Built on the pilgrimage site of a 5th-century hermit’s cell, St Woolos rose to importance when the Church in Wales was established in 1921, and finally achieved the status of a cathedral in 1949. The Gothic structure incorporates a Saxon chapel and a Norman-arched nave, and was much altered in the 15th century. It is named for the warrior king, Gwynllyw – corrupted in English to Woolos – who was converted to Christianity and a life of prayer, and is also remembered as the father of the famous Welsh saint, Caradoc the Wise. A notable modern feature inside the cathedral is the East Window, designed by John Piper in 1963. The churchyard includes a memorial to the Newport Chartists, who clashed with authorities in the town in 1839.
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About the area
The area of Newport neighbours Monmouthshire and is home to a cathedral city of the very same name again. Situated 12 miles from Cardiff, on the mouth of the River Usk, the Normans built a castle here. But Newport really grew up in the 19th century when its port became the place from which to export coal around the world – until Cardiff took over in the 1850s. It was also the site of the last large-scale armed insurrection in Britain, the Newport Rising of 1839.
The docks may have declined in importance, but Newport survived, building on manufacturing, engineering and service industries – some government departments are located here too, such as the passport office. The city is also reinventing itself. First off, it was granted city status in 2002, beating off competition from five other Welsh rivals, including Aberystwyth and Wrexham. It also opened the Usk footbridge in 2006, which won a number of awards, and attracted some big-name discount retail outlets. A few years later, it hosted the prestigious 2010 Ryder Cup at the nearby Celtic Manor Resort.
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