Tenby – St Mary’s Church

History

   Church of St. Mary in Tenby was erected in the 13th century, and in the fifteenth century, significantly expanded. The main conservation work was undertaken in 1855-1869, and then at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. These included, among other, the replacement of windows and fittings inside the church, and the addition of the northern porch and sacristy.

Architecture

   The church from the beginning of the 13th century probably consisted of a rectangular nave, chancel and a narrow southern nave. At the end of the thirteenth century, unusually, because on the south side of the chancel, a tower was added. On the southern and northern side of the church there were chapels at the time, set like transepts.
  
The main reconstruction from the 15th century began with the northern nave and the chapel on the western side of the tower and the south-eastern chapel along the chancel. Around 1450, a south-western chapel was built along the southern nave. At that time, the choir received higher walls and a crypt, and was extended towards the east. The chancel had a chapel in the loft on the west side, lit by clerestorium windows. This is explained by the height of the presbytery and the low level of the northern nave of the chancel.
  
The chancel roof truss was built around 1470, then the main nave was re-roofed and the southern nave was enlarged, so that the new wall would comprise three previously added chapels. Around 1480, a north-eastern chapel was added with three arcades from the chancel side and one on the north nave. At the end of the fifteenth century, the tower spire was added, as well as the southern and western porch. The latter was removed in 1831.
  
The church has a baptismal font from the 15th century and the tombs of Thomas and John White, mayors of Tenby from the 15th century. Thomas White was famous for hiding young Henry Tudor from king Richard III.

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bibliography:
Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Webste britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, Church of Saint Mary in Liberty A Grade I Listed Building in Tenby, Pembrokeshire.
Webste coflein.gov.uk, St Mary’s church, Tenby, Church of St Mary in Liberty.