St. David's and St. David's Cathedral
St Davids is a city despite the village being no more than a village. Any town with a Cathedral in it can be called a City.
Lying on the River Alun on St David's Peninsula, the little Welsh 'city' of St. David's is Britain's smallest city in terms of both size and population.
St. David's is, predictably, the final resting place of Saint David. Saint David is the country's patron saint, and this means the City is the ecclesiastical capital of Wales.
It is most definitely a long way to go, so to make the most of it, since the only publicly accessible building worth looking at is the Cathedral, you have to be prepared to spend some time in and around the Cathedral. It is actually very impressive inside, though all wooden carvings and ornate old wooden ceilings. I thought it would be a big problem if it caught alight, given the distance from anywhere with lots of fire engines.
You can walk dogs around the Cathedral Grounds and we duly walked ours around, taking turns to go inside the Cathedral while someone waited outside with the dogs on leads.
I did not find any useful dog walks at St. Davids, just a muddy track leading off from beyond the Cathedral, past an interesting old ruin (the Monastery?) that was all closed up. The track did not seem to be a right of way going anywhere.
In the 6th Century Dewi founded a monastery and church at Glyn Rhosyn (Rose Vale) on the banks of the river Alun.
The monastic brotherhood that Dewi founded was very strict. As well as praying and celebrating masses, they cultivated the land and carried out many crafts, including beekeeping, in order to feed themselves plus the many pilgrims and travellers who needed lodgings.
They also fed and clothed the poor and needy.
The settlement that grew up around the monastery was called Tyddewi meaning David's home.
In 519 the archbishopric of Caerleon in the county of Monmouth was transferred to Mynyw, which was renamed St Davids in honour of the archbishop and saint by whom the transfer was accomplished.
The original cathedral built on the site was often plundered by the Vikings and was finally burnt and destroyed in 1087. The present cathedral was built by the Normans and contained many relics including the remains of St. David.
It was visited by many pilgrims, many of whom were nobles and kings including; William the conqueror in 1077, Henry II in 1171, and Edward I and Queen Eleanor in 1284.
Pope Calixtus II decreed that two pilgrimages to St David's were equivalent to one to Rome. Because of this, a vast income was raised from visiting pilgrims in the Middle Ages.
However Pilgrimages later fell out of favour and so the 'tourist' style income provided by hundreds of visiting pilgrims declined.
St. David's Cathedral: Decline of old Pilgrims and Rise again with modern tourism
By the 19th Century the city of St Davids had become isolated and neglected and was described in the Penny Cyclopaedia:
"At present its appearance is that of a poor village, the houses, excepting those of the clergy, being in a ruinous state. The locality is lonely, and the neighbouring district wild and unimproved; but it is still an interesting place as the seat of a large episcopal see, with a fine cathedral and the remains of other magnificent religious edifices."
Since then, better transport and the advent of tourism has helped the city regain its fortunes.
If you are staying at Craig y Nos Castle this is really only a trip you might embark upon if it takes your fancy to get to the western most point of Wales, which this pretty well is. It is not really dog friendly however I did find some useful bays and beaches to walk along nearby, so this gave the dogs a much needed run. On the day I visited with my wife and Jack and Sheeba it rained most of the day. This did not bother Jack and Sheeba at all.