Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Church of Saint Mary  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
Situated at the head of the High Street.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Anglican parish church, early C13 and C15, with the finest C13 carved detail in the region, related to carved work at Wells Cathedral. The nave may have been built in the late C12, rebuilt after the Llywelyn the Great uprising, in the 1240s with arcades to a N aisle. The nave and chancel clerestories were added in the late C15, and the aisle widened with a new N wall. The tower was given a groined vault at about the same time. The living was in the gift of the Augustinian Priory at Haverfordwest. The new organ by Harris & Byfield was installed in 1737 on a W gallery. The roofs were repaired in 1745 according to a plaque. Interior was said to have been damaged by prisoners after the French invasion of Fishguard. The tower had a lead-clad timber spire, removed in 1802 as a danger to Kensington House in Tower Hill. The church roofs were repaired in 1807 and 1832. The church was restored in 1844 with repair of windows, W gallery and new pews by Thomas Rowlands with Joseph Jenkins as contractor. A restoration began in 1859 under the Rev J.H.A. Philipps of Picton Castle, first by W.H. Lindsey (died 1863) and then by C.E. Giles. Both Lindsey and Giles proposed major alterations to the tower, Lindsey in Perpendicular Gothic, Giles in Decorated Gothic with a broach spire, but lack of money meant prevented these. In 1863 the old council chamber over the N porch was removed and a new N porch built by C.E. Giles. In 1882-9 the church was restored by Ewan Christian for about £5000, the N aisle and clerestory in 1884-6, the chancel in 1887-9, with new chancel stalls and repositioned organ. The nave was repaired over many years 1903-33 by W.D. Caroe: the nave roof, nave arcade, chancel arch, two blocked windows reopened and new pews and pulpit, 1904-5, for about £6,000. Work stopped for lack of funds 1907, minor works thereafter until the W window 1920; tower bell-frame and bells 1923 and screen 1925; S clerestorey windows 1933. Caroe had wanted to retain one of the two 1840s wooden clerestory windows, but this was not done. He thought that there had once been an upper room over the S porch.  

Parish church, rubble stone with low-pitched roofs behind embattled parapets. Clerestoried nave and chancel with embattled parapets (flat at W end), gabled S porch, lean-to embattled N aisle with gabled N porch and NW tower. Tower is plain with corbelled flat parapet and recessed pyramid slate roof. C19 small cusped pointed lights below corbels, those on N, W, and S asymmetrically paired with a C19 clock face, E side with a pair. W side has a slit opening, and a late C19 three-light ground floor window. N side has two large C19 louvred lancets, and two far-projecting 1863-4 buttresses with grey stone quoins. E side has a small lancet between upper two and a later window lower down. Nave W end has plain flat parapet and stepped triple lancet with hoodmoulds, C13 restored 1920, and high relieving arch above. Nave of six bays with c. 1500 clerestorey, coved stringcourse and gargoyles under battlements. S side has six three-light segmental pointed windows, renewed 1921-33, with panel tracery and stone voussoirs (the two left ones had wooden tracery before renewal). Ground floor has a larger late C15 three-light window to left of porch (shown as blocked in 1843 plan) with stone voussoirs and hoodmould, and three much restored C13 two-light pointed windows to right, with foiled circles in pointed heads, hoodmoulds, stone voussoirs and relieving arches. S porch renewed in 1880s has moulded ashlar gable coping and pointed doorway with hoodmould. Gable plaque of 1771 and sundial of 1656. Double oak doors mid C20. Porch is said to be stone vaulted. Chancel has four similar c1500 clerestorey windows, renewed, with ogee tracery and hoodmoulds, and stringcourse with gargoyles under battlements. Ground floor has four C13 two-light windows, grouped three to left and one to right. These have unusual tracery (similar work to the refectory windows at Tintern Abbey) of two cusped lights under a foiled roundel, with stone voussoirs. A dripmould follows curves. (The 1843 plan shows only the two middle windows, and 1844 account refers to a reopened chancel window). SE corner has renewed sandstone quoins to lower half, grey limestone to C15 upper part. E gable shows original grey limestone C13 gable, with large ashlar pointed window, C13, renewed 1844 and later, pointed with three lancets, three foiled circles and hoodmould. Shallow-gabled embattled parapet. Two clerestorey windows on N, as on S, the other two blocked. N aisle is lean-to with battlements. E end has c1500 four-light pointed window with panel tracery and hoodmould. Small NE corner niche. N side has seven four-light windows, restored in 1880s, divided by stepped buttresses with finials. String course below battlements, broken by buttresses, and discontinued W of porch. Windows are pointed, except fourth which is segmental-pointed, and seventh which is three-centred. To right is 1863 N porch with moulded coping and cross finial, moulded pointed arch with column shafts and hood. Boarded collar-rafter roof, ashlar side arcades framing windows, and black and white floor tiles. C13 N door with deep rolls, some with fillets, and capitals carved with fleurs-de-lys and a small beast. The hoodmould is on carved head stops. C19 double doors. Nave N clerestorey as on S with carved masks on stringcourse, and 3-light windows, renewed in 1880s.  

