St Asaph Cathedral is the smallest in Britain and one of the oldest in Wales. The present structure dates from the 15th century and houses William Morgan’s first Welsh translation of the bible.
The ancient glass was destroyed during the Civil War in the 17th Century. The East window dates from 1864 in memory of Bishop and Mrs Carey. In the Chancel (north side) there is a window in memory of the poet Mrs Felicia Hemans (“The Boy stood on the burning deck”). The 20th Century West window is a memorial to the first Archbishop of Wales. The Armorial shields in the Lady Chapel (south) window represents families who assisted in the restoration of the Cathedral in the 18th Century.
This is much later than the rest of the building (except the Chancel). It was restored and decorated in 1968.
Arches and Pillars
Simple and austere in design, they are unusual in having no Capitals. Note the curious medieval Stone Carvings and the Clerestory Windows, dating from 1403.
The area East of the Choir. On the South side, the Bishop’s Throne (Cathedra), a memorial to Bishop Beveridge (Bishop of St Asaph 1704-08). The finely carved stalls date from 1482. Notice the face of a man on one of them (south side) – possibly the Master Carver. Beneath the Throne is the burial place of Bishop William Morgan, translator of the Bible into Welsh in 1588 and Bishop of St Asaph 1601-04. This area was much restored by Gilbert Scott in 1869-75.
Please also take time to look at the outside of the building. There are two distinctly different types of stone used. The finely grained limestone came from quarries at nearby Cefn and the sandstone was quarried at Flint or Talacre.
This is an unusual combination as the two stones react together chemically and are gradually eating each other away! The carved faces outside are another interesting feature. Perhaps they depict the masons who carved them.
See the right hand column for details on opening hours and guided tours.