Plans for new interactive information for tourists and visitors are on display at St Asaph Cathedral this month.
It’s part of a community consultation launched ahead of a funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £243,100 to create information displays and employ a part time activities officer for three years.
People living in St Asaph and visitors to the city are encouraged to drop into the Cathedral every day between 10am and 6pm to see the plans and provide feedback.
The Dean of St Asaph Cathedral, the Very Reverend Nigel Williams said: “We are delighted to have been awarded more than £30,000 by the HLF already, to develop ideas for the visitor interpretation boards. It’s important now that we get community and visitor feedback to ensure the ideas are the very best possible.
“I’d encourage everyone to have their say and help us develop the Cathedral to be a major visitor attraction for St Asaph and the North Wales area.”
The interpretation information is part of a major refurbishment of the Cathedral which is due to begin later in the year. It will see the construction of a tea room, community meeting space and new toilet facilities. The plans are designed to encourage holiday companies to stop in St Asaph and show off the city’s heritage to tourists. Feedback has shown that tour companies won’t add the city as a stop unless the Cathedral offers adequate facilities.
The Cathedral, which is one of the oldest in Wales, tells the stories of St Asaph and St Kentigern and was instrumental in the preservation of the Welsh language. Today it houses one of only 20 known copies of the original William Morgan Bible dating from 1588 but urgently needs new facilities to preserve the manuscript for future generations.
The Dean added: “The Cathedral is rich in historical, cultural and religious treasures and this grant will enable us to better tell the story of Christianity in Wales to many more people.”
St Asaph Cathedral dates from 1239 with the present structure completed in the 15th century. In addition to the William Morgan Bible, the Cathedral also has copies of: the first translation of the New Testament into Welsh dating from 1567, made by the Denbighshire scholar William Salesbury; the revision of the William Morgan Bible from 1620 made by Bishop Richard Parry – also Bishop of St Asaph and a Book of Common Prayer from 1621 containing The Edmund Prys Psalter which allowed Psalms to be sung in Welsh in church for the first time.
Famous historical figures with links to the Cathedral include the poet, Felicia Hemans, the explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley who was a local resident and the writer of the World War I song ‘Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag’, Felix Powell, who was a chorister at the cathedral. His name is still to be found graffitied in the choir stalls.
The consultation is open in St Asaph Cathedral until Friday 27 January.