Behind the High Altar of St Davids Cathedral there was once an empty space, open to the winds. In the early 1500s, Bishop Edward Vaughan created a chapel there which, for me, is the loveliest part of the cathedral. The Holy Trinity chapel seems to be a very simple space of hewn stone; such is the sense of harmony there that the intricate carvings of the fan vaulted ceiling barely register as being ornate.
Instead, the eyes are drawn to the altar and to a niche through which one can just about see through to the High Altar and the shrine of St David. Both the altar and the niche use carvings far older than their construction…fragments of history that were recognised as such five hundred years ago. In the niche, a sanctuary light burns before the ancient carved crosses that frame the little window. Above the altar, the reredos shows St James, St Andrew, St Peter and St Paul flanking a scene from the Crucifixion, with a Latin text,”Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”.
There is a sense of being enclosed here in an atmosphere of peace hallowed by centuries of prayer. Bishop Vaughan himself was buried in front of the altar. It seems an odd contrast… the churchman was responsible for many of the restorations and improvements that were added to the church in the 16th century and himself had an illustrious career… yet here he lies in an aura of simplicity.
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