Former Bishop’s Palace, Abergwili

link_to_welsh_translationLink to French translationFormer Bishop’s Palace, Abergwili

Now home to Carmarthenshire County Museum, this building was a college from c.1291 to 1541. The college, dedicated to Saints Maurice and Thomas, was founded by Bishop Bek of St Davids, a former Oxford University chancellor. His Oxford background may have influenced the design of the building’s cloistered courtyard, now covered by a roof to form a hall.

The college moved to Brecon in 1541, after which the building became the bishop’s main abode. At this time there were plans to replace the cathedral in St Davids, in the remote western tip of Wales, with a cathedral in Carmarthen. The bishop’s palace in St Davids was left to decay and is now maintained as an historic ruin.

One of the bishops who lived here, Richard Davies, helped William Salesbury to produce the first Welsh translation of the New Testament, from 1563 to 1567. Salesbury is commemorated on this memorial in his home village of Llansannan, in North Wales. The font where Davies was baptised survives at the church in Gyffin, Conwy, where his father was curate.

The building was modified many times over the following centuries. Various outbuildings were added in the extensive grounds. They include the lodge, built in early Victorian times. In 1903 a fire damaged the building, which was rebuilt and continued as the bishop’s residence until 1972.

The building is now the Carmarthenshire County Museum. Objects on display include Welsh dressers, Early Christian memorial stones and mammoth bones. The bishops’ chapel is also open to visitors.

Postcode: SA31 2JG    View Location Map

Carmarthenshire County Museum website

More history from the Friends of Carmarthen Museum