Roath cardiff

History of Roath


Roath is located to the east of Cardiff City Centre and has a plethora of shops, restaurants, pubs, cafes, schools and parks. The boundaries of Roath stretch from Adamstown in the south to Roath Park lake in the north. It is within walking distance of the Centre and is within easy reach of transport routes. However, of course Roath hasn’t always been such a hot bed of activity and has a very interesting history.

View Map of Roath 

In a Name

The origin of the name, Roath, isn't completely clear, however it is thought to originate from the gaelic word rįth, which means fort. It is possible that a fort may have been at the centre of the area as it was developing. However, another theory is that the name is derived from the Welsh for gift, 'rhodd'..


Medieval Roath

In Norman times Robert Fizhammon, a warrior lord, established his base in Cardiff Castle. He used the area of Roath as a farm to feed the huge number of workers for his household. He established Roath Manor at this time, which would have stood on the corner of Albany Road and Newport Road.

Later on in the 12th and 13th centuries the land which is now known as Roath, Cardiff fell under the Lord of Glamorgan and became known as Roath Dogfield. It continued to be known by that name for around 300 years. During this time, Roath was a village and it wasn’t until housing development started in the 19th century that Roath moved away from its rural beginnings.

In 1887 the third Marquis of Bute, along with a few other landowners, gave over 120 acres of marshland to the Cardiff Corporation, over 100 acres of which came from the Bute Estate. The Cardiff Corporation, who the land was passed to, developed a park with a lake, gardens and playing fields. We know this today as Roath Park and the development cost £62,000. In 1894 the park was formally opened by the third Marquis of Bute.

Parks and landmarks

Roath Park is a very popular area. The lake is the focal point of the parkland, with a circumference of approximately 1 mile. A major feature of the lake is the lighthouse. The lighthouse has been dedicated to the memory of Captain Scott. Scott sailed from Cardiff in 1910, on the Terra Nova, to attempt to be the first group of men to sail to the South Pole. Scott and his team reached their destination in 1912 only to find that they had been beaten by Roald Admunsens’ Norwegian team. On the return journey Scott and his team died from a combination of hunger, exhaustion and extreme cold. The lighthouse in Roath Park was dedicated to Scott in 1915..

 light house Roath Park


St Margaret’s Church, at the junction of Albany Road and Newport Road is the place where the Bute family went to worship. The church started to be rebuilt in 1870 and was finished in 1873. It is believed that St Margaret's actually stands on the site of a former Norman chapel. The church was designed by the architect John Pritchard. The construction of St Margaret’s church was funded by the third Marquis of Bute, the same man who gave over land to Roath Park. As an adult the third Marquis of Bute was thought to be the richest man in Europe. The church contains the crypt of the Bute family, which can be viewed to this day.

Bute Tomb

The BBC have done a short video on ST Margaret's and the Bute family to view it click here


In 1878 The George pub was built. The pub is a Scream pub in the present day and is very popular with students. It was originally known as The Royal George and the first publican was Samuel Loveless who was the nephew of  James Hammett, a Tolpuddle Martyr. Continuing to introduce pubs to the Roath area, the Claude Hotel was built in 1890 followed by the Albany Hotel in 1895. The Albany celebrated it’s 100th birthday on 26 May 2005.

Click here for the history of Roath By Peter Finch