St. Davids - a Thin Place in Wales


In the southeastern part of Wales lies the St. David's peninsula, and on it the town of St. David's, known to be one of the holiest places in in Wales. Named for St. David (FEAST DAY MARCH 1st) who was born around 520 and founded a dozen or so monasteries, this town of pilgrimage has been the destination of people searching for spiritual renewal since before the middle ages.


It is believed that St. David was born to his mother, St. Non not far from the town of St. Davids. Legend states that St. Non used supported herself on a nearby stone during the birthing of her son David. Afterwards, imprints of her fingers remained on the stone. Additionally, a well sprang forth from the spot where David was born, and runs still today possessing healing, sanctifying powers according to centuries of pilgrim testimony.


Today, the holy well can be visited and the birthing stone can be viewed. One can even place his or her fingers into the ancient imprints of St. Non.

In the town of St. David's, a Norman cathedral sits on the site, that David's original monastic settlement occupied. The cathedral houses the relics of St. David and many other artifacts of Christianity and local history. Edmund Tudor, grandfather of Henry VIII is buried in this twelfth century cathedral.

St. David's was the largest and most important diocese in medieval Wales. An episcopal residence was built near the cathedral and eventually expanding by Bishop Henry Gower in the early 14th century. This became known as The Bishop's Palace. It was an imposing structure, suitable for receiving high-ranking guests and dignitaries.


After Gower's death, the palace began to fall into disrepair. Eventually, the palace became obsolete, with the chief episcopal residence moving to Carmarthan, and it fell into ruin.

The ruins of Bishop's Palace quietly haunt the grounds near the cathedral.

Author, Brendan O'Malley writes, "To enter the land of David is to enter in the 'David Stream', that process of consciousness, which connects with the presence of otherness."

St. David's with its majestic Norman cathedral, its ruined Bishop's Palace, and its nearby holy wells, standing stones and high crosses is a testimony to continuing presence of the Divine - spanning the ages - always constant. This site, which predates all the other great monastic sites in Britain including Iona, Lindisfarne and Canterbury, has drawn holy men and women to it - and sanctified them connecting them to that which is on the other side - in the eternal world.


St. David died on March 1st around 589 - relatively old for his day.

The site where he built his largest monastery, in the town of St. David's and the surrounding Pembroke country-side dotted with holy wells and chapels are a remarkable cluster of thin places.