St David's


"DAVID'S (ST.), a city and parish in the hundred of DEWISLAND, county of PEMBROKE, SOUTH WALES, 16 miles (W. N. W.) from Haverfordwest, 26 (N. W.) from Pembroke, and 265 (W. by N.) from London, containing 2388 inhabitants. This city has been described by several historians as occupying the site of the Roman station Menapia, both from the evidence of various ancient roads leading in a direction towards it, and the situation of that station as noticed in the Itineraries. But modern writers are of opinion, chiefly from the absence of all military works or other relics of the Romans, that the site of Menapia was nearer the sea, on a sandy tract called "The Burrows," and is now covered by that element, which has encroached considerably upon the shore in the vicinity. That the district now constituting the parish of St. David was inhabited at a very early period is obvious, from the numerous druidical remains with which it abounds. In the fifth century it appears to have been called by the Welsh Mynyw, which is also variously written Menyw and Manyw and is probably compounded of the words Man and Yw, signifying "small yew trees," which were formerly very plentiful in the vicinity, though divers other etymologies have been proposed. Its Roman name, which was probably a Latinized modification of the British Mynyw, was also altered into Menevia which is still retained in the style of its bishops, who are called Episcopi Menevensis. . ." [From A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (S. Lewis, 1833).]



Indexes to the 1841 and to the 1851 census for this parish are available from the Dyfed FHS.

Census Returns for this parish have the following LDS Call Numbers:

  • 1841 Census - 0464342
  • 1851 Census - 0104237
  • 1861 Census - 0543245
  • 1871 Census - 0850857/8
  • 1881 Census - 1342306
  • 1891 Census - 6099649


Society of Friends (Quakers)
Friends' Meeting House, St David's

Church History

Some church and chapel data from The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. Ed. by I.G Jones, & D. Williams. UWP, Cardiff, 1976. The names are those of the informants

  • Cathedral Church of St David's "English Service. The population is chiefly Welsh in the Parish of St David's. The Welsh Congregation in the cathedral is entirely a distinct congregation. The congregation is much smaller in winter owing to the coldness of the Choir" W Richardson, Senior Minor Canon and Prebendary of St David's & Nathanial Davis, Minor Canon and Prebendary
  • Cathedral Church of St David's The Welsh Service is perfomed (sic) in the South Transept, which has been nearly filled up for that purpose "should Agriculture produce continue in the present depressed state there must be a reduction made of 1/4 at least in the land" W Richardson, Perpetual Curacte (sic), St David's
  • Zion Baptist Erected in 1839 Informant: Thomas Perkin, Weaver, St David's and duplicate return - Zion, New St Baptist Erected in 1823 William Reynolds, Minister, Trevine
  • Bethania, Trelethidfawr village, St David's CM Erected about 1836 Informant: Ebenezer Williams, Druggist, St David's
  • Carvarchell CM Erected before 1800 John Lewis, Minister, Fishguard
  • Berea Independents or Congregationalists Erected in 1834, 1839 James Griffiths, Minister, St David's
  • Bethel Baptist Erected in 1840 John D Evans, Baptist Preacher, Solva
  • Rhodiad Independents or Congregational Erected in 1785 James Griffiths, Minister, St David's
  • Bethel, City of St David's WM Erected in 1813 "Great sickness among the members of the congregation on Sunday March 31st thereby occasioning less attendance" Isaac Jenkins, Minister, St David's
  • Tabernacle, City of St David's Welsh CM Erected about 1815 "....the Church and Congregation have also erected a spacious Room for a day school" William Morris, Minister, St David's
  • Ebenezer, City of St David's Independents or Congregationalists Erected in 1815, 1838 "March 30th No meeting in the morning being at Rhodiad for the convenience of country members" Jno Lloyd Jones, Minister, Solva

Parish entry for St David's from The Welsh Church Year Book, 1929 (Cd by Archive CD Books).

  • The Cathedral
  • Incumbent and Curates; The Dean of St David's (G Parry, H Thomas)
  • Rural Deanery of Dewisland
  • Acreage 11,202 ; Population 1,223

    There is a well-illustrated account of its history on the home page of St David's Cathdral.

