A Brief History of St Helen's, Swansea
by Andrew Hignell - Archivist to Glamorgan CCC
Introduction and the origin of the ground's name
© Glamorgan Cricket Archives
The St.Helen's ground at Swansea has several unique features, starting with the fact that it is laid out on a reclaimed sand bank and in places the soil is barely eighteen inches thick. The second feature has been that cricket and rugby have happily co-existed at Swansea for almost 125 years, with the ground staging International cricket, rugby union and rugby league. The western half of the cricket square doubles up as the in-goal of the rugby pitch during the winter, adding to the charm of the ground, but many would say that the finest feature of the ground is its maritime position.
From the seats in the pavilion enclosure, there are splendid views across Swansea Bay and the Severn Estuary to the Somerset and Devon coast, as well as the picturesque Mumbles Head. Indeed, this coastal location has made the Swansea ground a popular venue with visiting supporters, as well as touring teams.
The ground takes its name from a convent dedicated to Saint Helen that was built by an order of Augustinian Nuns on the foreshore of Swansea Bay during the Medieval Period. During the 16th century, the land and the convent passed to the Herbert family, who in turn sold it to Colonel Llewellyn Morgan, who in 1872 agreed to the sandbanks being levelled to create a recretaion ground.
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