A Norman church was built on the site of Brecon Cathedral c 1093. It is thought that an earlier Celtic church existed here. The Norman church was a priory church of the Benedictine abbey at Battle, Hastings.
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A rebuilding of the Norman church took place at two different times. At the beginning of the 13th century the eastern half of the church was done in the Early English style. One hundred years later the nave and eastern chapels were reincarnated in the Decorated style.
The cathedral was a place of pilgrimage in the late middle ages as the golden rood on the east end screen was supposed to have healing powers. During the reformation it was destroyed.
The church became a parish church for the town after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537. During the Victorian era, from 1862-74, the church saw much restoration under the architect, Sir Gilbert Scott. The church became the cathedral for the diocese of Swansea and Brecon in 1923. At this time stone reredos were erected, St Lawrence chapel was constructed on the site of a ruined chapel, and another chapel was restored as a memorial chapel of the South Wales Borderers.
A heritage centre with the history of the cathedral, told in video, audio and displays, is located in the adjacent 17th century tithe barn as is the cathedral shop.
To note in the interior are:
1. A carved Norman font with stone cresset with 30 cups
2. The cresset stone
3. A decorated 15th century Flemish Cabinet
4. The ancient screen and recessed tomb in the St Keyne’s chapel
5. The memorials and regimental links in the Harvard chapel
6. The 15th century relief of the rood in the sanctuary wall
7. The triple piscina and triple sedilia in the sanctuary
8. The choir vaulting
9. The rood loft doors
10. The 16th century wooden effigy
11. The 17th century tomb
12. The medieval cope chest
Cathedral Close, Brecon, on the A470
Mid Wales and Brecon Beacons
Tel: 0 1874 625 222 (Visitor Centre)
Open: visitor centre from mid-morning-4.30pm, daily from Easter-All Saints Day; for cathedral check website for service times
parking; shop; concerts
Web: Brecon Cathedral