Earlier this month, I visited Llandaff, which is a district in the north of Cardiff, but has a lovely village feel to it. The centre of the town is a gorgeous cross of historic and holiday-town-esque with its stone and timber buildings and a dairy selling ice-creams and a quaint souvenirs shop. The highlight of the town, for me at least, is its cathedral (‘The Cathedral Church of SS. Peter and Paul – Llandaff With SS. Dyfrig, Teilo, and Euddogwy’).
The cathedral building dates back to the twelfth century, although with substantial phases of repairs and rebuilding in the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, and traces of every century can be seen. Lots of historic buildings, from cathedral to Oxford colleges, that have been added to and redeveloped over the centuries are an uncomfortable mishmash, but the centuries of change at Llandaff Cathedral fuse largely seamlessly. I’m not a fan of Jacob Epstein’s ‘Christ in Majesty’ which dominates the nave, nor the very modern-art-ish paintings which are found in a few places.; but, much of the ‘modern art’ works well within a building that still feels strongly medieval: the antler-style chandeliers (apparently evoking the legend of St Teilo, the sixth-century bishop of Llandaff and founder of the cathedral, who is sometimes depicting riding a stag) somehow fit in well, as do the modern stained-glass windows. The cathedral was filled with interesting and curious things, and so I’ve posted some photos of these below.
The Lady Chapel
Creepiest moment of the day was when I wandered off down a long dark passage and then turned a corner and came face to face with these almost-life-size slightly decayed figures!
There were a number of interesting tombs. Unfortunately, I only realised towards the end of my visit that there were laminated handouts with information for visitors, so I have no idea whose the tombs were!
The antler-style chandeliers
St Teilo’s tomb. There was also a chapel, next to the Lady Chapel, dedicated to St Teilo with a relic of his.
I didn’t get to see everything else in the town, but here is a map of the main touristic sights, and photos of a few of them.
The castle ruins from the outside
Inside the castle ruins (picture 1)
Inside the castle ruins (picture 2)
Saint Teilo’s well. It’s such a shame that it’s filled with rubbish and not better looked after.