Thompson's Park (also known as Sir David's Fields, Cae Syr Dafydd)7072

Cardiff, Wales

Brief Description

The south end of the park contains a modern brick-built kiosk, ornamental flower beds, a giant tree carving of a green man and a fountain with a plastic facsimile of a bronze statue known as 'Joyance'. To the north of this area there is a short, quite steep, wooded bank with a tiny valley feature or 'dell', at the bottom of which is a pond. Either side of the dell are stepped pathways leading to an extensive gently sloping grassed area, bordered by tree-lined paths. From the top of the slope there are extensive views towards the Vale of Glamorgan.

History

In the late-19th century the land known as Sir David's Field was owned by Charles Thompson. He opened his gardens to the public in 1891 and in 1895 they were enlarged and laid out formally by William Golding.In 1912 Mr Thompson handed over ownership of the park to Cardiff City Council. In order to protect the park from development Mr. Thompson also bought three additional strips of land in 1913, 1918 and 1919 and continued to manage and pay for the upkeep of the park until 1924, after which Cardiff City took over full control.

Visitor Facilities

This is a municipal site, open daily for general public use.

Detailed Description

Thompson's Park is located in an area enclosed by Romilly Road to the south, Clive Road to the west, Pencisely Road to the north and Llandaff Road to the east.

There are three access points, Romilly Road (main entrance), Pencisely Road and Syr David's Avenue, a side street off Clive Road. Although there are several other side streets that back onto or border the park, none give access to it.

The south end of the park, fronting onto Romilly Road is mostly fairly flat at an elevation of about 12m OD and contains a modern brick-built kiosk, ornamental flower beds, a giant tree carving of a green man and a fountain with a plastic facsimile of a bronze statue known as ‘Joyance' created by Sir William Goscombe John. To the north of this area there is a short, quite steep, wooded bank with a tiny valley feature or ‘dell', at the bottom of which is a pond. Either side of the dell are stepped pathways leading to an extensive gently sloping grassed area, bordered by tree-lined paths, which rises to an elevation of about 27mOD giving extensive views towards the Vale of Glamorgan. On the extreme western side of the park is a more gently sloping tarmac surfaced path which avoids having to negotiate any steps.

On the western side of the Pencisely Road access point is a bowling green and pavilion.

Features
  • Statue
  • Description: Statue of Joyance by William Goscombe John (Public Monument and Sculpture Association National Recording Project - not listed) commissioned by Charles Thompson. Note that at the time of this record the statue was a replica of the original which was stolen in the mid-1990s. Since then the replica has been stolen and the existing statue is a plastic resin facsimile.
  • Sculpture
  • Description: Tree carving of a green man by Dave King. Cardiff Public Art Register: www.cardiff.gov.uk/objview.asp?object_id=19498
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

This is a municipal site, open daily for general public use.

Directions

The park can be accessed from: (1) Romilly Road. Cardiff Bus 61. (2) Sir David's Avenue. (3) Pencisely Road. Cardiff Buses 25, 33A/B & 62/62A. Stagecoach 122, Cardif Bus & Easyway Minibus 32/320/322
Authorities

Electoral Ward

  • Canton
History

Detailed History

In the late C19th the land known as Sir David's Field (Cae Syr Dafydd) was owned by Charles Thompson (1851 - 1938), who lived in Penhill Close; see old maps attached. He opened his gardens at Sir David's Field to the public in 1891 and in 1895 they were enlarged and laid out formally by William Golding.

The Thompson family, originally from the West Country, controlled Spillers Milling which had moved its head office to Cardiff in 1860. Charles' father Charles Thompson (1815 - 1889) became Chairman of the company and lived at Preswylfa House; see attached old maps. The last use of the house was an NHS Child and Family Centre before it was demolished to make way for a housing estate.

In 1912 Mr Thompson handed over ownership of the park to Cardiff City Council. At various points around the park there are square cross-section stones bearing Roman numerals which relate to the original land transfer. The original transfer of land was conditional upon Cardiff Council relinquishing its right to sell or build on part of Llandaff Fields over which it then had such rights.

In order to protect the park from development Mr. Thompson also bought three additional strips of land in 1913, 1918 and 1919 and continued to manage and pay for the upkeep of the park until 1924, after which Cardiff City took over full control.

The original name of Sir David's Field is thought to be derived from Syr Dafydd Matthew, who lived in the 15th century and was granted land in the parish of Llandaff for services to King Edward IV. Interestingly it was Charles Thompson's wish that the park retain this old name but it is almost universally now known by his name.

The park once contained tennis courts, a drinking fountain and a urinal but these are no longer extant.

Associated People
References

References

Contributors

  • Michael Statham

    1