C20 inner porch in N aisle. Black and white floor tiles to nave and across aisle from N porch. Four-bay arcade between nave and aisle, with enclosed tower base at NW. In nave, floor levels re-arranged in C19 have resulted in flight of seven steps at W end. Plastered walls with exposed stone dressings to windows. Nave has fine c1500 panelled timber roof of six-bays, with moulded cambered beams, moulded low-pitched rafters and moulded ridge, the beams supported on long quadrant brackets with carved spandrels on carved stone corbels. Each panel is divided in four with moulded ribs, and applied leafs and carved bosses at the intersections. Carved wood angels mid-way on the wall plates over stone carved heads, above each clerestorey window. Three stone corbels carry timbers each end. Six windows each side, two on N blank. Heavy moulded stone course on N under clerestorey, moulded course over door only on S. Ashlar four-bay arcade of pointed arches, deeply moulded with hoods on carved heads. Multiple pier mouldings, of three clustered shafts to each cardinal point and single diagonal shafts, the responds to match, but the centre pier slightly different. The caps have exceptionally finely-carved detail with stiff leaf and tiny carved figures. The main shaft of each triple cluster and the diagonal shafts have fillets. The central pier has rings to six shafts, disposed in hexagon, Carving includes: at W a mask with tongue out, a leering beast, and intertwined beasts with a single head; on second pier, a pig and fiddle, an ape and harp, a man with tooth ache, and a winged beast with foliage ending to tail. The third has a lamb biting a snake's head, repeated. The responds have masks. Similar wide chancel arch with hoodmould, the piers shafted with fillets as on the arcade, the capitals stiff-leaf with masks facing inward. Nave S wall has ashlar keeled moulding to three windows E of the door, over a moulded sill course. Early C20 S doorway in stone reveal, the door by Caroe with traceried side panels and overlight. Full height reveals to C15 window right of porch, stringcourse below window, small recess in W jamb. W end has attached shafts to three lancets of big W window. To left, on S wall a doorway into a rounded alcove cupboard, to right on N wall segmental-pointed door to tower stair. Stringcourse on N wall above big pointed opening to tower with column shafts to chamfered inner arch and outer moulding on twin shafts. Oak tower screen glazed above, 1925, by Caroe, to Dr FR Greenish, organist. Within tower the base has a complex groined vault with centre bell hole, diagonal and transverse ribs with tiercerons and liernes, and bosses at intersections. Late Gothic tower W window. N aisle has tall W lancet into tower base. N wall doorway and c1500 windows in full-length plastered reveals, first window with Gothic niche in reveal. S wall has carved head corbel under plaque recording 1745 repairs. Lean-to c1500 roof of eight and a half bays, low-pitched, with 6 panels to each bay, heavily-moulded beams and carved bosses and angel supporters. Wall posts with long arched braces from fine carved stone corbels. a longer wallpost between N aisle and chancel aisle, where the roof is different with coving above chancel arcade. Chancel has four clerestorey windows on S, two on N. Roof of low pitch has nine heavy tie-beams carrying king-post with chamfered ridge and purlins. Fretted infill above tie-beams. Five arched braces each side with carved spandrels, rising from original carved stone corbels. Roof largely restored 1887-9 (said then to have been redone in 1730s). Wall recess on N with two levels of corbelling over two bay arcade to N aisle. Arcade is very rich, differing from nave in having plain detached shafts to the centre pier, divided by shafts with fillets, with multiple mouldings to pointed arches and carved head stops to hoodmoulds, both on S and N sides. Carved capitals with stiff-leaf, the centre pier with face-mask at each corner. Separate broad E arch, triple shafted, blocked by organ, dates from the extension of the N aisle c1500, with cruder carving of leaf and flower type. E window has arches with deep multiple rolls, shaft-rings to angle shafts and fillets to outer shafts. The three lancets have ringed Purbeck marble shafts. To right of arcade remains of a blocked window, showing that N aisle has been extended c1500. Three close-set S windows have fillets to moulded surrounds with hoods and carved stops. Pointed cusped C13 piscina. Encaustic tiled floor of 1887-9. Fittings: Octagonal C19 font on base of four marble-shafted columns around centre shaft.; oak font cover 1925. Free-standing stoup, c1500, with square bowl on square shafted base with pierced cusped lancets, ribs and pendants. Pulpit, by Caroe 1905, oak, large octagonal with framed blind traceried panels and crocketted angle shafts. Brass eagle lectern of 1889, by Hardman of Birmingham. Stalls of 1889 by Christian with blind tracery to fronts, and two reading desks. Reredos by Caroe, oak with broad centre