Llangennith – St Ceyndd’s Church

History

The first, still wooden, church in Llangennith was built by Saint Ceyndd (Kenneth) in the 6th century AD. It burned down in 986 during a Danish invasion. In the 11th or early 12th century it was rebuilt, as a stone foundation under the rule of the Norman lords of Gower. The exact date of construction is unknown, but it is known that it was ordained by bishop Herewald, who died in 1104. Shortly thereafter, Henry de Beaumont donated the church to the Benedictine abbey in St. Taurin (Evreux) in France. The monks established a small monastery in Llangennith, which served parishioners and supervised the running of the estate. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the church was significantly rebuilt and enlarged, and in 1414, king Henry IV took over all foreign monasteries and gave Llangennith to the Oxford’s All Souls College, at which it remained until was bought by Major Penrice in 1838. His nephew donated the church to the parish in 1883. In the nineteenth century, a thorough restoration of the building was made.

Architecture

The church consists of a rectangular large nave and a rectangular, but much smaller and narrower chancel, also on the rectangular plan. The great church tower rises very unusually, because from the north side at the crossing of the nave and chancel. In the lower part, it has an arcaded wall, probably the only remnant of a church from the 12th century or monastic buildings. The tower has three floors, narrow ogival windows and a parapet on protruding corbels, topped with a battlement from the north and south. It could have defensive functions, but one can not exclude symbolic meaning or the desire to suspend heavy and large bells, which, with poor quality of mortar, forced construction of a stronger tower. From the north side of the church there is also a porch.

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bibliography:
Website britainexpress.com, Llangennith, St Ceyndd Church.
Website gatehouse-gazetteer.info, Llangenydd Church of St Cenydd.