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March 1 

Saint of the day:

Saint David (Dewi)

Patron Saint of Wales

Saint David of Wales’ Story

David is the patron saint of Wales and perhaps the most famous of British saints. Ironically, we have little reliable information about him.

It is known that he became a priest, engaged in missionary work, and founded many monasteries, including his principal abbey in southwestern Wales. Many stories and legends sprang up about David and his Welsh monks. Their austerity was extreme. They worked in silence without the help of animals to till the soil. Their food was limited to bread, vegetables and water.

In about the year 550, David attended a synod where his eloquence impressed his fellow monks to such a degree that he was elected primate of the region. The episcopal see was moved to Mynyw, where he had his monastery, now called St. David’s. He ruled his diocese until he had reached a very old age. His last words to his monks and subjects were:
“Be joyful, brothers and sisters. Keep your faith, and do the little things that you have seen and heard with me.”


Saint David is pictured standing on a mound with a dove on his shoulder. The legend is that once while he was preaching a dove descended to his shoulder and the earth rose to lift him high above the people so that he could be heard. Over 50 churches in South Wales were dedicated to him in pre-Reformation days.






A Prayer to Saint David




Address: St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA62 6RD
Attraction Type: Cathedral 
Location: Off the A487. Signed parking beside the Bishop's Palace. Usually open daylight hours

SACRED BONES (Black Box Below)

Behind the choir is the Lady Chapel and retrochoir. This area was heavily damaged in the Reformation and subsequently restored by Gilbert Scott in the Victorian period. One of the most interesting features of the east end is the Holy Trinity chapel, built by Bishop Vaughan from 1509-1522. This delightful chapel is a wonderful example of Perpendicular architecture, with marvellous fan tracery.

In the east wall of the chapel is a small recess containing a casket. The casket is said to house the relics of St David and St Justinian. The bones were discovered during Scott's restoration work. Positive identification of the bones is impossible, but one of the skeletons discovered by Scott was that of a large man, and since David was said to be a very big man, it seemed reasonable to assume that here were the bones of St David himself.

The Waterman, The man who drank water

The Aquatic," a Latin translation of the Welsh Dewi Dyvrwr, "Dewi the waterman," probably alluding to his practice of drinking only water (an extreme asceticism for which St. Gildas opposed him), but also suggesting the dominance of water as a theme throughout the Life: : springs burst out of the ground around David; he could divine water for needy farmers and thirsty monks alike; when sea winds were too slow, he sent a visiting abbot home to Ireland riding the saint's horse over the water; and everywhere the reader finds angels carrying objects back and forth over the Irish sea between David and his friends and former disciples.




Leeks & Soldiers 

The ancient tradition of eating and wearing leeks on St David’s Day goes back to the 6th century.
St David ordered his Welsh soldiers to wear leeks in their helmets in battle against the despised Saxons and that the leeks won them victory. 
The association between leeks and war was firmly cemented in the Welsh mind. In the 14th century Welsh archers adopted green and white for their uniform in honor of the leek. And to this day the Royal Welch Fusiliers uphold the tradition of eating raw leeks on 1 March.

In a ceremony known as Eating the Leek the youngest member of the regiment is meant to eat an entire raw leek while a goat is paraded around.

It is an insult not to eat every last bite. 


Symbols and images associated with St David

The flag of St David is a yellow cross on a black background.

On St David's Day, the flag of St David and Y Ddraig Goch (the Red Dragon, Wales's national flag), will be flown more than usual.


Symbols and images associated with St David

People celebrate St David's day by wearing a daffodil, the national symbol of Wales, or a leek, St David's personal symbol.


Famous last words
Do the little things!

During St David's last sermon he said words to his followers were:

"Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed.

Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about.

I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us."
"Do the little things" has become a well-known inspirational saying in Wales.


How is St David's day celebrated?


"Taffies" – gingerbread figures baked in the shape of a Welshman riding a goat -

In Wales people, particularly children, wear traditional Welsh costume.

Girls wear a petticoat and overcoat, made of Welsh flannel, and a tall hat, worn over a frilled bonnet.

Boys wear a white shirt, a Welsh flannel waistcoat, black trousers, long wool socks and black shoes.

