St Davids Genealogical Records

St Davids Birth & Baptism Records

England & Wales Birth Index (1837-2006)

An index to births registered throughout England & Wales. Provides a reference to order copies of birth certificates from the national registrar of births, marriages and deaths – the General Register Office.

St Davids Baptism Registers (1724-1912)

Baptism registers record the baptism of those born in and around St Davids and were subsequently baptised in an Anglican place of worship. They are the primary source of birth details before 1837, though are useful to the present.

FreeBMD Births (1837-1957)

An index to births registered at the central authority for England & Wales. The index provides the area where the birth was registered, mother's maiden name from September 1911 and a reference to order a birth certificate.

British Army Birth Index (1761-2005)

An index to births registered to British Army personal at home and abroad.

Birth Notices from The Times (1983-2003)

An index to over 100,000 birth and christening notices from The London Times.

St Davids Marriage & Divorce Records

England & Wales Marriage Index (1837-2008)

An index to marriages registered throughout England & Wales. This is the only national marriage index that allows you to search by both spouse's names. Provides a reference to order copies of marriage certificates from the national registrar of births, marriages and deaths – the General Register Office.

St Davids Marriage Registers (1799-1927)

Marriage registers are the primary source for marital documentation before 1837, though are relevant to the present. They typically record marital status and residence. Details may also be given on a party's parents, age and parish of origin.

St Davids Banns Registers (1754-1922)

Banns registers record details of those who wished to marry. They sometimes contain information not listed in marriage registers, notably the bride and groom's parish of residence. Banns also record marriages that were intended that did not go ahead and serve as a filler when a marriage register has been lost or damaged.

Vicar General’s Office Marriage Licences (1600-1679)

Abstracts of marriage licences granted by the Vicar-General in London. These licences could be used to marry in any church in the Province of Canterbury.

UK Divorce Records (1858-1911)

Digital images of documents from civil divorce cases. The cases cover both the cause of the case and the outcome, such as division of property and visitation rights. These records also contain details of illegitimate children. Cases can be searched by a name index.

St Davids Death & Burial Records

England & Wales Death Index (1837-2006)

An index to deaths registered throughout England & Wales. Provides a reference to order copies of death certificates from the national registrar of births, marriages and deaths – the General Register Office.

St Davids Burial Registers (1813-1963)

Burial records for people buried at St Davids between 1813 and 1963. Lists the deceased's name, residence and age.

FreeBMD Deaths (1837-1964)

An index to deaths registered at the central authority for England and Wales. To 1866, only the locality the death was registered in was listed. Age was listed until 1969, when the deceased's date of birth was listed. Provides a reference to order a death certificate, which has further details.

British Army Death Index (1796-2005)

An index to deaths of British Army personal at home and abroad.

Death Notices from The Times (1982-1988)

An index to over 54,000 death notices and obituaries from The London Times.

St Davids Church Records

St Davids Parish Registers (1724-1963)

The parish registers of St Davids are a collection of books essentially documenting births, marriages and deaths from 1724 to 1963.

Pembrokeshire Parish Registers (1592-1980)

The parish registers of Pembrokeshire are the primary source for birth, marriage and death details before civil registration (1837). A full index to names with original images of the registers are available between 1592 and 1980. Parish registers can assist tracing a family back numerous generations.

Wales Parish Registers (1914-2013)

The parish registers of Wales are a collection of books documenting baptisms, marriages and burials from 1914 to 2013.

Wales Parish Registers (1817-1934)

The primary source of documentation for baptisms, marriages and burials before 1837, though useful to the present also.

The Welsh Church Year Book (1929)

Important information relating to the church, including jurisdictions and names of ministers, archdeacons etc.

St Davids Census & Population Lists

England, Wales, IoM & Channel Islands 1911 Census (1911)

The 1911 census provides details on an individual's age, residence, place of birth, relations and occupation. FindMyPast's index allows searches on for multiple metrics including occupation and residence.

Pembrokeshire Hearth Tax (1670)

A transcription of records naming those who had taxes levied against them for the privilege of owning a hearth.

1901 British Census (1901)

The 1901 census provides details on an individual's age, residence, place of birth, relations and occupation. FindMyPast's index allows searches on for multiple metrics including occupation and residence.

1891 British Census (1891)

The 1891 census provides details on an individual's age, residence, place of birth, relations and occupation. FindMyPast's index allows searches on for multiple metrics including occupation and residence.

1881 British Census (1881)

The 1881 census provides details on an individual's age, residence and occupation. FindMyPast's index allows for searches on multiple metrics including occupation and residence.

St Davids Wills & Probate Records

England & Wales National Probate Calendar (1858-1966)

Searchable index and original images of over 12.5 million probates and administrations granted by civil registries. Entries usually include the testator's name, date of death, date of probate and registry. Names of relations may be given.

Prerogative Court of Canterbury Admon Index (1649-1660)

An index to estate administrations performed by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. The index covers the southern two thirds of England & Wales, but may also contain entries for northerners.

Prerogative Court of Canterbury Admon Index (1581-1619)

An index to estate administrations performed by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. The index covers the southern two thirds of England & Wales, but may also contain entries for northerners.

Prerogative Court of Canterbury Admon Index (1581-1595)

An index to estate administrations performed by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. The index covers the southern two thirds of England & Wales, but may also contain entries for northerners.

Prerogative Court of Canterbury Admon Index (1559-1571)

An index to estate administrations performed by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. The index covers the southern two thirds of England & Wales, but may also contain entries for northerners.

Newspapers Covering St Davids

Publications of The South Wales Record Society (1987-1994)

A journal publishing historical sources relating to South Wales, with introductory texts, indexes and illustrations.

Journal of The Pembrokeshire Historical Society (1985-2005)

An annual English-language local history journal with academic and general articles on historical and archaeological topics.

The Pembrokeshire Historian (1959-1981)

An annual English-language local history journal with academic and general articles on historical and archaeological topics.

West Wales Historical Records (1911-1927)

Various volumes of The Historical Society of West Wales' journal, which include transcripts, indices and abstracts of numerous records such as hearth tax returns, parish registers, marriage licences and wills.

South Wales Daily Post (1893-1910)

2,700 fully searchable editions of a conservative newspaper. It contained local news, family announcements, sports etc.

St Davids Obituaries

iAnnounce Obituaries (2006-Present)

The UKs largest repository of obituaries, containing millions of searchable notices.

United Kingdom and Ireland Obituary Collection (1882-Present)

A growing collection currently containing over 425,000 abstracts of obituaries with reference to the location of the full obituary.

Quakers Annual Monitor (1847-1848)

A collection of 364 obituaries of Quakers from the British Isles. The volume was published in 1849 and includes obituaries of those who died in late 1847 through 1848.

Musgrave's Obituaries (1421-1800)

This transcribed and searchable work by Sir William Musgrave contains 10,000s of brief obituaries. The work is a reference point for other works containing information on an individual.

British Medical Journal (1849-Present)

A text index and digital images of all editions of a journal containing medical articles and obituaries of medical practitioners.

St Davids Cemeteries

Pembrokeshire Church Monuments (1300-1900)

Photographs and descriptions of Pembrokeshire's most illustrious church monuments, often featuring effigies, medieval inscriptions and heraldic devices.

Billion Graves (1200-Present)

Photographs and transcriptions of millions of gravestones from cemeteries around the world.

Mausolea and Monuments (1500-Present)

Profiles of several hundred mausolea found in the British Isles.

Maritime Memorials (1588-1950)

Several thousand transcribed memorials remembering those connected with the nautical occupations.

Rail & Canal Photographs Catalog (1880-1970)

A searchable database of photographs relating to railways and canals in Britain.

St Davids Directories & Gazetteers

Kelly's Directory, South Wales (1923)

A comprehensive place-by-place gazetteer, listing key contemporary and historical facts. Each place has a list of residents and businesses. Contains details on local schools, churches, government and other institutions.

Kelly's Directory, South Wales (1910)

A comprehensive place-by-place gazetteer, listing key historical and contemporary facts. Contains details on local schools, churches, government and other institutions. Also contains a list of residents and businesses for each place.

Kelly's Directory, South Wales (1901)

A directory of residents and businesses; with a description of each settlement, containing details on its history, public institutions, churches, postal services, governance and more.

Kelly's Directory of Monmouthshire & S Wales (1895)

A directory of residents and businesses; with a description of each settlement, containing details on its history, public institutions, churches, postal services, governance and more.

Kelly's Directory, South Wales (1895)

A directory of residents and businesses; with a description of each settlement, containing details on its history, public institutions, churches, postal services, governance and more.

Home Office Prison Calendars (1868-1929)

Records of over 300,000 prisoners held by quarter sessions in England & Wales. Records may contain age, occupation, criminal history, offence and trial proceedings.

Central Criminal Court After-trial Calendars (1855-1931)

Over 175,000 records detailing prisoner's alleged offences and the outcome of their trial. Contains genealogical information.