    Photograph and account, from Dyfed FHS.

    St Davids Bishop's Palace - a Castles of Wales site. "During the Middle Ages there were few landowners in Wales wealthier than the Bishop's of St Davids. As well as being princes of the church, they were Marcher Lords in their own right, owing allegiance only to the king....."

    St David's - various photographs - on the People's Collection Wales site

    St Davids Cathedral -a Castles of Wales site. "To understand part of the reason St. Davids is so special, you have to know a little about the history of the area. St. David is the patron saint of Wales........"

    St Non's Chapel and Holy Well - a Castles of Wales site." This must be one of the most idyllically situated monuments in Pembrokeshire, overlooking, as it does, the rocky coastline above St. Non's Bay........"

    Allen, C. Restoration of St. David's Cathedral : Balance sheet ... and list of subscribers.Tenby : R. Mason, 1877.

    Evans, David R. A. A short history of the music and musicians of St. David's Cathedral . Welsh Music 7/8 (1984/5), p. 50-66

    Evans, Henry. "Twr-y-Felin" history and guide to St. Davids . 2nd edition. Guide book + map.1923, privately printed for the Twr-y-Felin Hotel, St Davids. (also 1st ed. 1915), 167 pp

    Evans, Wyn. St Davids Cathedral : the forgotten centuries. Journal of the Welsh Ecclesiastical History 3 (1986), p. 73-92

    Evans, J. W. (John Wyn). St Davids Bishop's palace.Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments, 1991. 56p : col.ill, facsims,maps,ports ; 21cm.

    Evans, J. Wyn, (John Wyn).The Reformation and St. David's Cathedral. Journal of the Welsh Ecclesiastical History 7 (1990), p. 1-16

    Francis, David. An extent of all the lands and rents of the Lord Bishop of St.David's : usually called The Black Book of St. David's (British Museum Additional MSS., No 34,125) .London : The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1902. cxii,366p

    Jones, Glyn R Note on St Patrick's Chapel, St David The Pembrokeshire Historian vol 6 1979 Welsh Journals Online

    Jones, William and Edward Freeman. The History and Antiquities of St David's. 1856.

    Radford, C. A. Ralegh, (Courtenay Arthur Ralegh). The Bishop's Palace, St David's, Pembrokeshire = Llys yr Esgob, Tyddewi, Sir Benfro. Edition 2nd ed. London : H.M.S.O., 1953,1973 (printing) 28p, 1 folded plate

    Rees, Nona. The mediæval shrines of St Davids Cathedral . St Davids Cathedral, c1998. 10 p. : ill.

    Some account of the life and martyrdom of ... Dr. Robert Farrar Lord Bishop of St. David's who was burnt at Caermarthen on Saturday, the 30th day of March, 1555. Church of England Tract Society (No. LVI) London : Seeley, 1828.

    Turvey, Roger. The death and burial of an excommunicate prince : the Lord Rhys and the Cathedral Church of St. David's . Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society 7, (1996-97), p. 26-49

    Willis, Browne. A survey of the cathedral church of St. David's, and the edifices belonging to it, as they stood in the year 1715. To which is added, some memoirs relating thereto and the country adjacent, from a ms wrote about the latter end of Queen Elizabeth's reign. Together, with an account of the arch-bishops, bishops, precentors, chancellors, treasurers, and arch-deacons of the see of St. David's. London: Printed for R. Gosling ... 1717. 6 p. l., 202, [6] p. 1 illus., fold. plate, fold. plan, coats of arms


    Church Records

    Parish registers: Christenings (1724-1984), Marriages (1724-1966) Banns (1808-50, 1878-1963), Burials (1724-1963) at NLW with Mf copies at Pem.RO

    Copy ts PR C (1724-1858) M (1724-1837) B (1724-1812, extracts to 1906) at NLW

    Bishops' Transcripts, covering the period (1813-56, 1864, 1866, 1872-4) are at the National Library of Wales, and have been microfilmed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Call Number: 0105205.

