St Asaph Cathedral
|Post town:||St. Asaph|
|Vale of Clwyd|
The city is best known as the site of St Asaph Cathedral, seat of the Bishop of St Asaph and by virtue of this ancient bishopric it has claimed the title of "City" since time immemorial. It was announced on 14 March 2012 that the city status would be officially granted as part of the celebrations of Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The city of St Asaph is surrounded by countryside and views of the Vale of Clwyd. It is situated close to a number of busy coastal towns of Flintshire and Denbighshire such as Rhyl, Prestatyn, Abergele, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno.
The city is promoted locally as the 'City of Music'.
The past few decades have seen the local economy in St Asaph thrive. The opening of the A55 road in 1970 took east-west traffic away from the city, and, more recently, with a business park has been built, attracting investment.
The crowded roads in St Asaph have been a hot political issue for many years. In recent years, increasing volumes of traffic on A525, St Asaph High Street, which links A55 with the Clwyd Valley, Denbigh and Ruthin have led to severe congestion in the city. This congestion is having a detrimental effect on the city, and residents have repeatedly called for a bypass to take this north-south road and its traffic away from the city, but nothing has come of it.
St Asaph Cathedral
St Kentigern built his church here in 560. When he returned to the north in 573 he left Asaph as his successor, after whom in time the cathedral was to be dedicated, and with it the diocese and the city.
The original cathedral was burnt down by the soldiers of King Edward I. The present Cathedral was begun in the thirteenth century and it is reputed to be the smallest ancient cathedral in Great Britain.
Owain Glyndŵr in turn left part of the cathedral in ruins for seventy years. The cathedral as we now see it was largely built in the reign of King Henry VII and greatly restored in the 19th century. In the 1930s, urgent work was carried out after subsidence caused by an underground stream risked the collapse of the tower.
- Church in Wales:
- St Asaph Cathedral (see above)
- Parish Church of St Asaph and St Kentigern, at the bottom of the High Street
- Baptist: Llanelwy Christian Fellowship
- Methodist: Penniel Chapel
- Presbyterian: Bethlehem Chapel
- Roman Catholic: St Winifrides
Paleolithic finds in Pontnewydd Cave show early occupation of the land by Neanderthals some 225,000 years ago.
The Romans occupied the coast and some historians postulate that the Roman fort of Varae was on the site of the Cathedral.
The city itself is believed to have developed around a sixth century Celtic monastery founded by Saint Kentigern. The Cathedral was built in the fourteenth century and was dedicated to St Asaph (also spelt in Welsh as "Asaff"), its second bishop.
The Cathedral has not always enjoyed the tranquillity in which it now stands. In the thirteenth century, the soldiers of King Edward I burnt the cathedral almost to the ground and in 1402, Owain Glyndŵr's soldiers went on the rampage, causing severe damage to the furnishings and fittings. Two hundred and fifty years later, during the Commonwealth, when the office of bishop was abolished, the building was used to house farm animals – pigs, cattle and horses.
The first Act of Union in 1536 placed St Asaph in Denbighshire but in 1542 St Asaph was confirmed in Flintshire.
Every year the city hosts the North Wales International Music Festival, which takes place at several venues in the city and attracts musicians and music-lovers from a wide area. In past years, the main event in September at the cathedral has been covered on television by the BBC.
Gala Day takes place in August, the Beat the Bounds charity walk in July and the Woodfest Wales crafts festival in June.
- T. W. Pritchard St Asaph Cathedral Guidebooks
- T.W. Pritchard St Asaph Cathedral R J L Smith Much Wenlock (1997) ISBN 1-87266-591-8
- Dr Chis Stringer Homo Brittanicus 319 pages, publisher: Allen Lane (5 October 2006) ISBN 0713997958, ISBN 978-0713997958
- St Asaph City Council
- St Asaph (City Times)
- BBC St Asaph page
- North Wales International Music Festival
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of St Asaph and surrounding area
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