Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Priory Church of Saint Nicholas  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
In a prominent position in Monkton approximately 200m SW of Pembroke Castle.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Anglican parish church. In 1098 a church of St Nicholas was founded within Pembroke Castle and granted to the Abbey of Seez in Normandy. As it is possible that the first castle was at Monkton, this may be the foundation date. As a daughter house of Seez, its fortunes fell with the French wars when alien houses were sequestrated, finally closed in 1414. It was then administered by a royal steward until being granted to St Albans Abbey in 1443. After 1532 the nave was retained as parish church, the W and N windows blocked. There was already a wall to the chancel with low round arch and the c1500 canopied tomb against it. The rest became ruinous: the chancel was a tennis court in the C18 and C19. Stone-vaulted long nave with C13 S door (similar to S door at St Mary, Pembroke), in vaulted S porch. There were two transepts, the vaulted S transept is the base of the C15 tower, the N transept has gone. It is suggested that the nave vault is added, as there are two C12 outer windows that do not pierce the inner wall. The long chancel or monks choir is probably C14 as also the parallel NE chapel, probably the prior's chapel. W of the NE chapel, the sacristy has broken vaults of former linking ranges to lost monastic buildings to N. The restoration mostly under the Rev D. Bowen, vicar 1877-1926. There were repairs in 1854-5, and 1869, the latter possibly by K. W. Ladd of Pembroke Dock. The main restoration 1879-95 was by John Prichard, completed after his death in 1887 by his successor Parry Moses. The nave was restored 1879-82, with K. McAlpin of Pembroke Dock as contractor: new windows and fittings. In 1884 it was said that Prichard had been able to restore the nave S door from fragments buried at the foot and had found traces of the porch gallery. The tower S door and window were inserted in 1884, parapets restored 1886-7. The chancel was restored 1887-9 with new chancel arch, roof, windows and organ chamber (the sacristy). In 1895 two broken medieval effigies found used as steps in the porch, and were reset in the tomb recesses, and also reset was the fine C15 canopied tomb formerly in the wall between nave and chancel. Fragments of fresco were found on the chancel N wall, beyond repair. The NE chapel was restored in 1895. Mural paintings were added in the chancel by C. E. G. Gray of Cambridge in 1895-1901.  

Parish church, rubble stone with traces of render, close-eaved slate roofs and coped gables. Long nave with S porch, SE tower, long chancel with parallel N sacristy and NE chapel. C19 windows generally have hoodmoulds and carved stops. Nave has W wall with battered base, standing proud of ends of nave side walls, suggesting alteration. Big 4-light pointed W window, 1879, with cinquefoil in head. Nave S has three 2-light windows of 1879, with quatrefoils in heads, and stone voussoirs of earlier windows. One window to left of S porch, two to right, divided by a buttress with plinth, two mouldings and two set-offs. Large S porch with traces of render, notably on W wall, coped S gable and large arched entry, with thin ashlar angle shafts (possibly of 1880) and unmoulded round arch. Medieval pointed vault, stone benches, and fine C13 S doorway of two orders of two roll-moulds, inner one restored, to a different curve leaving a crescent-shaped fillet between. Renewed hoodmould. C19 door with iron Gothic hinges. Above and to left is a narrow door formerly to an upper floor, in ashlar arched surround. Tower is tall with battered sides, corbelled embattled parapet and projecting SW stair tower with higher embattled top. Stair turret has five loops on both S and W sides. Tower has narrow single bell-lights with cambered heads W and S, that on S behind 1907 clock, renewed grey stone lancet E. Louvred lancet to S at one-third height, eroded plaque below. Large sandstone 4-light pointed window of 1880, over pointed door in moulded ashlar square frame with tracery in spandrels. Moulded doorcase, board door with hinges as on nave S door. E side has two similar louvred lancets. Chancel has slightly lower eaves, similar ridge. Four long 1887-9 2-light S windows with cinquefoils, original stone voussoirs. E end angle buttresses, cross finial, and large 1889 or 1904 sandstone 5-light window. Above, fine C14 ogee pointed niche with rosettes in hollow-moulded surround and eroded statue. NE chapel is separated from chancel by narrow passage and has lower roof with cross finials. Big 3-light E window with quatrefoils and roundel in head, N side has two 2-light windows with hoodmoulds and head stops, then corbelled square C19 chimney with tall shaft of grey stone. To right is section of broken masonry, link to site of former priory buildings. W end has low lean-to N porch to left with pointed N door and small 2-light on W and sacristy to right. Sacristy has roof of similar height with cross finial to W. C19 2-light to N side and W end, which also has blocked vent above, both left of centre line. Nave N is windowless with heavy buttressing. Three very large buttresses with high sloping bases and slated sloping tops. Narrower and rougher raking buttress at left; lower and narrower stepped buttress at right. Two corbels between right and second buttress. The next two bays each have a small C12 arched opening penetrating outer skin only. Between fourth and E buttress a rough stone lancet, corbel below, and blocked pointed door in rough square opening. The blocking uses remnants of a C17 ashlar tomb. On both sides of E buttress a piece of broken vault running parallel to nave.  

