CARDIGAN (Aberteifi), a seaport, market-town and municipal borough, and the county town of Cardiganshire, Wales, picturesquely situated on the right bank of the Teifi about 3 m. above its mouth. Pop. (1901) 3511. It is connected by an ancient stone bridge with the suburb of Bridgend on the southern or Pembroke bank of the river. It is the terminal station of the Whitland-Cardigan branch of the Great Western railway. Owing to the bar at the estuary of the Teifi, the shipping trade is inconsiderable, but there are brick-works and foundries in the town; and as the centre of a large agricultural district, Cardigan market is well attended. There is a curious local custom of mixing "culm," a compound of clay and small coal, in the streets. The town has for the most part a modern and prosperous appearance. Two bastions with some of the curtain wall of the ancient castle remain, whilst the dwelling-house known as Castle Green contains part of a drum tower, and some vaulted chambers of the 13th century. The chancel of the Priory church of St Mary is an interesting specimen of early Perpendicular work, and the elaborate tracery of its fine east window contains some fragments of ancient stained glass. It is the only existing portion of a Benedictine house which was originally founded by Prince Rhys ap Griffith in the 12th century.
Although a Celtic settlement doubtless existed near the mouth of the Teifi from an early period, it was not until Norman times that Cardigan became a place of importance. Its castle was first erected by Roger de Montgomery about the year 1091, and throughout the 12th and 13th centuries this stronghold of Cardigan played no small part in the constant warfare between Welsh and English, either side from time to time gaining possession of the castle and the small town dependent on it. In 1136 the English army under Randolf, earl of Chester, was severely defeated by the Welsh at Crûg Mawr, now called Bank-y-Warren, a rounded hill 2 m. north-east of the town. During the latter part of the 12th century the castle became the residence of Rhys ap Griffith, prince and justiciar of South Wales (d. 1196), who kept considerable state within its walls, and entertained here in 1188 Archbishop Baldwin and Giraldus Cambrensis during their preaching of the Third Crusade. In 1284 Edward I. spent a month in the castle, settling the affairs of South Wales. This famous pile was finally taken and destroyed by the Parliamentarian Major-General Laugharne in 1645. The lordship, castle and town of Cardigan formed part of the dower bestowed on Queen Catherine of Aragon by King Henry VII. Henry VIII.'s charter of 1542 confirmed earlier privileges granted by Edward I. and other monarchs, and provided for the government of the town by a duly elected mayor, two bailiffs and a coroner. In the assizes and quarter sessions were removed hence to Lampeter, which has a more central position in the county. Cardigan was declared a parliamentary borough in 1536, but in 1885 its representation was merged in that of the county.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)