    See Bap/Mar/Bur data on FreeReg

    Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

    • St Davids Consistory Court, abstracts and indices of wills "Until 1858 wills were proved in diocesan Consistory Courts. St Davids Consistory Court had probate jurisdiction over Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, and the deanery of Gower in Glamorgan"

    Nonconformist Chapels:

    • Bethel, in Treteio-near town of St Davids [Baptists, 1840]. Records ; See Felinganol On Dyfed FHS
    • Seion, New St/St Davids town [Baptists, 1816]. Records ; See Felinganol On Dyfed FHS
    • Bethania , in Trelethid fawr [Yr Hen Gapel, Calvinistic Methodists, 1836]. Records ; See the Tabernacle On Dyfed FHS
    • Caerfarchell , in Caerfarchell [Calvinistic Methodists, 1763]. Records ; See Tabernacle St Davids On Dyfed FHS Caerfarchell CM chapel - still open in 2006
    • Tabernacle, in Goat St/St Davids town [Calvinistic Methodists, 1785]. Records ; 1. Births and bapts 1812-37, at PRO RG4/2578, and have been microfilmed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Call Number: 819966, IGI. 2. Early society accounts for this chapel. Transcribed in The Journal of the Historical Society of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, Vol 51 1966
      On Dyfed FHS Tabernacl Tyddewi CM chapel - still open in 2006
    • Bethel Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Rhosson, St David's SM72982532 Built 1864 Not still open 1993 Coflein On Dyfed FHS
    • Berea, on road to Fishguard [Independents, 1833]. Records ; See Rhodiad/St Davids parish On Dyfed FHS Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006) See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph
      Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for this chapel (in Welsh ) - with translation by Maureen Saycell (Feb 2009)
    • Ebenezer, in St Davids town [Independents, 1815]. Records ; births and bapts, 1814-37 in connection with Rhodiad/St Davids at PRO RG4/4071, and have been microfilmed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Call Number: 819966, IGI On Dyfed FHS Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)
    • Rhodiad , in Rhodiad [Independents, 1784]. Records ; births and bapts, 1814-37 in connection with Ebenezer/St Davids at PRO RG4/4071, and have been microfilmed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Call Number: 819966, IGI See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph On Dyfed FHS
      Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for this chapel (in Welsh ) - with translation by Maureen Saycell (April 2008)
    • Carmel Congregational chapel, Treleddyd Fawr, St David's On Dyfed FHS
    • Bethel , Goat ST, St Davids town [Wesleyan Methodists, 1818]. Records ; the history makes mention of a register of births dating from 1843, presumably still at the church. SM7515225296 Built 1813, rebuilt 1837 and re-fronted 1900 Still open 2000 Coflein On Dyfed FHS
    • St Michael's RC church, City Rd, St David's On Dyfed FHS
    • St Non's RC chapel, St David's On Dyfed FHS
    • Friends' Meeting House, St David's On Dyfed FHS

    Description & Travel

    Cripps, Brian . St David's and St Bride's Bay : postcards of yesteryear. Llandysul : Gomer, 1997.121p : chiefly ill, maps,ports . In Gomer's 2002 Catalogue. 1 85902 492 0. Gomer site intro; "Since the publication of the first picture postcards of St. David's around the turn of the century, viewcards of the town and St. Bride's Bay have sold in huge quantities. Many cards were published by the local photographer William Morris Mendus, whilst others were the work of both local and national photographers. All the cards featured in this collection cover the period between 1900 and the 1960s and provide an invaluable historical record of the social life of the coastal communities between St Justinian's and Marloes, Pembrokeshire."

    Roberts, Tony. A short guide to St. Davids (Ty Ddewi) the city ... with its cathedral and the coast path around . Haverfordwest : Abercastle Publications, 1994. 32p : ill, maps,plan

    St David's City Council "St.Davids City Council represents the people of St.Davids, the smallest City in Wales and the United Kingdom, having a population of nearly 1600 on the last electoral roll."

    You can see pictures of St David's which are provided by:



    Pigot & Co. South Wales Directory for 1830 Here are Extracts for St David's and Solva

    Pigot & Co. South Wales Directory for 1844. Here are Extracts for St David's and Solva



    The transcription of the section for St David's from The National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.

