Brecon Cathedral is set within the only walled cathedral close in Wales and is regarded as one of the country’s finest buildings. Inside the Cathedral is a rare and beautiful Celtic font. The Havard Chapel is home to the original colours from the Zulu wars – including Rorke’s Drift.
Founded as a Benedictine priory, it became the parish church of Brecon in 1537, a role it held until in 1923 it became the Cathedral for the newly created Diocese of Swansea and Brecon.
It sits on top of a ridge a few hundred yards from the castle which had been established by Bernard Newmarch in 1093 upon the Norman conquest of Wales. He give the church to the Benedictine monks of Battle in Sussex who established the priory here. The first church was therefore probably 12th century although much of the existing church was rebuilt in later medieval times. During the 15th century a three or four story screen, the 'golden rood' of Brecon was erected and guild chapels appeared in the aisles. All now removed, but traces remain. During its period as a parish church it was restored under Sir George Gilbert Scot; the chancel vaulting and other roof work are his design. The North transept is also the chapel for the South Wales Borderers with their flags and regimental honours on display there. All this has led to a lot of historic details well worth while exploring. If you want help there are church visitors on duty to answer your questions and special tours can be arranged for school parties and other groups if you contact the Cathedral in advance.
Alongside the Cathedral are Pilgrims Tea Rooms while the ancient Tithe Barn is now a fine Heritage Centre with not only a gift shop but also a very good display on the Cathedral.
There are usually services every Sunday at 08:00, 11:00 and 15:30 as well as a number of special services. Brecon has a fine Cathedral choir which takes part in some of them.
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