St Davids Trip

Useful Information
St Davids Trip
Southern Cathedral Festival



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
    Some time with Matthew Owens (Organist and Master of the Choristers) before guided tours of the Cathedral.

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
Web Link

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 Pennsylvania 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.
Web Link

4.45pm Depart Bristol

7.00pm (approx.) arrive at the Village Hotel, Swansea,

Dinner Provided

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.
Swansea was o
nce known as “Copperopolis”.  Wales’s second largest City was the earliest industrial centre in Wales.  By 1820 the Swansea area smelted 90% of Britains copper and was known throughout the world as the centre for copper production.  With a deep river for the sea going ships to travel up to 3 miles in land and on the edge of the Welsh coal mining area Swansea was perfectly placed to take advantage of the worlds need for copper.  By the 1780’s every Royal Navy ship’s hull was clad in copper to help them slip through the water faster and protect them from wood-boring worms.  By 1800 the use of copper for making coins had almost overtaken the use for ships.
The copper ore came from Cornwall and Devon, just a short ships journey across the Seven Estuary.  In 1820 100 vessels traded regularly carrying around 70,000 tones of copper ore a year.  The need for the copper ore out stripped the domestic supply and by 1860’s most copper was imported from around the world including S.America and Australia.  By 1884 1,375,000 tones of copper ore was imported from abroad to Swansea.  But by the late 19th century copper was being smelted in the country of origin and the copper trade for Swansea took a massive decline, the last copper-smelting ceased in 1923.
Web Link


Day 10 - Tuesday 18th July 2017

Trip to St Davids Cathedral

St. Davids                        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.
Web Link

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.
Web Link

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
    Traveling up "The Valleys" to Brecon

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.
Web Link

9.45am (approx.) arrive in Brecon

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. 
derives from the personal name “Brychan” who was a 5th Century Welsh Prince.  In the 15th Century as the welsh “Brycheinioc”. the current Welsh name is Aberhonddu.  Aber means “place at the mouth of two rivers” and Honddu means pleasant.  Brecon is therefore at the confluence of the Honddu and the Usk.

Brecon Cathedral                                     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. 
Web Link

11.00am Eucharist Service

Buffet Lunch provided

1.00pm Depart Brecon

2.45pm (approx.) arrive in Gloucester

Gloucester                      Began 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 occurrences.  The city's 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 England.
Web Link

Gloucester Cathedral                    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.
Web Link

We will split the group at this point,

Coach "A" will return to Winchester for those who are attending the Southern Cathedrals Festival,  Web Link
    Arrive in Winchester at approx. 7.15pm
    Evening Meal provided
    Southern Cathedrals Festival Package, Accommodation only, 4 Extra nights arranged Thursday 20th - Monday 24th July
Participants will need to organise their own Onward travel on Monday 24th July

Coach "B" will proceed to Renaissance Hotel, Heathrow
    Arrive at the Renaissance Hotel at approx. 7.15pm
    Evening Meal Provided   
        Participants will need to organise their own Onward travel on Thursday 20th July