South Wales and St David's, Side Trip
Monday 17th - Thursday 20th July
Following on from the Conference in Winchester,
Day 9 - Monday 17th July 2017
People staying at the University accommodation or at the Royal Hotel load luggage and board the coach at 7.30am
People staying at the Mercure Wessex Hotel load luggage and board the coach at 7.50am
10.15am (approx.) arrive in Wells
Very much a Cathedral city
and dominated by it, the existing building was started in 1180 continued in
stages until 1424. Many of the buildings in the Cathedral precincts are
used today for much the same purposes as that for which they were originally
built. The Vicars Close consists of a cobbled street with a total of 42
small houses built in the 14th Century for the Vicars of the Cathedral.
The Cathedral school was started in 909 and while closing for one short period
of 6 years in 1861 now records over 600 pupils. On the West front there
are 294 sculptures left of the original 386 some damaged beyond recognition, 3
new ones were unveiled by the Prince of Wales in 1985. The Chapter House
reached by an ancient stone stairway is octagonal in shape and part of a two
storey building, could be one of the most beautiful Chapter Houses in Britain.
The Cathedrals South doors lead to beautiful 15/16th Century cloisters
Buffet Lunch provided in the Vicars Hall
2.00pm Depart Wells
3.00pm (approx.) arrive at St Mary Redcliff, Bristol
Bristol Once one of the most important ports in the country, the earliest records of its commercial activity going back to Edward II in the 10th Century when silver coins were minted here. All this due to the fact that the River Severn and Avon was navigable to this point. It was from Bristol in 1497 that John Cabot and his Bristol born son Sebastian set sail with 18 sailors in the 100 ton ship “Matthew” before reaching the mainland of America in Newfoundland. A centre for trade and commerce for over 1,000 years, the city still has much to offer and although the large container ships now dock at the entrance to the Avon Gorge at Avonmouth, much activity still remains around the old dock side area.
St Mary Redcliff, Bristol
A superb example of Medieval architecture and once described by Queen Elizabeth
1st on a visit to Bristol as “the fairest, goodliest and most famous parish
church in the kingdom” in all respects it is the size of a Cathedral with a
240ft Nave and a Apire added in the 19th Century rising 285ft from
street level. The church owes much of its construction to William Canynge
in the 14th Century and further work completed by his son.
Admiral Sir William Penn whose Son also a William founded
is buried in the South Transept. The close links with the United States
are further strengthened by the restoration of the St John`s chapel by the
friends of St Mary Redcliff in America.
4.45pm Depart Bristol
7.00pm (approx.) arrive at the Village Hotel, Swansea,
There is evidence of a
settlement here as early as 2000BC. In Viking times, around 12th Century,
there was a wooden stronghold called "Swaynesse" believed to originate from the
name of a Viking King Sweyne Forkbeard. The Welsh name for the City is
Abertawe (pronounced "Abba Toway") meaning mouth of the river Tawe.
Day 10 - Tuesday 18th July 2017
Trip to St Davids Cathedral
This tiny City (Britain’s
smallest) grew up around the religious settlement founded by St David, (patron
saint of Wales ) in the 6th Century. It is situated on St Davids
peninsula, a Celtic place of pilgrimage and peace, a granite ledge of land
jutting out into the Atlantic ocean. A truly magical place of inspiring
beauty with golden beaches, stunning coastline, nature and wildlife in
abundance. Over the centuries, an important place situated as it is en
route to Ireland. Many are said to have passed this way, King Arthur
landed on St Davids shores, Black Bart, creator of the Jolly Roger embarked on
piracy from nearby Solva Harbour and pilgrims in their thousands have trodden
the ancient roads.
St. Davids Cathedral
St Davids Cathedral
almost hidden from view in a valley at the far West of the city occupies a site
of a religious settlement founded by St David in the 6th Century.