The outfits originated during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Children in Wales enjoy traditional Welsh dances, sing Welsh folk songs and recite Welsh poems, and take part in school concerts or eisteddfodau.

Welsh Lullaby
Suo Gan




Welsh Food
These are the dishes that are served on Saint David's Day

Welsh Cawl, National dish of Wales

Bara Brith or speckeled bread
Welsh Rarebit or cheese on toast
Welsh Pancakes (Crempog)
Traditional Roast Welsh Lamb (Oen Cymreig)
Anglesey Eggs (Wyau Ynys Mon)
Welsh Onion Cake (Teisien Winwns)
Welsh Faggots (uncased sausages) (Ffagodau Cymreig)


Welsh Cawl 


  • 1 onion

  • 1 kg lamb neck, bone in, cut into 5cm chunks (ask your butcher to do this for you)

  • 1 kg swede or rutabaga

  • 2 carrots

  • 2 Maris Piper potatoes

  • 2 parsnips

  • 3 large leaks


  1. Place 2 litres of water and 2 teaspoons of sea salt into a large pan, then place over a high heat and bring to the boil.

  2. Peel and add the whole onion and the lamb. Bring back to the boil, then use a spoon to skim away the scum from the surface.

  3. Simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and leave to cool. Strip the meat from the bone, then return the meat to the pan.

  4. Peel and cut the swede into 1cm chunks. Add to the pan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the swede is tender.

  5. Peel the carrots and slice at a slight angle into 1cm chunks, then add to the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer for a further 15 to 20 minutes with the lid on, or until tender.

  6. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into quarters so they’re all roughly the same size. Once the carrot has softened, add the potatoes to the pan and repeat the process until tender.

  7. Peel the parsnips, strip and discard the outer leaves from the leeks, then cut into 1cm slices. Add the parsnips and most of the leeks to the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on, or until tender.

  8. Taste and season, then add the raw leeks. Place the lid on top, then pop in the fridge to chill overnight (or for up to 3 days for even tastier results).

  9. When you’re ready to serve, gently simmer the cawl until warm. Ladle into serving bowls, then serve with lots of black pepper, a wedge of mature Caerphilly cheese and a slice of bread and butter.

Welsh Onion Cake (Teisien Winwns)


  • 100g unsalted butter, melted and warm

  • 500g white onion, sliced

  • 1 rosemary sprig

  • 1kg Desiree or Maris Piper potatoes


  1. Heat about a quarter of the butter in a large pan, set over a medium heat. Sweat the onions with a little salt and the rosemary sprig. Slowly cook on a gentle heat with a lid on for about 20 mins. Remove rosemary and set aside.

  2. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Peel the potatoes and immediately cut into wafer-thin slices directly into a bowl containing the rest of the warm butter. Season with salt and pepper. The thinner the potatoes, the better the dish will be. Do not wash them once they are sliced, as you want all of the starch to stick the potatoes together.

  3. Line an ovenproof, non-stick frying pan with a round of baking parchment. Layer potatoes neatly into the dish in a circle, slightly overlapping. The bottom of the pan will become the presentation side. Continue to pile in half of the potatoes, then add the melted onions. On top of the onions continue with the potatoes until all used up. Set the pan over a medium heat and gently begin to colour the bottom of the dish for 5 mins, then transfer to the oven and cook for 45-50 mins until the potatoes are soft.

  4. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 mins. Invert onto a serving plate, then slice into wedges with a very sharp knife.

Bara Brith or Speckeled Bread

What is Bara Brith?

Bara Brith—pronounced "bara breeth" (rhymes with teeth)—is a very traditional Welsh recipe and tea-time classic. The name literally means "speckled bread." In Welsh, ‘bara” means bread and “brith” means speckled. It is baked and sold commercially in most parts of Wales, but virtually every Welsh region, town, and family seems to have their own special version of this recipe.

But this tasty bread isn't only found in Wales. Welsh settlers brought it to the Chubut Province of Argentina when they arrived there circa 1865, and it has since become a traditional Argentinian food known as "torta negra," which means "black cake"

This bread can be made in two ways: as a yeast bread with dried fruits in the style of the Irish Barmbrack (although this version has a limited shelf-life and needs to be eaten as soon as possible), or it can be made in the style of a fruit cake with self-raising flour and packed with candied peel, raisins and currants which have been soaked in tea overnight. This version tends to be favorite, as it can be kept for quite a long time.


