About this church
Cardiff’s only medieval building, St John' still serves as Cardiff's Civic Church, and hosts a great range of events beyond the usual services.
By 1180 St John’s was an established chapel, serving the people of the Castle, within the old Cardiff Parish of St Mary’s. After old St Mary’s was damaged by floods in 1607, St John’s soon became the parish church: a worshipping life of well over 800 years, which continues today. Only a round pillar beside the organ dates from the 12th or 13th century. The original church was destroyed when Owain Glyn Dwr sacked Cardiff in 1404.
Today’s building dates from the subsequent 15th century rebuilding. The 130ft tower houses a fine 10-bell peal, which draws visiting ringers from near and far. Two outer aisles were added during wider Victorian restorations.
St John’s has many important architectural and historic features, notably the Herbert Chapel, with its Jacobean monument, unusually, to two brothers: Sir John and Sir William Herbert. The reredos by Sir William Goscombe John; the ‘Father Willis’ organ; chapel of the Wales Priory of the Order of St John; and Burma Star window are among other notable highlights. The glass design of the new tower doors communicates that we are open to the city, and invite everyone in Cardiff to find a home within St John’s. No aspect of human life or activity is beyond the concern of the God of love, justice and mercy. This is true of both our private lives and of politics and economics, which have such great impact on people’s wellbeing.
So St John’s, as Cardiff’s civic church (with the Lord Mayor’s brass mace holder) has a role both to ‘remind’ the city that Christian principles and virtues apply to all of life; and to help and encourage everyone, especially those with authority and influence, to live up to these standards. St John’s opens daily at 10am, when we begin each morning with a service of worshipping God and praying for the city and all who live, work, and visit here. Sunday services are Holy Eucharist at 10am and Evensong at 6pm. See the website for details of midweek lunchtime services and events, and our many concerts.