Gower Churches

Introduction

Christian worship has taken place in Gower over a period of fifteen hundred years. Many of our churches, some of which are seven hundred years old, probably stand where earlier, simpler structures of the Celtic period existed. The dedication of churches to Celtic saints and the existence of sculptured and lettered stones of great antiquity reinforce evidence in the Book of LIandaff, where places in Gower, mentioned in sixth century records, can still be identified.

For centuries, these Gower churches were the focal point of small rural communities. today, too few people appreciate their beauty. Whether your interest is in architecture, history, woodcarving, stained glass, war memorials, graves of the famous or of ordinary people, please come and see our churches for yourself. Children are welcome and wherever possible, activities will be offered for them.


1 : Bishopston, St Teilo's Church

The site probably dates from 480 AD in one of the W~earliest Christian settlements in Wales. In those days a simple thatched chapel probably stood in a 'Llan' (a fenced enclosure).

The stone building originates from the 12th & early 13th centuries, the battlement tower being the least altered. However, in recent years a doorway was cut through the massive wall, from the organ loft, to give access to the tower room. The tower clock originated in a Swansea brewery (1886), and the bells are dated 1713 & 1714.

The stone font is 12th century. During repairs to the roof in 1927 the ceiling was removed revealing a fine oak, hammer beam roof built in the l5th century. Every stained glass window has a story and interesting features;

St. Teilo's stag is one, a mouse another. The Millennium window illustrates various places of worship in the village.

Opening Times: key from Winston Hotel, all year. Groups ring 232140


2 : Pennard, St Mary's Church

A church which stood close to Pennard castle and whose remains can still be seen was besanded and finally abandoned at a later date, in the early sixteenth century. However, the existing church has its origins in the thirteenth century so which church pre-dates the other remains a mystery.

An ancient water stoup serves as a font, with a carved Jacobean cover. Laudian dog-rails protect the sanctuary and an external window has early 13th century dog-tooth mouldings.

A beautiful stained glass window, the work of local artists, was installed to mark the new Millennium. A tablet in the Church is dedicated to Vernon Watkins and another twentieth century poet, Harri Webb, is buried in the churchyard.

The Church is open daily until dusk, all year.


3 : Penmaen, St John the Baptist Church

The earliest church was nearer the sea. Later, a small W/church was built on the present site. A medieval tombstone stands in the porch.

In 1894, the Talbot family had the church rebuilt and refurbished so it is almost entirely late Victorian.

Accompanied viewing only. Ring 371241


4 : Nicholaston, St Niicholas Church

The earliest church was nearer the sea. Later, a small W/church was built on the present site. A medieval tombstone stands in the porch.

In 1894, the Talbot family had the church rebuilt and refurbished so it is almost entirely late Victorian.

Accompanied viewing only. Ring 371241


5 : Oxwich, St Illtyd's Church

The chancel of this church, which stands in woods, W~overlooking Oxwich Bay, marks the original sixth century Celtic cell. Entry to the church is through the west door, in the tower.

In a niche in the north wall lie the figures of a knight and his lady.

Legend suggests that St Illtyd, himself, brought the Sutton Stone font to Oxwich.

For times open in August see church notice board outside the Oxwich Bay Hotel.


6 : Penrice, St Andrew's Church

Not normally open except for services


7 : Reynoldston, St George's Church

The Patronal dedication name of Reynoldston's Church, W~St. George, reminds us of the Norman and English influence which predominated in this part of Wales for much of the last Millennium.

For many centuries a church has stood on the site now occupied by the current building which dates from the mid-1860's and is a fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture and includes many examples of 20th century stained glass, including a three-light east window designed by Nathaniel Westlake.

One of the early Christian monuments in Gower is a pillar cross standing near the chancel arch and another feature of the church is the Norman font that is carved from a single block of stalagmite

Church opening, during August on notice board on Green or telephone: 391436; 391073; 391310.


8 : Llanddewi, St David's Church

In its farmyard setting, this ancient church dedicated to St. David is said to have been built by Henry de Gower, Bishop of St. David's, 1328-1347.

The chancel is not in line with the nave but inclined to the south as a reminder to worshippers that when Jesus Christ was crucified, he leant his head to one side. The windows of plain glass allow fine countryside views. Memorial slabs are of interest, the oldest to the Rev. Silvanus Prosser, vicar of Llandewi who died in 1737. The tower at the west end, with its saddle-back roof, houses a single bell said to be the largest and loudest in Gower. After restoration in 1876 and again in 1905 the building re-opened for divine service. Registers date from 1718.

The church is open from Easter to the end of October.


9 : Port Eynon, St Cattwg's Church

This seaside village church was founded during the 6th century by St. Cattwg's missionary to Gower, St. j Cennydd. The present building dates from the 12th century ; and was given to the Knights of St. John by Robert de la Mare around 1165. The doorway is Norman, and the stoup for holy water in the porch is said to have been given by a j Spanish sea captain in gratitude to his rescuers.

In the south wall of the chancel is a blocked up leper's window which can be clearly seen from outside the church. In 1861 a gallery in the nave was removed and the ;west end enlarged to accommodate the growing population of the parish. There are several stained glass windows and memorial items of interest to discover in the church and churchyard. Registers date from 1750.

The church is open from Easter to the end of October.

  • Open all year
    Open All Year
  • Worms head
    Walking Gower
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    Surfer Friendly
  • Cycling Gower
    Cycling Gower