Oxwich Church of St Illtyd

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameOxwich Church of St Illtyd
Alternative Names
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthoritySwansea
1974 AuthorityWest Glamorgan

Small church with chancel and nave only and a western castellated tower. C12, with C14 decorated east window. (Coflein)

The Norman arch indicates a C12 origin for the nave and chancel, but the unusual smallness of the chancel raises the possibility of an earlier structure being incorporated. The nave is evidently of two builds, with a marked change in width at the centre, which is only apparent externally, the east part of the nave walls being much thicker than the west part. The nave may have been extended west at the time the tower was added, perhaps C14; another probably C14 feature is a tomb inserted in the chancel, thought to be of a member of the de la Mare or Penrice families, with his lady, an heiress. A small north window was later added to the chancel, destroying one of the tomb finials. A stone beside the west window of the south side records the names of Henry Lucas and John Tyler, Ward

Gatehouse Comments

Towered church suggested as defensive by Harrison. Part of a group of Gower churches that Harrison suggests where fortified against the welsh but what protection such churches had was likely to be against pirate raids and it is arguable if such protection can be considered as 'defensive' or 'fortification'. It should also be noted it was standard for all churches to use martial symbols like battlements to represent God's dominion on earth and that church towers are structure which have to hold heavy, moving and vibrating bells and which need to be strongly built for this reason, particularly in places, like much of Wales, where mortar is of poor quality.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic Wales CADW listed database record number
The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSS504861
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  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 82
  • Newman, J., 1995, Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan (Yale University Press) p. 481
  • Orrin, G., 1979, The Gower Churches (Rural Deanery Of West Gower) p. 53-6


  • Harrison, Peter, 1995, 'The tower churches of Gower' Gower Vol. 46 p. 15-23 online copy
  • Glynne, 1897, 'Notes on the older churches in the four Welsh Dioceses (continued)' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 52 p. 300-1 online copy