A drinking fountain was reported in October 1859 to have been recently installed in Trinity Street in the wall of St John's churchyard. It was described as follows:-
The New Drinking Fountain
A new gothic drinking fountain has recently been erected in Trinity-street, and opened for public use by the High Sheriff of the County and Mayor of the Borough, C. C. Williams, Esq.
It is what is generally termed a Mural Fountain, being recessed by permission of the vicar and churchwardens of St. John's, into the wall of St John's churchyard, a short distance from the ground allotted for burials. It is constructed with forest stone moulded jambs, and arched, over which is placed a canopy of Bath stone elaborately carved bearing the arms of the donor, and surmounted by an elegant finial in foliage at some ten feet above the level of the street. On the arch under the canopy is carved a verse from the book of Proverbs, forming an apt inscription and an admirable precept to all who have the good of their town, and particularly of their poorer fellow-townsmen, at heart:- "Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad and rivers of waters in the streets"
The water is supplied from the Water Company's mains and delivered in a continuous stream through a group of aquatic flowers, carved in white marble, the waste water basin and cup-stands being of the same description and of good effect. The pipes are so arranged that an extra supply is laid on through a second delivery pipe when required, as on market days and holidays, which must be a great convenience to our thirsty country friends on their weekly visits.
The drinking cups are by Messrs. Guest and Chrimes, cast at the suggestion of Mr. W. Woods, in gun metal, tinned inside, and in the shape of a cask; being of a convenient form, and we may be allowed to suppose so designed as an inducement for those to use them who prefer their liquids from that shaped vessel. We trust no one will be so base as to take advantage of their being somewhat valuable.
The fountain was designed and superintended by Mr. J. E. Palmer, clerk of the works at the new cemetry buildings, and does credit to his taste and skill.
It is the second which has been erected with the sanction of the Local Board of Health, and is a personal gift to the town by their respected surveyor, who also provides the water during the first year of its use. The public is deeply indebted to Mr. Waring for his considerate and most liberal gift.
In 1889 it appears that there were plans to move the fountain as a consequence of renovations to the Church and the building of a new south aisle.
St. Johns Church, Cardiff - The new south aisle. Description of the extension.
... The south aisle will extend from the new chancel to within a few feet of the west front, and will be 73 feet in length. It will in design be in keeping with the recent renovations, and will have the same rich characteristics which mark the chancel. About midway in the south wall a porch and entrance will be made, thereby giving additional facilities to worshippers. The aisle will not be in exact parallelogram form, as it cones in contact with Trinity-Street. The corner will therefore be cut off, and in the wall will be placed the fountain which is at present in the street.
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