Bardstown is a city in Nelson County, Kentucky, United States. The population was recorded as 11,700 by the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Nelson County. It is named for David Bard, the man who obtained the land for the city from the governor of Virginia, and his brother William Bard, the surveyor who laid out the town.
Bardstown is one of the oldest cities in Kentucky settled by European Americans. Settled in the 1780s, it was chartered in 1790.
Reflecting the westward migration of Americans after the Revolutionary War, Bardstown was the first center of Catholicism west of the Appalachian Mountains in the original territory of the United States. The Diocese of Bardstown was established on February 8, 1808, to serve all Catholics between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, an area now served by 44 dioceses and archdioceses in 10 states. Its cathedral still stands as the Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral. The seat of the diocese was transferred to Louisville in 1841. Bardstown is still the home of a Catholic high school, Bethlehem High School.