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Christmas through the ages at St Asaph Cathedral

Visitors to St Asaph Cathedral will be able to step back in time to find out how Christmas was celebrated at the time of Bishop William Morgan, who translated the Bible into Welsh.

A special “Time Travellers” Christmas craft event is taking place on Wednesday 12 December from 3pm where visitors can make a Tudor Tussie Mussie and learn how natural green foliage from holly, ivy, yew, mistletoe, box and laurel were used to make Christmas decorations.

Tussie Mussie’s are pieces of muslin, filled with dried flowers like lavender and rose, and tied with a ribbon.  They were used to decorate the house, as the activities coordinator at St Asaph Cathedral, Lorna Kernahan (right), explained: “Everything was handmade in Tudor times, using natural materials and foliage.  I’ll be showing visitors how to make their own Tussie Mussie which they can use to decorate their own homes.

“In Tudor times, when St Asaph’s famous William Morgan version of the Bible was translated, it was considered bad luck to decorate your home for Christmas before the 25 December.

“We’ll also be travelling ahead to Victorian Times and making decorations which are much more familiar to us now.  The Victorians brought us Christmas cards and paper chains, so we’ll be making our own versions of these too.”

St Asaph Cathedral dates from 1239 with the present structure completed in the 15th century.  In addition to the William Morgan Bible, the Cathedral also has on show copies of:

  • the first translation of the New Testament into Welsh dating from 1567, made by the Denbighshire scholar William Salesbury;
  • the revision of the William Morgan Bible from 1620 made by Bishop Richard Parry – also Bishop of St Asaph
  • a Book of Common Prayer from 1621 containing The Edmund Prys Psalter which allowed Psalms to be sung in Welsh in church for the first time.

Earlier this year, the Cathedral opened the Translators’ Tearoom which serves lunches along with a fine selection of hot and cold drinks, cakes and ice-creams.  It is open every day, except Sunday, from 10am – 4pm.

A Time Travellers Christmas is taking place on Wednesday 12 December and is free.  Everyone is welcome to drop in at any time between 3pm and 5pm.  The event is part of a range of activities funded by the National Lottery to encourage more visitors to prominent heritage sites, like St Asaph Cathedral.

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Diolch am eich amynedd - rydym yn gweithio ar gyfieithu ein gwefan a bydd y tudalennau Cymraeg ar gael cyn bo hir.