Prison Hulk Registers (1802-1849)

From the late 18th century many prisoners in Britain were kept on decommissioned ships known as hulks. This collection contains nearly 50 years of registers for various ships. Details given include: prisoner's name, date received, age, year of birth and conviction details.

England & Wales Criminal Registers (1791-1892)

This collection lists brief details on 1.55 million criminal cases in England and Wales between 1791 and 1892. Its primary use is to locate specific legal records, which may give further details on the crime and the accused. Details may include the accused's age, nature of crime, location of trial and sentence. Early records can contain a place of birth.

Old Bailey Online (1674-1913)

A database of almost 200,000 fully transcribed criminal cases. Access to original documents is also provided. Records may provide ages and place of birth.

St Davids Taxation Records

Pembrokeshire Hearth Tax (1670)

A transcription of records naming those who had taxes levied against them for the privilege of owning a hearth.

Land Tax Redemption (1798-1811)

This vital collection details almost 1.2 million properties eligible for land tax. Records include the name of the landowner, occupier, amount assessed and sometimes the name and/or description of the property. It is a useful starting point for locating relevant estate records and establishing the succession of tenancies and freehold. Most records cover 1798, but some extend up to 1811.

Duties Paid for Apprentices' Indentures (1710-1811)

An index linked to original images of registers recording apprenticeship indentures. Details are given on the trade and nature of apprenticeship. Many records list the parents of the apprentice.

Index to Death Duty Registers (1796-1903)

An index to wills and administrations that incurred a death duty tax. The index can be used to order documents that give a brief abstract of the will and details on the duty. It can be used as a make-shift probate index.

Index to the Royalist Composition Papers (A-F) (1646-1656)

Index to personal names listed in the Royalist Composition Papers that dealt with the estates of royalists.

St Davids Land & Property Records

Land Tax Redemption (1798-1811)

This vital collection details almost 1.2 million properties eligible for land tax. Records include the name of the landowner, occupier, amount assessed and sometimes the name and/or description of the property. It is a useful starting point for locating relevant estate records and establishing the succession of tenancies and freehold. Most records cover 1798, but some extend up to 1811.

UK Poll Books and Electoral Rolls (1538-1893)

Poll books record the names of voters and the direction of their vote. Until 1872 only landholders could vote, so not everyone will be listed. Useful for discerning an ancestor's political leanings and landholdings. The collection is supplemented with other records relating to the vote.

Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem (1236-1291)

Abstracts of records detailing the estates and families of deceased tenants from the reigns of Henry III and Edward I.

NLW Manuscript Transcripts (1200-2000)

A searchable database of thousands of transcribed and abstracted manuscripts, largely pertaining to land.

Landowners of England & Wales (1873)

A list of owners of above one acre of land in England & Wales. Lists a landowner's residence, acreage and estimated gross yearly rental.

St Davids Occupation & Business Records

Swansea Gazette & Daily Shipping Register (1909-1910)

A liberal newspaper that predominantly covered mercantile and shipping matters. It did not contain family announcements. Each edition has been indexed and digitised.

Smuggling on the West Coast (1690-1867)

An introduction to smuggling on the west coast of Britain & the Isle of Man, with details of the act in various regions.

Teacher's Registration Council Registers (1870-1948)

A name index linked to original images of registers recording the education and careers of teachers in England & Wales.

UK Medical Registers (1859-1959)

Books listing doctors who were licensed to operate in Britain and abroad. Contains doctor's residencies, qualification and date of registration.

Railway Employment Records (1833-1963)

A rich collection of records documenting those who worked for railway companies that were later absorbed by the government. Records include: staff registers, station transfers, pensions, accident records, apprentice records, caution books, and memos. Records may include date of birth, date of death and name of father.

St Davids School & Education Records

Teacher's Registration Council Registers (1870-1948)

A name index linked to original images of registers recording the education and careers of teachers in England & Wales.

Oxford University Alumni (1500-1886)

A name index linked to original images of short biographies for over 120,000 Oxford University students. This is a particularly useful source for tracing the ancestry of the landed gentry.

Cambridge University Alumni (1261-1900)

A transcript of a vast scholarly work briefly chronicling the heritage, education and careers of over 150,000 Cambridge University students. This is a particularly useful source for tracing the ancestry of the landed gentry.

Cambridge Alumni Database (1198-1910)

A searchable database containing over 90,000 note-form biographies for students of Cambridge University.

Dissenting Academy Database (1660-1860)

Histories of schools operated by non-conformist clergy.

Pedigrees & Family Trees Covering St Davids

British & Irish Royal & Noble Genealogies (491-1603)

Extensive and impeccably sourced genealogies for British, Irish & Manx royalty and nobility. Scroll down to 'British Isles' for relevant sections.

FamilySearch Community Trees (6000 BC-Present)

A searchable database of linked genealogies compiled from thousands of reputable and not-so-reputable sources. Contains many details on European gentry & nobility, but covers many countries outside Europe and people from all walks of life.

Visitation of England and Wales (1700-1899)

Over 600 pedigrees for English and Welsh families who had a right to bear a coat of arms.

Ancestry Member Family Trees (6000 BC-Present)

A compilation of lineage-linked family trees submitted by Ancestry users. The database contains over 2 billion individuals and is searchable by numerous metrics.

Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage (1921)

A dictionary of families elevated to the peerage of Great Britain & Ireland. It includes genealogies and biographical details.

St Davids Royalty, Nobility & Heraldry Records

Pembrokeshire Church Monuments (1300-1900)

Photographs and descriptions of Pembrokeshire's most illustrious church monuments, often featuring effigies, medieval inscriptions and heraldic devices.

British & Irish Royal & Noble Genealogies (491-1603)

Extensive and impeccably sourced genealogies for British, Irish & Manx royalty and nobility. Scroll down to 'British Isles' for relevant sections.

FamilySearch Community Trees (6000 BC-Present)

A searchable database of linked genealogies compiled from thousands of reputable and not-so-reputable sources. Contains many details on European gentry & nobility, but covers many countries outside Europe and people from all walks of life.

Visitation of England and Wales (1700-1899)

Over 600 pedigrees for English and Welsh families who had a right to bear a coat of arms.

Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage (1921)

A dictionary of families elevated to the peerage of Great Britain & Ireland. It includes genealogies and biographical details.

St Davids Military Records

Prisoners of War of British Army (1939-1945)

A searchable list of over 100,000 British Army POWs. Records contains details on the captured, their military career and where they were held prisoner.

British Prisoners of World War II (1939-1945)

Details on around 165,000 men serving in the British Army, Navy and Air Force who were held as prisoners during WWII.

British Army WWI Medal Rolls (1914-1920)

Index and original images of over 5 million medal index cards for British soldiers It can be searched by individual's name, Coprs, Unit and Regiment. Due to the loss of many WWI service records, this is the most complete source for British WWI soldiers

British Army WWI Service Records (1914-1920)

This rich collection contains contains records for 1.9 million non-commissioned officers and other ranks who fought in WWI. Due to bomb damage in WWI, around 60% of service records were lost. Documents cover: enlistment, medical status, injuries, conduct, awards and discharge. A great deal of genealogical and biographical documentation can be found in these documents, including details on entire families, physical descriptions and place of birth.

Silver War Badges (1914-1920)

An index to nearly 900,000 military personnel who were awarded the Silver War Badge for sustaining injures. Records include rank, regimental number, unit, dates of enlistment and discharge, and reason for discharge.

St Davids Immigration & Travel Records

Passenger Lists Leaving UK (1890-1960)

A name index connected to original images of passenger lists recording people travelling from Britain to destinations outside Europe. Records may detail a passenger's age or date of birth, residence, occupation, destination and more.

UK Incoming Passenger Lists (1878-1960)

A full index of passenger lists for vessels arriving in the UK linked to original images. Does not include lists from vessels sailing from European ports. Early entries can be brief, but later entries may include dates of births, occupations, home addresses and more. Useful for documenting immigration.

17th Century British Emigrants to the U.S. (1600-1700)

Details on thousands of 17th century British immigrants to the U.S., detailing their origins and nature of their immigration.

Migration from North America to Britain & Ireland (1858-1870)

A list of over 40,000 passengers traveling from North America to the British Isles. Details of passengers may include: occupation, nationality, gender, age, martial status, class, destination, and details of the vessel they sailed on.

Aliens Entry Books (1794-1921)

An un-indexed collection of over 100,000 documents of correspondence and other documents of the Home Office and the Aliens Office. Contains a great deal of information on aliens and those who applied for naturalisation.

St Davids Histories & Books

Publications of The South Wales Record Society (1987-1994)

A journal publishing historical sources relating to South Wales, with introductory texts, indexes and illustrations.

Journal of The Pembrokeshire Historical Society (1985-2005)

An annual English-language local history journal with academic and general articles on historical and archaeological topics.

