Welcome to the smallest “city” in the UK, St. Davids. With a population of only 2000 people, but still officially called a city, it makes it the smallest. But St. David’s is best known for the cathedral that shares the same name.
In addition to this massive cathedral, is the Bishops palace that can be seen just behind the church. Better go take a look around.
Both the Cathedral and city are named after patron Saint of Wales, St. David. To this day, the Welsh still celebrate St. Davids day in his honor. St. David established a monastery at this location sometime in the 6th century. Note the unusual ceiling in this cathedral. The decorative oak ceiling is the only one of its kind in the UK.
A closer look at that decorative ceiling. This is the oldest Cathedral in Wales and shortly after it was built in 1181, a Pope declared that 2 trips to St. Davids would be the equivalent of a pilgrimage to Rome. This made the Cathedral in St. Davids an important center for religious reasons as well as a meeting place for the rich and powerful (I wasn’t invited, but just showed up anyway).
The pipe organ was installed in the church around 1880 and has very large pipes to create very low, god fearing tones.
One Sian for scale. These huge pipes are 32 feet tall and I’m told are extremely loud. The sign on one of them is warning you it may sound at any time.
More pipes, more wood ceiling. This is inside the central tower which collapsed sometime around 1220 but was rebuilt as you see it today.
Throughout the subsequent years, different bishops would add on to the cathedral increasing it’s size.
This alter is constructed from broken pieces of stone. The broken pieces made into a new wholeness is supposed to help you think about the parts of your own life.
If you were considered a very important person in Wales, then St Davids cathedral would be your final resting place. This is the tomb of the Welsh prince “Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd Arglwydd Rhys”.
Right beside the grand cathedral are the ruins of what would have been the Bishops palace. Given the importance of the St David’s Cathedral, the Bishop needed an equally grand place to live and entertain important guests that would take the pilgrimage to this holy site. The palace was built in 1328 by the Bishop at the time named Henry de Gower.
The palace is split into two major parts, the private residence of the Bishop and the great hall, as seen here, that was for entertaining. The decorative window at the end was very opulent at the time. The walls would have been very ornate and covered with decorations. But unfortunately, once the roof failed, the original decorative walls are long gone. Today, Wales has a group of employees who’s full time job is to travel around the country trying to preserve what is left of these ancient ruins.
That way, tourists like me can climb up the walls for a great view of both the palace ruins and the cathedral.
Which can only mean one thing!! Traditional summit selfie time! With that sorted, time to head on to the next spot.

1 Comment

Phil · April 29, 2024 at 1:24 am

Wonderful pictures and report St. David’s cathedral; reminds me of a small town in Germany we stopped at in 1999, during our bike trip to witness an amazing church. I wouldn’t say it was this amazing but certainly surprisingly amazing nonetheless to find in a small town.

From now on, could you please refer to me as Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd Arglwydd Rhys during our hiking trips?

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *