The date of the Ship building and opening is unknown. We know that it was in existence as an in inn during the mid 18th century and in 1793 Catherine Evans is listed as the licensee. During the 19th Century The Ship was a well known coaching and posting inn. As late as 1841 it was only a cottage sized building and at that time it did not fill the corner of Cross Street/Dunraven Place as it did in the last days of The Ship's being.
Duraven Place was then widely known was Broad Street or High Street and Cross Street was known was Back Street or Gay Street. The corner where The Ship stood was then occupied by a Drapers Shop owned by David Protheroe, whose premises were later absorbed by the extension of The Ship. At the time of this extension, The Ship was enclosed by a low wall and railings.
Behind The Ship were its yard and stables, and also Ship Court. The 1841 census shows us that two people were recorded as residing at Ship Court.
Around 1830, William Stephens, Landlord of The Ship had made the inn "replete with every convenience" and provided "good old wines and genuine spirits, good stables with lock-up coach house". Costs of staying at an inn such as The Ship at that times would have been: 3/6d (17 and a half pence) - with a good dinner of several courses for half a crown (12 and a half pence).
During 1835, a coachman/guard named Bennett was thrown to the ground by the perilous swaying of the coach, being so badly injured that he was carried into The Ship. The local physician prescribed blood-letting and later that day Bennett insisted on carrying on to Cardiff with the packed coach. Changing coaches in Cardiff, he proceeded to Bristol - there he fell into a coma and died as a result of his injuries.
A list of a few of The Ships licencees
1793 - Catherine Evans
c.1830 - William Stephens
1840 - David Richards
1851 - David Richards
1857 - John Hewitt
1861 - Edward David
1880 - William Hopkin
1884 - Robert Lougher
1901 - William Jenkins
- Around 1830 the licencee was a William Stephens who was also a Maltster.
- In 1851 the licencee was a David Roberts who was also a "House-Joiner".
- In 1861 the licencee was an Edward David who was also a Farmer.
- In 1884 the licencee was Robert Lougher who was also an Auctioneer and Estate Agent.
By 1871 The Ship has a number of listed residents, this would indicate that by 1871 the property had been enlarged.