The Pembrokeshire Historian (1959-1981)

An annual English-language local history journal with academic and general articles on historical and archaeological topics.

West Wales Historical Records (1911-1927)

Various volumes of The Historical Society of West Wales' journal, which include transcripts, indices and abstracts of numerous records such as hearth tax returns, parish registers, marriage licences and wills.

Pembrokeshire Church Photographs (1890-Present)

Photographs and images of churches in Pembrokeshire.

Biographical Directories Covering St Davids

Oxford University Alumni (1500-1886)

A name index linked to original images of short biographies for over 120,000 Oxford University students. This is a particularly useful source for tracing the ancestry of the landed gentry.

Cambridge University Alumni (1261-1900)

A transcript of a vast scholarly work briefly chronicling the heritage, education and careers of over 150,000 Cambridge University students. This is a particularly useful source for tracing the ancestry of the landed gentry.

Crockford's Clerical Directories (1868-1914)

Brief biographies of Anglican clergy in the UK.

The Concise Dictionary of National Biography (1654-1930)

A directory containing lengthy biographies of noted British figures. The work took over two decades to compile. Biographies can be searched by name and are linked to images of the original publication.

Church of England Clergy Database (1500-1835)

A database of CoE clergy, giving details of their education of service. Contains references to source documents. Also contains profiles of various church institutions.

St Davids Maps

Maps of Pembrokeshire (1627-1922)

A collection of digitalised maps covering the county.

Ordnance Survey Maps of Wales (1868-1954)

An interactive map featuring four OS map editions published between 1868 and 1954. To load a map select the menu tab on the far right, select the edition you wish to view and zoom in to a locality.

Ordnance Survey 1:10 Maps (1840-1890)

Maps showing settlements, features and some buildings in mainland Britain.

A Vision of Britain (1190-Present)

A sprawling website setting out and describing the historical divisions of Britain. Also contains countless maps of various sorts. Covers the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man & has fleeting details of other localities.

Ordnance Survey One-inch to the Mile Maps (1945-1947)

High-quality digital reproductions of maps plotting, settlements, roads, natural features and other features in England & Wales.

St Davids Reference Works

Wales Research Guide (1538-Present)

A beginner’s guide to researching ancestry in Wales.

Parish Register Abstract (1538-1812)

Compiled in 1831, this book details the coverage and condition of parish registers in England & Wales.

Building History Research Guide (1066-Present)

A comprehensive guide to researching the history of buildings in the British Isles.

Surname Origins (1790-1911)

A service that provides advanced and custom surname maps for the British Isles and the US.

British Family Mottoes (1189-Present)

A dictionary of around 9,000 mottoes for British families who had right to bear arms.

St Davids Information

Civil & Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction:

Historical Description

The city of St. David’s is situate in a deep hollow, and well sheltered from the winds which ravage this stormy coast.

However, such is the situation of this place, that in approaching from the eastward, none of the buildings are to be seen at any distance; and while the traveller, calculating his progress by the milestones he has passed, is anxiously looking for the object of his search, he finds himself unexpectedly in the middle of the principal street. But as he has on each side of him, only a broken row of miserable cottages, with here and there a structure of more respectable appearance, he would scarcely suspect that he had reached his destination, were he not presented in front with a glimpse of the top of the cathedral tower, rising from the narrow and concealed valley in which the venerable edifice is situated. Whoever visits St., David's, with such expectations as the ideas usually associated with the title of a city, are calculated to excite, will be sure to experience a most grievous disappointment; for no collection of houses, aspiring to the rank of a town, can, exhibit a more wretched and squalid appearance; nevertheless, it still bears marks of its former extent in the names of several streets and lanes that may yet be traced out by the ruins of the houses and the foundations of walls. The modern city, without the cathedral precincts, is principally composed of the High Street, which is one of considerable width. In an open space, near its western extremity, stands an ancient cross, around which the market was held while it lasted. Fairs are still held here annually; but the want of an inn has been generally complained of by travellers, till this was happily remedied in the year 1811, when a neat and comfortable house of entertainment was opened, and provided with the valuable appendage of stabling. The ground occupied by the Cathedral, the houses of the resident ecclesiastics, with the cemetery, gardens, &c. was enclosed by a lofty wall of nearly a mile in circuit, and was entered by four strong and handsome gateways. The East Gate stands at the bottom of the High-street, and corresponds with its Welsh name of Porih y Twr, the tower gate being placed between two high towers. One of these was an octagon about sixty feet, the interior divided into stories. The other tower is thought to have been appropriated to the town corporation. From this spot a delightful view embraces the whole of the Cathedral precincts, with St. Mary's College, the Bishop's palace, &c. The Cathedral is a large Gothic structure, built in the form of a cross, and having a lofty square tower, surmounted by handsome pinnacles at each corner, rising from the middle at the intersection of the north and south transepts. The common entrance is through a porch on the south side; but the principal one is through a grand doorway at the west end, called the Bishop's door, only used on occasions of ceremony. There is another doorway of Saxon architecture, on the north side at the west-end of the cloisters. The interior comprises a nave, and two side aisles, the choir and chancel: the former is divided from these, by a row of handsome columns alternately round and octagon, five in number, with corresponding pilasters at each end, supporting six elegant Saxon arches. Over these is a range of smaller Saxon pillars supporting other arches of less dimensions, reaching to the roof. The ceiling of the nave is of Irish oak, divided into square compartments, and justly admired for the elegance of its workmanship. The entire length of this part of the church is one hundred and twenty-four feet; the width of the nave between the pillars thirty-two; and the side aisles, eighteen. At the upper end of the nave a flight of steps conduct to the choir, which is entered by an arched passage under the rood loft. The screen is of irregular Gothic architecture, and very beautiful. The choir is placed immediately under the tower, which is supported by four large arches, three Gothic and one Saxon, but all of them springing from Saxon pillars. The west and south arches are now walled up. The organ, instead of being as usual placed on the rood loft, under the western arch, is placed under the northern. The Bishop's throne is near the upper end of the choir on the right-hand side, and is of exquisite workmanship. The stalls, twenty-eight in number, are placed on the north, west, and south sides. The floor is formed of small square tiles of variegated colours. The chancel is separated from the choir by a low screen. On the north side is the shrine of St. David, having four recesses in which the votaries used to deposit their offerings. The north transept was occupied by St. Andrew's chapel, and the south by the Chanter's Chapel. Behind the stalls in St. Andrew's Chapel is a dark room, supposed to have been a penitentiary; in the wall are small holes, probably to enable the culprits to hear the voices of the officiating priests. Adjoining to it, on the east, is the old Chapter House, and over it the public schoolroom. The aisles north and south of the chancels are roofless, and in a ruinous condition. Beyond the chancel, to the eastward, is the chapel of Bishop Vaughan, built by him in the reign of Henry VIII., and exhibiting a striking specimen of the florid Gothic. St. Mary's Chapel, at the extreme eastern end of the Cathedral buildings, has been roofless some years. This Cathedral is enriched by a considerable number of ancient monuments; some of them curious in their kind, as specimens of art. Bishop Vaughan was buried in the chapel that bears his name; and in St. Mary's chapel, under a rich Gothic canopy, is the tomb of its founder, Bishop Martin; and opposite to tins, a monument assigned to Bishop Houghton; but, like several others, they are in a ruinous state.

All that is left of St. Mary's College, on the north side of the Cathedral, is the chapel, sixty-nine feet in length, and about twenty-four in width. The windows were originally ornamented with painted glass; but the chapel being built over a vaulted apartment of the same dimensions, was converted into a charnel-house, which at present wears a most gloomy appearance. At the west end is a square tower, seventy feet high. The houses belonging to the establishment occupied the ground on the north and west, on both sides the river Alan, which washes the western end of the chapel. This collegiate institution was founded in 1365, by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and Adam Houghton, then bishop of the diocese, for a master and seven fellows.

The bishop's palace, to the southwest of the Cathedral on the opposite shore of the Alan, seems originally to have formed a complete quadrangle, enclosing an area of one hundred and twenty feet square; but only two of the sides remain. The grand gateway is now in ruins. The hall was sixty-seven feet long, by twenty-five; and at the north end was a large drawing-room, and beyond this a chapel. At the south-end of the hall stood the kitchen; in the middle of which was a low pillar, from which sprang four groins, which were gradually formed into chimneys. This curious work is now a heap of ruins. A noble apartment on the southwest side of the palace, was called King John's Hall, being ninety-six feet long, and thirty-three wide. In the east end of this was a circular window of singular and curious workmanship. Above an arched doorway which was the entrance, are the statues of Edward the Third and his Queen. A chapel attached to the hall stood at the northwest corner; and a small portion of one of the bishop's apartments, covered by a temporary roof, inhabited by some poor people, heightened the picture of desolation which the place exhibits. This palace was erected by Bishop Gower, about the year 1323, and was a noble monument of his taste and liberality. To the west of the large cemetery is a fantastical building, fitted up some years since for a chapter-house, and audit room, and which obstructs one of the finest views of the church. The houses of the resident elergy, are within the precincts; and that of the archdeacon of Brecknock is of an ancient date.

