Saturday, 5 August 2017

St Woolos Cathedral, Newport

It had been my intention to spend some time photographing Newport's St Woolos Cathedral yesterday morning, but unfortunately for me a considerable amount of restoration work is presently being carried out and a lot of those items that interest me are currently hidden. Nevertheless I did take just a few images to share with you.

Gwladys, Gwynllyw and Cattwg
The first place of worship built atop the Stow Hill and overlooking Newport was an early wooden church dedicated to Saint Gwynllyw Milwr in the 5th century who was King of Gwynllyw (Gundleus in Latin) in South Wales, the area where Newport now stands. The name "Woolos" is an English corruption of Gwynllyw and is probably taken from the nickname Woolos the Warrior by which Gwynllyw was known.

The wooden church was rebuilt in stone in the 9th century indicating both the importance and wealth of the shrine, since stone buildings were still relatively rare at that time. Sections of the present building date from Early Medieval times and part of this stone building is now incorporated into the present building as the Galilee chapel located at the western end of the Cathedral.

Galilee chapel and font
Around 1080 the Normans built a new nave to the east of the Saxon ruins, and a lean-to south aisle, building a new entrance archway through the Saxon wall, but I was unable to access that area yesterday.

The Nave
The building sustained damage during both the Owain Glyndwr rebellion and the English Civil War. On both occasions repairs were undertaken and additions to the structure made. Indeed the cathedral has been partially rebuilt or extended in every period up to the 1960s.

As cathedrals go St Woolos is relatively small by any standards, but it is the pro-cathedral of the Diocese of Monmouth and is described as being the centre of a busy, active and attractive Christian community.