Monday, July 25, 2011

New Organist & Master of the Choristers at St Davids Cathedral

The Dean and Chapter are pleased to announce that Mr Daniel Cook, Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral, has been appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Davids Cathedral.

Daniel was born `in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1979 and received his early musical education at Durham Cathedral with Keith Wright. Following a year as Organ Scholar at Worcester Cathedral, he moved to London to take up a place at the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Nicolas Kynaston, James O'Donnell, and Patrick Russill and performed in master classes with many of the world’s leading organists including Marie-Claire Alain, Lionel Rogg and Jon Laukvik. While at the Academy, he worked as Organ Scholar at Southwark Cathedral and Westminster Abbey before graduating with first-class honours in July, 2003. While still a student, he was appointed Assistant Organist at Westminster Abbey where he participated in many important national and international services including the 50th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation.

Mr. Cook moved to Salisbury Cathedral as Assistant Director of Music in September 2005. In addition to his work with the cathedral choirs, he is the principal organist of the cathedral, playing for all major services, broadcasts, concerts and recordings as well as being founder of the Cathedral Chamber Choir. Outside of Salisbury he is Musical Director of the Grange Choral Society (a 160-strong mixed choir based in Christchurch), and holds a similar position with the Salisbury based chamber choir, the Farrant Singers.

He has twice been a finalist in the St Albans International Organ Competition. As an organist he has performed throughout the UK and in Europe and the USA. Recent years have seen engagements in most of the cathedrals in Britain, several Oxbridge College Chapels and in Westminster Abbey's Summer Organ Festival. He is also well known as an accompanist and has worked with many of the distinguished vocal ensembles and choral groups in the UK such as the BBC Singers and the Holst Singers. He has made several solo CD recordings for Priory Records both at Salisbury and on other important British organs and is currently in the middle of a series of recordings of English romantic music by Brewer, Sumsion and Stanford. Recent projects have included a performance of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in six recitals to celebrate the centenary of the composer’s birth, and a CD recording of contemporary organ music for the John Armitage Memorial Trust and Choir and Organ magazine.

Daniel said ‘I am thrilled to have been given this wonderful opportunity to direct the music in St Davids Cathedral. I can’t imagine a more inspiring place to work and I am looking forward to building on the excellent work of my predecessors.’

The Dean of St Davids, the Very Reverend Jonathan Lean, said ‘I am delighted that Mr Daniel Cook has accepted our offer to be the new Organist & Master of the Choristers here at St Davids Cathedral. I look forward immensely to welcoming him and his family to St Davids as we begin this exciting new chapter in the musical life of the cathedral.’

Welcome to St. Davids!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Held within sight
of the sea and the ancient Cathedral, the 7th Really Wild Festival will take place in St Davids on Friday 29th & Saturday 30th July. 10am -5pm each day.

Julia and Brian manage the wildest two days of culinary delights, rural traditions, storytelling and countryside fun you could want, and regular favourites and exciting new exhibitors have already been booking in for this year’s weekend of fun and madness!

For the first time they are holding a Really Wild Musical Evening on the Festival Saturday.

It will feature local bands and groups, soloists, and dancing.

There will be plenty of choice of freshly cooked local foods, ciders, beers and ales etc. to keep you happy and the event will be suitable for the whole family.

A 100 meter marquee will provide cover to cope with whatever weather that might get chucked at us but outdoor seating is available too. Do bring cushions and rugs for extra comfort just in case!!

Ticket allocation will be limited.

Click here to see the full program

Monday, May 30, 2011


The Retreats Group is working in three magnificent properties around Pembrokeshire: Roch Castle and, in St. Davids, Twr-y-Felin, and the Penrhiw Priory.

In the Retreat Group website you can read this description of the last one:

"Penrhiw Priory was originally built in 1884 by the Church in Wales as a Vicarage. It was built on the site of a large longhouse farm building. The design was carried out by John Middleton and Son of Cheltenham.

Penrhiw is a fine example of high Victorian architecture, built in Tudorbethan style with squared Caerbwdi rubble stone, limestone ashlar dressings, steep slate roofs with bargeboards, terracotta ridge tiles and tall stone stacks. The interior woodwork is pitch pine; deep skirting boards. Large panelled doors, panelled window reveals and a lovely staircase. There are also two fine fireplaces with decorative tiles by William De Morgan the celebrated Arts and Crafts ceramics maker.

During the 20th Century Pen Rhiw ceased to be a vicarage and saw other uses. The local Doctor lived there and then Colonel and Mrs Weir ran it as a guest house for many years. During their tenure Anthony Eden [later Prime minister of the U.K.] stayed at Penrhiw a number of times.

In the 1960's the property became a Priory for the Community of St. John the Evangelist and was extended to 20 bedrooms, three reception rooms and a chapel. In 1985 the nuns left the Priory and it was sold by the Church in Wales in 1988 to Steve and Lis Cousens who ran it until 2000 as a centre for groups, hosting up to 30 people at a time. Tim Sime ran it as a Retreat for 4 years and then it was sold it to Adam Hill and Rachael Knott in 2004. Penrhiw was acquired by The Retreats Group Trust in 2009. A restoration contract was awarded to Carreg Construction in July 2009 under the design and supervision of Architects Acanthus Holden.

