Saint David’s

St. David’s
Welsh: Menevia, Mynyw, Tyddewi
Menevia

St. David’s is a coastal city in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It was historically called Menevia, or Mynyw in Welsh.

The Irish-Saxon alliance, led by Gilloman and Pascentius, fought their first battle against Uther here in an attempt to take Britain from Uther’s brother Ambrosius. Uther won the battle and killed both Gilloman and Pascentius, but before the battle was finished, Pascentius sent a Saxon assassin to Winchester to poison King Ambrosius. Uther had only moments to relish his victory before he heard that his brother was dead.

A Welsh Triad lists Saint David’s as Arthur’s capital in Wales, in which Dewi was the chief bishop and Maelgwn was the chief elder. It was one of the three archbishoprics of the island.


St. David’s | 0 to 9th century AD

Ancient Settlements
The area around St. David’s has likely been inhabited for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence suggests the presence of ancient settlements and communities in pre-Christian times.

Roman and Early Medieval Period
During the Roman period, Wales, including the region around St. David’s, was part of the Roman Britannia. Roman influence may have left its mark on the local landscape, although specific detail may vary.

By the fifth and sixth centuries, Wales experienced the arrival of Christian missionaries, including figures like Saint David – known as Dewi Sant in Welsh – was a prominent figure in the Celtic Christian tradition. Saint David, traditionally believed to have been born near St. Non’s Chapel, played a crucial role in the spread of Christianity in Wales.

Age of Saints | 6th – 8th centuries AD
The period between the sixth and eighth centuries is often referred to as the “Age of Saints” in Wales. This era saw the establishment of monastic communities and the rise of Welsh saints who contributed to the Christianization of the region. Monastic communities, often associated with notable saints, became centers of learning, spirituality, and cultural development. These monasteries played a vital role in preserving and transmitting knowledge during a time of societal changes.

According to tradition, Saint David founded a monastic community near the present site of St. David’s Cathedral. He served as the abbot of this monastery and later became the bishop of Menevia. His reputation for piety, asceticism, and his role in spreading Christianity earned him recognition as a saint, and St. David’s Cathedral became an important religious center in Wales. After Saint David’s death and burial, the name of the see was changed to honor him. The old name, likely Menevia, was abandoned, and the see became known as the Bishopric or See of St. David’s.

Viking Age | 8th – 9th centuries AD
During the eighth and ninth centuries, Viking raids and invasions affected various coastal areas, including parts of Wales. Coastal communities faced the threat of Viking incursions. In response to the Viking threat, some communities may have established defensive measures, and over time, some coastal settlements adapted to the changing circumstances.

Saint David’s Cathedral
The cathedral, built in the twelfth century, is a stunning example of medieval architecture. It has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. The shrine of Saint David, located within the cathedral, was a popular medieval pilgrimage destination.


Notes
A free translation of the Welsh TyddewiMynyw means jutting, peninsulated.


Sources
Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Triads of the Island of Britain (Welsh ”Triads”) | 11th century to 14th century