and narrower side panels. Oak altar rails by Caroe. Pews by Caroe with finely carved bench ends in C17 style, 1905, with open front kneelers. Mayors pew with c1500 poppyhead bench end and two stalls. C15 carved timber with figure and lion in a rose trail. Organ case facing down N aisle, earlier C18 with three pipe towers on cherub heads. Organ case to chancel 1887 with painted pipes. The organ of 1737 by Harris & Byfield was enlarged 1861-2 by Banfield, and rebuilt in present site 1887-9 by William Hill, retaining previous case, but with new pipe-front to chancel. It was renovated in 1983-4 by Daniel of Clevedon. Stained glass. E window by C.E. Kempe 1893 to Rev. JHA Philipps, Ascension, Crucifixion and Nativity over three scenes, a major work by Kempe. Much work by Kempe & Co: W window 1920, war memorial, three archangels over SS Oswald, George & Edmund; nave S first window, 3-light to M.J. Povis, (died 1917), St David and two saints; second window 2-light to Col. W Douglas-Willan of Twyford Abbey, Crucifixion, 1913; fourth to Marion Rabboni, 1910, Christ and St Mary Magdalene; N porch four small windows, Evangelists, c. 1920; chancel S first window 1929, SS Teilo & Justinian. Windows by others include: nave S third window to Dr G. Phillips, 1864, Healing the Sick, by W. Wailes of Newcastle. Chancel S second, Annunciation, by Powell, 1955, to Mary Thomas; third window, 1843, one of the first revived Gothic windows in the county, SS Luke and Peter, deep colours, to Rev J. Thomas; fourth window with attractive patterned glass 1861, to Lord Milford (died 1831). N aisle W lancet, to tower, St David, 1965 by Celtic Studios, to Alderman S. Morgan (died 1947). Memorials: Nave. Medieval effigy in S wall right window reveal, C14 pilgrim. W end plaques to Dr Joseph Maurice of Springfield, (died 1824), Bath stone and slate with urn; Alderman William Meyler (died 1662), slate with skull; Elizabeth, Balthaze and Hugh Knethell (died 1609-24), inset Bath stone plaque; Thomas Smith, attorney, and children, (died 1690-1733), incised slate; Thamason Howell (died 1617), Bath stone tiny plaque with edge inscription; Alderman William Browne (died 1678) and family to 1699, fine scroll-pedimented Ionic columned plaque with cherub head and skull. S wall, right, plaque to O.E. Davies JP (died 1885) and family to 1906. Left of door: Ann Powell, neo-Grec, 1846; scrolled plaque to Dr G. Phillips (died 1863), by T. Sharp of London; brass to Capt. A. Howard (killed 1915); Rev J. Llewellin (died 1912), plaque matching that to Ann Powell. Nave E, marble urned plaque to G. Parry of Scoveston (died 1821), by T. Porter of London. Chancel W end: oval plaque to Richard Wright (died 1800); slate corniced plaque to Jane Skyrne (died 1710); another slate plaque to Jane Skyrne (died 1718), Thomas Skyrne (died 1731) and others with acanthus leaves in cornice and consoles; Gothic marble plaque to John Higgon of Scolton (died 1817) and his wife (died 1836). S wall brass to Dr G. Wynne Harris (died 1875); brass in ashlar frame with kneeling figure to John and Sage David's (died 1651 and 1654); stone memorial in C17 style to T.C. White (died 1925), designed by Caroe; scroll topped plaque to Alderman William Bowen (died 1670) and family to 1701. Sir John Philipps of Picton Castle, (died 1764), tall marble plaque with broken pediment; William Ayleway, (died 1832), plain plaque by J. Thomas of Haverfordwest; Jane Edwards (died 1828), simple with urn; big slate plaque to William Bowen (died 1670) and family to 1731; John Counsell (died 1678), Jacobean style frame and scroll pediment; Alderman Thomas Tucker (died 1820), black with moulded sides, by Rowlands of Haverfordwest; Jacobean style ashlar arched recess with carved soffit framing plaque with skull, bones and hourglass over slab to Alderman William Walter (died 1614). Plaque is set on its side; very large marble sarcophagus memorial to Sir Henry Mathias (died 1832) by Reeves & Son of Bath; Elizabeth Phillips of Picton (died 1733), marble with ball finials and obelisk top, by Thomas Burnell of London. N wall: Sir John Philipps of Picton, (died 1736), a major work by Christopher Horsnaile of London with broken curved pediment over portrait bust and four standing cherubs; Mary Mathias (died 1723), pedestal with scrolled sides, cornice and arms. E wall oval plaque to Henry Jones (died 1771); Gothic brass plaques to Lord and Lady Milford (died 1857 and 1852); oval plaque to Francis Edwardes (died 1809). N aisle memorial to Lord Milford (died 1823), large marble. Plaque on S wall recording repairs to roof in 1745 for £49/10/9d; William Cantor (died 1840), neo Grec plaque by J. Thomas of Haverfordwest; slab to Rev. C. Ayleway (died 1805); William Eves (died 1828) and wife (died 1840); James Scowrefield (died 1614) and Margaret (died 1627), simple plaque with shield; plaque to ? rector of Rudbaxton 1700.  

Reason for designation
Graded I as a major medieval church with exceptionally well-preserved detailing.  

Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]