Churches South of Pembroke

The Rectory, Angle, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, SA71 5AN, Wales



St Mary's Church, Angle is a medieval church sitting beside a creek near the head of the Milford Haven. This creek was the place where Henry II collected his ships for the invasion of Ireland.

The current building dates from the 14th century but it is known that a former Rector of Angle was Gerald of Wales who held the living around 1200 AD. Gerald had to intervene in a dispute because some parishioners refused to pay their tithes. At that time the majority of the population were Flemings, brought over by William the Conqueror. The Flemings on the North side of the harbour were exempt from giving their wool as tithes but the others were not. These refused to pay their dues and were subsequently excommunicated.

The Churchyard also contains a separate Seamen's or Fishermen's Chapel dedicated to St Anthony containing a plaque indicating that it was founded by Edward de Shirburn of Nangle in AD 1447.

It is also known that there were two other Churches in this ancient parish - another St Anthony's which appears to have fallen into the sea at West Angle Bay around 1500 AD and another St Mary's at Chapel Bay, Angle. This St Anthony's was probably a chantry chapel at which priests said daily Masses for the dead. Ancient graves periodically fall into the sea. Little is known about the church at Chapel Bay.

The current church of St Mary's contains a chancel, nave, north transept and porch all dating from the 14th century. The West Tower was built around 1500. The majority of the remainder dates from restoration done by Penson, a contemporary of Capability Brown, in 1853. Visitors often admire the comparatively modern stained glass windows, the floor tiles around the altar (which are the same as in St Davids Cathedral), the memorials to the Mirehouse family (still resident in the village) and the ancient monument of the Dawes and Ferrers families of Bangeston (the ruins of which still remian in the parish).

The principal feature of the Seamans Chapel is the 20th century reredos behind the altar, unusually depicting Christ the High Priest of the Order of Melchizidek at the centre of Angle village life at the turn of the 20th century. (The reredos depicts Tall Ships passing along the Milford Haven, villagers working on their farms, fishermen about to embark all watched over by two Guardian Angels). There are also some fine Stained Glass windows depicting Jesus calming the storm etc. and an effigy of an unknown Knight. (There is a medieval Tower House in which Knights and former Rectors of Angle lived on the opposite side of the Creek).

ST MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS, CASTLEMARTIN

This Church is one of the hidden gems of Pembrokeshire. Grade 1 listed it stands in a beautiful location on the landward side of Castlemartin village. It is a large multicelled church dating from the 13th Century - although there is some evidence that there was a church on site prior to the Norman conquest. 90% of its core fabric predates the 19th Century. It has a rising floor leading up to the High Altar similar to St Davids Cathedral. It has been under the patronage of the Priory of St Nicholas, Monkton, Pembroke, St Albans Abbey and, more recently, the Campbells of Stackpole who became the Earls of Cawdor.

The beautiful hillside churchyard contains an ancient ruined medieval cottage at the top known as The Old Rectory. There is some evidence to suggest that it pre-dates the Church. It contains some fine medieval carvings on one of its pillars.

The churchyard also contains a fine 19th Century Lych Gate with wrought iron fists for handles and a medieval Preaching Cross.

ST MARY'S WARREN

This medieval church was a ruin during the 1980s - the ancient parish of Warren having been subsumed into the Castlemartin Army Firing Range in 1939. It was restored and reopened in 1989 by the Warren Church Trust which was set up by a combination of the Federal German Army, the British Army and the Church in Wales. It is currently used by regiments currently training at the camp (of all nationalities) and as an ecumenical church by the local community. Its principle features are its 20th century High Altar, built in Germany, its fine East window and its organ which has strong associations with the composer, Felix Mendelssohn. This organ was originally purchased by the Mirehouse family of Angle and was in Castlemartin Church before it was transferred to this Church during its restoration. The spire of this fine church is often used a landmark for shipping in the Bristol Channel.

ST DECUMANUS CHURCH, RHOCROWTHER

This Grade 1 listed church lies in an almost completly abandonned village and stands on the site of St Decumanus' cell, a Celtic saint who sailed across the Britol Channel (allegedly on a leaf!) and evangelised the Watchet area of Somerset. St Decumanus' Well lies in a nearby field. Whilst the vestry dates from the 13th century the majority of the current building was built in the 14th century. It is of unusual design, being cruciform plus having an additional porch West of the North transept. There is much debate as to the meaning of a weathered medieval figure over the North porch doorway - the most likely explanation being The Ascension.

The Church currently only has baptism, wedding and funeral services for the local community. It was badly damaged by an explosion at the nearby Texaco Oil Refinery in 1994 but has been completely restored and now awaits a decision as to its future.

ST MARY'S PWLLCROCHAN

This redundant church stands in a picturesque valley in a completly abandonned village beneath the Texaco Oil Refinery and the former Pembroke Power Station. The site is currently being developed by the Texaco Oil Company, who are working with The Princes Trust, to convert the church into a Field Studies Centre for schoolchildren - there being extensive biodiversity around the churchyard on Refinery land.

ST TWYNNELLS CHURCH

This small ancient church lies in a line with Warren and St Petrox Churches and has historically been used as a navigational landmark by shipping in the Bristol Channel. St Twynnell is almost certainly derived from St Gwynnog, an ancient Celtic saint (the son of St Gildas and a member of the Society of St Cattwg or St Cadog). The name could also have also associations with the nearby Twin Wells. The earliest mention of the church is a reference from the Abbey of Seyes that its Priory of St Nicholas, Monkton (now in Pembroke) had a Rector at St Tynnells. There is also mention of a chapel of Kylkermeran (currently at the site of nearby Crickmarren Farm). The church consists primarily of a nave, chancel and a sanctuary, with a block tower containg three bells. It was formerly under the patronage of the Earls of Cawdor from the Stackpole Estate.

ST MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS BOSHERSTON

This beautiful 13th century church lies at the entrance to the Car Park for the famous Bosherston Lily Ponds. Its principle features include a fine Norman font, floor t

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