St Davids (no apostrophe please)

We are half way to Rome or a third of the way to Jerusalem, at least according to Pope Callestus II, who, in 1124, said two pilgrimages to St. Davids (they officially don’t use the apostrophe although some people do) was the equivalent of one to Rome and three St. Davids equals one Jerusalem. 

St. Davids is the smallest city in Britain, it has only 1,850 residents, but it is a city still, by virtue of its cathedral.  St. David is the Patron Saint of Wales.  He was born near the town and established his ministry there to convert the Welch to Christianity.  The cathedral has been around for 1500 years.  It was built nestled into a glen to hide it from marauders.  That didn’t work so well, the Vikings sacked it 7 times.

The Cathedral is of Norman Gothic design and was restored in the 19th century by George Gilbert Scott, the same architect who designed the St. Pancras hotel.  I spotted a lot of similarities in the use of tile and color in the two establishments.  At least both have the prefix St.  The restoration is magnificent.  (I seem to be using that word a lot.)   The oak roof is especially beautiful.  The restored cathedral is a pleasing counterpoint to the ruins of the bishop’s residence sitting next to it.

There are a lot of little details that are fun.  For instance, in the Quire (Choir) there is a carving of some saints in a boat, one is leaning over the side as if seasick.  There is a carving of a dog whose face is very similar in appearance to a woman patron of the cathedral who kept criticizing the carver’s work.  There are many interesting details and grotesques (the name for strange head carvings) in the cathedral. 

The city of St. Davids is charming, a little village really.  We were there on a market day.  While there was lots of tourist stuff, there were also stalls selling plants, it being May.   There are a few stores and each one has a strange mix of goods.  One store advertised that it specialized in Greeting Cards, Sporting Goods and Confectionary items.  We enjoyed tea (well I had my macchiato) and Scones outdoors in the town square.

St Davids

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