The precise origin of this city, and its cathedral, cannot be ascertained, but it appears to have been of considerable importance in the time of the ancient Britons. The first account of this cathedral commences in 911, when the Danes, under Uther and Rahald, destroyed it, and slew its defender, Peredur Gam. It was soon rebuilt, but again much defaced by Swaine, the son of Harold, in 993, who likewise slew Morgenau, then bishop of that diocese. This appears to have been the last transaction of importance till 1079, when William the Conqueror, entering Wales with a great army, marched, after the manner of a pilgrimage, as far as St. David's, when having made an offering, and paid his devotion to that saint, he received homage of the princes of the country.

In 1087, a most daring sacrilege was committed at St. David's; all the plate, with other utensils', belonging to the shrine, being stolen.

It is only necessary to add to the history of this celebrated place, that after Bishop Vaughan's death, and his successor, Rawlins, Bishop Barlow, who followed him, commenced a system of dilapidation merely for the purpose of furnishing himself with reasons to lay before the King, to induce him to consent to his removing the see to Carmarthen. With this view he alienated the church lands, stripped the lead from the castle of Lawhaden, and the palace at St. David's, besides other acts of spoliation. The unroofing of St. Mary's chapel was the work of the fanatics in the seventeenth century. Though some of Bishop Barlow's successors have felt properly zealous for the honor of the diocese, there has been ample room for more exertions of this kind. In consequence of the foundation of the north wall giving way, it was some years since found necessary to support it, on the outside, by strong abutments of masonry. The west front of the cathedral was, by order of Bishop Horsley, taken down and rebuilt under the direction of Mr. Nash, the architect. Under the succeeding diocesan, the nave has been new flagged and new paved, and the beauty of the front of the rood loft, greatly improved, by restoring a part that had been concealed by boards. Some curious fragments of antiquity also discovered in removing the old pavement of the nave, have been carefully preserved.

Topography of Great Britain, written: 1802-29 by George Alexander Cooke

ST. DAVIDS (or Tyddewi) is a very ancient city on the north side of St. Bride’s Bay, 296 miles from London via Great Western railway to Haverfordwest, 16 miles west by coach from Haverfordwest station, on the Great Western railway, 34 south-west from Cardigan, 116 west-by-north from Cardiff, 46 west from Carmarthen, and 30 north-west from Pembroke; it is the head of a bishop’s see, in the county of Pembroke, hundred of South Dewis-land, union and county court district of Haverfordwest, Mathry petty sessional division, rural deanery of Dewis-land and archdeaconry of St. Davids.

At the time of the Roman occupation of Britain the south-western portion of Wales was held by a Cymric tribe called “Demetae,” in whose territories the whole of Pembrokeshire appears to have been included, although this district was also tenanted in part by a population distinctly Gaelic, and the country around St. Davids seems to have been the battlegrounds of different races in very early times. Richard of Cirencester, who wrote towards the end of the 14th century, states, in his seventh Itinerary, that the “Via Julia,” the Great Roman road which penetrated South Wales, was carried on from “Maridunum” (Carmarthen) to a point on the western coast, which he calls “Menapia,” and which has been supposed by some to be identical with the modern St. David’s; but is seems more probable, from a careful examination of the existing traces of this road, made in June, 1808, by Mr. Richard Fenton F.A.S. and Sir Richard Colt Hoare bart. that the actual site of “Menapia” was on “the Burrows,” a sandy tract on the shore of Whitesand Bay, where some remains of uncertain date and use, commonly called “the Old Church.” still exist, but do not certainly belong either to a church or to a castle; in the 5th century this district, now constituting the parish of St. Davids, was called “Mynyw,” of which the Roman name “Menapia” was, probably a modification, and at a later date assumed the form “Menevia,” which is still retained in the style of the bishop, who is “Episcopus Menevensis.”

The city of St. Davids, probably never anything more than a straggling village extending along the hill above the cathedral to the south and east, is usually approached from Haverfordwest, through, the beautiful little village of Solva, 4 miles distant, and near the mouth of the river Solva or Solfach; a gentle declivity leads into the town, which consists chiefly of small irregularly built houses, disposed in five streets, known severally as High street, Pit street, New street, Nun street and Goat street, from which many alleys and passages diverge; but there are, besides the deanery and prebendal houses in the close, a number of good houses, besides other comfortable and well-built dwellings: Pit street, a steep and narrow lane, more commonly calley “The Popples,” leads to the principal gate of the close, on passing which, the whole close, with the cathedral lying immediately in front, the magnificent ruins of the palace and of the chapel of St. Mary’s College, with the peaks of Cam Llidi and Penbery in the distance, ail of which had previously been hidden, are suddenly disclosed, presenting to the spectator a most striking prospect.

The parish comprises the westernmost portion of the great rocky promontory which forms the northern boundary of St. Bride’s Bay, together with the islands lying off its extremity, and is divided into four townships, called “Cylchs,” or “Circles,” named respectively Cylch-y-Dref, near the centre; Cylch-Bychan, on the east; Cylch-Mawr, on the north; and Cylch-Gwaelod-y-Wlad, otherwise called Dewiston, on the west along the sea shore.

The city is lighted with oil lamps and water is obtained from numerous private wells.

The city is not incorporated, but there is an officer called a mayor or bailiff of court leet, whose duties consist only in collecting the chief rents belonging to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners within the limits of the city, which is co-extensive with the township or division called “Cylch-y-Dref,” and to see that no encroachments are made on a common which the inhabitants hold under an old lease from the bishop and chapter; he is therefore merely an officer of the manor court, and the existing belief that the city was once a corporation appears to rest on no trustworthy authority, since “there are no burgesses, charter, or other vestige of municipal institutions.”

The Cathedral and parish, church of SS. Andrew and David, a structure of noble architectural character and great historic interest, stands in a deep hollow immediately below the town, “on a holm of level ground, where the steep side of the valley recedes somewhat from the left bank of the river Alan, which almost washes the west front of the church.” The existing fabric, occupying the site of the earlier church, erected in the 10th century by Archbishop Sampson and consecrated in 1131, was the work of Bishop Peter de Leia (1176—98), and was begun in 1180, in the Transitional style of that period; but in 1220, not long after its completion, the tower fell, destroying the choir and transepts, and the rebuilding of these portions occupied from that date until about 1248, in which year the church was again much injured by an earthquake; the present Lady chapel was erected by Bishop Martyn (1290—1 328), and his successor, Bishop Gower (1328—47), a munificent benefactor to the cathedral, effected considerable alterations, apparently on one uniform plan throughout the whole building, with a view “to bring the aisles and chapels into a more regular and ornamental shape;” these works included, amongst other things, the addition of a stage to the tower and the erection of the remarkable rood screen and south porch. In 1384, the large Early Perpendicular window in the south transept (afterwords much altered) was inserted, and during the period 1461—1522 the roofs throughout the main portion of the fabric were entirely renovated, probably in part from funds supplied by Bishop Tully (1461—81) and Bishop Richard Martyn (1482—3), since their arms appear on the roof of the choir and in the upper east window; the nave roof is regarded as the work of Owen Pole, treasurer (1472—1509), who possibly also reconstructed that of the presbytery; Bishop Edward Vaughan (1509—22) converted the space east of the choir into the Trinity, or, as it is now called Bishop Vaughan’s chapel, the Lady chapel being at the same time remodelled and vaulted with stone; and the tower raised to its present height. During the latter part of the 16th century the fabric was carefully preserved from further decay, both transepts strongly buttressed and a vestry created on the east side of the south transept and in 1630 the cathedral was whitewashed. During the civil war the Lady chapel, the aisles of the presbytery and for some time the transepts, were stripped of their lead, covering; the latter were eventually repaired in 1696, but the two former portions, abandoned to the wind and rain, fell into ruin. In 1789--93 the west front was rebuilt from designs by Nash, and in 1827 the chantry chapel of St. Thomas was fitted up as a chapter house.

Subsequently to 1840 modern restorations were commenced, Bishop Field’s whitewash was removed and in 1843—4 the south transept was arranged as a parish church and the former vestry converted into an aisle; further restorations were also effected in 1846 and 1849, including the restorations of the rood screen and the insertion of several new windows. During the period, 1862—9, the rebuilding of the tower, a work of considerable danger, was skilfully effected under the superintendence of the late Sir G. Gilbert Scott R.A. and the building rendered comparatively dry by the careful repair of the roof, and the application of an efficient system of drainage, and since than the choir and presbytery, with their aisles, north transept and nave, have been completely restored, new roofs fixed over the nave and its aisles, as well as Bishop Vaughan’s chapel and the cross, aisle adjoining; both these portions of the church have been repaved and some restorations have been carried out in the chapter house buildings; and the total cost of these works has exceeded £43,000. The cost of the new roof and of other restorations to the south transept, of the new pavement to the nave and its aisles, with the oak ceiling to the north aisle, and of the organ case, has been defrayed by the bequests of Mr. and Mrs. J. Montgomery Traherne, of Coedriglan, Glamorganshire, amounting, after payment of legacy duty, to £3,600.

