St. Asaph (Welsh: Llanelwy) is a town in Denbighshire, North Wales on the River Elwy. It has a population of 3,491 (Census 2001).
The town of St. Asaph is surrounded by beautiful countryside and views of the Vale of Clwyd. It is situated close to a number of busy coastal towns such as Rhyl, Prestatyn, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. The historic castles of Denbigh and Rhuddlan are also nearby.
The town is believed to have developed around a 6th-century Celtic monastery founded by Saint Kentigern, and is now home to the small 14th-century St. Asaph Cathedral, the smallest in Britain. This is dedicated to Saint Asaph, its second bishop. In the 13th century, the church which stood on the site of the current cathedral was completely destroyed by Edward I of England and his troops as they conquered Wales.
As the seat of an ancient cathedral and diocese, St. Asaph historically had city status. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica refers to it as a city, but it is no longer considered as such.
St. Asaph applied for restoration of city status in the 2000 and 2002 competitions, but was passed over, in favour of Newport.
Every year the town hosts the North Wales International Music Festival, which takes place at numerous venues in the town and attracts musicians and music lovers from all over the UK. In past years, the main event in September at the cathedral has been covered on television by the BBC.
Other events held annually in the town include the Gala Day in August, the Beat the Bounds charity run in July and the increasingly popular Woodfest Wales crafts festival in June.
Despite the official lack of city status, the town is promoted locally as the 'City of Music'. The local community is passionate about St. Asaph's historic claim to be known as a city like its Welsh cousin St David's, and this has led to a number of local businesses using 'City' as part of their business name.
The past few decades has seen the local economy in St. Asaph thrive, first with the opening of the A55 road which cuts through the town and more recently with a business park being built, attracting investment from at home and overseas.
The crowded roads in St. Asaph have been a hot political issue for many years, with residents of the town repeatedly calling for a bypass road to ease the congestion. The National Assembly for Wales government rejected these calls in 2004, presenting a further setback for residents campaigning on the issue.
A number of famous people have strong links to St. Asaph, having been born, raised, lived, worked or died in the town. These include Canadian actor Richard Ian Cox, William Morgan who translated the Bible into Welsh in 1588, the first archbishop of Wales Alfred George Edwards, former Wales football captain Ian Rush, the journalist Henry Morton Stanley who famously said "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?", Dic Aberdaron, who taught himself Latin at the age of 11 and Felicia Hemans (September 25, 1793 - 1835), poet ("The boy stood on the burning deck").
The hospital in the town (formerly the St. Asaph Union Workhouse) was named in honour of H.M. Stanley. The town's hospice was named after Saint Kentigern. The original Welsh Bible is kept on public display in the town's cathedral.
Saint Asaph Library
APT Air Port Travel
Rhyd y Gwtta
Equine Clinic Ltd