St Asaph Cathedral

St Asaph Cathedral
Interior – nave and west end
Diagram of window in St Asaph cathedral, with the names of all the families represented by the coats of arms

The Cathedral Church of Saints Asaph and Cyndeyrn, commonly called St Asaph Cathedral (Welsh: Eglwys Gadeiriol Llanelwy), is a cathedral in St Asaph, Denbighshire, north Wales. An Anglican church, it is the episcopal seat of the Bishop of St Asaph. The cathedral dates back 1,400 years, while the current building dates from the 13th century.[1] It is sometimes claimed to be the smallest Anglican cathedral in Great Britain.


A church was originally built on or near the site by Saint Kentigern in the 6th century (other sources say Saint Elwy in 560). Saint Asa (or Asaph), a grandson of Pabo Post Prydain, followed after this date.

The earliest parts of the present building date from the 13th century when a new building was begun on the site after the original stone cathedral was burnt by King Edward I in 1282.

The rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr resulted in part of the cathedral being reduced to a ruin for seventy years. The present building was largely built in the reign of Henry Tudor and greatly restored in the 19th century.

The cathedral made the national press in 1930 when the tower became subject to significant subsidence and the cathedral architect Charles Marriott Oldrid Scott advised of urgent repairs to be undertaken.[2][3] It was reported that the cause of the damage was by a subterranean stream.[4] It made the papers again when work was approaching completion in 1935.[5]

Geoffrey of Monmouth served as Bishop of St Asaph from 1152 to 1155, although due to war and unrest in Wales at the time, he probably never set foot in his see. William Morgan (1545 – 10 September 1604) was also Bishop of St Asaph and of Llandaff, and was the first to translate the whole Bible, from Greek and Hebrew, into Welsh. His Bible is kept on public display in the cathedral. The first Archbishop of Wales A. G. Edwards was appointed Bishop of St Asaph in 1889.

In August 2018, the cathedral took the controversial step of making its music staff redundant, citing financial pressures.[6] The choir continue to serve under a volunteer conductor while longer-term arrangements are put in place, though members of the congregation have expressed concern at the changes.[7]

The organEdit

A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.[8]

List of organistsEdit

Year instated Name
1620 John Day
1630 Abednego D. Perkins
1631 John Wilson
1669 Thomas Ottey
1680 William Key
1686 Thomas Hughes
1694 Alexander Gerard
1738 John Gerard
1782 John Jones
1785 Edward Bailey
1791 Charles Spence
1794 Henry Hayden
1834 Robert Augustus Atkins
1889 Llewellyn Lloyd
1897 Hugh Percy Allen
1898 Archibald Wayet Wilson
1901 Cyril Bradley Rootham
1902 William Edward Belcher
1917 Harold Carpenter Lumb Stocks
1956 Robert Duke Dickinson
1962 James Roland Middleton
1970 Graham John Elliott
1981 John Theodore Belcher
1985 Hugh Davies
1998 Graham Eccles
2004 Alan McGuinness
2018 position abolished [6]

Assistant organistsEdit

  • Llewelyn Lloyd 1875–1889 (later organist)
  • F. Walton Evans 1897–1901

Assistant Director of MusicEdit


  • John Hosking (2004–2018)

See also the List of Organ Scholars at St Asaph Cathedral.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "St Asaph in north Wales named Diamond Jubilee city". 14 March 2012 – via
  2. ^ The Times, Saturday April 5, 1930; pg. 11; Issue 45480; col E
  3. ^ The Times, Saturday April 19, 1930; pg. 12; Issue 45491; col B.
  4. ^ The Times, Saturday September 6, 1930; pg. 12; Issue 45611; col D
  5. ^ The Times, Wednesday September 18, 1935; pg. 13; Issue 47172; col E
  6. ^ a b "Cathedral makes music team redundant". BBC News. 2018-08-27. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  7. ^ Ancientbriton (2018-08-14). "AncientBriton: St Asaph Cathedral's turn to face the music". AncientBriton. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  8. ^
  9. ^

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  Media related to St Asaph Cathedral at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 53°15′26″N 3°26′31″W / 53.25722°N 3.44194°W / 53.25722; -3.44194