Pembroke – St Mary’s Church


   Church of St. Mary in Pembroke was erected in the 13th century. In the mid-fourteenth century it was enlarged by a northern nave and a tower. According to local tradition, king Henry VII, who was born at the nearby Pembroke Castle, was baptized in the church of St. Mary, but there is no evidence. At the end of the 19th century, the building fell into disrepair. At the end of the 19th century, it fell into disrepair. Its renovation was carried out in the years 1869-1882 and at the beginning of the 20th century.


   The church originally consisted of a rectangular nave and a chancel of similar width on the eastern side. The tower from around 1350 was placed atypically on the northern side of the presbytery. It was crowned with a parapet, typical for Welsh churches, mounted on corbels and a battlement. It also received a corner turret with a staircase and a rib vaulted room in the ground floor. Along with it, the northern aisle was erected, parallel to the older nave. Inside, both these parts were connected by four arcades, based on massive four-sided pillars made from the older northern wall. The original entrance to the church led through the south side of the nave, where there was a vaulted porch with side benches inside. Next to it, on the eastern side, a chapel of unknown date was built (sometimes described as the southern transept).

Current state

   The church, next to the castle and the remains of town fortifications, is today the most valuable monument in the medieval city of Pembroke. Its western porch is probably already an early modern addition, as is the outer part of the extended south porch, which was transformed into a sacristy. Two original windows are on the south side of the church, the rest were modernized in the 19th century.

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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, VII County of Pembroke, London 1925.

Website, St Mary the Virgin’s Church, Pembroke.
Website, St Mary’s Church, Pembroke.