The ground plan of the cathedral is unusually complicated, but may be generally described as consisting of a clerestoried nave of six bays, with aisles, and a south porch of two storeys, transepts, each of two bays, with a chapel on the east side; a choir, formed under the lantern, presbytery of four bays, with clerestory and aisles; beyond this on a lower level, the Trinity chapel, also with aisles, continued eastward and forming together an ambulatory behind the presbytery; Lady chapel of two bays, extending eastward, with an ante-chapel, and a central tower of three stages, containing one bell and a clock, erected in 1872. The west front, rebuilt under the direction of John Nash, architect, in 1793, was a bold but incongruous composition, in the Romanesque, Decorated and Perpendicular styles, hopelessly confused; its restoration to its original Transitional character as completed in 1885 exhibits a noble doorway under a round arch with enriched mouldings, above which are two tiers of windows, the lower tier consisting of an arcade of three bold semicircular arches, also richly moulded, and the upper a range of five elegant lancets; immediately over the doorway is a niche, in which is an effigy of Bishop Thirlwall, and a new circular window is inserted at the west end of each of the nave aisles: flanking the doorway are massive quadrangular turret-buttresses of three stages, with pyramidal terminations, and similar buttresses are placed at the north and south angles. The restoration, or rather the rebuilding, of the west front, intended as a memorial to the late Bishop Thirlwall, is very effective, and harmonizes with the interior of the nave. The nave, owing to the great multiplicity of its parts, the profusion of ornament and the singular richness of its fretted roof, produces an extremely striking effect and is entirely unlike the nave of any other church in this country; the floor, following the natural inclination of the site, slightly slopes from west to east, and the six bays into which the nave and aisles are divided are of unusual width, excepting only the westernmost, which is narrower; the piers are alternately round and octagonal, with attached shafts at the cardinal points and capitals of a cushioned form; the arches are elaborately moulded on the face toward the nave and enriched with ornament of Late Norman character; the triforium and clerestory are comprised within a single range of semicircular-headed recessed arches, the lower half of which, forming a triforium, is filled in with couplets of open lancets, the spandril between each couplet bearing a richly carved roundel; clustered shafts of stone, rising between the arches comprising this combined triforium and clerestory, carry small shafts of wood, on which rests the gorgeous Late Perpendicular ceiling of Irish oak, erected by Owen Pole, treasurer, and completed by foreign artists about 1508; this antique structure is panelled, and divided longitudinally into three sections by rows of heavy pendants, connected by a system of segmental arches, the whole being laboriously carved and foliated. The fourth pier of the nave arcade on the south side, is painted with a full-length, but much worn, figure in armour, wearing a coronet and carrying a sword, and supposed to represent Henry IV.; and on the same pier is another figure, now nearly effaced, of the Virgin, under a canopy; on the fifth pier of the nave, on the south side, still remains faintly outlined in colour, a helm with crest and mantling, a staff with square banner rising above it, and below, a pendant shield; the same reversed appears on the corresponding pier on the north side. The aisles, Norman and Decorated, retain on the south side most of the windows inserted by Bishop Gower, but the vaulting, begun during the Norman period and advanced by him, has never been carried out, and the roofs are now boarded with oak; at the east end of each aisle a Transitional doorway admits into the transept. The south porch, originally Decorated, has been much altered; the doorway into the church was lately reached by a descent of five steps, but the ground outside has now been levelled and the steps removed; the arch of the inner doorway is profusely adorned with sculptured work, representing our Saviour’s descent from Jesse, the father of King David; a stairway in the aisle near this door leads to the parvise chamber, in which was preserved relics found in and near the cathedral, but removed in 1883 to the chapter house: the north door is Norman, slightly enriched: the font, which has four stone steps, is placed at the west end of the south aisle; it is octagonal, with a plain arcade of pointed arches, supported by eight shafts and a base of Purbeck marble. The transepts, originally Transition Norman, but rebuilt after the fall of the tower in 1220, have undergone more striking alterations than any other part of the church, and now exhibit a peculiar form of Early English Gothic, common to the church of South Wales and the west of England: on the eastern side of each transept are three pointed arches, including those opening into the choir aisles: in the north transept, which contained the altars of St. Andrew and St. Stephen, the northernmost of these arches opens into the chapel of St. Thomas, of Canterbury, which constitutes the lower stage of a singular structure of three storeys, projecting at an oblique angle eastwards; this chapel has Decorated vaulting and a graceful trefoil-headed double-piscina of Early English work, and was used from 1829 to 1889 as a chapter house; the second storey, which seems to have been originally occupied by the treasurer, and is now the library, was, until the restoration commenced, used as the grammar school; the third storey, now incorporated with the second, served as the treasury. The south transept, called the Chanter’s or Chancellor’s chapel, was used from 1843 until 1876 for the Welsh services, which have now been restored to the nave: the eastern aisle of this transept, erected in the 14th century, has been restored to its original proportions: in the south transept was an altar to the Holy Innocents: the north transept was vaulted with oak in 1871, at the expense of the Rev. James Allen, chancellor of the cathedral and subsequently dean. Four grand arches, of noble proportions, support the lantern, of which three, constructed after the fall of the tower in 1220, are pointed, while the western arch is circular and forms one of the most beautiful specimens of enriched architectural work in the whole church; an arcading surrounds the interior of the lantern, and above this is a wooden vaulting of the 16th century, which during the restoration of 1862—9 was raised one stage and redecorated in colour: the lowest stage of the tower exhibits only plain Norman ashlar work with rubble; the second stage is Decorated, with a tall two-light window in each face, and the upper stage Perpendicular, with an open parapet and eight pinnacles.

The space beneath the lantern, 27 feet square, is occupied by the choir, a position commonly assigned to in Norman, ministers; it is entered through a massive and elaborate , rood screen of stone in the Decorated style, erected by Bishop Gower, and divided on the western side into five unequal compartments, of which the central division contains the vaulted entrance to the choir; the extreme south end is occupied by the tomb of Bishop Gower, between which and the entrance is a canopied niche, with a low square aperture below filled with ogee tracery, and crocketed pinnacles on either side; the north end of the screen incloses the winding stair leading to the rood-loft and organ, and the compartment between it and the entrance contains a tomb (the roof of the canopy has the emblems of the four Evangelists painted upon it), both being masked on the western side by stone-work relieved by a triplet of three rather flattened ogee arches with detached shafts, apparently once a reredos, beneath it now stands an altar table, used at the services held in the nave; the whole screen is surmounted by a projecting cornice of oak, added in 1847 and reconstructed and somewhat modified by Sir G. Gilbert Scott in 1871; the vaulted passage through the screen is of two bays, with two steps in the first and five in the second; the arched openings on either side are partially closed by an iron grille, and between the bays, are light iron gates, placed in 1847: the twenty-eight canopied stalls, erected by Bishop Tully in 1460—81, are Late Perpendicular, and have misereres with grotesque carvings, all in excellent preservation: the bishop’s throne, erected by Bishop Morgan about 1504, on the south side, is an, imposing graceful structure of wood 29 feet in height, the general effect being that of a framework of Lata Perpendicular date, with additions in the Decorated style; it comprises three seats, a central stall for the bishop and one on either side, at a lower level, for certain attendant officers; both the throne and stalls have been carefully and minutely repaired. The old organ, built by Bernard Schmidt in 1704 and improved by Lincoln in 1843, stood beneath the northern arch of the lantern until its removal on the restoration of the tower in 1864, when it was presented by the Dean and Chapiter to the church of St. Martin, Haverfordwest; it has been replaced by a powerful instrument, built in 1883 by Messrs. Willis and Sons, and erected partly on the screen; but in order that the view might not be unduly obstructed, the heavier portions have been disposed in the transepts; the western front, facing the nave, is flat, relieved by a central and two side groups of metal open, diapason pipes, those in front being tastefully ornamented; the eastern front, facing the choir, is much more elaborate and ornate, a result-partly due to the projection of the central portion into the choir, each angle being occupied by separate clusters of pipes, enclosed in traceried woodwork, with crocketed pinnacles, the sides receding and terminating similarly; much of the details on this front were copied from the canopy of the episcopal throne; the instrument consists of three complete manuals, with a compass from CC to G, 56 notes, every register running throughout, and two octaves and a half of concave and radiating pedals from CCC to F, 30 notes.

