The St Davids Cathedral Library is the only Cathedral Library in situ in Wales. There are over  7,000 books dating from the 16th Century to the 21st Century and many other items including original pamphlets and photographs..

The Cathedral Library is open to the public on Monday and Friday afternoons between 2pm and 4pm. It is also open at other times including for group visits . For up to date information on opening times and other events see notices in Cathedral South Porch, Follow us on Twitter at @StDavCathLib or email to


Part of the Cathedral Treasury exhibition always includes items from the Cathedral Library Collection. The exhibition is  available for viewing  for the public 7 days a week whenever the Cathedral is open.

Library's Week Monday 7th - Friday 11th October 2019


7th October - 11th October 2019


Each event focuses on a book, or books, in the Cathedral Library Collection. Most events are being held in the Nave of the Cathedral or in the Cathedral Library. The Community Research event is in the Cathedral Education Centre, Ty'r Pererin, Quickwell Hill. 

Please note the Cathedral Library is accessed only up 25 medieval spiral stone stairs.  Entry to all events is free of charge. The Library display in the Cathedral Treasury will be available all week.


                              Monday 7th October  - Nave of St Davids Cathedral

>         1.30pm - Welcome and Introduction to Libraries Week by Mari James, St Davids Cathedral Library Development Officer

>         1.45pm - Chair - The Very Rev'd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Dean of St Davids

>         1.45pm – 2.15pm Old Books, Modern Issues - Constituciones provinciales ecclesie anglicane by Bishop William Lyndwode c.1505.

Leading Canon Law scholar, Professor Norman Doe, Director of Cardiff University's Centre for Law and Religion, examines one of the oldest books in the St Davids Cathedral Library, first written in 1433, and the surprising extent to which the issues examined in it are still alive today, over 500 years later. William Lyndwode's iconic "Constituciones Provinciales Ecclesie Anglicane" examined the role of church, government, the Pope and of the law as it applied in the places he worked in England and Wales. William Lyndwode LL.D: Keeper of the Privy Seal 1432 - 1443; Bishop of St Davids 1442-1447. Now buried in Westminster Abbey. The Cathedral Library copy, published in Paris c.1505, will be on display during the lecture and on public display in the Cathedral Treasury for the remainder of the week.

Speaker: –  Prof Norman Doe, Director of the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University. 

2.15pm – 2.30pm – Q&A

>         2.30pm – 3pm - "Diseases of the Bible" - what do we call them now?"

Dr Heather Payne examines Risdon Bennett's 1887 book "Diseases of the Bible". Religious Tract Society 1887.  Dr Payne's professional medical commentary on this 19th Century work will interpret the diseases and medical conditions referred to in the Old and New Testaments and consider how we might know them today - and also how we might treat them in the NHS. The Cathedral Library copy of "Diseases of the Bible" will be on display during Dr Payne's talk, with other medical books from Library Collection, and afterwards in the Cathedral Treasury. 

3pm-3.15pm Q&A 



                            Tuesday 8th October  - St Davids Cathedral Library

> 1.30pm Historical Atlas of Pembrokeshire published Pembrokeshire County Historical Trust 2019

Speakers: Simon Hancock, Editor; Anne Eastham, Vice President & Chapter Author.

Writing the history of Pembrokeshire through the medium of maps over the ages. 

With display of 18th Century Atlases in Cathedral Library Collection and Atlas of Pembrokeshire on sale.

>   3pm – 4pm  Induction Session for prospective Cathedral Library Volunteers

Further information from:   Tel: 01437 460141


                               Wednesday 9th October - Nave of St Davids Cathedral

> 2pm -  In Pursuit of St David / Ar Drywydd Dewi Sant

Speaker: Gerald Morgan – Historian and Author - Who was Dewi Sant? What do we really know about him? Why do we celebrate him on 1st March? A special opportunity to hear about and discuss the story of this 6th Century Welsh Saint in the Cathedral dedicated to him.

The author will be signing copies of his book, which will be for sale in English and in Welsh.

3pm -  Doing God in Public – The Very Rev’d Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Dean of St Davids.

The Dean builds on her doctoral  work to consider ways both for strengthening the Church’s engagement in public discourse, and also enhancing the nature of the public space as a place for pursuing the common good. These timely considerations are put in the context of the work of both Thomas Aquinas and Dr Rowan Williams. 

