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St Davids Bishop's Palace

St Davids
SA62 6PX

01437 720517

The remains of the Bishops of St Davids principle palace are located alongside the cathedral in the tranquil valley of the river Alun. This would have been the finest collection of buildings in Wales during the medieval period.

History

  • The original monastery was established here by St David in the sixth century.
  • It was attacked and ransacked at least 10 times by Norse raiders over the next 400 years.
  • When the Normans arrived in Pembrokeshire in the 11th century, they took over the cathedral and appointed a Norman Bishop.
  • Realising how vulnerable the cathedral was, they first built a motte and bailey fort, which they abandoned.
  • They then built a stone defensive wall around all the cathedral buildings, including the Palace.
  • Thomas Bek (1280-93) began a program of new building. He was responsible for the chapel in the southwest corner, the hall and the private apartments, and the gate.
  • Bishop Henry de Gower (1328-47), in addition to major works in the cathedral itself, built the Great Hall, complete with wheel window in the east gable, the distinctive arcaded parapet and the majestic porch.
  • Later bishops made further additions and alterations to the palace, but with the Reformation they fell into disrepair and ruin.

Features

  • Much of the town wall remains, particularly on the south side.
  • The main gate into the cathedral compound, Porth y Twr, the main entrance from the city, is intact and holds a small historical exhibition. (St Davids is the smallest city in Britain).
  • Inside the palace, much of the structure remains, albeit roofless.
  • The main features are the arcaded parapets, great hall and wheel window.


Facilities: Pay-and-display parking nearby, toilets, guidebook, giftshop, displays in the undercrofts detailing the power and wealth of the medieval bishops.

Open: Open All Year. 

 

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