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8 Cathedrals and Abbeys in Wales

Published on 21st October 2017 by Jen

Cathedrals and abbeys are quite similar, as they are places where people go to worship. However, there are slight differences between the two. An abbey has many smaller buildings in one complex, and these buildings are used for worshipping, receiving gifts, and more. A cathedral is more like a church, but it is the principal church of a specific diocese.

Here are the 8 best cathedrals and abbeys in Wales:

St. David’s Cathedral

St. David's Cathedral

St. David was a patron saint of Wales and he founded a monastery in this area back in the 6th century at St. Davids in Pembrokeshire. The current cathedral was constructed in 1180 and it is situated on land that lies below the crest of a hill. Many people believe that the cathedral is rising out of the ground when they see it for the first time. The shrine of St. David was quite popular during the Middle Ages, and many people journeyed to it as it was considered a pilgrimage site. In fact, at that time, two trips to this shrine were considered equal to one trip to Rome.

St. Dogmael’s Abbey

St. Dogmael's Abbey

St. Dogmael’s was a Benedictine abbey that was constructed during the 12th century and it was expanded many times over the next four centuries. The remains of the abbey can be found on a hillside above the River Teifi in the county of Pembrokeshire. One of the features of the abbey that has survived the best all these years are some medieval floor tiles that are inside the church. Next to the abbey is a newer Victorian church as well as a Coach House that was restored and turned into a museum and visitor center.

Llandaff Cathedral

Llandaff Cathedral

LLandaff cathedral in Cardiff was founded in 1107 by Bishop Urban in the same spot that a monastic church established by St. Dyfrig was located. The cathedral was part of many historical events, which is why it has the longest dedications of any of the British churches. The complete dedication is The Cathedral & Parish Church of SS Peter & Paul, Dyfrig, Teilo, & Euddogwy. The people who are buried there include Sir David Matthew, St. Teilo, and Bishop John Marshall. It is also believed that the 7th century Bishop of Llandaff, Oudoceus, is buried in a tomb there.

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey

This was the very first Cistercian house within Wales and it was established by Walter fitz Richard in 1131 near the village of Tintern in Pembrokeshire. The abbey church was completely rebuilt in 1269 and it was placed around the old one, so that the monks could worship as the work was being done. There are at least a dozen must-see attractions at Tintern Abbey, including the Night Stairs, the Collation Seat, the Pulpitum Screen, the Great West Window, and the Abbey Guest Houses.

5. St. Asaph Cathedral

St. Asaph Cathedral

St. Asaph Cathedral was built by a follower of missionary Kentigern, during the 6th century in the northern county of Denbighshire. However, that church and the one that replaced it are no longer visible. After that second cathedral was burnt to the ground, a new one was built once again. A large central tower was constructed in 1391, and it had to be rebuilt after a storm in 1714. This cathedral is not as large as other cathedrals, and it is quite simple inside. There are some unique items inside though, including 15th century choir stalls and a wooden chest that contains records from as far back as 1738.

Bangor Cathedral

Bangor Cathedral

Bangor Cathedral was founded in 525 and it was the second cathedral in all of Britain. That cathedral is long gone as are the next two versions. The current cathedral was completed during the 16th century and inside is the fascinating Mostyn Christ, which is a carved figure that was created during the latter part of the 15th century.

Cwmhir Abbey

Cwmhir Abbey

This abbey was built in 1176 near Llandrindod Wells in Powys and was considered a daughter house to the Whitland Abbey. It was quite large, and legend had it that Edward I built it above the tomb of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd. There are no facts to support that or if Llewelyn ap Gruffydd is even buried in the area. The only part of the Cwmhir Abbey that remains today is the large nave that is 242 feet high.

Newport, St. Woolos Cathedral

Newport, St. Woolos Cathedral

This cathedral began as a medieval parish church, founded around 500 A.D., but rose to the status of cathedral in 1930. The church was rebuilt continuously over the years, as it kept being destroyed in attacks. However, it does still have the entrance chapel that was built prior to 1066. The best feature inside the building is the Norman chancel arch and the pillars on each side feature carvings of faces, birds, foliage, and geometric designs.

These are eight of the best cathedrals and abbeys in Wales. However, there are many others that people may also want to take the time to visit and explore. After all, no one could possibly stay away from such inspirational places during their time in Wales.