Nevern – St Brynach’s Church

History

   The church of Nevern bears the call of Brynach, a saint who founded the first temple in this place in the sixth century. He was born in Ireland, but he settled in Welsh Pembrokeshire, where he built a chapel around 540 in the Afon Nevern Valley. It was expanded during the Norman period in the 12th century, and then in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the 19th century, the Victorian renovation of the church was carried out.

Architecture

   The church consists of a rectangular, long nave and a rectangular and also quite long, but narrower chancel on the eastern side, located somewhat asymmetrically in relation to the nave. The west side of the church is a late medieval tower. It is buttressed, like the nave and presbytery, has a parapet mounted on corbels and a decorative battlement. On the north and south sides of the church there are two shallow transeptal chapels. The northern one received smaller dimensions, while the southern one was divided into two bays topped with a stellar vault. It also has a room for a priest in the attic, accessible through a spiral staircase protruding from the western wall. Another two very small chapels were placed at the northern and southern walls of the chancel.

Current state

   Today the church is a well-preserved medieval village church of an exceptionally large length and an extensive architectural program. In its interior you can see a stone from the sixth century with engraved Latin and ogham inscriptions and a stone with a carved cross from the 10th century. Another magnificent Celtic cross from the X-XI century called the Great Cross of Saint Brynach, is located in a churchyard cemetery. It is carved with complicated zigzags, knots and geometric patterns.

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

Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, Church of St Brynarch A Grade II* Listed Building in Nevern, Pembrokeshire.
Website coflein.gov.uk, St Brynach’s church, Nevern.