St Jerome, Llangwm, Pembrokeshire

ST JEROME,  LLANGWM, PEMBROKESHIRE (PRESELI)

 Dyfed PRN 3196

 RB No. 3372

 NGR SM 9903 0938

 Listed Building No. 11998

 Grade B listed (1998)

 SUMMARY

Medieval church; 75% pre-19th century core fabric.

A 5-cell church, medium-sized, ‘cruciform’. Consists of chancel, 2 bays; nave, 4 bays; transeptal north aisle, 2 bays; south transept, 1 bay; all medieval. South porch, 1880s. Boilerhouse (south of nave), 2 bays, earlier 20th century. Construction is in limestone rubble. 90% of internal walls are rendered/plastered. Slated gable roofs; boilerhouse with an asbestos lean-to. Chancel arch; south transept arch, vault and blocked spiral stair; Decorated piscina, 2 tomb recesses (with effigies) and north aisle arcade; squint; rood-loft corbels; blocked and rebuilt windows; blocked doors; buttresses; all medieval. Blocked 17th century window. Most other windows, south door and porch, western bellcote, 1880s. West window, later 20th century.

(3 incised stones, medieval, not in situ?.)

Roofs and floors: 1880s. Finishes: 1880s, repointed 20th century.

Condition – good.

Archaeological potential – very good. Deep revetted cutting runs around 50% of church, primary, footings exposed in 10% of church; 100% of floors raised; floors suspended, with underfloor void; boilerhouse floor below-ground?; no internal crypt/vault evident; no evidence for former components beyond church; memorials lie significantly close to 20% of church.

Structural value (pre 19th century) – good. 75% pre-19th century core fabric. Medieval arches and arcade, vault, blocked spiral stair, Decorated piscina and 2 tomb recesses (with effigies); squint; rood-loft corbels; blocked and rebuilt windows; blocked doors; buttresses; all medieval. Blocked 17th century window.

Phasing:

Phase 1 – Chancel and nave, 13th century?.

Phase 2 – South transept, earlier 14th century.

Phase 3 – North aisle, later 14th century.

(Phase 4 – Restored c.1850, low impact?; no new components.)

Phase 5 – Restored 1880s, medium-high impact; south porch built.

Phase 6 – Boilerhouse, earlier 20th century.

DESCRIPTION

The present church

St Jerome, Llangwm, is a 5-celled church, of medium size, ‘cruciform’. It retains approximately 75% pre-19th century core fabric.

The church now consists of a 2-bayed chancel, a wider 4-bayed nave, a 2-bayed north transeptal aisle, a small, single bayed south transept, and a south porch. There is also a 2-bayed boilerhouse between the nave and the south porch east wall. Construction is in predominantly in medium-large limestone rubble, with some Old Red Sandstone, unsquared and uncoursed. Pointing from the 1880s lies beneath extensive 20th century ribbon pointing; internal render/plaster, 1880s. Roofs are slated gables, the nave always roofed at a higher level; the boilerhouse is lean-to roofed in asbestos.

The upper sections of the chancel were substantially rebuilt, probably during the 1880s, in muddy limestone rubble. The rebuilt section includes the 3-light east window exhibiting geometric tracery in oolite, from the 1880s. There are 2 cusped single lancets in the north wall, and one in the south wall of the west bay; all are from the 1880s but the north wall windows occupy the rebuilt embrasures of medieval predecessors. The south widow was newly inserted in the 1880s; the window interrupts the ?2-centred head of a blocked doorway, visible externally and blocked before the 1880s, while to the east of the window the remains of the cusped surround of a single lancet from c.1500 are visible, associated with a corbel of unknown function at mid-height, in the angle with the south transept east wall. The plain, 2-centred chancel arch is from the 13th-early 14th century, and there are 2 corbels on the west face below the arch apex, associated with the rood-loft beam. Externally, a square, yellow-brick chimney exits through the gable upstand, from the 1880s?, associated with a free-standing stove?, the flue below is blocked. The softwood chancel roof has princess-post trusses arch-braced from wall-corbels, and is from the 1880s. The east bay floor and passages are tiled, from the 1880s, with suspended board flooring in the west bay; the floors are raised from their medieval level throughout.

