Library

Books in St Davids Cathedral Library

St David's Cathedral Library is the only Cathedral Library in situ in Wales. The present Collection dates back to the 16th Century and the Reformation. We have copies of some of the early Bibles in Welsh and early Bibles in English.

Find out more about what we do and the services we offer using the links below. 

Join us for an introductory tour of the Library and the Collection by the Dean of St Davids, The Very Rev'd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones.

Find out more about St Davids Cathedral library

 


LIBRARY VISITING 

CATHEDRAL LIBRARY VISITS

LIBRARY OPENING TIMES:

The Cathedral Library is usually open to the public on Monday and Friday afternoons between 2pm and 4pm.

Check on this webpage, or on Notice in Cathedral South Porch, for any changes to this arrangement.   

To make an arrangement to study in the Library at other times, email to Library@StDavidsCathedral.org.uk


 

Tours of Rarely Seen parts of St Davids Cathedral

These popular Tours of the Cathedral are organised and conducted by the Cathedral Library team.

Tickets are available on EventBrite, or in the Cathedral nave shop, for the following dates: 

Tuesday 2nd July 2024. 2pm - 3.30pm

Tour of Rarely Seen parts of St Davids Cathedral Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite

More dates will be announced during the year. 

 

DATES FOR 2024

(Further details will appear here or are available by emailing Library@StDavidsCathedral.org.uk

 

  • Wednesday 12th June - Series of Talks, visits and events jointly with Bishops Palace,  St Davids Bishop's Palace | Cadw (gov.wales)  and including Porth-y-Twr, to mark the Consecration of Bishop Gower on 12th June 1328. 

 

  • Saturday 6th July - 2.30pm-3.30pm -   "Suffragettes in the "splendid" Cathedral". Talk in the Cathedral Library on visit by Emmeline Pankhurst, Annie Kenney and others on 6th July 1906, and display of the Visitors Book they signed.
  • Spaces are limited in the Library. Tickets available online here on EventBrite. Any remaining tickets available on the day in nave shop. 
  • Suffragettes visit to "Splendid" Cathedral Tickets, Sat 6 Jul 2024 at 14:30 | Eventbrite

 

  • Tuesday 9th July - 2pm-3pm - "Suffragettes in the "splendid" Cathedral." Talk in the Cathedral Library on the second visit by Annie Kenney to the Cathedral, this time joined by Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, who also signed the Visitors Book. 
  • Spaces are limited in the Library. Tickets available online here on EventBrite. Any remaining tickets available on the day in nave shop. 
  • Suffragettes visit to "Splendid" Cathedral Tickets, Tue 9 Jul 2024 at 14:00 | Eventbrite

 

  • Saturday 21st September and Sunday 22nd September - Cadw Drysau Agored / Open Doors. Free Tours and visits of Cathedral, Library, Organ loft, Community Garden, Bishops Palace. St Davids Bishop's Palace | Cadw (gov.wales)
  • Sunday 29th SeptemberCadw Drysau Agored / Open Doors - Michaelmas
  • 7th - 12th October - Libraries Week.  

 

 

 

PREVIOUS LIBRARY EVENTS

This section outlines a selection of previous events held by St Davids Cathedral Library as an indication of our work.

GERALD OF WALES IN ST DAVIDS 23RD MARCH 1188 AND 2024

On the 23rd March in 1188 the well known medieval Welsh cleric and scholar, Gerald of Wales, was in St Davids. He was here with Archbishop Baldwin on a recruiting exercise for the 3rd crusade. Gerald told the story of the whole journey around Wales in his book "An Itinerary of Wales". The parts that he could not fit in he published separately as "A Description of Wales". These two works are considered one of the best descriptions of day to day life in the Europe of the middle ages. And you can now buy them in Penguin Classics in our Cathedral nave shop! This could be one of your activities on the anniversary of that 1188 tour in the Cathedral.

There were two major events held in the cathedral on 23rd March:

11am Saturday 23rd March. North Transept, St Davids Cathedral

"PERFECTLY SHAPED BY THE FILE OF TRUTH: GERALD OF WALES' LIVES OF ST DAVID AND ST CARADOG" - Talk given by Prof Paul Russell, Professor of Celtic Emeritus, University of Cambridge. Joint editor and translator of "On the Deeds of Gerald, De Gestis Giraldi" Oxford Medieval Texts, OUP. The first publication from major Leverhulme Trust funded project.

Prof Russell talked about his work on this comprehensive translation project of the works of prolific 12th century writer, Gerald of Wales/Giraldus Cambrensis/Gerallt Gymro. He focused particularly on Gerald's "Life of St David" and also on the fascinating research on Gerald's little known "Life of St Caradog". The Talk was delivered in the north transept of St Davids Cathedral, alongside the tomb shrine of St Caradog, next to the restored medieval shrine of Dewi Sant/St David and a few yards from the tomb effigy of Gerald himself.

It was a special opportunity to engage with this significant project looking at all the known works of Gerald, and some that were previously unknown.

 

2pm  Saturday 23rd March. The Quire, St Davids Cathedral

THRICE TO ROME

This play is a dramatised reading of the three appearances of Gerald of Wales in Rome before the court of Pope Innocent III in 1201-03. It is based on the accounts of the trials in Gerald’s own words. 