The choir is separated from the presbytery by a parclose screen of oak, which crosses the church beyond the eastern piers of the lantern, and the western piers of the presbytery, with a return to the lower pier on the north side, the corresponding space on the south side being occupied by the bishop’s throne; it thus occupies a remarkable, and in this country unique, position, corresponding to, though not identical with, that assigned to it in the 14th century; in style it belongs to the transitional period from Decorated to Perpendicular, and consists below of solid panelling, while the upper portion displays a series of pointed arches filled with tracery; in the centre is a wide but quite plain arch, and a smaller opening at the south end of the screen leads to the throne. The presbytery, entered through the parclose above mentioned, consists of three bays and a half of simple, but beautiful Transition work; the piers of the arcades consist of massive columns, alternately round and octagonal, supporting pointed arches with mouldings similar to those in the nave; the clerestory-there being no triforium, has a passage way on the south side-exhibits tall lancets, one in each bay, with rich zigzag mouldings; the east end is of two stages, of which the lower displays a fine triplet, with Norman and Early English details intermingled, but these openings, being necessarily blocked on the eastern side of Bishop Vaughan’s chapel, have been filled with mosaics by Salviati; the upper tier was in the 15th century destroyed by the insertion of a large seven light Perpendicular window, but this has now been removed, and four lancets, composed to a great extent of the original moulded stones and filled with stained glass, have been replaced; the roof, erected in 1472—1509, bears the arms of Bishops Tully and Martin; Owen Pole, treasurer, Edw. V. Richard III. Henry VII. and others; the ancient colouring on the panelling and main beams has been renewed, the roof itself, as well as the walls, pillars and arches, having first been most carefully repaired, and the adjacent aisles opened, roofed and restored; the stained glass in the upper east windows, as well as the mosaics in the closed tier below, erected at a cost of £1,368, was the gift of the late Rev. John Lucy, rector of Hampton Lucy, Warwick, and are in part a memorial to his ancestor, William Lucy, Bishop of St. David’s from 1660 to 1677; the presbytery is paved throughout with encaustic tiles, a large proportion being ancient and very good; there is a gradual rise of four paces from the choir to the eastern bay, where stands the communion table, which consists of a framework of oak, supporting a slab of fine grey sandstone; behind it, on the floor, have been placed some ancient altar slabs; the wooden sedilia, found walled up in the second bay on the south side, are of three seats, with open-worked backs and have been repaired with much care; a piscina, apparently of the 14th century, has been placed here. Immediately east of the presbytery, and placed transversely to it, is Bishop Vaughan’s or Trinity chapel, an extremely fine example of Late Perpendicular; arches of graceful proportion, partially filled with stone screens, connect it with the aisles; the rich fan-traceried roof is of two principal bays, with panelled vaulting at either end; against the east wall the base of an altar-step remains, and the place of the reredos is clearly indicated; on each side of this are two openings, looking into the vestibule of the Lady chapel, and towards either side are two hagioscopes: set diagonally in the centre of the west wall is a remarkable arched recess, discovered during the restoration, in the back of which is a circlet of enriched work, surrounding a cross with equal arms, the interstices between which are pierced and open into the presbytery; the recess, when found, was filled with human remains, probably relics. Beyond the presbytery is a vaulted vestibule or cross-aisle of three bays leading to the Lady chapel and connecting the presbytery aisles, which are prolonged eastwards by a light and elegant couplet of Early English arches on either side; two low segmental arches divide this space from the Lady chapel, still (1895) in the course of restoration, which projects longitudinally eastward, not centrally but rather to the south; the greater part of it is essentially Early Decorated, or, more strictly, Transitional, and traces of the original vaulting, which fell in 1775, with other details, still remain; on the south side is a fine specimen of Decorated sedile; it was finished eastward by a flat wall, between small semi-hexagonal turrets, terminating in heavy pinnacles; and some traces are left of the open parapet formerly surrounding it; the present restoration includes the mullions and tracery of the windows, which are being carefully inserted in the original style of architecture.

Of the tombs and monuments in the cathedral the most important and interesting is the shrine, so called, of St. David, although in fact the existing portion, which occupies the third arch from the east on the north side of the presbytery, constituted the base only of the movable shrine or feretrum; the lower part of the structure, which extends from pier to pier, consists of a kind of table pierced by three low pointed arches open to recesses backed with stone, above this rises a triplet of three arches, with modern shafts and Early English capitals; the wall of ashlar, to which these are attached, formerly displayed paintings of St. David, St. Patrick and St. Denis, and the whole was surmounted by a canopy of wood; the back, which projects slightly into the aisle, has three round arches in the base, three quatrefoils above and between these two plain squared niches, now closed; among the royal visitors to this shrine may be named William the Conqueror in 1081; Henry II. in 1171 and ’72; and Edward I. and Queen Eleanor in 1284: in the north transept is the similar shrine or tomb of St. Caradoc, an ordained monk, who resided at St. Ishmael’s, in Pembrokeshire, died in 1124, and was canonised by Innocent III. at the instance of Giraldus, archdeacon of Brecknock: the Lady chapel retains on the south side three elegant Decorated sedilia; and here, also, under a lofty recessed canopy, is a Decorated tomb, with faint traces of the effigy of a bishop, said to mark the resting place of Bishop David Martyn, 1238; on the opposite side is a similar canopy much defaced, and regarded as the tomb of Bishop Fastolfe, 1361: there are also here several tomb slabs of ecclesiastics, much mutilated in the centre of the presbytery is the altar-tomb of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, and father of Henry VII. 1450; the structure is of Purbeck marble, with richly panelled sides, but all the brasses, consisting of an effigy of the Earl, armorial bearings and an inscription, were removed during the great rebellion; a successful attempt 10 replace them has, however, been made under the direction of the late Sir G. G. Scott, the cost being defrayed by the late Rev. John Lucy; the presbytery also contains, under the second arch on the north side, the singularly perfect effigy of Bishop Anselm, with inscription, 1248; and adjoining this is a large coffin-shaped tomb with the effigy of Bishop Gervase, 1299; at the north-east angle stands an altar-tomb, with half-recumbent effigy and shields of arms, to Thomas Lloyd, treasurer, 1612: in the north choir aisle, beneath a canopied recess, is the effigy of a knight in the armour of the later 14th century, and in the corresponding arch on the south side is a similar figure; these are traditionally said to represent Lord Rhys (1196) and his son, Rhys Gryg (1233), but are believed on some authority to belong to the family of Talbot, which, in the 14th century, occupied a leading position in the Marches of Wales: in the south choir aisle is an effigy, much worn, of a priest in eucharistic vestments, resting on a lately restored base, and Supposed to represent Giraldus; another effigy of a priest, within a Decorated canopy; an incised slab to Silvester, a physician, and the figure of an ecclesiastic holding a book, besides three incised coffin slabs, at present lying looses in the north transept is another priestly effigy under a Decorated canopy; the rood screen, already described, incloses the effigies of Bishop Gower, 1347, and Of two priests vested: on the south side of the nave is an altar-tomb, with effigy to Bishop Morgan, 1504: Bishop Vaughan was buried in front of the altar in his chapel; the memorial slab remains, but the brass is lost; in this chapel lies the much worn effigy of John Hiot, archdeacon of St. David’s, 1419, formerly in the adjoining north aisle, under a Decorated canopy, a fragment of which still remains; opposite, in a defaced recess, is the mutilated figure of a knight in chain mail, of the 13th century, probably intended for some member of the Wogan family; eastward of this is the effigy of a priest, said to be of the same family, beneath a crocketed canopy: in the south chapel aisle remains the shattered figure of a knight, and opposite it a Decorated recess. In the south transept is a tablet to the sons of Bishop Abraham (1078), found in masonry of Lady chapel during restoration in 1892; and also a brass to the Rev. William Richardson, 56 years vicar of St. David’s, and 22 years canon and treasurer of the cathedral, d. 1 May, 1876. The cathedral was once rich in heraldic glass, of which some fragments still remain in the two westernmost windows of the north aisle of the nave; the modern stained glass comprises only the four lancets above the Eastern mosaic triplet in the south presbytery, already mentioned: the service is conducted in Welsh, both morning and evening on Sundays, and on Wednesday evenings in the nave; the morning and afternoon services on week days in the choir, and ill the nave on Sundays, are in English. The register dates from the year 1664. The living is a vicarage, yearly value £300, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter, and held since 1876 by the Rev. David Lewis M.A. of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, canon residentiary of St. David’s, and surrogate.

The Transitional Decorated cloister of the Abbey, now destroyed, was on the north side, and had north, west and eastern alleys, the latter uniting it to the western wall of the north transept; the school and library were built over the west alley, and on the north side was the College of St. Mary, endowed by Bishop Houghton in 1377, and by John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, for a master, seven fellows and two choristers'; the walls of the Early Perpendicular chapel of four bays, 69 by 45 feet, erected over a long crypt, with a slender south-west tower, 70 feet high, remain, and there are also remains of the sacristy, containing a piscina, and of the domestic buildings, which stood on the north side of the chapel.

