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St Davids Bishops Palace

St Davids
SA62 6PE

Sheltering in a grassy hollow beneath the rooftops of Wales's smallest city are two outstanding religious sites, the purple-stoned cathedral of St David - Wales's patron saint, and St Davids Bishop's Palace. The latter, even in ruin, still conveys the affluence and power of the medieval church. Unlike the frugal saint who founded this fountainhead of Christianity in the 6th century, the bishops of St Davids in the middle ages enjoyed all the trapping of wealth and influence.

The most obvious symbol of their status was this great palace, unequalled anywhere else in Wales. The palace, as it now stands, was largely the work of Bishop Henry de Gower (1328-47) who built the great hall, its finest single feature, and created the distinctive arcaded parapets so characteristic of his richly decorated approach. No expense was spared in creating a residence fit for a major figure of both Church and State. The worldly lifestyle of the medieval bishops is reflected in the extravagance of the architecture, embellished throughout by lavish carvings.

There are two complete sets of state rooms ranged around a courtyard, one for the bishop's own use, the other for ceremonial entertainment. At the great hall (no less than 30mtrs/33 yards long and lit by an exquisite and still complete wheel window) the bishop would entertain distinguished guests. There are private chambers, another grand hall, a remarkable kitchen, chapels and porches, all given a sense of harmony and unity through the device of the arcaded parapets decorated with chequered stonework.

General Information:

  • Parking nearby
  • Toilets
  • Shop
  • Site exhibition
  • Dogs allowed
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    A487 to St Davids, minor road past Cathedral.

    St Davids Bishops Palace Postcode for SatNav: SA62 6PE


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