St Fagans National History Museum

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St Fagans National History Museum
Sain Ffagan: Amgueddfa Werin Cymru
St Fagans castle - Cardiff - - 1458954.jpg
St Fagans Castle in its grounds
St Fagans National History Museum is located in Cardiff
St Fagans National History Museum
Location in Cardiff, Wales
Established 1948
Location St Fagans, Cardiff, Wales
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Visitors 610,155 (2010)[1]

St Fagans National History Museum (Welsh: Sain Ffagan: Amgueddfa Werin Cymru), commonly referred to as St Fagans after the village where it is located, is an open-air museum in Cardiff chronicling the historical lifestyle, culture, and architecture of the Welsh people. The museum is part of the wider network of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

It consists of more than forty re-erected buildings from various locations in Wales, and is set in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, an Elizabethan manor house. In 2011 Which? magazine named the museum the United Kingdom's favourite visitor attraction.[2]


The museum was started in 1946 following the donation of the castle and lands by the Earl of Plymouth. It opened its doors to the public in 1948, under the name of the Welsh Folk Museum. The museum's name in Welsh (also meaning "Welsh Folk Museum") has remained unchanged since that date, whereas the English title was modified once to Museum of Welsh Life, and again to its current nomenclature.

The brainchild of Iorwerth Peate, the museum was modelled on Skansen, the outdoor museum of vernacular Swedish architecture in Stockholm. Most structures re-erected in Skansen were built of wood and are thus easily taken apart and reassembled, but a comparable museum in Wales was going to be more ambitious, as much of the vernacular architecture of Wales is made of masonry.

Buildings and exhibits

Interior of late 19th century terraced house (Rhyd-y-Car ironworkers' cottages)

The museum includes more than forty buildings which represent the architecture of Wales, including a nonconformist chapel (in this case, Unitarian), a village schoolhouse, a Toll road tollbooth (below), a cockpit (below), a pigsty (below), and a tannery (below).

The museum holds displays of traditional crafts with a working blacksmith forge, a pottery, a weaver, miller, and clog maker. It also includes two working water mills: one flour mill and one wool mill. Part of the site includes a small working farm which concentrates on preserving local Welsh native breeds of livestock. Produce from the museum's bakery and flour mill is available for sale.

The medieval parish church of Saint Teilo, formerly at Llandeilo Tal-y-bont in west Glamorgan (restored to its pre-Reformation state), was opened in October 2007 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. A Tudor merchant's house from Haverfordwest, opened in 2012, is the latest building to be added to the museum's collection.[3] Future plans include the relocation of the historic Vulcan public house from Newtown in Cardiff.[4]

Although the museum was intended to preserve aspects of Welsh rural life, it now includes several buildings that depict the industrial working life that succeeded it, that being almost extinct in Wales. There is a row of workers' cottages, depicting furnishing from 1800–1985, from Rhyd-y-car near Merthyr Tydfil (below), as well as the pristine Oakdale Workmen's Institute (below). Even a post-war prefabricated bungalow (below) has been erected on the grounds.

Since 1996 the museum has hosted the Everyman Summer Theatre Festival when it re-located from Dyffryn Gardens. This festival, which includes a Shakespeare play, a Musical, and a Children's Show has become part of Welsh theatrical calendar since its founding at Dyffryn in 1983.

Scenes from the Doctor Who episodes "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood" were filmed at the museum.

It is planned that The Vulcan Hotel that was originally located in Adam Street, Cardiff, will be rebuilt on the site. It had originally opened in 1853, but closed for the last time in May 2012, but was dismantled in 2013 and is now in storage. It is hoped to restore the pub as it would have looked in 1915.[5]

List of structures

Image Name Date Re-erected Original site County
Unitary Authority
Museum of Welsh Life Entrance.JPG
Main entrance and administration offices
(Percy Thomas Partnership architects).
1968–74 St Fagans Glamorgan Cardiff
St.Teilo - Außen 2.jpg St Teilo's Church 1100–c. 1520 c. 1100–c. 1520

(present form: c. 1520)

2007 Llandeilo Tal-y-bont, near Pontarddulais Glamorgan Swansea
Cilewent farmhouse, St Fagans.jpg Cilewent farmhouse begun 1470

(present form: 1734)

