offices. The same week it was proposed to build a new vicarage in Cardigan, on the grounds that there had never been a vicarage here! In 1889-1941 Alfred Harper lived here. On 17th August 1889 a son, Idris Harper, was born here to Emma Harper, the wife of Alfred Harper. In 1891 the following persons lived here: Alfred Harper, 38, poultry dealer; Emma Harper, 23, his wife; Idris Harper, 1, their son; Clara Pike, 20, visitor; Rev. Thomas E. Jones, 27, Curate lodger; and Anne Davies, 27, servant. In 1892 Hilda Harper was born here. On 2nd February 1893 Mrs. Mary Ann Harper died here aged 69. On 17th July 1894 Ethel Harper was born here to the wife of Alfred Harper. On 23rd March 1895 a storm blew down a tall chimney stack. On 2nd November 1896 William J. Harper was born here, the son of Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Harper. On 17th May 1899 Mildred Anne Harper was born here. On 28th November 1899 Milfred Anne Harper of this address was buried at St. Mary’s Church having died aged 6 months on 25th November 1899. On 12th January 1901 a son was born to Mrs. Alfred Harper of Churchyard House. On 17th March 1901 Edward Andrew Harper, son of Alfred & Emma Harper of ‘The Old Vicarage’, was christened at St. Mary’s Church.
In 1901 the following persons lived here: Alfred Harper, 48, fish & poultry dealer (b. Oxford, bilingual); Emma Harper, 34, his wife (b. Taunton, bilingual); Idris Harper, 11, their son, bilingual; Hilda Harper, 9, daughter, bilingual; Ethel Harper, 6, daughter, English-speaking; William J. Harper, 4, son, English-speaking; Edward Andrew Harper, 2 months; and Anna E. James, 19, domestic servant (b. Moylegrove, bilingual). Except where noted otherwise, all were born in Cardigan. On 29th December 1903 a son was born here to the wife of Alfred Harper. In September 1915 Idris Harper, son of Mrs. Harper, was in the Dardanelles. In August 1918 Private William J. Harper, son of Mrs Harper of Churchyard House, was wounded in France. On 3rd March 1919 Hilda Harper, 27, of this address married David Owen Blake of Finch’s Square. In May 1919 the property was sold to the tenant – Mrs. Harper. In 1920 Mrs. Emma Harper lived here and traded as a fishmonger. In 1927-38 Edward Andrew Harper lived here. In January 1938 the property was advertised for sale. On the ground floor was a fishmonger’s shop, sitting room, dining room, kitchen, pantry and a dairy room; on the first floor were 5 bedrooms and a lavatory, and there were a further three rooms in the attic. A garden and yard were located to the rear, and there were also a garage and stable with loft over, a coal house and a wash house. Edward Harper, Mrs. Harper and Gwyneth Ellen (“Nellie”) Harper lived here in 1938. On 11th November 1939 Edward (“Teddy”) Harper of this address married Miss Dinah Sambrook of High Street, Cilgerran. On 5th October 1950 Alfred Harper died aged 61. On 16th November 1950 there was a clear-out sale here.
In 1955 Thomas Fowler Hedderick, Lawrence John Rotie and Rosa Rotie lived here. On 3rd February 1956 the demolition of outbuildings was being considered. By June that year, the demolition of the entire property was proposed. In April 1958 the building was said to be a safety risk to children. The buildings here, including the house, had been demolished by 24th October 1958.
Old photographs show large stucco rendered building, C18 and earlier, on a roughly T-shaped plan with pitched slate gable-ended roofs, mainly stone stacks. South wall, to churchyard, had 2-storeys, 5 windows with hipped roofed porch to ground floor centre, stone sides and open front, slate roof. No openings to ground floor left. Range added to west, lower, in similar manner, one opening to each floor, not aligned, smaller to upper storey. West side, from the square, had single storey lean-to with hipped slate roof, colourwashed with single window to W and door and two small windows to N. Single storey outshut to N wall with continuous roof pitch to apex. Two storey block beyond with hipped slate roof and wall stack to W, window each storey to N. Range to E has gable end to N, slate roof with end stack.
Cambrian Journal 18/04/1804; 25/02/1832
Parish Registers of St. Mary’s, Cardigan
Map of Cardigan, J Wood 1834
NLW Minor Deposit 490-9B
Pembrokeshire Record Office: Port of Cardigan Shipping Registers
Census Returns 1841; 1851; 1861; 1871; 1881; 1891; 1901
Pigot’s Directory 1844
Slater’s Directory 1868
Post Office Directory 1871
Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1875; 1920
Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1876; 1882; 1893-96; 1899-1901; 1904; 1907; 1913; 1915; 1918-19; 1922-23; 1925; 1927; 1936; 1938-39; 1941; 1950; 1956; 1958
Cardigan Observer 1889
Parish Register of Llangoedmor
Illustration – A Bit of Cardigan, A W Matthews, Aug 1903
Register of Electors 1938; 1955
Statement of Account – St Mary’s Church 31/12/1938
The Gateway to Wales, W J Lewis 1990.
© Glen K Johnson 21/08/2013