Stackpole – St James and St Elidyr’s Church


   The church of St. James and St Elidyr in Stackpole was built in the 12th century, in area with strong English colonization since the times of the Norman conquest. Regarding the English heritage, it is mysterious that the church was dedicated to Saint Elidyr or Elidor. The name may, however, refer to Elidor de Stackpole, a Norman knight who founded a settlement here. Perhaps it was the custom of commemorating the founder as a saint patron. Under the dedication of Saint James church was known only from the eighteenth century. In 1851, the building underwent a Victorian renovation by Sir George Gilbert Scott, one of the most-recognized architects at the time.


   The medieval church consisted of a long, rectangular nave measuring about 17 x 6 meters and a rectangular chancel on the eastern side measuring 6.5 x 4.5 meters. The transept arms were added to the nave from the north and south in the 14th century. Very large squints connected each transept with the chancel. On the south side of the church, a porch was also erected, through which the entrance to the nave led. At the end of the northern part of the transept there was a four-sided tower built, located so atypically in order to take advantage of the higher ground level in that place. The tower received a traditional, local form with a parapet placed on corbels and a staircase in the north-west corner. It only lacks the usually erected battlement. Its ground floor was vaulted and opened to the northern part of the transept. The porch and both arms of the transept were also covered with pointed vaults.

Current state

   Currently, the church has a nave heavily rebuilt in the early modern period, and a 19th-century sacristy is located at the northern wall of the chancel. Also, the chapel on the south side (Lort Chapel) is an early modern addition. Inside the porch, tower and in the transepts, there are the original vaults from the fourteenth century. A small piscina from the fourteenth century in the southern arm of the transept and the hagioscope (viewing hole) in the chancel arch are also preserved.

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Salter M., The old parish churches of South-West Wales, Malvern 2003.

Website, St. Elidyr’s Church A Grade I Listed Building in Stackpole, Pembrokeshire.
Website, St James and St Elidyr’s church, Stackpole Elidor.