Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for DAVIDS (St.)

DAVIDS (St.), a city, a parish, and a sub-district in Haverfordwest district, Pembroke; and a diocese in most of South Wales. The city stands amid a desolate tract of country, at the end of the Julian way, on the river Alan, within a mile of St. Bride's bay, 15 miles WNW of Haverfordwest r. station. It was the ancient British Mynyw, and the Roman Menevia or Menapia; and it took its present name from the founding of its see by David, the patron saint of Wales, son of Saudde, prince of Ceredigion. It acquired great consequence from its prelates, and high religious repute from its shrines; was burnt or pillaged, in 808, 911, 982, 1077, and 1087, by the Saxons and their successors; and was visited by William the Conqueror, Henry I., Henry II., Edward I., Edward III., and Queen Eleanor, and for ages by multitudes of pilgrims. Two visits to it were declared by Pope Calixtus equivalent to one visit to Rome; and the road at it, leading to St. David's shrine, was long known as Meier-Saint, "the sacred way." The town is now a poor village, consisting of one principal street and two cross streets; but it still possesses strong attractions in its cathedral and its antiquities; and it is governed by a nominal mayor, and has a post office ‡ under Haverford-west, an inn, an ancient market cross, several chapels, a grammar school, and charities £340. Some trade in grain is done; and fairs are held on 12 March and 5 Aug. The cathedral stands in a deep hollow, apart from the village, within a walled Close, with a compass of nearly a mile. To the north is the ruined College of St. Mary, built in 1377 by Bishop Houghton, with a tower 70 feet high, and a chapel 69 feet by 45; on the east hill is the Towergate, 60 feet high, with double turrets; and to the south-west are the remains of a magnificent palace, built in 1328 by Bishop Gower, and unroofed in 1536 by Bishop Barlow. This palace was one of six which belonged to the see; the quadrangle of it was 120 feet square, one hall of it 67 feet by 25, another hall 96 feet by 33; and the south-eastern and western walls still stand, and exhibit all round a beautiful arcade and parapet. The cathedral was built in the 10th century; rebuilt in 1176; modified and renovated at many subsequent periods; and carefully restored, of late years, under the direction of Mr. Butterfield. It consists of a central tower; a nave of six bays, with aisles; a south porch of two storeys; a south transept of two bays, with an east aisle; a north transept of two bays, with an east chapel, surmounted by an old chapter-house; a choir of three bays, with aisles; a presbytery of two bays, with aisles; a lower chapel and an ante-chapel, projecting from the presbytery, each with aisles; and a Lady chapel of two bays. The central tower is 116 feet high; the nave is 1271/3 feet long, 76 wide, and 45½ high; the transepts are 120 feet long and 27¼ wide; the choir and presbytery are 80 feet long; and the entire edifice is internally 290 feet, externally 306 feet long. The tower is of three stages, Norman, decorated, and perpendicular. The nave is highly ornate and massive, variously late Norman and decorated; the transepts are transition-Norman; and the choir is entered through a beautiful stone rood-screen of Bishop Gower, and contains grotesquely-carved stalls and the shrine of St. David. Restoration of portions of the pile was done in 1862-6, at a cost of more than £11, 000; and restoration of various other portions was still proposed, at further cost of £2 0, 000. The chief monuments are effigies of Rhys ap Gryffyd and Rhys ap Grygg; effigies of Bishops De Leia, Anselm, Gervase, and Fastolfe; altar-tombs of Bishops Martyn, Gower, and Morgan; and a Purbeck marble altar-tomb of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, father of Henry VII.

Most beautiful, most desolate,
It was St. David's ancient pile,
Nave, chancel, tower, and windowed aisle;
And skirting all the western side,
A palace fair in ruined pride;
With storied range in order set,
And portal, arch, and parapet;
There hiding from the haunts of men,
In hollow of the mountain glen.

