1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/St Asaph

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ST ASAPH, a cathedral city and a contributory parliamentary borough of Flintshire, N. Wales, on the Rhyl-Denbigh branch of the London & North-Western railway, about 6 m. from each of these towns. Pop. (1901), 1788. Its Welsh name, Llanelwy, is derived from the Elwy, between which stream and the Clwyd it stands. Asaph, to whom the cathedral (one of the smallest in Great Britain) is dedicated, was bishop here after Kentigern's return hence to Glasgow, and died in 596. The small, irregularly built town has also a parish church (Anglican), remains of a Perpendicular chapel near Ffynnon Fair (St Mary's Well), a bishop's house, a grammar school (1882) and almshouses for eight poor widows, founded in 1678 by Bishop Barrow. The hill on which St Asaph stands is Bryn Paulin, supposed to have been the camping-ground of Suetonius Paulinus, on his way to Anglesey. The early cathedral, of wood, was burned by the English in 1247 and 1282, and that built by Bishop Anian in the 13th century (Decorated) was mostly destroyed during the war of Owen Glendower in 1402; Bishop Redman's building (c. 1480) was completed by the erection of the choir about 1770. During the Civil War the Parliamentarians did not spare the building. The choir and chancel were restored, from designs by Sir Gilbert Scott, in 1867-1868, the nave in 1875. The church is plain, cruciform, and in style chiefly Decorated but partly Early English, with a square tower; it has a library of nearly 2000 volumes (some rare); memorials to Bishop Dafydd ab Owain (d. 1502), to Bishop Luxmore (d. 1830), to the poetess Felicia Hemans, a resident near St Asaph (d. 1835); and Perpendicular oak choir stalls. In the neighbourhood is the modern mansion of Bodelwyddan, of which the estate was bought by Sir W. Williams, speaker of the House of Commons in Charles II.'s time.