Penrhiw will re-open as a Retreat in May 2011."

This picture was taken today, May 30th.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


From 24th May to 6th June in St. Davids Cathedral Cloisters Gallery you can admire great paintings of Sarah Young & Graham Hurdwood.

This view of St. Davids is a masterpiece by our friend Graham: a brilliant and moving painting about the city.

Go there, you will enjoy a great art show!


Yesterday our friend Sheila found near St Noons a beautiful Corgi.

As nobody was around she came home and Tam David had the idea to post in one of our street windows a note about the Corgi.

This morning, Jane saw the note and said: "I have a friend that lost a Corgi yesterday. This must be her dog"

Yes, she was.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Pembrokeshire's National Park has been selected by National Geographic as the second of the 10 best coastal destination of the world, but today St. Davids is looking greener than ever.

These are pictures taken a few minutes ago during a dramatic sunset.

As the magazine said:

Visitors flock in droves each year to the Pembrokeshire Peninsula to take in the beauty of the castle-clad cliffs that line its coast. Thankfully, a "very mature and established tourism industry" has preserved, rather than eroded, the qualities that make this region so unique.

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"Magnificent protected coastline from both ecological and geological perspectives. Land-based and marine-based conservation tourism appeals to all ages. Current stewardship practices maintain quality and integrity."

"Wales has done a terrific job of sustainable development, including its coastline. The newly linked coastal walk will be one of the most scenic hiking paths in Europe. Citizens work hard at making sure that their coastal environment remains authentic and unspoiled. The seafood and food grown in the adjoining fields are culinary treats."

"A future issue will be one of getting ‘loved to death,’ such as segments of the coastal path. But still magical."

"Fabulous example of coastal protection with a very established tourism industry."

Friday, April 29, 2011


As we are out the country, we watched the Royal wedding from TV.

What a great day, and what a great ceremony.

Amazingly well done.

Congratulations to them and to all!

In the pictures, Prince William leaves Buckingham Palace in his father's Aston Martin as JUST WED.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Printmaking Exhibition in The Tower Gallery, Oriel y Parc Information Centre

Creativity, colour, and design all come together in an imaginative Printmaking Exhibition on now in The Tower Gallery, Oriel y Parc Information Centre, St. Davids.

The original monoprint work on display has been created by the students of Learning Pembrokeshire's Printmaking without a Press course along with a paper on fabric mural created by students of Using Colour in Art + Design.

Learning Pembrokeshire's tutor, Deborah Withey, has been leading lively creative courses for all levels of experience in the Discovery Room of Oriel y Parc for 2 years and this is just one of several exhibitions showcasing student work.

The current exhibition runs until April 11, gallery hours are 9:30am to 5pm. Pictured are several members of the art classes in St. Davids, from left to right: Victoria Hill, Andrea Taylor, Sheila Leicester, Sue Williams, Deborah Withey, Helen Aspden, David Rowlands.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Illustrators Wales reports:

Pembrokeshire based Illustrator Deborah Withey is currently exhibiting work at the Cloisters Gallery, St. Davids Cathedral, St. Davids. ‘Saints in Stones’ features work that specifically fits the glorious Cloister Gallery atmosphere in the Cathedral Refectory. Everything is original, with hand-printed papers in collage with glass, fabric and stone. To see more of Deborah’s fascinating work please visit her website

Saints in Stones, 15th-28th March 2011, Cloisters Gallery, St. Davids Cathedral, West Wales.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Work in progress for the upcoming exhibition of Deborah Withey at St. Davids Cathedral Cloisters Gallery.

As the artist says:

"Inspired by the Celtic and medieval art which surrounds me, I have created new work made in the collage of found objects and hand-printed (by moi) paper. This justifies my magpie ways of picking up stones and bits each day and my creative urges to create with what I've found!

The exhibition opens this Wednesday, March 16, opening reception on Friday from 7 to 9pm, at The Cloister Gallery, St. Davids Cathedral, St. Davids, Wales.

The show is on until the 29th of March in the most lovely of settings.

All work is for sale and will be posted on my site at the end of the month."

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Deborah Withey will present the first exhibition of her most recent work of Saints in Stones.

Place: The Cloisters Gallery, St. Davids Cathedral.

Dates: March 15-28, 2011

Opening Reception: 18 March, from 7pm to 9pm.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


The very well attended 2011 Competition just ended a few minutes ago.

Julia Horton and Brian Powdrill were the Really Wild Food masterminds of the show.

And the winners were: The Farmers Arms Pub, Cwtch Restaurant and The Cathedral's Refectory.

Deborah, Tam David and Thomas were serving some of the best Welsh Cawls, and many people came to taste and vote the best Kings and Queens of the St. Davids Cawl.

And our St. Davids Mayor, John Lloyd, presented the certificates to the winners.