The story of St David’s Cathedral is the legacy of Wales’ most revered Saint – a tale of religious perserverence and royal support. The incredible St David’s Cathedral can be found on the furthest west point of Wales (and indeed the entirety of Britain), in the Welsh county of Pembrokeshire. Saint David founded the site as a home for the local monastic community in the 6th century AD, before his death in 589 AD. His legacy still lives on today through the cathedral built in his name, and the tales of his extraordinary deeds.
RESPECTED THROUGHOUT THE AGES … EXCEPT BY VIKINGS
After the passing of Saint David, Pembrokeshire and its community – like many other surrounding areas – were victim to numerous Viking raids. Between the 7th and 10th centuries, many bishops and priests were murdered by the unrelenting northerners, and many of the graves around the current cathedral pay homage to these unfortunate Welshmen.
In 1081, William the Conqueror visited Saint David’s to pray after his many victories, showing recognition of the grounds as a holy and respected place, and in 1090 the famous Welsh scholar Rhigyfarch wrote the “Life of David”, highlighting his sanctity and numerous good acts and beginning the passionate following the Saint received.
BIGGER IS BETTER
The humble monastery that was set up by David was home to many monks and priests for half a millennium before eventually becoming a centre for pilgrimage in 1123. Under the supervision of Bishop Bernard. Bernard, seeing the massive following his saintly predecessor had, he dedicated the construction of the new cathedral to David in 1131.
When King Henry I visited in 1171, he noticed the following of Saint David dwindling since the passing of Bishop Bernard, and so ordered the construction of a larger cathedral to show royal approval. Building began in 1181 the current cathedral was soon completed.
When the Monarchy of England was ruptured by Cromwell’s forces during the Civil War, there was a negative effect on many religious places throughout Britain. This was felt particularly strongly in Pembrokeshire when Cromwell’s men largely destroyed the cathedral and stripped it almost bare. Luckily, in the years since much of Saint David’s Cathedral’s former glory has been restored.
BELLS AND ORGANS
Saint David’s Cathedral is peculiar in that its bells are not actually atop the tower itself, rather being located in the old gatehouse nearby. The gatehouse, named Porth y Twr (or “The Gate Tower” in English) contains 10 individual bells, two of which were cast in 2000, each sounding a different note. The original eight bells were cast in 1928 by Mears and Stainbank in London, and were transported cross-country over the course of a fortnight.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Dwr Cwmwdig Berea, St Davids, Haverfordwest
Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA62 6DW
+44 (0)1348 831 376
- Address: 7 The Pebbles, Saint David's, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA62 6RD, UK
- GPS: 51.88207907875746,-5.268432244982932
- Phone: 0044 (0)1437 720 202
- Part of UK: Wales
- Sat Nav Postcode: SA62 6RD
- Entrance Fees: Free Access (donations are welcomed, though)
- Disabled Access: Excellent
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Davy Veelaert