St David's and Dewisland

Posted on 15 November 2013

On the banks of the River Alun in what is now Pembrokeshire, the parish of St David’s is one of the largest in West Wales. The Parish and the land it occupies, also known as Dewisland, named after the Welsh name for Saint David, the country’s patron saint, includes the city of St David’s and the peninsula on which it stands.

A new edition of a book first published in 1981, now retells the story of this land, a parish which is commensurate with an ancient division of a Celtic Kingdom - the cantref of Pebidiog, part of the Celtic Kingdom of Dyfed.

St David’s and Dewisland: A Social History by David W. James, published this month by the University of Wales Press, offers a comprehensive social history of a parish grounded in a rich antiquity. Intensely conservative and at the same time subjected by history to enormous change; central and isolated; Celtic and Norman; austere; once rich, then poor, and throughout, in some form or other, a place of pilgrimage.

The volume covers the parish’s early days through to modernity, detailing the development of this colourful community against the backdrop of the broader history of Wales and Western Europe.

The author David W. James was an English teacher, and was Headmaster of Ysgol Dewi Sant, formerly St. David’s County School, between 1959 and 1974. After his retirement, he was able to dedicate his time to writing this social history of the city and parish of St David’s, which was his home for twenty one years.


St David’s and Dewisland: A Social History (November 2013, University of Wales Press)
By David W. James
£19.99 • PB • 9781783160013 • 216x138mm • 228pp
11 black and white images


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