Weekly City Spotlight: St Asaph/Llanelwy

St Asaph lies between Denbigh and the coastal town of Rhyl in north-east Wales. The city is full of breath-taking views, enchanting history and is even home to the smallest cathedral in Britain. With a population close to 3,700, St Asaph is home to the North Wales Music Festival, which is held in the cathedral each year towards the end of September.

With easy access to the A55, the city is an ideal starting base for tourists wanting to discover some of the beautiful hotspots in the north-east of Wales.

Historic St Asaph

St Asaph has been an important religious centre for centuries, dating as far back as AD560. The known story of St. Asaph (Llanelwy) begins in 576AD when St. Kentigern left his original foundation on the shores of the Clyde and is said to have taken flight to Wales in fear for his safety. Following a long journey during which he founded a number of churches in Cumbria, Kentigern settled in St. Asaph where he founded a monastery on the banks of the river Elwy before returning to his native Scotland.

St Asaph was always regarded as a city by many, even though it actually wasn’t officially. The town applied for city status in competitions held by the government in 2000 and 2002 (for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee) but was unsuccessful. In 2012 it again competed for the right to become a city as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It was announced on 14 March 2012 that the application was successful and city status was to be bestowed upon St Asaph alongside Chelmsford and Perth. The status was formally granted by letters patent dated 1 June 2012.

Famous Faces

A number of famous faces have originated from, or are connected to, St Asaph. Just some are listed below.

Richard Ian Cox (born October 3, 1973) is a Welsh actor, voice artist, online radio host, and comedian.

William Morgan (1545 – 10 September 1604) was Bishop of Llandaff and of St Asaph, and the translator of the first verson of the whole Bible into Welsh from Greek and Hebrew.

Sir Henry Morton Stanley GCB (born John Rowlands; 28 January 1841 – 10 May 1904) was a Welsh journalist and explorer famous for his exploration of central Africa and his search for missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

Ian James Rush, MBE, (born 20 October 1961 in St Asaph, Wales) is a Welsh former footballer. Rush played for Liverpool F.C. from 1980-1987 and 1988-1996, and is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, having scored a total of 346 goals in all competitions during his two spells at the club.



St Asaph Cathedral

St Asaph Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Diocese of St Asaph, one of the six dioceses of the Church in Wales. So many people visiting the city describe the cathedral as a hidden gem, even with its small size, the cathedral is a must see when exploring St Asaph. Britain’s smallest cathedral is the home of the William Morgan Bible and as such provides a vital link with Welsh culture and literature.