    Transcript of complete entry in Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Wales of 1833.



    William Mortimer (1782-1842), born at Trewellwell, St David’s. Became an East India Company ship’s surgeon - here are brief details of his life and the story of his Voyage to India in 1803 on the Devagnes



    Davies, Peter B S. In the footsteps of our fathers . Stories of life, people, times, changes in 19th century St. Davids and surrounds - lots of "people" named, farms.1994.

    James, David W. St. Davids and Dewisland . A social history , information from cromlechs to list of St. Davids residents in 1906. 1981.

    Jones, William Basil. The history and antiquities of St David's. Haverfordwest : Pembrokeshire County Council, 1998. xii, 400 p., [23] leaves of plates (1 folded) : ill., plans ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index.Facsimile of 1856 edition. Originally published in London by Parker, Smith and Petheram and in Tenby by R. Mason.

    Rees, Nona. St David of Dewisland. Gomer, Llandysul. (0 86383 856 1). Gomer Catalogue 2002;- "The lore and legend of the patron saint of Wales, his cult in early times and the traditions that surround him up to the present day..."


    Land & Property

    Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

    • Ffynondrudion, St Nicholas, Llethr, Brawdy and Cruglas, St David's, Records "Records relating mainly to three Pembrokeshire farms, 1765-1927, consisting of Ffynondrudion, St Nicholas, 1765-1927; Llethr, Brawdy 1787-1906; and Cruglas, St Davids, 1843-1913" " John Thomas's brother, Thomas (d.1868), held Cruglas, St Davids, Pembrokeshire; his wife, Mary, and his daughters continued to live at Cruglas until at least 1875...................."
    • P. V. Davies Collection of Pembrokeshire Deeds "Deeds and other documents mainly relating to families and estates in the St Davidsarea, Pembrokeshire, 1694-1896 ......."

    Held at the NLW ;

    • Deeds and documents [donated by Percival V Davies] mostly relating to small estates in the St David's area of co. Pembroke, 1694-1896.


    Parish map (Kain/Oliver)

    You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SM753268 (Lat/Lon: 51.894353, -5.266614), St David's which are provided by:


    Merchant Marine

    St David's Lifeboat Station

    Bennett, Tom. Shipwrecks around St. Davids . Shipwrecks from 1668 - 1981 contains names, cargo, rescue info, wreckers info, lifeboats and men from 1869. 1994.

    Names, Geographical

    Places, villages, farms etc within St David's parish as shown on the online parish map from the CD of Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. (Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R.). (Extracted by Peter D Hall)

