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St Asaph, diocese of

St Asaph, diocese of. It is claimed that the church at St Asaph (Llanelwy) was founded by St Kentigern (Mungo), a fugitive from Strathclyde, in the 6th cent. The cathedral, however, bears the name of his successor, Asaph. Later, as a territorial diocese, the see approximated to the native Welsh principality of Powys, extending from the Conwy in the west to the Dee in the east, and as far south as Newtown in Montgomeryshire. The area of the diocese remains little changed today, and is made up of contrasting regions. Many of the popular north Wales coastal resorts, the industrial heartland of Deeside, the populous town of Wrexham, and the largely Welsh-speaking upland farming districts of Merionethshire come within its borders. The ancient Welsh clas (monastic community) at St Asaph seems to have survived into the 12th cent., for the Norman diocese dates only from 1143, and serious work on the cathedral—the smallest in England and Wales—does not seem to have begun before 1230. Most of the church dates from the 14th cent. Severely damaged in the Owain Glyndŵr revolt, and again under the Commonwealth, it was subject to a major restoration by Gilbert Scott between 1867 and 1875.

Revd Dr John R. Guy

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