St Davids

St Davids

Coordinates: 51°52′55″N 5°16′08″W / 51.882°N 5.269°W / 51.882; -5.269

St David's or St Davids
Welsh: Tyddewi
St David's Cathedral
St David's or St Davids is located in Pembrokeshire
St David's or St Davids

 St David's or St Davids shown within Pembrokeshire
Population 1,797 (2001)
OS grid reference SM755255
Community St David's and the Cathedral Close
Principal area Pembrokeshire
Ceremonial county Dyfed
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SA62
Dialling code 01437
Police Dyfed-Powys
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Preseli Pembrokeshire
Welsh Assembly Preseli Pembrokeshire
List of places: UK • Wales • Pembrokeshire

St Davids (or St David's,[1] a contraction of St David's and the Cathedral Close,[2] Welsh: Tyddewi), is a city and community in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Lying on the River Alun on St David's Peninsula, it is Britain's smallest city in terms of both size and population, the final resting place of Saint David, the country's patron saint, and the de facto ecclesiastical capital of Wales.


History and attractions

The area was originally known in the Welsh language as Mynyw and in Latin as Menevia, and was later renamed in honour of David. The city is built around St David's Cathedral which was a popular place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. Next to it, the 14th century Bishop's Palace is a ruin maintained by Cadw and open to visitors. St David's was once a marcher borough. In 1603 the antiquarian George Owen described it as one of five Pembrokeshire boroughs overseen by a portreeve.[3]

Tradition states that Saint David was born to Saint Non at what is now St Non's, a ten-minute walk south of the city, in about AD 500. It is also said that he was baptised at Porthclais, now the city's port, was brought up by his mother at Llanon, and that he founded the city in around 550. Pope Calixtus II reportedly decreed that two pilgrimages to St David's were equivalent to one to Rome. Because of this a vast income was raised from visiting pilgrims in the Middle Ages.[4] Saint Non's Well overlooks the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and St Brides Bay. The Cambrian cliffs make this a popular spot for walkers and kayakers.

In addition to the cathedral, attractions in the city include the 14th century Tower Gate, the Celtic Old Cross and a number of art galleries. St David's is also a popular base for walking and water sports. It has several hotels and a youth hostel, and a number of pubs. The entire coastline around St David's forms part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The St David's lifeboat, located at St Justinian, has saved an estimated 360 lives since the first lifeboat was located there in 1869; and four heroic lifeboatmen have perished in the cause of saving others.[5] The Irish Sea area includes a large number of offshore rocks and islands and is notorious for strong tides.[6]

The Flag of Saint David (Baner Dewi Sant)

Culture and sport

The city hosted the National Eisteddfod in 2002. The Archbishop-designate of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was inducted into the Gorsedd of Bards, a historic order of Druids.[7]

The St David's Penknife Club is a group of people dedicated to voluntary fund raising for local groups and charities.[8]

St David's has a rugby union club, St. Davids RFC, which competes in the SWALEC League Five West.[9]

Whitesands Bay, about two miles west of St. David's, is a popular watersports resort. It has been described as the best surfing beach in Pembrokeshire and one of the best tourist beaches in the world.[10]

Notable people

Asser, mentor of King Alfred the Great, and writer of his biography, was a monk at St David's before being called into Alfred's service.

Henry Hicks (1837-1899), eminent surgeon and geologist, was born at St David's and practised there from 1862 until 1871.

Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656), eminent English musician and composer, was born in St David's.

See also


  1. ^ As specified in New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors OUP 2005. The name is often spelt without its possessive apostrophe, including by the St Davids City Council
  2. ^ Parish Headcounts for Pembrokeshire (based on 2001 Census) at Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2011-08-01
  3. ^ Owen, George, The Description of Penbrokshire by George Owen of Henllys Lord of Kemes, Henry Owen (Ed), London, 1892
  4. ^ St David's day, Pembrokeshire at, 16 February 2003. Retrieved on 1 August 2011
  5. ^ St Davids Lifeboat Station: Introduction at Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Accessed on 1 August 2011
  6. ^ St Davids Lifeboat Station at Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Accessed on 1 August 2011
  7. ^ St David's and St David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire at Wales in Style. Accessed on 1 August 2011
  8. ^ "St David's Penknife Club". Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  9. ^ SWALEC League Five West at Welsh Rugby Union
  10. ^ Retrieved on 2008-01-01

Further reading

  • O'Malley, Brian Brendan, comp. (1985) A Pilgrim's Manual: St. David's. Marlborough: Paulinus Press ISBN 0 907740 13 8

External links

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