The nave fabric is substantially similar to that in the chancel, but the upper sections do not appear to have been rebuilt. There is a window in both the north and south wall, like the chancel east wall but -light, and inserted in the 1880s into pre-existing embrasures. Beneath both window sills is visible the blocking of a former doorway; the material blocking both the north and south doors is identical and both may have been blocked at the same time, when an entry was established at the south west corner of the nave. The embrasure and 2-centred surround in the latter are from the 1880s, but the entry itself is earlier. The west wall is slightly battered and has large, raking buttresses at either end, the southern medieval and the northern an addition of the 1880s. The gabled single bellcote has a 2-centred opening and was entirely rebuilt in the 1880s; there is a bell. The west wall window is of 2 cusped lights with a mouchette, all in composite stone from the later 20th century but replacing a window of the 1880s, again inserted into a pre-existing opening. The nave is roofed like the chancel, and floored as the chancel west bay, from the 1880s.

The north aisle is of 2 bays but is transeptal in form; it might be described as either a transept or an aisle. It was (re)built c.1380 as a chapel of the Roche family and is rich with contemporary, Decorated mouldings; the upper sections were, however, rebuilt like the chancel in the 1880s. It communicates with the nave through a 2-bayed arcade beneath a 2-centred relieving arch; the individual arches have chamfer-moulded heads on an octagonal pier which has a simply-moulded capital and a base obscured by the later flooring. It is lit by windows in the east and north wall. The former is a fine, 2-light window  with cusped ogee-heads and a quatrefoil-pierced spandrel, in a limestone surround, all from the late 14th century, but unblocked and restored in the 1880s. The north wall window is like the nave side wall windows, and though on the site of a pre-existing opening, was entirely rebuilt in the 1880s including infill. In the east wall is a fine Decorated piscina (Barnwell, 1884, 33-5) with a triangular-headed recess with armorial relief-work and a projecting square canopy which is cusped, and exhibits similar relief-work; a moulded pinnace rises from the top of the canopy and the cylindrical bowl, with similar relief-work, lies upon a cylindrical attached shaft. In the north wall are 2 tomb-recesses with similar mouldings; both have ogee-heads , cusped and pinnacled, and the tomb-chests are panelled. The eastern recess contains the effigy of a knight, from c.1380 and contemporary with the recess itself (Laws and Edwards, 1911, 214-9), while the western recess contains a female effigy of similar date (Laws and Edwards, 1909, 341-5). The aisle is a transeptal gable and  is roofed like the nave, from the 1880s. The floor is probably like that in the nave and has been similarly raised, from the 1880s, but lies beneath a later floor-covering.

A small squint leading into the chancel was discovered in the south-west corner of the aisle in 1910. It is carried diagonally as an external squinch in the angle between the aisle east wall and the chancel north wall, and has a segmental head; its sill is interrupted by the chancel north-east window. The squint is lit by a single-light window with a square head and surround, 14th century. The eastern respond of the aisle south wall arcade is cut out around the squint as though the latter were a pre-existing feature, which would suggest that the aisle was a late 14th century rebuild of an earlier component. The rebuilt squint was given a surround including an armorial device.

The small south transept is lit by a window in the south wall like the nave windows, from the 1880s and enlarged from an earlier opening. A blocked window in the east wall is visible externally as a segmental arch and square surround, of a single-light window?, of the 17th century?; it had been blocked by the 1880s but its embrasure had survived as a recess. There is an internal corbel to the south of the same wall, medieval, function?. A spiral stair apparently exists in the thickness of one of the transept walls (Anon, 1910, 319) but was not observed 23/10/97; It may be represented by the squinching of the internal north-west corner, now with a square ‘aumbry’ opening, contracted from a former door?. the stair presumably led to the former rood-loft. The south transept is vaulted with a segmental barrel-vault from the earlier 14th century. There is a suspended board floor throughout, and is now used as a vestry.

