St David, Llanllawer, Pembrokeshire (PRN 17543)


General interior view towards Chancel.


 Dyfed PRN 17543

 No RB No. 

 NGR SM 9868 3597

 Not listed (1998) (2022)


19th century church; 0% pre-19th century core fabric. On site of, and in same location as, medieval church (Dyfed PRN 12533).

A 3-cell church, small. Consists of chancel, 2 bays; nave, 2 bays; south porch; vestry (north of chancel); all (re)built in 1860. Construction is in limestone and slate rubble. Neo-gothic. All internal walls are rendered/plastered. Slate gable roofs. All openings are from 1860. External buttressing, 1860. Western single bellcote, 1860.

Roofs and floors, 1860. Finishes, 1860 and 20th century.

Condition – poor. Church closed; fittings stripped; in decay.

Archaeological potential – good-very good. Church entirely rebuilt 1860, in same location as earlier church; no structural or physical evidence for earlier church; no external cutting or drain around church; no evidence for floor level changes; suspended floors with underfloor void; no crypt/vault evident; no evidence of former components beyond church; memorials lie significantly close to 20% of the church.

Structural value (pre 19th century) – poor. 0% pre-1860 core fabric.


All 1860.


St David, Llanllawer, is a 3-celled church, of small size. It was (re)built in 1860 (Anon., 1860, 337; RCAHMW, 1925, 174; A. Gordon, 1993, has the rebuild in 1871 and to the specifications of the architect E. Dolby). The church was built in the same location as its predecessor, but the rebuild was total, retaining none of the earlier fabric.

The present church consists of a 2-bayed chancel, a wider 2-bayed nave, a single-bayed vestry north of the chancel, and a south porch. Construction is in limestone and slate rubble throughout, roughly squared and coursed, quoined. The external pointing is good quality, from 1860; the south walls lie beneath 20th century external render. All internal walls are rendered/plastered. All dressings are in oolite; the detail is all from 1860 and simple neo-gothic. It includes the chancel arch, the windows with 2-centred surrounds, and the 2-centred south and vestry doors. There is limited external buttressing. The nave west wall carries a gabled single bellcote with a 2-centred opening, from 1860. The vestry features a chimney, also from 1860, with a flue from a fireplace (and heating apparatus?). The roofs are slated gables from 1860; the nave and chancel roofed continuously; the vestry roof is a slated lean-to. The floors are suspended and from 1860.

In the north-west angle of the nave is a plain niche containing a re-used stoup (RCAHM, 1925, 174), which is filled by a natural spring permeating up through the church walls (cf. Cynwyl Gaeo, Carms.).

There is no physical evidence for the earlier church. There is no external cutting or drain. There is no evidence for internal floor level changes. There is an underfloor void beneath the suspended floors, but no vault or crypt is evident. There is no evidence for former components beyond the present walls. Memorials lie significantly close to the west end of the church.

The form of the earlier church is not properly known, and no full contemporary account, or reliable map depiction, is known. It was described as ‘not remarkable for any architectural details’ in 1833 (Lewis, 1833).

The font is probably from 1860.

The churchyard wall features two scheduled cross-incised stones (Dyfed PRNs 2566 and 2567; SAM Pe 228).

The church was not listed in 1998. Not listed in 2022.


There is good evidence for the pre-conquest religious use of the site –

Celtic dedication; 2 ECMs; spring.

St David, Llanllawer, was not a parish church during the post-conquest period, but a chapelry of the medieval Deanery of Cemais (Rees, 1932). The benefice was always appendant to the Barony of Cemaes, and in 1594 it was annexed to Llanychlwyddog chapel (Green, 1912, 250), a union that persisted into the 20th century.

There is no valuation for Llanllawer in either the ‘Taxatio’ of 1291 or the ‘Valor Ecclesiasticus’ of 1536, and in 1786 the benefice was briefly referred to as discharged in Bacon’s ‘Liber Regis’ (ibid.).

In 1998 St David, Llanllawer, was a parish church, but had been closed for some years. The living was held with Newport, Cilgwyn and Dinas (Benefice 813), in the Archdeaconry of  Cardigan, Rural Deanery of Cemais and Sub-Aeron (St Davids, 1997-8).


Chancel East Wall.

Nave West Wall.

Sad old organ.

Room to the North of the Nave. Presumably the old vestry.


 Map Evidence

Rees, W., 1932, South Wales and the Border in the XIVth century.

Church in Wales Records

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

Parish Records, Pembrokeshire Record Office, Haverfordwest

(HPR/130 – Llanllawer)

Printed Accounts

Gordon Partnership, 1993, Redundant Religious Buildings in West Wales.

Anon., 1860, ‘Miscellaneous Notices’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. VI, Fifth Series.

Anon., 1922, ‘Presidential Address’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. LXXVII, Seventh Series.

Anon., 1924, ‘Reviews and Notices’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. LXXIX, Seventh Series.

Crossley, F. H., and Ridgway, M. H., 1957, ‘Screens, Lofts and Stalls situated in Wales and Monmouthshire: Part 8’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. CVI.

Fenton, R., 1903, A Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire.

Green, F., 1912, ‘Pembrokeshire Parsons’, West Wales Historical Records Vol. II.

Lewis, S., 1833, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales.

RCAHM, 1925, Inventory: Pembrokeshire.

Salter, M., 1994, The Old Parish Churches of South West Wales.

Up dated: March 2022 – PKR.

Heneb - The Trust for Welsh Archaeology