  • 75g packet of dried cranberries

  • 14oz /400g dried mixed fruit

  • 1 mug of strong hot black tea

  • 100g butter ( and a wee bit more for greasing)

  • 2 heaped tablespoons of orange marmalade

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 450g self-raising flour - try a mix of wholemeal and white

  • 175g light soft brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger

  • 4 tablespoons of milk

  • 50g granulated sugar, for dusting



Preparation should take no more than 15 minutes, and the cooking between an hour and one hour and fifteen minutes. But don't forget that the fruit will need to soak overnight before use.

  1. Place the cranberries and dried fruit in a large bowl and pour the hot tea over them. Give the mix a good stir, then cover the bowl and allow to stand and soak overnight.

  2. Preheat oven to Gas mark 4 (160c).

  3. Take a 2lb (900 gram) loaf tin and grease with butter. Line the bottom with baking parchment.

  4. Gently melt the marmalade and butter together in a saucepan, then leave to cool again for five minutes before beating in the eggs.

  5. Drain the fruit and mix together with the sugar, spices and flour. add the butter and marmalade mix and the milk and mix together until you get a nice even mix.

  6. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and level it off. Sprinkle with the sugar and bake in your pre-heated oven for between an hour and an hour fifteen minutes until it becomes a nice golden brown colour. Prick it with a skewer or fork—if it comes out clean then the Bara Brith is ready.

  7. Leave (in the tin) to cool completely then serve sliced, buttered or unbuttered according to taste—lovely!

Welsh Pancakes (Crempog)



  • 500 g self-raising flour , plus extra for dusting

  • 75 g caster sugar , plus extra to serve

  • 1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice

  • 250 g cold, unsalted butter

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 150 g mixed raisins and sultanas

  • 1 large free-range egg

  • a couple of splashes of milk


  • 300 ml double cream

  • 1 heaped tablespoon caster sugar , plus extra for sprinkling

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

  • 400 g fresh berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries

  • 1 lemon


  1. The Welsh cooks of old did a lot of cooking on bakestones, which are essentially round cast iron skillets. They'd place them over a fire in their home, and use them for things like these sweet little cakes, which have a crisp outside and a soft, slightly crumbly inside that is to die for. You can replicate that bakestone style of cooking using a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan. I love serving these warm as they are or filled with a spoonful of cream and a few berries. The cakes often have chunks of chocolate, different dried fruits and even sprinkles of desiccated coconut, so feel free to experiment once you’ve mastered the basic recipe.

  2. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and mixed spice. Cut up the butter and add to the bowl with a pinch of salt. Use your hands to rub it all together until you get a fine breadcrumb consistency. Toss in the dried fruit, then make a well in the centre of the mixture and crack in the egg. Add a splash of milk and use a fork to beat and mix in the egg. Once combined, use your clean hands to pat and bring the mixture together until you have a dough. It should be fairly short, so don’t work it too much.

  3. Put a large heavy-bottomed non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. While it’s heating up, dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out until it’s about 1cm thick. Use a 5cm pastry cutter to cut out as many rounds as you can. Scrunch the remaining scraps of dough together, then roll out and cut out a few more. To test the temperature, cook one Welsh cake in the pan for a few minutes to act as a thermometer. If the surface is blonde, turn the heat up a little; if it’s black, turn the heat down – leave for a few minutes for the heat to correct itself, then try again. When you've got a golden cake after 4 minutes on each side, you're in a really good place and you can cook the rest in batches. It’s all about control.

  4. As soon as they come off the pan, put them on a wire rack to cool and sprinkle them with caster sugar. You can serve them just like this, as they are. Or, if you want to do what I've done, gently cut each cake in half while turning so you get a top and a bottom. Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla paste together until you have soft peaks. Put the berries into a bowl, slicing up any big ones, and toss them with the juice of 1 lemon and a sprinkling of sugar. Open the cakes up, and add a little dollop of cream and a few berries to each one.

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