Nave has medieval plastered pointed vault. C19 tiled floors. Sandstone reveals to 1879 windows. Recess in W wall containing small C18 octagonal font with raised rim and sides curving in. Pointed chamfered narrow door to right of S door, to mural stair to former porch chamber. S doorway, ashlar with broad cambered head and keeled moulding is partly medieval. Cambered-headed niche to left. Ashlar narrow inserted N lancet. Demolished N transept marked by a broad pointed recess with stone voussoirs. S transept has similar voussoirs, and plastered stone vault with roundel for raising bells. A half-arch in E wall under arch from nave. Pointed stair- door in SW corner. Tower said to be vaulted at first floor, not at clock stage, and vaulted at top, with eight bells, 1897 by Carr of Smethwick. Clock, 1907, by W. Potts of Leeds. Chancel arch of 1887, Bath stone with triple keeled shafts, shaft rings, leaf capitals and double-chamfer arch. Black marble step. Tiled chancel floor with some encaustic tiles. 1887-9 eight-bay chancel roof with plaster panels only in eighth bay. N side plastered pointed arch to organ. Cambered-headed door to r. to sacristy/organ chamber. Pointed arched door to passage to NE chapel. Recess in wall above. Step with altar rails and richer tiled floors, the encaustic tile panels increasing in size and ornament to E with two further steps, another step in sanctuary, and one to altar. Segmental-pointed tomb recess on N . Just left is C19 Bath stone corbel or wall-stand, another similar opposite. Then, fine c1500 tomb (see below). E wall sill-course under E window, continued on S wall. C19 Bath stone piscina on S, and big C19 triple sedilia with cusped pointed arches, hoodmoulds, marble keeled shafts and embroidered velvet back hangings. Sill course stepped over. The a segmental-pointed tomb recess, restored, similar to the one opposite. Sacristy has C19 roof of two bays with arch-braced collar truss. Two arches S, one blank to left, one filled by organ. E wall has low window into NE chapel and double cambered headed recess above, one side blank, the other glazed. Vault in NE corner and remnant of another under former stairs at NW. W wall stripped of plaster, with niche in gable right. Passage through to NE chapel has underside of steps above. Chapel has roof of 1895 with high collars and brattished wall plate. N fireplace with stone voussoirs. W wall corbels of former gallery. W wall left cambered window to sacristy with stone voussoirs, another similar higher up. Blocked N cambered-headed opening. Piscina on S wall. C19 E window surround with shafting. Red marble step to sanctuary, which has encaustic tiles, another marble step to altar. FITTINGS: ashlar drum font of 1882, with chamfered bands of leaf carving to top and bottom, on six columns with linked leaf capitals. The base, with the column bases is C13. Timber pulpit of 1882 on squat column with curved ribs under 3-sided panel front, flight of seven wooden steps up with twisted brass uprights to rail with scrolls. Similar steps and brass rail on opposite side of chancel arch, to platform behind brass eagle lectern of 1899, on white marble round base. Nave pews with pegged joints and boarded panelled backs, 1882. Six light standards on twisted brass posts, each with lamps on leaf-scrolled arms. Chancel stalls have shaped bench ends with leaf-scroll, open-fronted kneelers with pierced quatrefoils. Rear stalls have tall canopied backs of 1909-11 with blind tracery to large panels (9 stalls to N, 11 to S), coved ribbed underside to canopy with pendants and finials between delicately-carved ogee heads, pierced top cresting. Brass leaf-scrolled standards to altar rails. Two large brass hanging coronae in chancel, 1887 and 1894. Oak open-fronted altar with traceried panels. Organ by Wade & Meggitt of Tenby 