The centenary celebrations of Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society continued into
September when they visited St David's, the venue for one of the early field days. On a glorious
summer day over 120 members gathered in the cathedral for a guided tour by the Dean, Very Revd J.
Wyn Evans. After an introduction by the President, the Revd J. Towyn Jones, they were privileged
to hear a scholarly description of the building and its history, enlivened by witty anecdotes, which
brought every stone to life. Traces of faded wall paintings, never noticed by many who thought they
knew the cathedral well, were suddenly obvious; the significance of small wood carvings and huge
arches were made clear. For nearly fourteen centuries the cathedral, the oldest part dating from
the late 12th century and at least the third church on the site, has been a place of pilgrimage.
The Dean met the group again for the first afternoon session in the ruined Bishop's
Palace. Badly eroded in places, the local purple sandstone forms the foundation for the arcaded
parapet and wheel window. The double palace was begun by Bishop fitz Gerald, added to by Bishops
Bek and Gower and completed by 1350.
A visit to the cathedral library followed, led by Mrs Nona Rees. Despite destruction
of manuscripts during the Reformation and books during the Civil War, the library has a valuable
collection focusing on material relating to the cathedral, local and Welsh history and the Church
in Wales. A display, laid out for our benefit, included the oldest printed book in the collection,
a black letter text on church law in its original calf binding, printed in 1505. Also very much
admired was an album of artistically arranged pressed flowers from the Holy Land.
A walk to the peaceful site of the ruins of St. Non's Chapel overlooking St. Bride's
Bay and a visit to the exhibition in the Gatehouse Tower completed the afternoon programme. Members
then gathered for Choral Evensong, a peaceful and fitting end to what had been indeed a pilgrimage.
A concert during the annual festival