St Asaph Cathedral © Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales
city of St Asaph lies between Denbigh and the coastal resort of Rhyl. It
is home to the smallest cathedral in Britain and is set on the banks of
the River Elwy. It has been and has been an important ecclesiastical
centre for centuries, dating back to AD560 when a community was founded
by the Scottish saint Kentigern, who left his disciple Asaph in charge
when he returned to Scotland.
The North Wales Music Festival is held in the Cathedral in late
September each year and St Asaph is a great location ( sited on the A55)
making it an ideal base for touring the north east Wales area. The
surrounding area offers peaceful mountain and moor land walks along with
a full range of coastal attractions.
"The houses in the principal streets are brick, and in general small,
though neatly built; the streets are kept clean. The view of the city
from many points around it, is particularly striking; its elevated
position on an eminence near the termination of the Vale of Clwyd,
crowned on its summit with the Cathedral, and having the parish church
at its base, makes it a conspicuous object from every point of view, and
the luxuriant grove of trees in which it is deeply embosomed give it a
pleasingly romantic appearance. The surrounding scenery, which in every
direction abounds with objects of interest and beauty, is seen to great
advantage from the eminence on which the city is built, and from the
high grounds in the immediate vicinity."
[From Handbook of the Vale of Clwyd , William Davis, 1856]
The Cathedral has been twice destroyed by fire twice and has had a
fascinating and often violent history , including attacks by rebellious
natives and also foreign invaders. It was destroyed by the soldiers of
Henry III in 1245 and again by the armies of Edward I in 1282. It was
rebuilt between 1284 and 1381 only to be burned by Owain Glyndwr's Welsh
troops in 1402. In l7l5 the tower was completely demolished in a fierce
storm. The existing building is largely 14th century with many Victorian
alterations due to the remodelling by Gilbert Scott in 1867-75.
In 1831- the population was 3144.
In 1901- the population was 2000.
[Royal Commission on the Welsh Church - October 1907]