1887. NE chapel has pews 1912, brass altar rails. MEMORIALS: Nave N: Marble plaque to Abraham Leach of Corston, died 1843; marble shield plaque with urn, to Catherine Humphreys, died 1790; neo-Grec plaque with urn to Lady Charlotte Owen of Orielton, died 1829; fine marble memorial by John Bacon Jr (1777-1859) to Sir Hugh Owen of Orielton, died 1809, and his father, Sir Hugh, died 1786, with mourning female against twin broken columns with draped urns. Nave S: slate plaque with winged cherub to Benjamin Davis, died 1776; brass Great War memorial. Under arch of N transept: fine ashlar C17 memorial to John Owen died 1612; tomb chest against high back with paired Ionic outer columns, each pair sharing a capital. Plaque with Jacobean border, two shields above; inscription to John son of Sir Hugh Owen of Bodeon, Anglesey, and Elizabeth Wyrriott of Orielton, recording also that it was erected by Dorothy daughter of Rowland Laugharne of St Brides, buried 1653, an addition to the monument made in 1657. Entablature with ornament, pediment, coat of arms, bearded supporters, scrolls, and outer squat obelisks. Chest has pilasters and plaques with knotwork. Slate plaque to Sir Hugh Owen died 1670, Bath stone frame with leaf-scrolled pilasters, arched head with skulls and bones, moulded head with crude seated cherubs. Detached carved arms with bearded male supporters. Oval plaque below in scrolled surround with leaf sprays and winged cherub head below. Above, a damaged C17 arched plaque between columns with entablature and crude half scroll-pediments flanking coat of arms. S transept: big chest tomb in Bath stone with black marble top to Sir Francis Meyricke, died 1603, with eight kneeling children and fine carved arms each end. Damaged top - alabaster cresting with delicate low-relief ornament framing plaque, Renaissance detail to pilasters. Detached coat of arms above. Chancel N: headless late medieval effigy (found in S porch) possibly of a priest in N tomb recess. Another effigy is in S tomb recess. N wall reset fine Gothic tomb of c1500 in eroded Purbeck stone: tomb chest with three traceried panels with shields and panelled piers. Flat top has indent for lost brass cross, partly covered by back. Broad rectangular back panel with indents for lost brasses (plaque, figures, scrolls, shields at upper corners), and soffit of five quatrefoils with rosettes, the soffit curved each end. Outer columns with twisted shafts and octagonal caps. Tudor arched head with thin spandrels and centre boss (now with metal post up from tomb chest). Top has centre and outer shafts with small figures over, frieze between with quatrefoils in lattice, moulded cornice and carved cresting. Traces of colour. STAINED GLASS: Two nave S 2-lights, c1920, in style of R J Newbery. Narrow nave N lancet has 1995 glass of Holy Family. Big 4-light S transept window, c1900 style, possibly the 1923 window to Col. Saurin, Four Evangelists. Very large 5-light E window 1904 by Herbert Davis, in rich colours, Crucifixion, saints, and scenes from life of Christ. Chancel S left window by Davis 1906; second window also by Davis 1906. Third window obscured by stall canopies, John XI 20 and Psalm 63 4, streaky colours, late C19. Fourth window also obscured, angel and shepherds, late C19. One of these is of 1887, to Mrs D. Bowen. NE chapel has glass given by Freemasons with masonic figures: E three-light, N two windows, all by Percy Bacon Bros, one dated 1921, though style is late C19. WALL PAINTINGS: remnant of poorly preserved scheme of 1895-1901 by C. G. Gray of Cambridge that formerly covered whole chancel: painted scenes in Gothic borders.  

Reason for designation
Graded I as substantial medieval priory church with vaulted nave, porch and transept, and fine monuments.  

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