A deep, narrow revetted cutting runs around the east and north walls of the chancel, the north transept and the nave north and west walls; it is mainly primary but the nave north wall footings are exposed. The floors have been raised throughout. Floors are suspended throughout, with an underfloor void. The boilerhouse floor is probably below-ground. No internal crypt/vault is evident. There is no evidence for any former components beyond the present church walls. A railed tomb lies against the chancel east wall, and further memorials lie significantly close to the chancel south wall and north transept west wall.

Structural development

The nave and chancel are probably contemporary and divided by a chancel arch of 13th-early 14th century date. The south transept may be an addition, but is broadly contemporary; the arch into the nave is similar to the chancel arch. The north aisle is from the later 14th century and exhibits fine, Decorated mouldings, but may have been rebuilt from an earlier component (see below). The church was formerly entered through opposing north and south doors, blocked before the 1880s when a doorway in the present position had already been inserted. The south porch is from the 1880s and the boilerhouse is from the earlier 20th century.

Richard Fenton visited the church c.1811 (Fenton, 1903, 132-3) and noted the north aisle effigies, piscina (which was broken), and its moulded arcade. Samuel Lewis described the church in 1833 as ‘a spacious and venerable structure, in the early style of English architecture’ (Lewis, 1833).

By 1856 the church had been so ‘entirely modernised, externally, as to discourage any examination of the interior’ (Glynne, 1885, 212-3). The plan was as at present, but without the south porch and boilerhouse. The windows were all ‘modern’. The north aisle, however, is described as it exists at present, and all its medieval features were visible. The exterior had been rough-cast, and the interior was ‘fantastically painted red’. To this account can be added the information contained within the faculty bundle for the later restoration (NLW, SD/F/379). Two blocked windows are shown in the north wall of the chancel, which was lit by just one single-light window (19th century?), in the east wall. The south door was in its present location, and the present nave window openings are shown, but were single light and timber framed (sashes?); a blocked window lay to the east of the south window. Similar single light windows occupied both transeptal end walls, and both their east wall windows were blocked. The floors were flagged. There was a west gallery, and the church was seated with a mixture of box-pews and benches.

The church was restored again to the specifications of the architect E. H. Lingen Barker, of London, Hereford and Tenby. The Faculty bundle for the restoration curated by the NLW (NLW, SD/F/379) is marked ‘not granted’, yet it is apparent from the plans and elevations that all the proposed work was carried out. The bundle is also undated, but Barker was chiefly active during the 1880s. It is, moreover, apparent that a heating apparatus had been installed by 1884 (Pembs. R. O., HPR/6/44). The west gallery, all fittings and floors were removed, the bellcote was taken down and the chancel, north aisle and south transept walls were partly taken down. The external cutting was (re)excavated and given its revetment walling. The upper portions of the chancel, aisle and transept walls were rebuilt. The church was refenestrated with the present windows which, with the exception of the chancel south window, occupy pre-existing openings, all of which were rebuilt to a greater or lesser degree; it had been intended to restore the medieval chancel south window. The interiors were replastered, all of the existing plaster having apparently been removed. The church was reroofed including tabling, and refloored, at a higher level than in the medieval church. New fittings included the present softwood stalls and desk, and the similar pews, the altar rail and vestry screen in the south transept. The font was moved to its present position, and restored. The oolite pulpit may be later.

The south porch was new built as part of the restoration, in squared and coursed rubble. The side walls are buttressed at the ends, and the doorway has a 2-centred oolite surround and drip-mould. The softwood roof comprises common rafters with collars and ashlar posts, from the 1880s, while the floor was retiled in ‘marble’ slabs in the later 20th century. The porch was ‘rebuilt’ in 1897 (Pembs. R. O., HPR/6/44) but the extent of this work is not known.

The organ was ‘opened’ in 1891 (Pembs. R. O., HPR/6/44), and presumably located in the chancel; it was moved to the aisle in 1917.