    • Cylch Mawr [62]; Aber Dinas, Aber Pwll, Afill, Berea, Carn-hedryn-uchaf, Carran, Castell Coch, Crug glas, Cwm wdig, Dduallt, Gwrhyd mawr, Hendre Einon, Llandegige-fawr, Llanvirn, Parc y Mynwent, Pen Berry, Pen Clegyr, Porth Tre-wen, Pwll Caerog, Spite Moor, Tregydd, Tre-leidir, Tre-mynydd, Tre-tio, Tre-tio Common, Waun-y-beddau, Ysgeifiog
    • Cylch Gwaelod [63]; Careg yr Afr, Carn ar Wig, Carn Ffald, Carn Hen, Carn Llidi, Carn Llidi bechan, Carn Twlc, Carn Trelwyd, Carnedd cwran, Carnedd Lleithr, Cesail Fawr, Clegyr Boid, Croeswdig, Golf Links, Lifeboat Sta, Llach cerrinen, Lleithyr, Maen Bachau, Ogof Golchfa, Pen Arthur, Pen-carnan, Pen Llechwen, Pen Lledwen, Penmaen Dewi (St David's Head), Pen Maen Melin, Penrhyn Ffynnon-las, Point St John, Porth Cadnaw, Porth Gwyn, Porth Lysky, Porth Llenog, Porth Mawr (Whitesand Bay), Porth Melgan, Porth Sanian, Porth Sele, Rhos-y-Cribed, Rhosson, St David's Head (Penmaen Dewi), The Burrows (Ty wyn), Trefeiddan, Trefelly, Treginnis, Treleddyd fawr, Treleddyn, Treliwyd, Treswn Moor, Trwyn Hwrddyn, Trwyn Llwyd, Ty wyn (The Burrows), Whitesand Bay (Porth Mawr)
    • Cylch y Dre [64]; Caer Bwdy Bay, Caerfai, Clasfryn, Glanymor, Maen-dewi, Merry Vale, Mynydd du, Pen y Cyfrwy, Pont y Pemid, Porth Clais, Rhodiad, River Alan, St David's (Tyddewi), St Non's Bay, Submarine Tel Office, Trwyn Cynddeiriog, Twr y felin, Tyddewi (St David's), Vicarage, Warpool Court, Waun Isaf, Winin Fawr
    • Cylch Bychan [65]; Caer Bwdy Bay, Caer-Farchell, Careg y Barcud, Clegyr, Dowrog Common, Ffos y Mynach, Harglodd, Hendre, Llandruidion, Morfa Common, Pont Clegyr, Porth y Rhaw, Trelerw, Trewellwell,
    • Cathedral Close [66]Cathedral, Palace,
    • Ramsay Island [67]Aber Felin, Aber Mawr, Aber Myharan, Allt Felin-fawr, Bay Ogof Hen, Carn gubor, Carn Llundain, Foel Fawr, Penrhyn Pwll, Road Isaf, Road Uchaf, The Bitches, Trwyn Drain du, Trwyn Llundain, Trwyn Mynach, Trwyn Ogof Hen, Trwyn Shon Owen, Ynys Gwelltog,


    Davies, Peter B. S. Forgotten mines : the old lead and copper mines of Solva and St. David's. St. David's : Merrivale, 1990. 40p : ill, maps,plan ; 21cm.

    Davies, Reginald Dr. Master Mariners from the St David's Peninsula. Dyfed FHS journal, vol 7/8, Aug 2002.

    Hampson, Desmond G. The story of the St. Davids Lifeboats . Edition 3rd ed. St. Davids : St. Davids Lifeboats, 1989. ca 50p : ill, ports ; 21cm. Originally published in 1974, second edition in 1982.

    Lewis, David J. Dai the Mill. Merrivale Press, 1996. The author, at the age of 92, recalls his lifetime experiences as miner, sailor, miller, fisherman and coxswain of the St Davids lifeboat. Many old photographs. See also Dyfed FHS journal Vol 4/9 April 1994 for his article Felin Isaf, St Davids and Garngelli, Llanwnda, Pembrokeshire.

    Middleton, George . The story of the St. Davids Lifeboats. St. Davids : St. Davids Lifeboats, 1995. [49]p : ill


    Social Life & Customs

    Cule, John. Some Early Hospitals in Wales and the Border. National Library of Wales journal. 1977, Winter Volume XX/2. Here is an extract relating to this parish;
    "There was a hospital at Llandridian in the Parish of St. David's:- Hospitium. At Llandrudion about two miles east of the cathedral, on a site called Parc Croes in the Tithe Schedule (Nos. 726-8), Fenton (Tour, p. 134) states there was founded 'at a very early period of the church of St. Davids, an hospitium, with a prebend annexed.'
    The hospital at Whitewell Chapel in the Parish of St. David's, and about a quarter of a mile south of the cathedral was founded by bishop Beck (1280-1293). It is called in the confirmation of pope Eugenius, March 1444/ 5, 'the Priory of Whytwel, and the chapel there, for sick and infirm clergy and for hospitality toward others, endowing it with property valued in 1326 at £5,' "

    Davies, Peter B. S. Footsteps of our fathers : tales of life in nineteenth century St.David's. St. David's : Merrivale, 1994. 104p : ill, facsims,geneal tables,maps,ports

    James, David W. St David's and Dewisland : A Social History. UWP, 1981 [ LDS GS 942.99/S1 H2j].

    Wright, Diana. Land of the saint : Welsh tales and legends from St. David's peninsula. Heritage 56 (1994), p. 26-31