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St Davids Cathedral

Nowhere in the United Kingdom is there a more ancient Cathedral place, for St. Davids survives from as far back as the 6th century AD: despite the attentions from Norsemen on several occasions during the “Dark Ages”.

Saint David, or Dewi Sant as it is pronounced in Welsh is the patron saint of Wales and was born near Capel Non ( Non's chapel ) on the rugged Pembrokeshire coast. He was educated in a monastery called Hen Fynyw, staying there for some years being taught by Paulinus a blind monk before going on to become the founder of a strict monastic order and building a monastery at Glyn Rhosyn (Rose Vale) on the banks of the small river Alun where today's cathedral city of St. David stands.. He became the most influential clergyman in all of Wales and many times traveled around Britain to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes. His place of birth and the cathedral became the most important shrines in all of medieval Christendom - two pilgrimages to St. Davids equaled one to Rome. Even William 'The Conqueror' made a pilgrimage to it.

Ruin of Bishops Palace
Cathedral from West Side
Cathedral Roof

Today's magnificent building however is a modern one in the annuals of history, for it dates from just 1181, Apart from the religious aspect, which is its main purpose for it is a modern day church, this cathedral is also worthy of a visit just to view its beauty and historical content. It is not only the final resting place for the Saint himself but contains the tombs of both the great Lord Rhys of Deheubarth and his son Rhys Gryg.

Effigy of Lord Rhys Lord Rhys Lies buried within the Cathedral as does one of his sons
( See section on Medieval Princes to read more)
Coat of Arms - Lord Rhys

It is a most wonderful place, situated as it is in a grassy depression below the tiny City of St. Davids in Pembrokeshire, on the western seaboard of my country.The Cathedral however has had a rugged life, in 1220 its tower collapsed and 1248 the whole building suffered damage due to an earthquake. Again in 1648 the Cathedral was destroyed, but this time by Parliamentary soldiers during the English civil war.

In 1995 Queen Elizabeth II conferred city status to the town of St Davids, but even during the celebrations there was a serenity about the place. Yes all in all St. Davids was and is the most holy of places.

Graphics by Ole R.D. Copyright © 1999-2005 / All Rights Reserved
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