The parish extends miles along the coast of St. Bride's bay and St. George's channel; is cut into the divisions of Cylch-Bychan, Cylch-Gwylod-y-Wlad, Cylch-Mawr, and Cylch-y-Dre; and includes Ramsey island. Acres, 11, 185; of which 50 are water. Real property, £9, 443. Pop., 2, 199. Houses, 507. The property is subdivided. The surface generally is wild, bleak, and barren. St. David's Head, projecting westward, 3 miles north-west of the city, rises from a plain to the height of about 100 feet, and stoops precipitously to the sea. An ancient fortification, a stone rampart from 75 to 100 feet broad, called Clawdd-y-Milwr, goes across the neck or isthmus of the headland. A range of cliffs to the north has a picturesque appearance; and a summit on them, called Carn-Llidi, commands a very extensive and magnificent view. A cromlech is on St. David's Head; a rocking-stone, now dismounted, is at the foot of Carn-Llidi; and several other Druidical antiquities and ancient British remains are in the neighbourhood. Traces of walls occur on the coast of Whitesand bay, south-east of St. David's Head; and are thought by the natives to be vestiges of a church which existed before the times of the cathedral; but have been pronounced by most antiquaries to be Roman. A remarkable old fort, called Penlan, over-looks the Alan ¼ of a mile from the cathedral; and is popularly believed to have been constructed by a Gaelic chief for resisting the erection of the Episcopal see-A ruined chapel, called St. Steuans, is on the coast opposite Ramsey island; and another, called the Nun's chapel, is at Caerfai, between the city and St. Bride's bay. Sand-stone quarries, which furnished the stone for the cathedral, also are at Caerfai. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of St. David's. Value, £110. Patron, the Bishop of St. David's. Carausius, the Roman general, Asser, the friend of Alfred, and Fenton, the author of a "Tour in Pembroke, " were natives.-The cathedral close is extra-parochial. Pop., 37. Houses, 8.—The sub-district contains, besides the parish and the close, twelve other parishes. Acres, 44, 524. Pop., 7, 347. Houses, 1, 647.

The see of St. David's originated in removal hither, about 540, by St. David, from Caerleon; and was originally archiepiscopal. It had jurisdiction over all the sees of Wales, and over those of Hereford and Worcester; and though it lost the archiepiscopal dignity in 930, it continued to exercise the jurisdiction till the time of Henry I. Among its bishops have been Houghton, the Lord Chancellor; Gilbert, the Lord Treasurer; Chichele, the Archbishop; Lyndwood. the canonist; Martyn, the Chancellor of Ireland; Ferrar, the martyr; Rudd, the re-prover of Queen Elizabeth; Davis, the translator of the Welsh Bible; Land, Bull, Horsley, Louth, Stuart, and Burgess. The dignitaries include the bishop, the dean, the chancellor of the church, the chancellor of the diocese, the treasurer, two canons, four archdeacons, fourteen prebendaries, and three minor canons. The bishop's income is £4, 500; and his residence is Abergwilly Palace. The diocese comprehends the counties of Pembroke, Brecon, Carmarthen, and Cardigan, most of Radnor, and. part of Glamorgan; and is divided into the archdeaconries of St. David's, Brecon, Carmarthen, and Cardigan. Acres 2, 272, 790. Pop. in 18 61, 432, 689. Many of the livings have recently been raised in status; but all shall be named here as they stood in 1861.

The archdeaconry of St. David's comprises the rural deaneries of Pebidiawke, Dongledie, Rouse, Narberth, and Castle-Martin. The deanery of Pebidiawke contains the rectories of St. Elvis, Jordanstone, St. Lawrence, and Letterston; the vicarages of Brawdy, Hayscastle, St. Dogwells, Fishguard, Granston, Mathry, St. Nicholas, Llandeloy, Llanhowell, Llanrian, Llanwnda, and Whitchurch; and the p. curacies of St. David's, St. Edrens, Ford, Llanfair, Llanreithan, Llansteinan, and Manernawen. The deanery of Dongledie contains the rectories of Llysyfraen, New Moat, Prendergast, and Rundbaxton; the vicarages of Ambleston, Llawhaden, and Maenclochog; the p. curacies of Clarberston, Colman Chapel, Llangolman, Llandilo, Llanycefn, Bletherston, Slebech, Spittal, Uzmaston, East Walton, and Wiston; and the donative of Boulston. The deanery of Rouse contains the rectories of St. Bride's, Burton, Freystrop, Hasguard, Haverfordwest-St. Thomas, Herbranston, Hubberston, Johnstone, Llangwm, Nolton, West Robeston, Talbemmy, Treffgarne, West Walton, and Walwyns-Castle; the vicarages of Comros, Haverfordwest-St. Mary, St. Ismael, Staniton, Llanstadwell, Marloes, Roch-Castle, and Rosemarket; and the p. curacies of Dale, East Harroldston, West Harroldston, Haverfordwest-St. Martin, Lambston, and Milford-St. Catherine. The deaneries of Narberth and Castle-Martin contain the rectories of Begelly, Cosheston, Crinow, Cronweare, Gumfreston, Hodgeston, Lawrenny, Loveston, Ludchurch, Narberth, Nash-St. Petrox, Pwllcrochon, Rosecrowther, Stackpole-Bosher, Tenby-St. Mary, and Yerbeston; the vicarages of Amroth, Angle, Carew, Castle-Martin, St. Florence, Jeffreyston, St. Issells, Lamphey, Manerbier, Martletwy, Pembroke, Penally, Stackpole-Elider, St. Winnells, and Warren; the p. curacies of Williamston, Minwear, Robeston-Wathen, Upton, and Pembroke-Dock; and the donatives of Coedcanlais, Newton, and Reynoldston.

