Tag Archives: Glamorgan

Wall Fountain, Cathays Park

The drinking fountain set into the wall at Kingsway (Boulevard de Nantes and Greyfriars Road at the bridge over the dock feeder canal) has moved several times since its initial installation in 1862. It was donated by Mayor William Alexander and installed in the wall of the Town Hall at St. Mary Street in Cardiff.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved and winged edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette of a winged cherub resting upon clouds. Beneath the cherub is a recessed arch which contains the drinking well above which is a Biblical engraving.

Each side of the arch is decorated with ivy tendrils. On the left side is a seated figure of Jesus Christ pointing with his left hand to the engraved verses 13 and 14 of St John’s Gospel, Chapter IV. JESUS SAID UNTO HER, WHOSOEVER DRINKETH OF THIS WATER / SHALL THIRST AGAIN: / BUT WHOSOEVER DRINKETH OF THE WATER / THAT I SHALL GIVE HIM, / SHALL NEVER THIRST. / JOHN, IV, 12 . 14. On the right of the drinking well is a seated figure of the Woman of Samaria with her right hand resting on her cheek and her left hand on a tall urn.

Beneath the well is a dedication, ERECTED / BY / WM. ALEXANDER / MAYOR OF CARDIFF / A.D. 1860. The scalloped lower edge of the shield is also engraved, CAST BY THE COALBROOKDALE CO. Further engraving states, WILLS BROTHERS, SCULPTORS, LONDON.

The fountain was designed by W. & T. Wills and manufactured by Coalbrookdale Company Ltd. During planning of the Civic Centre, it was moved to Mill Lane in 1908, and once again relocated in 1952 to its present location. It was listed a grade II historic building in 1975.

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Penarth, Penarth Fountains

There are two drinking fountains in Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales.

St. Augustine’s Church

The wall inset fountain located at St. Augustine’s Church was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry and is 4 foot 5 inches high. The font is casting number 17, and is surmounted by a palmette finial. Griffin terminals flank a highly decorated arch with rope detail which also outlines a medallion hosting the image of a crane. The tap protrudes from a shell lunette which is repeated in the fluted basin. A single drinking cup was originally suspended on a chain.

I have been unable to find any record regarding purchase or installation of the fountain. However, in 1925 the Town Surveyor was authorised to purchase six drinking fountains for use in the park and elsewhere.

Alexandra Park

The second fountain (casting number 7 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue, manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow) is located at Alexandra Park, Beach Road, Penarth. It is located north of the pond which itself has a fountain. It was purchased in 1911 and is visible in old postcards from 1915. Currently the drinking fountain is a pedestal with a circular concrete top. The original structure was 5 feet 8 inches high, a single pedestal with four decorative columns and descending salamander relief that supported the decorated basin. A central urn with four projecting tendrils offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal was a crane, a symbol of vigilance.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.


  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal



Robert & Lucy Thomas Memorial Fountain

Location: Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, Wales

Located in the public square at the southern entrance to the High Street, next to St Tydfil’s Churchyard, , a drinking fountain is seated on a tiered plinth. It was inaugurated in 1906 to mark the granting of the town’s charter. By 1966 the original drinking fountain had been removed and the canopy needed restoration. It was removed as part of a road improvement scheme and relocated in 1966 to the area outside St. Tydfil’s Church. It was designated a Grade II listed building in January 1988 and restored in 1995.

The canopied drinking fountain is design number 20, an elaborate 18 feet by 4 feet fountain, sold by Walter Macfarlane & Co, and manufactured at the Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland. The open filigree canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette offer shields for memorial: a miner wielding a pick axe; a working miner; the coat of arms of St. Tydfil; and a dedication shield Erected by Sir William T. Lewis and William Thomas Rees of Aberdare and presented to their native town in commemoration of Robert and Lucy Thomas of Waunwyltt in this parish, the pioneers in 1828 of the South Wales steam coal trade. The interior lunettes are lion mascarons.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, ribbed dome. The internal capitals contain flowers, and lion mascarons area placed on internal lunettes. The cast iron structure is surmounted by a heroic classical figure of Samson inscribed Strength.

Under the canopy stands the font (design number 18.) A circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies, rests on a wide base with canted corners. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Rising from the centre is a pyramid shaped stanchion decorated with swan and bird decoration. A kylix-shaped lamp terminal with four consoles offer drinking cups suspended by chains.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; and lions are symbolic of guardianship


  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Mascaron
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal