This long, low stone building is dedicated to the Welsh missionary St Deiniol, who founded a church here around 530AD and surrounded it with a woven wattle fence or ‘bangor’. In 546AD Deiniol became a bishop and his church a cathedral, making it perhaps the oldest cathedral in Britain. However, the structure seen today only goes back to the 12th century, and most of it is from the 15th century. Architect George Gilbert Scott undertook major restoration in the 1870s, but ran out of money to construct a tall tower. Weak foundations ensured that the tower has stayed low, despite remodelling as late as the 1960s. Three Princes of Gwynedd are buried here, including Owain and Cadwaldr. Look out for the 16th-century dark oak carving of Christ, known as the Mostyn Christ, in the nave – it is believed to have come from Rhuddlan Priory, and portrays Christ bound and thoughtful, before his crucifixion. Look out, too, for the carved Eva Stone, which portrays a medieval lady in considerable costume detail. There is a great tradition or choral and organ music here, and the cathedral organ, by William Hill, is particularly fine.
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open all year Mon-Fri 9-4.30, Sat 10.30-1
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About The area
The county of Gwynedd is home to most of the Snowdonia National Park – including the wettest spot in Britain, an arête running up to Snowdon’s summit that receives an average annual rainfall of 4,473mm. With its mighty peaks, rivers and strong Welsh heritage (it has the highest proportion of Welsh-speakers in all of Wales), it’s always been an extremely popular place to visit and live. The busiest part is around Snowdon; around 750,000 people climb, walk or ride the train to the summit each year.
Also in Gwynedd is the Llyn Peninsula, a remote part of Wales sticking 30 miles out into the Irish Sea. At the base of the peninsula is Porthmadog, a small town linked to Snowdonia by two steam railways – the Welsh Highland Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway. Other popular places are Criccieth, with a castle on its headland overlooking the beach, Pwllheli, and Abersoch and the St Tudwal Islands. Elsewhere, the peninsula is all about wildlife, tranquillity, and ancient sacred sites. Tre’r Ceiri hill fort is an Iron Age settlement set beside the coastal mountain of Yr Eifl, while Bardsey Island, at the tip of the peninsula, was the site of a fifth-century Celtic monastery.
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