Llanddewi Church of St David

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameLlanddewi Church of St David
Alternative Names
Historic CountryGlamorgan
Modern AuthoritySwansea
1974 AuthorityWest Glamorgan
CommunityPort Eynon

Church comprising W tower, nave & chancel, with a S porch. Church said to have been out of repair in 1871, subsequently renovated; fabric C12 & later. (Coflein)

The church may have been built in the C12, as indicated by the Norman font and the possibly Norman north window of the nave. It came briefly to importance in the period 1328-47 when bishop Henry de Gower established a palace in the vicinity. The Bishop was patron and his manor of Llanddewi was the parish. Since the ruination of Knelston church, Llanddewi church served that parish also. The original church was perhaps just the nave, with the chancel and tower a little later; both are connected to the nave by similar arches. The chancel is markedly inclined to the south relative to the axis of the nave. It is larger than usual relative to the size of the nave; perhaps because of its episcopal connection (cf Hodgeston, Pembrokeshire.) The tower has a saddleback roof, characteristic of Gower, set transversely. It is a little off the nave axis. Glynne indicates that before the restorations of the C19 the tower had a corbel table and battlement on the east side only (or, at least, only one side was visible), and only one belfry light, to the north. An ogee-headed lancet in the south wall of the nave was inserted in the C14 or C15. A high level window at the west of the nave suggests the former presence of a west gallery. The stone jambs of inner doorway were restored in 1717 by David Hughes, the letters DH17 being carved at the left side. The church underwent restoration 1876 at expense of CRM Talbot, in the course of which box pews including a remarkable C17 squire's pew known as the Henllys Seat were unfortunately lost. In another restoration in 1905, at expense of Miss Emily Talbot; the windows were throughout restored; two new ones were added, to north and south of the nave. Full replastering was carried out internally, and at this time mouldings on part of the chancel arch were probably lost

A further £200 was spent on restoration in c1920. A small boilerhouse was added at the north west corner in the angle of the nave and tower. (Listed Building Report)

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 ReferenceSS460890
Latitude51.5792388916016
Longitude-4.22392988204956
Eastings246000
Northings189050
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 82, 106
  • Davis, P.R., 1997, Historic Gower (Swansea: Christopher Davies) p. 66-7
  • Newman, J., 1995, Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan (Yale University Press) p. 376-7
  • Orrin, G., 1979, The Gower Churches (Rural Deanery Of West Gower) p. 37-40

Journals

  • Harrison, Peter, 1995, 'The tower churches of Gower' Gower Vol. 46 p. 15-23 online copy
  • 1920, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 75 p. 333-6
  • Glynne, 1897, 'Notes on the older churches in the four Welsh Dioceses (continued)' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 52 p. 298-9 online copy