Of the College of Vicars Choral, formerly standing on the sloping ground north of St. Mary’s College, scarcely a fragment exists. The houses now occupied by the members of the Cathedral Chapter and extending along the right bank of the river up the valley, are, generally speaking, modern. The Deanery, situated above the Close, to the south-east, is built on the site of an ancient dwelling-house, from the ruins of which is has been at several periods reconstructed. The Chancellor's house is placed in the northern extremity of the Close, on a site appropriated to the Chancellor in the 14th century, and was built about the year 1846, by the Rev. Edmund Melvill, who died chancellor of the diocese, as well as of the church, in the year 1857; opposite to the chancellor’s residence are the remains of the Archdeacon of Cardigan’s house. Immediately southwards is the Treasurer’s house, and opposite to it is the house formerly appropriated to the Archdeacon of Brecon, but now vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; adjoining is the house belonging to the Archdeacon of St. David’s. The Bishop’s palace is at Abergwili, near Carmarthen.

On the western or right bank of the Alan and south-west of the cathedral, are the magnificent ruins of the episcopal palace built by Bishop Gower, c. 1342, and unroofed by Bishop Barlow in 1536, in order it is said, to provide marriage portions for his daughters; it forms three sides of a quadrangle, 120 feet square, with a missive gateway on the south side; the Bishops’ flail, 67 by 25 feet, and an oblong groined kitchen occupy the east side; the Great Hall, 96 by 33 feet, and the chapel, which lies due south-south-east, form the north side, and the west side is occupied by the domestic buildings; but the monotony of the quadrangular plan is admirably relieved by the skilful manner in which the general elevation is broken up by numerous projections, producing altogether a most varied and picturesque effect; the structure is essentially a palace and not a castle, its most striking feature being the rich and unique parapet, the greater part of which remains perfect, and the whole palace is built on a series of vaults, which, under the Great Hall, where they are most perfect, form a range of apartments, entered from, without by pointed doorways; the Great Hall is entered at the east end by a lofty and highly enriched porch, through an arch of rare and singular form, over which are niches, inclosing mutilated statues: the hall itself is roofless, but has at the east end a fine circular traceried window; the chapel, which projects from its western extremity, has a porch on the north side, and at the north-west angle a bell turret with broach spire; it also retains a large piscina; on the north the gateway, with the porter’s lodge, and at the north-east angle is a small projecting building, supposed to have been a lesser chapel. The whole ecclesiastical establishment, including the houses of the canons and other offices, was surrounded by a fortified wall, of which only a small portion, to the south-west of the cathedral, is now standing; there were also originally four gates facing the cardinal points, but of these, only one, the Tower Gate, an imposing structure, 60 feet high, on the south-eastern hill of the Close, remains; the gateway is flanked by a Transitional Decorated octagonal tower on the north, and by a semi-circular tower on the south, which served as a record office and Consistory Court; the octagonal tower, now only a shell, retains on the inside the bases of piers, and in the centre is a large circular mass of stone; the gateway has a portcullis groove on the exterior front, and two round-headed doorways of unequal size within the archway; within the limits of the Close the small river Alan flows past the west front of the Cathedral and separates it from the magnificent ruins of the palace; it is crossed by two bridges, both of which are ancient and possess features of interest.

Previous to the Reformation a number of detached chapels existed in different parts of the parish, especially near the sea coast; and several of these, though in a ruinous condition, are still extant, the most perfect being that of St. Justinian, at Capel or Porth Stinan, near Cam Rhossan, on the cliffs opposite Ramsey Island; this building, which lies W.N.W. to S.S.E. has an interior length of 48 feet 9 inches, and a width of 19 feet 8 inches; on the outside the length is 54 feet, and the breadth at the east end 24 ½ feet; the interior has three recessed segmental arches on each side; there is a western doorway, traces of others, and of splayed windows; and at the west end are remains of a stair; the roof remains, and the building might well be restored: on the south side of the city and near the coast are the remains of the chapel of St. Non, the mother of St. David; it stands nearly due north and south, but is now a perfect ruin, and the interior is filled with debris; it measures externally 37 feet 9 inches by 19 feet 8 inches; stone coffins and a brass of the 15th century have been found here, and built into one side is a coffin-shaped slab incised with a cross within a circle; the chapel belongs to the Dean and Chapter of St. David’s: near the chapel, but in an adjoining enclosed field, is a vaulted well with a niche for votive offerings; the sites of other chapels can still be determined, two of which were on Ramsey Island, and there are several other wells or springs of traditional importance. The Chapel of Ease of St. James the Great, at Carnhedron, is a plain building erected in 1879—80, at a cost of £1,505, and consists of chancel, nave, south porch and a turret containing 1 bell: there are sittings for 160 persons. The Baptist chapel, in New street, erected in 1842, affords 500 sittings; the Calvinistic Methodist chapel in Goat street, rebuilt in 1875, also seats 500; the Congregational chapel, in Nun street, has 500 sittings, and there is a Mission room of this sect at Rhodrad, with 90 sittings, and another at Treleddydfawr with 60 sittings; the Wesleyan chapel, in Goat street, was built in 1809, and seats 350. A considerable number of interesting farm houses are scattered over the parish and neighbourhood. The Close, 1,200 yards in circumference, is extra-parochial, and was formerly inclosed by the embattled wall above mentioned.

Bishop Morgan founded a Free Grammar school here in 1501 and also bestowed upon it a liberal endowment, which, by the Act for the Suppression of Chantries, was lost at the Reformation; it was intended by him for the education of six choristers; a small payment is now made to the National School, where the choristers at present receive their education free. About 1793 the school buildings than in use were converted into a chapter room and dining room for the annual audit of the chapter on St. James’ day (July 25th), and the school transferred to the Old Chapter room.

The Town Hall, in New street, is a barn-like structure, seating about 200 persons; it has a platform at one end; in the same street is a Free Reading room.

In the centre of the city, at the junction of the principal streets, stands the High Cross, an ancient and elegant structure, 28 feet in height, the six steps of which were restored by Bishop Thirlwall in 1873; at this spot the market was formerly held, and here funerals were wont to stop.

There is a branch of Lloyd’s Bank Limited in Cross square, and a sub-branch of the London and Provincial Bank is open on Wednesdays and fair days at the Cross hotel.

The hotels, all small houses, are the “City,” “Grove,” and “Prospect,” and the “Cross” temperance hotel.

The market, formerly held on Monday and Thursday, has long been obsolete. The fair days are the first Tuesdays in March, June, August, October (hiring), and December, but the fairs are apparently dying out.

The Coast Guard station is a short distance south-west of the city, and has telegraphic communication, and a flagstaff for signalling.

The Life Boat Station is in a creek at Rhosson; the boat house was enlarged, and a watch room built, in 1886. at the cost of Miss A, M. Bedford, of Pershore, Worcestershire. On Carn Rhossan, a great rounded rocky eminence, is a flagstaff within, an enclosure, and a cased flag for signalling.

Charities.-St. David’s is one of four parishes participating in a bequest made in 1698 by Dr. Jones, for the relief of the poor and for apprenticing; the annual sum now received by this parish averages £260, being three-sixths of the interest derived from this charity, which is distributed in sums of from 10s. to £2 10s. at Eastertide by the vicars choral, assisted by the overseers of the poor; the original bequest consisted of land, but the principal is now invested in Consols.