Gerald, one of Wales’ greatest historical figures, is most famous for his books on Wales. But this play enables us to reimagine Gerald as a canon lawyer of European stature. The trials took place in Rome, over three hearings before the papal court with the pope himself, Innocent III, presiding. Gerald appealed to the Pope to confirm his election as Bishop of St Davids and to recognise the independence of St Davids and the church in Wales from the church in England. Both of these were opposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and by the King of England. This is a tale of Welsh-English rivalry, Church and State in conflict, and an epic clash between St Davids and Canterbury - all played out on the wider European stage. Many of the issues resonate with later and with modern politics in Wales.

 

AUTUMN  2023

DRYSAU AGORED / OPEN DOORS days 2023

We were delighted to be taking part again in the annual CADW Drysau Agored / Open Doors initiative in 2023 on 23rd, 24th and 29th September. In this we joined with 50 countries across Europe under the umbrella of the Council of Europe Cultural Programme. In every country we open nationally important heritage venues to the local citizens and public for free.   

During our three Drysau Agored/Open Doors days in September, the Cathedral and the Bishops Palace worked together to provide linked public access to these two unique ecclesiastical medieval buildings on a single site.  There are no entry charges or Tour charges during the Drysau Agored/Open Doors days. 

There is no need to book in advance. There are a series of guided visits planned at set times to places the public would not usually have access to, such as the 14th century Porth-y-Twr and the Cathedral organ loft. Some places were open for general public access that are not usually available, such as the historic Cathedral Library and the Erw Dewi Community Garden in the Cathedral Close.  

There was also Choral Evensong services in the Cathedral on each of the 3 days and to which everyone was very welcome.  

This schedule below gives you some of the key times as an indication of the activities that took place over the 3 days.

 

Saturday 23rd September 2023

9.30am - Bishops Palace opens for public visiting 

10am–12noon - Erw Dewi Community Garden open for visiting and volunteering.

10am-11am - Drysau Agored/Open Doors Tour of the Cathedral, meet in south nave aisle

11am-1.30pm - Cathedral Library open

11.30am-12.15pm – Visits to Organ Loft, meet in south transept

2pm - Drysau Agored/Open Doors guided visit to Porth y Tŵr

2.30pm-3pm - Visits to Organ Loft, meet in south transept

3pm - Guided Tour of Bishops Palace

3.30pm - Choral Evensong in Cathedral nave. All welcome.

5pm - Bishops Palace closes to public visiting

 

Sunday 24th September 2023

9.30am - Bishops Palace opens for public visiting 

9.30am - Cymun y Plwyf, Capel Mair (Communion service in Welsh)

11am - Choral Eucharist in Cathedral nave, with full Cathedral Choir.

12.30pm-3.45pm - Cathedral Library open

1pm-2pm - Guided Tour of Cathedral, meet in south nave aisle

3pm – Guided Tour of Bishops Palace

4pm - Choral Evensong sung by full Cathedral Choir in Cathedral nave. All welcome.

5pm - Bishops Palace closes to public visiting

 

Friday 29th September - Michaelmas 2023

9.30am - Bishops Palace opens for public visiting 

10am-12 noon - Erw Dewi Community Garden open for visiting and volunteering.

10.30am - Pilgrimage walk to Cathedral, meet at Oriel y Parc.

11.30am - Pilgrimage walk to Cathedral, join at St Non's Chapel.

12 noon - Pilgrim Prayers at restored medieval shrine of St David, Cathedral. 

2.30pm-3.30pm - Tour of Cathedral, considering the visit of disgraced King Henry II on 29th September 1171 after the murder of St Thomas Becket. 

2pm-4pm - Cathedral Library open to public

3pm - Guided Tour of Bishops Palace

5pm - Bishops Palace closes to public visiting

6pm - Solemn Evensong and Procession – Sung by the Vicars Choral and Scholars. In Quire with procession to Thomas Becket Chapel.

 

UK LIBRARIES WEEK

TUESDAY 3RD OCTOBER

11am Walk-and-Talk Tour of Cathedral Treasures included in new book, TIME TO TELL. 

2pm Launch of book TIME TO TELL. 100 Treasures of St Davids Diocese by Caroline Jones. 

WEDNESDAY 4TH OCTOBER

Visits to historic Cathedral Library. 

THURSDAY 5TH OCTOBER

ANNUAL ARCHAEOLOGY DAY. 2pm to 4.30pm.

An examination of recent projects in the Cathedral as well as some in the pipeline. Cathedral Archaeologist, Ross Cook, and Cathedral Architect, Jane Chamberlain of Caroe and Partners, look at How old are the pinnacles? Where was the early Church of Menevia? Prof Madeleine Gray examines questions raised by some of Cathedral's medieval tombs.

FRIDAY 6TH OCTOBER

7pm  THRICE TO ROME. A dramatisation of Gerald of Wales' 3 appeals in the Papal Court in Rome in 1201 to 1203 for his role as Bishop of St Davids and the status of St Davids as a full metropolitan Archbishopric independent of Canterbury. Written by canon lawyer Norman Doe using Gerald's own words. 

This was the premiere performance of this extraordinary dramatic piece. It has since been performed again in Gerald's home base of St Davids as will as in Temple Church in London.

 

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SUPPORT 

We are very grateful to everyone who feels able to support St Davids Cathedral Library with a donation. 

Please click on this link to go to our Donation page. - Please donate here 

The Donations page will direct you to a Gift Aid Declaration, if you are a UK Taxpayer and would like us to claim this back from the UK Government. 

We use our income to conserve the books and to maintain a safe environment in the medieval Iibrary room. Public access to the unique Library Collection is provided, including with two display cases in the Cathedral Treasury where books from the Library Collection are on public display whenever the Cathedral is open.  

Many thanks for your support / Diolch i chi gyd.

Library blog