Set on a spectacular Pembrokeshire peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic upon the site of an earlier sixth-century monastery built by St David, the patron saint of Wales, St Davids Cathedral has been a site of pilgrimage and worship for more than 800 years. Today this splendid building erected to the glory of God remains a vibrant, living church offering a place of peace for prayer and devotion.
Who we are
St David is often remembered for teaching his followers
‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things ...’
In this Cathedral we aim to be joyful in expressing the good news of Jesus Christ to our hundreds of thousands of visitors and pilgrims. We strive to keep the faith passed on through the centuries, in our daily prayer and worship. And we hope that in the little things we do here day by day we will love and honour St David’s God and ours.
Around 300,000 people come every year, from all around Wales and the wider world. Many find themselves touched by the deep spiritual atmosphere within and beyond the Cathedral. Our hope is that as we ‘Welcome Visitors as Pilgrims’ we will encourage everyone, of every faith and none, to ponder their own pilgrim journey through life, and perhaps feel inspired to take the next step onwards.
The present cathedral was begun sometime between 1180 and 1182 and is the culmination of centuries of rebuilding and expansion. Constructed in the Transitional Norman style using fine-grained, purple Cambrian sandstone, it has survived both the collapse of its tower and an earthquake in the 13th century, although today the floor slopes noticeably, the arcades veer from the vertical, and the east and west ends of the building differ in height by about four metres! The Cathedral’s foundations are still shifting, albeit minutely, but it remains a solid and lasting testament to the glory of God, enthralling and inspiring the many thousands of people who visit it each year.
St Davids Cathedral as we see it today has been extended and altered over the centuries by many individuals, but its appearance was probably most influenced by Bishop Gower in the 14th century, and later, in the 19th century, by the renowned architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott, who undertook a significant restoration of the fabric of the building. In the 20th century, the ruinous St Mary's Hall was restored for use as a parish hall and in the 21st century the restoration of the cloisters has made our own very significant impact on the appearance of the Cathedral.