Theosophical Society, Cardiff Lodge,

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Llandaff Cathedral



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History of Theosophy in Wales



Llandaff Cathedral



Llandaff Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Llandaff (of the Church in Wales), situated in the suburb of Llandaff in the city of Cardiff, the capital of Wales. It is dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and also to three Welsh saints: Dyfrig, Teilo and Euddogwy.



There is evidence for Celtic Christian worship on the site the cathedral from the 6th century and the original church is said to have been built by Saint Teilo on the bank of the River Taff in 560. After his death, his shrine became a place of pilgrimage. The monastic settlement survived for many centuries before the establishment of the diocese of Llandaff at some point shortly after 1020.


The Normans occupied Glamorgan early, and appointed Urban their first bishop in 1107. He began construction of the cathedral in 1120 and had the remains of Saint Dyfrig transferred from Bardsey, but the work was not completed until 1290. The west front dates from 1220, and contains a statue of Teilo. Bishop Henry de Abergavenny gave the cathedral its statutes. The Lady Chapel was built by William de Braose, who was bishop from 1266 to 1287.


Damage was done to the church in 1400, during the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr, and his forces destroyed the Bishop's Palace at Llandaff. However, most of the other damage was repaired notably by Bishop Marshall whose reredos partly survives, and the north-east tower (the one without a spire) was added by Jasper Tudor, and is now named after him. He assumed the lordship of Cardiff after the accession to the throne of his nephew, King Henry VII of England. Late medieval tombs include that of Sir David Mathew.


During the English Civil War, the cathedral was overrun by Parliamentarian troops, and by 1720 the southwest tower was in a state of collapse. In 1734, work began on a new cathedral, nicknamed the "Italian Temple", which was used for a hundred years but never completed and of which only a few stones remain.


During the 19th century, when the Bishop of Llandaff began, for the first time for centuries, to reside in Llandaff, the cathedral was extensively restored, the tower rebuilt and a spire added. A triptych by Dante Gabriel Rossetti was designed for use as a reredos, and new stained glass windows were designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown.


The cathedral school which existed from the time of the Elizabethan Bishop Blethyn until about 1700 was re-established by Dean Vaughan in 1880.


On the evening of January 2, 1941 during World War II a German bomb fell beside the cathedral, causing massive destruction including that of the organ. Of British cathedrals, only Coventry Cathedral was damaged more.


Major restorations and reconfigurations were carried out under architect George Pace of York, and the building was back in use in June 1958.


The Queen attended a service celebrating the completion of the restoration on August 6, 1960. The Welch Regiment memorial chapel was constructed, and Sir Jacob Epstein created the figure of Christ in Majesty which is suspended above the nave on a concrete arch designed by George Pace.


In February 2007 the cathedral suffered a severe lightning strike. Particular damage was caused to the electrics of the organ, which was already in poor condition. This prompted the launch, on 13 July 2007 (the 50th anniversary of the re-hallowing of the nave following the wartime damage), of an appeal to raise £1.5 million for the construction of an entirely new organ.


The cathedral has the traditional Anglican choir of boys and men, with the only dedicated choir school in the Church in Wales. In addition, the parish choir sings at the weekly Parish Eucharist, and is a mixed choir.



Return to Homepage


History of Theosophy in Wales


Theosophy and the Great War


A General History of Wales


Chronology of Wales 

and the Celtic Tradition


A One Minute History of Cardiff


Saint David


Celtic Christianity


The Druids


Glossary of Welsh Mythology


Caldey Island

Ynys Byr



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Cardiff, Wales, UK, CF24 1DL


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