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"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 Family History Society.

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

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


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

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 Davids Online

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 LDS - Call Number: 0105205.

See Bap/Mar/Bur data on  FreeReg

Nonconformist Chapels:

Dyfed FHS have published a series of indexes of baptisms, marriages and burials from Pembrokeshire hundreds for various periods.

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

Description and Travel

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)


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."


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

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


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 and Property

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

Held at the NLW ;


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.


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 and 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

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[Gareth Hicks:  15 April 2015]

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