The archdeaconry of Brecon comprises the rural deaneries of Brecon-First Part, Brecon-Second Part, Hay, Builth, Mellenett, and Elwell. The deanery of Brecon-First Part contains the rectories of Cantreff, Llande-vailog, Llanfrynach, Llanhamlach, Llansaintfread, Llanthetty, Llanvigan, Penderyn, Talachddu, Vaynor, and Ystradgynlais; the vicarages of Aberyskir, Brecon-St. John, Llandevalley, St. David, Llanspythid, Llywell, and Merthyr-Cynog; and the p. curacies of Battle, Bettws-Penpont, Brecon-St. Mary, Coelbren-Chapel-in-Ystradgynlais, Colwen-in-Ystradgynlais, Crickadarn, Ystradvelty, Dyffryn-Honddi, Garthbrengy, Llaniltid, Llandilorfawr, Llanfihang-Nantbrane, Llanfihangel-Vechau, Taffechan, Llanthew, Glynn-Collwyn, Nantddu, Rhydybrew, Tyr-Abbot, Trallwn, and Ystradveltey. The deanery of Brecon-Second Part contains the rectories of Cathedim, Crickhowell, Llanfihangel-Tal-y-llyn, Llan-gasy-Tal-y-llyn, Llangattock, Llangunnider, Llanvillo, and Llyswen; the vicarages of Broenllys, Cwmdu, Llan-gattock-Vibou-Abel, and Llangorse; and the p. curacies of Cwmyoy, Llangenny, Llanelly, Llanthony, Llande-vailog-Tref-y-Graig, and Tretower. The deanery of Hay contains the rectories of Llandbeder and Llanelieu; the vicarages of Glasbury, Hay, Llanigen, and Talgarth; and the p. curacies of Capelyffyn, Gwenddw, Patrishow, and Oldcastle. The deanery of Builth contains the rectories of Llanynis and Maesmynis; the vicarages of Llanafan-fawr, Llangammarch, and Llanwrthwl; and the p. curacies of Allmawr, Glyncollwng-in-Llanfigan, Llanfihan-g-Bryn-Pabwan, Llanafanfechan, Llanddewr-Abern gwissin, Llanddewr-Cwm, Llanfihangel-Abergwissin, Llanwrtid, Llanganten, Llangynnog, Llanlleonfel, and Llanfair-in-Builth. The deanery of Mellenett contains the rectories of Blethvaugh, Cascob, Heyop, Keven-llecce, Llanbadarn-fawr, Llangynllo, and Whitton; the vicarages of Beguildy, St. Harmons, Llanbister, Llandegley, Llansaintfraed-cwm-Tyddwr, and Nantmel; and the p. curacies of Abbey-cwm-Hir, Llananno, Llan-badarn-fynydd, Llandewy-Ystradenny, Llanfihangel-Rhyd-Ithon, Llandrindod, Llanfihangel-Heligen, Llan-fihang-Rhydithon, Llanyre, Pilleth, and Rhayader. The deanery of Elwell contains the rectories of Aberedw, Bryngwyn, Cregrina, Disserth, Glandestry, and Newchurch; the vicarages of Boughrood, Clyro, Glascombe, Llanfihangel-Nantmelan, Llansaintfraed, Llowes, and Llanddewyfach; and the p. curacies of Llanvareth, Bettws-Clyro, Llanbadarn-y-Garreg, Bettws, Colva, Rulen, Llanbeder-Painscastle, Llandilo-Graban, Llan-elweth, and Llanstephan.