There has been a considerable amount of further work. The squint from the north aisle, which had been blocked, was revealed in 1910 (Anon, 1910, 319) and the piscina bowl, hitherto broken, was discovered during the unblocking. A blocked spiral stair was also apparently discovered in the south transept (ibid. – not observed 23/10/97). The church was repaired in 1915, together with roof and seats, for £21 13s 6d (Pembs. R. O., HPR/6/44).

The boilerhouse was erected south of the nave, and against the south porch east wall, during the first half of the 20th century. It is of brick, with an external roughcast render, and comprises 2 bays with an internal structural division beneath a lean-to roof of corrugated asbestos sheeting. There are 2 plain doorways in the south (side) wall. The interior was not seen 23/10/97; the floor may lie beneath yard level.

There were minor alterations through 1955-66 (Pembs. R. O., HPR/6/40). The nave west window was rebuilt, and the porch floor retiled. The altar table is from the 1980s.

The limestone font has a plain square bowl and a cylindrical base, probably 13th century. The base is from the 1880s.

There were 3 14th century incised wheel-crosses lying loose in the church in 1925 (RCAHM, 1925, 136); 2 had their heads complete, the third was represented by a broken portion of its shaft and calvary. One lies against the south transept arch west jamb.

The south transept is traditionally known as the Roch Chapel.

The church was Grade B listed in 1998.

SITE HISTORY

There is no firm evidence for any pre-conquest religious use of the site.

St Jerome, Llangwm, was a parish church during the post-conquest period, of the medieval Deanery of Roose (Rees, 1932). The living was a rectory, appendent to the Manor of Llangwm of the Lordship of Haverford (or ‘Roose’), which from the 13th century was a possession of the Roches (Green, 1912, 222-3). The patronage later descended, through inheritance, to the Longueville and Ferrers/Devereux families. With the downfall of the Earl of Essex, his possessions, including the patronage of Llangwm, fell to the crown, and it was subsequently held by a succession of individuals. Llangwm is not mentioned in the ‘Taxatio’ of 1291, but in 1536 the church of ‘Langome’ had an annual value of £7 12s 11d, in tenths 15s 3½d (ibid.).

In 1786, the discharged rectory of Llangwm, of the Archdeaconry of St David’s, had an annual value of £47,  rated in the king’s books at £7 12s 11d (ibid.), and by 1833 was endowed  with £200 parliamentary grant (Lewis, 1833).

In 1998 St Jerome, Llangwm, was a parish church. The living was a rectory, held with Freystrop and Johnston (no Benefice No.) in the Archdeaconry of St Davids, Rural Deanery of Roose (St Davids, 1997-8).

(The dedication was traditionally rendered as St Heirom; the current accepted form is Jerome.)

SOURCES CONSULTED

 Map Evidence

NLW, Parish of Llangwm, Tithe Map, 1840.

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

Church in Wales Records

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

NLW, SD/F/379, Faculty – Restoration of church (not granted?), n.d.

Parish Records, Pembrokeshire Record Office, Haverfordwest

HPR/6 – Llangwm:-

HPR/6/1 – Parish Register, inc. Churchwardens’ Accounts, 1741-2, 1755, 1761-3.

HPR/6/36 – Correspondence re: opening of new burial ground, 1881.

HPR/6/40 – Archdeacon’s authorisation for minor alterations, 1955-66.

HPR/6/44 – Vestry Minute Book, 1883-1920.

Printed Accounts

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

Anon., 1864, ‘Haverfordwest Meeting’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. X, Third Series.

Anon., 1898, ‘Haverfordwest Meeting’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XV, Fifth Series.

Anon., 1910, ‘Notes & Queries’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. X, Sixth Series.

Barnwell, E. L., 1884, ‘The Letterston Piscina’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XV, Fourth 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.

Glynne, S. R., 1885, ‘Notes on the Older Churches in the Four Welsh Dioceses’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. II, Fifth Series.

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

Laws, E., and Edwards, E. A., 1909, ‘Monumental Effigies of Pembrokeshire’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. IX, Sixth Series.

Laws, E., and Edwards, E. A., 1911, ‘Monumental Effigies of Pembrokeshire’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XI, Sixth Series.

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

RCAHM, 1925, Inventory: Pembrokeshire.

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