Llandawke – St Odoceus’ Church


   The church in Llandawke was built in the 13th century, but it is not known when exactly. It is believed that it was always under the private patronage of the heirs of Laugharne Castle. One of them, Sir Guy de Brian, rebuilt the church in the fourteenth century. During the Victorian period, the monument underwent a complete renovation. 


   The church was built of local red sandstone and limestone, and the roofs were made of slate. At the end of the Middle Ages, it consisted of a four-bay nave, a three-bay chancel, which was erected lower and narrower than the nave, and a western four-sided tower. The tower was built in two stages, and its upper part may date back to the 17th century. From the west and south it received large pointed windows, while the northern wall was pierced with a narrow slit. On the north side there is also an annex with a spiral staircase. The entrance to the church was placed on the south side, where the ogival portal was embedded. Lighting of the nave and presbytery was provided by various windows: large two-light filled with trefoils, embedded in four-sided and pointed jambs, and smaller, two-light windows, also with trefoils. Both the nave and the chancel were covered with an open roof truss. The ground floor of the tower was opened to the nave with a narrow pointed arcade, the semicircular arcade connecting the nave with the chancel was also narrow. 

Current state

   The picturesque church has preserved its original perimeter walls and many medieval architectural details to this day. On the left side of the entrance portal is located a two-light, rectangular window in the style of Perpendicular Gothic, and on the right side there is a pointed arch window in the style of Decorated Gothic with an early modern tracery. The Gothic window is also located in the south and east wall of the chancel and on the north side of the nave and presbytery. Inside the chancel there is a piscina and a niche in which there was a tombstone. On the north side is the 14th-century tombstone of Margaret Marlos, the niece of Sir Guy de Brian of Laugharne, unfortunately cut in three by thieves. In the church there is also a stone slab from the 5th or 6th century with Latin and ogham inscriptions.

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Salter M., The old parish churches of South-West Wales, Malvern 2003.
The Royal Commission on The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions in Wales and Monmouthshire. An Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire, V County of Carmarthen, London 1917.

Website coflein.gov.uk, St Margaret Marlos Church; St Odoceus church Llandawke.