1959 Cwmdauddwr Radnorshire Powys Grade II
Tudor1.jpg Tudor Trader House 16th century 2012 Haverfordwest Pembrokeshire Pembrokeshire
Hendre'r Ywydd Uchaf farmhouse, St Fagans.jpg Hendre'r Ywydd Uchaf farmhouse 1508 1962 Llangynhafal, near Llandyrnog Denbighshire Denbighshire Grade II
Y Garreg Fawr, Sain Ffagan.jpg Y Garreg Fawr farmhouse 1544 1984 Waunfawr Caernarfonshire Gwynedd
Stryd Lydan Barn, St Fagans, from north-east.jpg Stryd Lydan barn 1550 c. 1550 1951 Penley Flintshire Wrexham Grade II
St Fagans Castle 2008.jpg St Fagans Castle 1580 St Fagans Glamorgan Cardiff Grade I
Barn, National History Museum of Wales.jpg Hendre Wen barn 1600 c. 1600 1982 Llanrwst Denbighshire Conwy
The cockpit at St Fagans - - 631971.jpg Hawk and Buckle Inn cockpit 17th century 1970 Denbigh Denbighshire Denbighshire Grade II
Kennixton Farmhouse April 2012.JPG Kennixton Farmhouse 1610 1955 Llangennith Glamorgan Swansea Grade II
Courtyard Castle St Fagans 01.JPG Lead cistern in east forecourt
of St Fagans Castle
1620 St Fagans Glamorgan Cardiff Grade II*
Abernodwydd Farmhouse, St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life.jpg Abernodwydd farmhouse 1678 1955 Llangadfan Montgomeryshire Powys Grade II
Walesi kovács2.jpg Smithy 18th century 1972 Llawryglyn Montgomeryshire Powys Grade II
Tannery - National History Museum of Wales, St Fagans - - 659437.jpg Tannery late 18th century 1968 Rhayader Montgomeryshire Powys Grade II
Melin wlân Esgair Moel, Sain Ffagan.jpg Esgair Moel woollen mill 1760 1952 Llanwrtyd Brecknockshire Powys Grade II
Llainfadyn Cottage, St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life.jpg Llainfadyn cottage 1762 1962 Rhostryfan Caernarfonshire Gwynedd Grade II
Nant Wallter Cottage St Fagans.jpg Nant Wallter cottage 1770 c. 1770 1993 Taliaris, near Llandeilo Carmarthenshire Carmarthenshire
Penparcau tollhouse, St Fagans.jpg Southgate tollhouse 1772 1968 Penparcau, Aberystwyth Cardiganshire Ceredigion Grade II
Pen Rhiw chapel, St Fagans.jpg Pen Rhiw Unitarian chapel 1777 1956 Dre-fach Felindre Carmarthenshire Carmarthenshire Grade II
Cae Adda byre, St Fagans.jpg Cae Adda byre 18th–19th century 2003 Waunfawr Caernarfonshire Gwynedd
Corbelled Pigsty.jpg Pigsty 1800 c. 1800 1977 Hendre Ifan Prosser Glamorgan Rhondda Cynon Taf
Cottages from Rhyd-y-Car, now at St Fagans.jpg Rhyd-y-Car ironworkers' cottages 1800 c. 1800 1986 Rhyd-y-Car, Merthyr Tydfil Glamorgan Merthyr Tydfil
Ffermdy Llwyn-yr-Eos.jpg Llwyn-yr-Eos farmhouse begun 1820 St Fagans Glamorgan Cardiff Grade II
Gorse mill, St Fagans.jpg Gorse mill after 1842 1983 Dôl-wen Denbighshire Denbighshire
Melin Bompren, Sain Ffagan.jpg Melin Bompren corn mill begun 1852 1977 Cross Inn Ceredigion
Sied wair Maentwrog, Sain Ffagan.jpg Hayshed 1870 1977 Maentwrog Gwynedd
Tŷ haf, Sain Ffagan.jpg Summerhouse 1880 c. 1880 1988 Bute Park, Cardiff Glamorgan Cardiff
Gwalia Stores and Moss-Vernon's Portrait Studio, St Fagans.jpg Gwalia Stores 1880 1991 Ogmore Vale Glamorgan Bridgend
Maestir school, St Fagans.jpg School in use 1880–1916 1984 Maestir, near Lampeter Cardiganshire Ceredigion
St Fagans sawmill.jpg Sawmill 1892 1994 Tŷ'n Rhos, near Llanddewi Brefi Ceredigion
Tailor´s shop - Außen.jpg Tailor's shop 1896 (extended 1920s) 1992 Cross Inn Ceredigion
Pottery St Fagans 2.JPG Ewenny Pottery 1900 c. 1900 1988 Ewenny Glamorgan Vale of Glamorgan
Derwen Bakehouse.jpg Derwen bakehouse 1900 1987 Thespian Street, Aberystwyth Cardiganshire Ceredigion
Gentlemen's Urinal, St Fagans National History Museum - 1136856.jpg Urinal 1901–10 c. 1901–10 Llandrindod railway station Radnorshire Powys
Workers Institute St Fagans 1.JPG Oakdale Workmen's Institute 1916 1995 Oakdale Monmouthshire Caerphilly
Saddler's workshop at St Fagans.JPG Saddler's workshop 1926 1986 St Clears Carmarthenshire Carmarthenshire
Swyddfa bost Blaen-waun.jpg Post office 1936 1992 Blaenwaun, near Whitland Carmarthenshire Carmarthenshire
War memorial at St Fagans.JPG War memorial 1936 1996 Caetwmpyn Park, Newbridge Monmouthshire Caerphilly
Anderson shelter at St Fagans.jpg Anderson air raid shelter 1939–45 c. 1939–45
Prefab, St Fagans.jpg Prefab bungalow 1948 1998 Gabalfa, Cardiff Glamorgan Cardiff
Iron Age roundhouses at St Fagans.jpg Iron Age roundhouses 2015 [6]
The Vulcan Hotel, Adam St, Cardiff.jpg The Vulcan Hotel 1853 in progress Adamsdown, Cardiff Glamorgan Cardiff

Future developments


  1. "Visits made in 2010 to visitor attractions in membership with ALVA". Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Retrieved 22 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Clare Hutchinson (29 September 2011). "National History Museum at St Fagans soars to the top of UK's favourite tourist sites". WalesOnline. Retrieved 22 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. BBC News, "Haverfordwest Tudor trader home opens at St Fagans museum", 2 July 2012. Accessed 11 September 2013
  4. BBC News – ""Work starts to move Cardiff's Vulcan pub to St Fagans museum", 12 July 2012. Accessed 30 September 2013
  5. BBC News, "Plans to rebuild Cardiff's Vulcan pub at St Fagans submitted", 28 July 2013. Accessed 02 February 2014
  6. Bryn Eryr: from house to home, Amgueddfa Blog (National Museum Wales), 18 August 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Cardiff". walesonline.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "St Fagans: National History Museum police station plans". BBC News. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Prior, Neil (28 November 2012), Raglan railway station to move to St Fagans museum, BBC News, retrieved 3 August 2015<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links