The archdeaconry of Carmarthen comprises the rural deaneries of Upper and Lower Carmarthen, Kidwelly, Llandilo and Upper and Lower Llangadock, and East and West Gower. The deaneries of Upper and Lower Carmarthen contain the rectories of Eglwys-Cymmin, Henllan-Amgoed, Kilymaenllwyd, Llampeter-Velfrey, Llandawke, Pendine, Llansadurnen, Llandowror, Llan-glydwen, Llanvalteg, and Merthyr; the vicarages of Abernant, Convill, Carmarthen, St. Clears, Llandewi-Velfrey, Laugharne, Llanboidy, Llandissilio, Llangan, Mydrim, and Treleach; and the p. curacies of Carmarthen-St. David, Eglwysfairglantâf, Egremont, Eglwys-fairachyrig, Kiffig, Castlederran, Llanginning, Llandilo-Abercowin, Llangain, Llanllwch, Llanstephen, Llangunnock, Llanwinio, Marros, Bettws, and Llanfihangel-Abercowin. The deanery of Kidwelly contains the rectory of Llanedi; the vicarages of St. Ishmaels, Kidwelly, Llandefeilog, Llanelly, Llangunnor, and Pembrey; and the p. curacies of Ferryside-St. Thomas, Llansaint, Llanelly-St. Paul, Llangendeirn, Llangennech, Llannon, Llandyry, and Velinfoel. The deaneries of Llandilo and Upper and Lower Llangadock contain the rectories of Brechfa and Llanfihangel-Cilfargen; the vicarages of Abergwilli, Conwyl-Cayo, Llansawel, Llanarthney, Llandilo-fawr, Llandingat, Llanfair-ar-y-Bryn, Llanybie, Llan-egwad, Llanfihangel-ar-Arth, Llanfynydd, Llangadock, Llangathan, Llanllwni, Llansadwrn, Llanybyther, Moth-vey, and Pencarreg; and the p. curacies of Abergorlach, Bettws, Cilcwn, Gwinfe, Llanddarog, Llandyveisant, Llanfihangel-Aberbythyck, Llanfihangel-Uwchwgily, Llanthoisant, Llanllawddog, Llanpumpsaint, Llanfihangel-Rhosycorn, Llanwrda, Llanycrwys, Taliaris, Talley, and Ystradffyn. The deaneries of East and West Gower contain the rectories of Bishopston, Cheriton, Ilston, Llanmadock, Loughor, Nicholaston, Oxwich, Penmaen, Porteynon, Reynoldston, and Rhosilly; the vicarages of Llandewi, Llandilo-talybont, Llangenith, Llangyvelach, Llanrhidian, Pennard, and Swansea; and the p. curacies of Clydach, Cors-Eynon, Morriston, Llanguick, Pen-clawdd, Llansamlet, Oystermouth, Penrice, Swansea-St. John, Swansea-St. Peter, Swansea-Trinity, and Sketty.

The archdeaconry of Cardigan comprises the rural deaneries of Emlyn, Kemmes, Sub-Ayron, and Upper-Ayron. The deanery of Emlyn contains the rectories of Killrhedin, Llanfihang-Penbedw, Manwrdivey, Penrith, Penboyr, and Whitechurch; the vicarages of Clydey, Kennarth, and Llangeler; and the p. curacies of Newcastle-Emlyn and Little Newcastle. The deanery of Kemmes contains the rectories of Bridell, Castlebigh, Dinas, Llanfyrnach, Henry s Moat, Llanychaer, Llan-ychllwyddog, Llanllawer, Meline, Morvil, Newport, and Puncheston; the vicarages of Bayvill, St. Dogmells, Llantood, Monington, Eglwyswrw, and Nevern; and the p. curacies of Moylgrove, Llanfair-Nantgwyn, Mynach-logddu, Kilgwyn, Pontfaen, and Penboyr-Trinity. The deanery of Sub-Ayron contains the rectories of Aberporth, Bangor, Henllan, Bettws-Bledrws, Kellan, Kilgerran, Llanfair-Orllwyn, Llangoedmore, Llangunllo, Llanllwchaiarn, Trefilan, and Troedyrawr; the vicarages of Cardigan, Llanarth, Llanina, Llandissilio-Gogo, Llandyfriog, Llandyssul, Llangranog, Llanwenog, Llanwnen, Pembryn, and Verwick; and the p. curacies of Blaenporth, Capel-Cynon, Dihewyd, Henfenyw, Llandygwydd, Llanerchayron, Llanfair-Clydogan, Llangyby, Silian, Llanychaiarn, Mount, Bettws-Ifan, Brongwyn, and Tremain. The deanery of Upper Ayron contains the rectories of Killiaw-Ayron, Llangeitho, and Rhostie; the vicarages of Kilkenin, Lampeter-Pontstephen, Llanbadarn-fawr, Llanbadarn-Trefeglwys, Llancwnlle, Llan-fihangel-Geneur-Glyn, Llanfihangel-y-Creiddyn, Llan-fihangel-Ystrad, Llanilar, Llanrhystid, Llansantffread, and Tregaron; and the p. curacies of Aberystwith, Llandewi-Aberarth-St. Albans, Bettws-in-Llandewi-brefi, Blaenpenal-in-Llandewi-brefi, Eglwysfach, Eglwys-Newydd, Garthelly-in-Llandewi-brefi, Llanavan, Llan-deinol, Llandewi-Aberarth, Llandewi-brefi, Llanbadarn-Odyn, Llangwyryfon, Llancynvelyn, Llanwnws, Llech-ryd, Lledrod, Strata-Florida, Yspytty-Cenfyn, Yspytty-Ystwith, and Yspytty-Ystradmeiric.


(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a city, a parish, and a sub-district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: St Davids CP/AP       St Davids SubD       Haverfordwest PLU/RegD       Pembrokeshire AncC
Place names: DAVIDS ST     |     ST DAVIDS
Place: St Davids

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