                               Friday 11th October - St Davids Cathedral Library

>11am-11.30am - Thomas Tomkins, St Davids born Tudor Composer 

Speaker: Oliver Waterer, Organist & Master of Chorister, St Davids Cathedral talks about his forebear St Davids born Thomas Tomkins, one of the leading Tudor church music composers. Oliver will show how the music notation used by Tomkins was very different from that he uses with the Cathedral Choir now - in order to sing the same music. On display will be copies of original part-books from the 1668 Musica Deo Sacra as well as the programme & other material from the 1956 Tomkins Tercentenary Festival in St Davids Cathedral.

> 12.00 -12.30pm The Suffragettes, the Bishop and St Davids Cathedral 

Speaker – Mari James, St Davids Cathedral Library Development Officer,

The story behind the signatures in the Cathedral Visitors Book of Emmeline Pankhurst, Annie Kenney, Emmeline Pethick Lawrence and other suffragettes. On display will be the July 1908 Visitors  Book with the original signatures.


> 7pm – 9pm - Ty’r Pererin, Quickwell Hill, St Davids, Cathedral Education Centre

WHO DO YOU KNOW IN THE OLD PHOTOS? Community Research with Cathedral Library Old Photography Collection.

Display of selection of old photographs from Cathedral Library Collection. Do you recognise anyone from your family in the photos? Have you got a similar photo at home? Some photographs displayed in public for first time. Light refreshments will be available.




For further information:  Mari James, St Davids Cathedral Library Development Officer,

St Davids Cathedral, St Davids/Tyddewi, Pembrokeshire/Sir Benfro. SA62 6RD.

Email:      Phone: 01437 460141

Cathedral Library


The Library has substantial collections belonging to Deans, Bishops and Clergy dating back to the 16th century. Books and other appropriate materials are constantly being added. It is an eclectic collection with subjects including Christianity in Wales, the Reformation, St Davids, Church in Wales history, early scientific and mathematical works, early maps ans atlases. 

There are a range of early and more recent Bibles and Prayer Books in Welsh, English and other languages. Books are in several contemporary and past languages including Anglo-Saxon, Arabic, Breton, Danish, English, Erse (Irish), Esperanto, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Persian, Romany and, of course, Welsh.

The Library holds copies of St Davids Parish Registers of Christenings, Marriages and Burials since 1724.

Those interested in undertaking research in the Cathedral Library are very welcome.  Email enquiries should be sent  to with details of the research and any supervisers or sponsors.


The building in which the Library is housed is as interesting as the Collection. The building itself is older than any of the books.

The current location of the Library within the Cathedral is on the first and second floors above the Chapel of St Thomas  Becket on the north side of the Cathedral. This three storey part of the building dates from the 14th Century. The entrance door is up a short flight of wooden steps, near the two icons of St David’s mother St Non and St Justinian at the rear of the restored Shrine of St David.  The two floors were restored and refitted as the Library in the 1950s. It had previously been the Chapter House and the Treasury and in the 18th and 19th Centuries was used as the Cathedral Grammar School.  

There is a  medieval fireplace with lamp stands, two stone window seats with stone canopies on the north side of the building and a piscina for washing hands.    RARE BOOKS

 The St Davids Cathedral Library Collection dates back to the 16th Century and contains many Rare Books in English, Welsh and other languages. The Collection includes some of the first Bibles produced in Welsh as well as early Bibles in English. Many books in the Collection reflect the theological and political turmoil of the 16th and 17th Centuries Reformation during the Tudor and Stuart period in Britain.

It is recorded that many of the older manuscripts in the Cathedral were “cancelled and torne up” in the early years in the Reformation in the 16th Century as representations of the “old church”. Other manuscript books were dispersed at the time to the new colleges in Oxford and Cambridge. 


The 1620 Welsh Bible was the first widely available Welsh language Bible. A translation of the New Testament into Welsh from the original Greek was first produced in 1567 by William Salesbury. In this translation Richard Davies, Bishop of St Davids 1561–1582, translated 1 Timothy, Hebrews, James 1, Peter 2. Thomas Huet, St Davids Precentor 1560-1591, also translated the Books of Revelations. The Salesbury translation was further revised by Bishop William Morgan, and after his death, completed by Bishop Richard Parry, and published initially in 1588 and, after further editing, in 1620.  

There is also a collection of Greek and Roman classics bequeathed by Dean Allen, Dean of St Davids 1878-1897.

It is an eclectic collection and includes books in: science, mathematics, physics, medicine, herbals (medicinal use of plants), as well as theology, Cathedral history, church history, local history, Welsh history.

The oldest complete book in the Library is the 1504 Provinciale seu Constitutiones Angli. This book in Latin on Church Law was written by William Lyndwode, Bishop of St Davids 1442-1447.


The Cathedral Library is open to the public on Monday and Friday afternoons. For enquiries on other times of opening, and research access to the Library collection, please email to:


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