Tradition also has it that he was born here. His mother, so the story
goes, gave birth to him on the spot on the cliffs to the South of the Cathedral
now marked by the ruins of St Nons chapel. The Cathedral with its
wonderful oak roof dates back to the 12th Century (circa 1181-82), for centuries
it was a place of pilgrimage, (two visits to St Davids being equal to one visit
to Rome). Next to the Cathedral are the remains of the ruined Bishops
Palace, how splendid this must have looked in its prime. Uniquely the
sovereign of the United Kingdom is a member of the chapter and therefore has
his/her own royal stall.
Guided tours of the Bishops Palace and Cathedral arranged.
Attend Evensong at 6.00pm
Evening Meal Provided
Return to the Village Hotel, Swansea
Day 11 - Wednesday 19th July 2017
8.00am Load luggage and board the coach
The Welsh Valleys
Historically the Coal Mining, Iron Ore and Steel producing area of South
Wales. In 1920 there were 256,000 people working in the 620 coal mines of
the Valleys, producing a third of the worlds coal. After WWII these
industries entered a steep decline with cheaper imports and then following the
miners strikes of the 1980's the government forced the closer of the remaining
pits as they were not economical to run and by 1994 only one coal mine remained
open. The Valleys, as the name implies are an area
of deep sided glacial valleys running from the Brecon Beacons 30 miles from the
cost, these valleys flow like fingers towards the sea. With few roads
leading between the valleys over the mountains the main links are at the heads
of the valleys or down in the lowlands near the coast. This is great
walking and and adventure sports country and the Military use the area
extensively for training. One of the things
the Welsh Valleys are famous for are their Male Voice Choirs, known through out
the world the deep voices are said to come from the coal dust that historically
filled the air of the valleys.
9.45am (approx.) arrive in Brecon
Situated at the
confluence of the Rivers Usk & Honddu in a pastoral vale dominated by the peaks
of the Brecon Beacons. One of the oldest Welsh towns, granted its first
charter in 1246 and in 1366 another charter gave it the right to hold a fair.
The town centre is a mix of Medieval, Georgian, Jacobean and Tudor architecture
with narrow streets and alleyways leading in all directions from the central
square which is overlooked by the 16th Century St Mary`s Church.
On the Western bank of the Usk is Christ College founded in 1541 it incorporates
the remains of a 12th Century friary and its chapel being one of the
oldest places of worship still in use in Wales.
The priory church of St
John dating from the 13/14th Centuries was designated a Cathedral in
1923. Although small, only 250 ft long, it does give the impression of a
stark and fortress like strength with its simple lines and massive tower.
11.00am Eucharist Service
Buffet Lunch provided
1.00pm Depart Brecon
2.45pm (approx.) arrive in Gloucester
life as a Roman fort which guarded the lowest Severn crossing and the legions
route into Wales (Glevum). The city later became the residence of Norman
Kings, while here William the Conqueror decided on the Doomsday survey.
The city has long been an inland port with its own harbour master. Famous
for its Cathedral it has also been the focal point of other important historic
main thoroughfares still follow the Roman roads and meet at the Cross. In
Brunswick Street is a memorial to Robert Raikes who founded the Sunday School
movement in nearby St Catherine Street. The New Inn in Northgate Street
was a half timbered 15th Century pilgrims hostelry. The Ravern Tavern in
Hare Lane, once the home of the Hoare Family who sailed in the mayflower to New
The present Cathedral
was started in about 1089 by a monk called Serlo from Mont St Michael in France.
The building was consecrated in 1100 though work did continue for some years to
come. The great East window is the largest Medieval window in Europe.
A central tower was built approx 1450 to replace the Norman one. The tower
stands 225 feet high and is one of the glories of Gloucester, seen for miles
around. The first appearance is of a Gothic Cathedral, but further close
inspection will reveal its Norman structure. The cloisters are amongst the
finest in England and are the earliest fan vaulted cloister still in existence.
They were built in the 14th Century and contain a magnificent lavatorium in the
North range and study carrels in the South range. The Kings school is very
much a part of the foundation, where the Cathedral Choristers are educated.
Music is very much a part of the tradition of Gloucester and is the venue every
3 years for the three choirs festival.
We will split the group at this point,
Coach "A" will return to Winchester for those who are attending
the Southern Cathedrals Festival,
Coach "B" will proceed to Renaissance Hotel, Heathrow