Haverfordwest – Augustinian Priory


   The Augustinian priory was founded around 1200 by Robert FitzRichard, on the outskirts of the important market town of Haverfordwest. Until the sixteenth century, the convent flourished and was expanded, luckily it also avoided major shocks. Its end came in 1536; the priory was dissolved, and the land was privately owned. One of the owners was Sir John Perot, who deepened the ruin of the buildings, using a stone from the priory to repair his home. Subsequently, the priory’s areas remained largely unused and neglected until 1982, when they were transferred to state care and intensive excavation and conservation works were carried out.


   The main element of the priory was the 13th-century church, erected on a cruciform plan, with a 15th-century tower erected above the nave just in front of the intersection with the transepts. It was a single-nave building, although a northern aisle could have been added in the late Middle Ages. The nave was forty-five meters long and was separated from the chancel by a rood screen. Unusually, the main entrance to the church was on the north side, due to the slope of the area in the west and the river in the east.
To the south of the church there were priory buildings, located on three sides of the courtyard surrounded by cloisters. A narrow sacristy touched the south transept, and further to the south there was a rectangular chapter house, to which ran a magnificent, carved portal. In the 15th century, the chapter house was rebuilt and crowned with a vault. Next, it was most likely a dormitory (bedchamber) and a small building with latrines. The remains of a rectangular building, located at a certain distance in the south, can be relics of infirmary. The southern range near the patio was a refectory, place where monks ate their meals. The entrance to it was on the west side, where there was also a long stone tank in which the monks could wash their hands. To the south of the refectory there were utility buildings, probably a kitchen and a buttery. There was also a western range with an unknown destination, and on the eastern side there were extensive monastery gardens.

Current state

   To this day, a part of the south-eastern corner of the nave and fragments of the transept of the church have been preserved, both almost to the height of the roofs and a small fragment of the western range of the priory. Only the foundation parts are visible from the other elements of the convent. The ruins are open to visitors.

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Website ancientmonuments.uk, Haverfordwest Priory.
Website coflein.gov.uk, Haverfordwest Priory, Priory of St Mary and St Thomas the Martyr.