Isle of Albion
Ruined ecclesiastical palace adjacent to the cathedral.
Photographed: Saturday 22nd January 2011
Other Names: Llys yr Esgob Tyddewi
Site rating:  

The Bishop's Palace dates back to the end of the 13th Century, when bishop Thomas Bek began a program of building work to improve the ecclesiastical accommodation St. David's Cathedral. He was responsible for the chapel, the hall and the private chambers that survive in today's ruins.

The most notable work was carried out by bishop Henry de Gower in the middle of the 14th Century, who was responsible for most of the remaining buildings. Amongst other things, he gave us the great hall (along with its striking arcaded parapet) and the distinctive wheel-window in the east gable.

Minor work was undertaken to expand and modify the bishop's palace by later generations, but the bones of it remained unchanged. With the coming of the reformation in the 16th Century, pilgrimage decreased, and revenues declined, causing it palace to ultimately fall into decay and ruin.

While visitors predominately flock to St. David's to visit the cathedral, the ruins of the Bishop's Palace are extensive and worthy of a visit in their own right. Many features survive that hint at the building's previous splendour. Traces of ornate decoration and lavish style give an insight into what a prestigious religious centre this must once have been.