The general aspect of the country around St. David’s is that of a wide plain, with a slightly undulating surface, sloping gradually from east to west, relieved only by a few blasted and withered trees, the turf or stone fences which alone divide the fields, and various masses of trap rock protruding at intervals above the general level; two of these to the south-west, bare and precipitous, are called “Carn Rhossan,” and “Clegyr Foia;” but the most remarkable are the magnificent peaks of “Carn Llidi,” 592 feet above the sea level, and “Penbery,” which is said to be slightly higher; these form the terminating points of a mountainous range, stretching in a direction east-north-east of St. David’s Head, along the northern shore of the promontory, and about four miles north of the city; near Penbery is Dowrog Pool, a small tarn or lake affording good wild-fowl shooting, and north-east of it Ahereiddy Bay, where there are extensive slate quarries, and at the foot of the hill rises sheer from the sea the noble precipice of Trwyn-dduallt. From Carn Llidi, which is most easily climbed on its western side, an extensive view is obtained of the whole promontory of Dewisland, bounded on the north-east by the Pencaer Hills and Strumble Head, with the Prescelli range stretching westward; on the south-east by the Plumbstone mountains and on the west and south by Whitesand and St. Bride’s bays, and the adjacent archipelago; at the base of Carn Llidi lies a dismounted rocking stone, and on the summit is a cromlech, the upper stone of which is 11 feet 9 inches in length and 9 feet 9 inches wide. St. David’s Head is a bluff peninsular headland, about 2 miles north-west of the city and 100 feet in height, with a glorious prospect seaward, and is defended by an ancient fortification, consisting of a dyke and stone rampart called “Clawdd-y-Milwyr” (the Warrior’s dyke), which extends from cliff to cliff, a distance of about 200 feet, the breadth varying from 75 to 100 feet. The ancient name of “Octopitarum” or “Octopetrarum,” given to this headland, was derived from the group of small islands lying off its extremity; these are eight in number, and seven of them, called “the Bishop and his Clerks, " form a series of dangerous insulated rocks, on one of which the “Nimrod” steamship was wrecked 28 February, 1860, when 40 lives were lost; on the South Bishop, 144 feet above the sea-level, is a lighthouse, with a light revolving every 20 seconds. Ramsey Island, to the south, is separated from the mainland by a strait one mile in breadth; it is about two miles long by one broad, bounded on all sides by cliffs, and is terminated, at either end by a precipitous hill, the higher of which rises 444 feet above the sea; at the south end of the sound is a dangerous reef, known as “the Bitches,” and in the middle of it a perilous rock, called “the Horse,” which is covered at high water. Margery Island lies off the southern extremity of Ramsey, and on the eastern side are two islets, known as “the Kite’s Island” and “the Precentor’s Island.” The rocky cliffs of these islands generally are the resort of multitudes of migratory sea-birds. The famous “Meni Hirion,” or “Long Stone,” has disappeared, but near the farmhouse of Trecenny is an ancient monolith, 7 feet long and 11 feet in circumference. On the “Burrows,” near the farm of Croeswdig, is the cap stone of a cromlech, about 9 feet by 6; a mile north-east of the village of Trevine, on the farm of Longhouse, is a magnificent cromlech, with a cap stone over 16 feet long and of enormous thickness.

The Smalls is a collection of dangerous rocks, 20 miles south-west of Ramsey Island, on one of which is a lighthouse, with a fixed light; the Bishop’s rock lighthouse has an occulting light. About one mile west of the cathedral is a tumulus of singular form, 64 feet long, 35 wide and 4 high, surrounded by a swamp, in the valley above Clegyr, between the farms of Harglodd and Trepewit. At Porth-y-Rhaw, a splendid valley about half-way between St. David’s and Solva, opening to the sea by lofty cliffs, there is a steep peninsula, scarped on its inland, side into four terraces, each with a shallow ditch; in the valley are fulling and carding mills, driven by the pent-up water of a stream running through it. At Caerfai, a small bay on the south shore, much frequented for bathing purposes, and within easy distance of St. David’s, are quarries of purple stone, from which the richly decorated doorway of the great hall in the palace was constructed. Near this place are the ruins of the chapel dedicated to St. Nonita or Non, the mother of St. David, situated on the spot where, according to tradition, the saint was born; the promontory between this and the adjoining inlet of Caerbwdy is also fortified, the defences being continued on the land side for 324 feet due east, and at one point is a strong outwork, 194 feet in length; the entire depth is about 160 feet. In the inlet of Caerbwdy is the quarry which supplies the stone now in use for the restoration of the cathedral, and of which the greater part of the cathedral was built; it is similar to that of Caerfai, but harder and much more durable. On the right bank of the Alan river, within a quarter of a mile of St. Davids and close to the Bishop’s mill of Dewiston, is a remarkable camp, with a high rampart and fosse, having a total circumference of 607 feet, and a diameter of 118 feet; on the north-east is an extensive outwork, forming an imperfect parallelogram. Castell Heinif, another fortified peninsula, is on Ramsey Sound, about a quarter of a mile south of Porthstinan. Castell Coch, Porthtrewen, is a similar entrenchment, despoiled by slate quarries. On the farm of Pwllcaerog, 4 miles north-east, is a strong encampment by the seaside. An ancient dyke, called “Ffos-y-Myneach” (the Monk’s dyke), extends from a point on St. Bride’s Bay, between Caerbwdy and Porth-y-Rhaw for about a mile and a half north of St. Davids, and is than continued in a scarcely traceable and irregular course north-westward to Penbery hill. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are lords of the manor and the principal landowners, though there are many small freeholders. The soil, subsoil and geological formations generally, vary at short intervals; there are some breadths of fertile land; others are a sterile mixture of stones and clay. The chief crops are barley, oats and turnips. The area comprises (including the Cathedral close of St. David’s parish), 9,039 acres of land and 50 of water; rateable value, £9,232; the population in 1891 was 1,840.

Places of Worship, with times of Services

Cathedral & Parish Church of SS. Andrew & David, Rev. Canon Lewis M.A. vicar; Rev. John Phillips, Rev. William George Spurrell M.A. & Rev. Hugh Evans B.A. curates; 11 a.m. & 4 p.m. (English); 9 a.m. & 6 p.m. (Welsh); week days, 8.30 a.m. & 4 p.m.; Thur. 7 p.m. (English); Wed. 7 p.m. (Welsh); holy communion on first, third & fifth sun, in the month at 11 a.m. & on second & fourth at 8 a.m. (English); on the first Sun. in the month at 10 a.m. (Welsh).

Chapel of Ease, St. James the Great, at Carnhedren, Welsh only; 10 a.m. & 6 p.m.; Fri. 7 p.m.

Baptist, New street, Rev. John Samuel Jones; Welsh only, 10 a.m. & 6 p.m.; Mon. 7 p.m.

Calvinistic Methodist, Goat street, Rev. William Jenkins M.A.; Welsh, 10 a.m. & 6 p.m.; Mon. & Thur. 7 p.m.

Congregational (Ebenezer), Nun street, Rev. Lewis Tawa Jones; Welsh only, 10 a.m. & 6 p.m.; Mon. 7 p.m. & Wed. & Fri. alternate fortnights at 7 p.m.

Congregational (Mission), Rhodiad; 2 p.m.

Congregational (Mission), Treleddydfawr; 2 p.m.

Wesleyan, Goat street, Rev. David Williams, minister; Welsh & English (every service), 10 a.m. & 6 p.m.; Mon. Thur. & Fri. 7 p.m.

Schools

A School Board of 7 members was formed 13 March, 1871; David Rees Davies, Welfield cottage, clerk to the board & school board officer.

Board, Quickwell hill (mixed & infants), built in 1871, for 245 children; average attendance, 95; average attendance infants; 60.

Board, Carnhedren (mixed), built in 1871, for 120 children; average attendance, 52.

National, Quickwell hill, erected in 1873, for 150 children; average attendance, 33; supported by the Dean & Chapter.

Kelly's Directory of South Wales (1895)

Surnames Found in St Davids

RankSurnameNo. of People% of Population
1Thomas1215.76
2Davies1165.52
3Williams1155.47
4Rees1075.09
5James904.28
6Lewis803.81
7Evans803.81
8John793.76
9Morris783.71
10Morgan612.90
11Griffiths582.76
12Jones552.62
13Jenkins512.43
14Bowen482.28
15Phillips371.76
16Harries351.67
17Martin351.67
18Stephens341.62
19Owen331.57
20Hughes301.43
21Price291.38
22Rowlands281.33
23Richards241.14
24Mathias231.09
25Owens221.05
26Nicholas200.95
27Howell200.95
28Beynon180.86
29Watkins180.86
30Llewellyn170.81
31Preece160.76
32Perkins160.76
33Francis160.76
34Morse150.71
35Roach150.71
36Edwards150.71
37Roberts130.62
38Arnold130.62
39Propert120.57
40Edward120.57
41Raymond110.52
42Lawrence110.52
43George110.52
44Mortimer100.48
45Tudor90.43
46Pomeroy90.43
47Miles90.43
48Martell90.43
49Narbett80.38
50Reed80.38
51Neagle80.38
52David80.38
53Rowland80.38
54Hicks70.33
55Woodcock70.33
56Lloyd70.33
57Caley70.33
58Watts60.29
59Philip60.29
60Watt60.29
61Moriarty60.29
62Rice60.29
63Perrot60.29
64Banner60.29
65Moon50.24
66Rinish50.24
67Cornock50.24
68Phillip50.24
69Lile50.24
70Richard50.24
71Smith50.24
72Walters50.24
73Waters40.19
74Harris40.19
75Brown40.19
76Symms40.19
77Parry40.19
78Oakley40.19
79Jackson40.19
80William30.14
81Davids30.14
82Absolom30.14
83Reynolds30.14
84Pearce30.14
85Lennard30.14
86Watkin30.14
87Mathews30.14
88Turner30.14
89Appleby30.14
90Howells30.14
91Roger30.14
92Sais30.14
93Graham20.10
94Davidge20.10
95Hugh20.10
96Llewellin20.10
97Absalom20.10
98Eynon20.10
99Allen20.10
100Adams20.10

* Statistics based on the 1881 census