Amroth – St Elidyr’s Church

History

   The church in Amroth was erected in the 12th century on the site of an earlier pre-Norman temple. In 1150, it was handed over to the order of the Knights Hospitaller from the nearby commandry in Slebech. In the 13th century and again at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it was rebuilt. Construction work at the end of the Middle Ages was probably carried out by John Elliot, who added a family chapel to the church. Another thorough reconstruction was carried out in 1851-1855, but fortunately it did not included the original walls, tower, ceilings and chapel, but the nave was extended to the west. In the nineteenth century, almost all the windows were transformed except the openings placed in the tower, also a porch was added. In 1899, a vestry was added to the church.

Architecture

   The church from the thirteenth century was erected on a cross plan, consisting of a two-bay nave, a northern and southern transept, and a two-bay chancel (the southern transept could have been built a little later, already in the fourteenth century). It was situated on a small hill, surrounded by a fenced cemetery and probably a ditch.
   At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the northern arm of the transept was used as the basis for the erection of a four-sided, three-story tower. It was not reinforced with buttresses or external batter, but in accordance with the Welsh style of the end of the Middle Ages, it was equipped with a battlement set on the parapet on prominent corbels and a corner turret with stairs and slit openings. The northern chapel, with a length equal to and parallel to the chancel, was built in the mid-16th century as the ancestral tomb of the owners of the nearby Amroth Castle.

Current state

   The church currently consists of a chancel and a four-bay nave, extended in the 19th century, a late-medieval northern chapel and tower, a neo-Gothic southern porch and modern vestry. The western bay of the chancel and the eastern bays of the nave come from the 13th century, while the eastern bay of the chancel was rebuilt at the beginning of the 17th century. Unfortunately, almost all church windows, except for the tower openings, were modernized in the early modern period. Inside the church you can see a late-Romanesque baptismal font.

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bibliography:
Salter M., The old parish churches of South-West Wales, Wolverhampton 2003.

Website britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, St Elidyr’s Church. A Grade II Listed Building in Amroth, Pembrokeshire.
Website coflein.gov.uk, St Elidyr’s church, Amroth.