It’s an old adage that you should occasionally look up when wandering to spot hidden treasures lurking above. The same can be said for looking down, especially if you happen to be passing through the walkway between Working Street and Trinity Street near the Cardiff Market. Here, between two cemeteries belonging to St John the Baptist Church, you’ll spot a few metal numbers emboldened onto the pathway.
These numbers indicate where bodies once laid in burial vaults that were thought to be their final resting place. The church itself was originally constructed in 1180, but was rebuilt during the 15th century after the church was sacked. When the Cardiff Market opened in 1891, patrons and workers had to trek around the graveyard to reach the market. Thus, an agreement was made between the Church and the Corporation Council to construct a pathway that would create a shortcut to the market.
It’s uncertain whether the bodies were left undisturbed or whether they were removed to make way for the footpath. This shred of doubt has led to the walkway being dubbed “Dead Man’s Alley.” The church still owns the property and is responsible for its upkeep and maintenance. As part of their deal with the council, the path remains open throughout the year, although, the church is allowed to close it on Good Friday.
Know Before You Go
The alley is open to the public throughout the year, except on the aforementioned Friday before Easter.
Its up from the castle outside Queens Arcade. The area is level and pedestrianised.