St Mary, Carew, Pembrokeshire

RESTORED BY SCOTT IN 1852!!!!!     

 

ST MARY, CAREW, SOUTH PEMBROKESHIRE

Dyfed PRN 3492

 RB No. 2790

 NGR SN 0457 0281

 Listed Building No. 6007

 Grade I listed (1998)

 SUMMARY

Medieval church; 80% medieval core fabric.

A multicell church, large. Consists of a chancel, 4 bays; nave, 3 bays; north transept, 2 bays; north aisle, 2 bays; south aisle, 3 bays (absorbing single-bayed south transept); west tower, 3 storeys; medieval. South porch, earlier 17th century. Vestry (north of chancel central bay), 1 bay, 17th – 18th century. Boilerhouse, between vestry and north transept, 1922. Limestone rubble construction; 10% of church with 18th – early 19th century external render; internal walls with render/plaster. Slate gable roofs; vestry and boilerhouse with slate lean-to roofs; tower roof not seen. Medieval chancel arch, arcades, transept arches, tower openings (including tracery), arch, vaulting and parapet, doorways, window embrasures, rood-loft stair turret, piscina, sedilia, buttressing, tomb-recesses with effigies, with limestone and yellow oolite dressings. Early 17th century doorway and stoup in porch. Other openings from 1844 and the late 19th century, some in imitation of the original openings?, with grey and yellow oolite dressings.

(Early memorials including 14th and 17th century effigies;  early 19th century box pews.)

Roofs, 1844. Floors: mid-late 19th century. Finishes: 18th – 20th century.

Condition – good.

Archaeological potential – good. Shallow external drain around 100% of church; churchyard truncated around 100% of church; floors lowered in 70% of church?; below-ground floor in 5% of church; suspended floors above heating ducts in 70% of church; external memorials significantly close to 60% of church.

Structural value (pre 19th century) – very good. 90% pre-19th century core fabric; medieval chancel arch, arcades, transept arches, tower openings (including tracery), arch, vaulting and parapet, doorways, window embrasures, rood-loft stair turret, piscina, sedilia, buttressing, tomb-recesses, effigies; early 17th century doorway and stoup.

Group value – high. Medieval landmark church with tower; churchyard with medieval mortuary chapel (Grade I listed); listed boundery wall (Grade II) with adjoining 19th century barn/stabling; associated late medieval rectory building (Grade II* listed) and later almshouses.

Phasing:

Phase 1 – Nave, C13-14?.

Phase 2 – Chancel, north transept (and former south transept), earlier C14.

Phase 3 – North and south aisles (absorbing south transept), later C15.

Phase 4 – West tower, c.1500.

Phase 5 – South porch, earlier C17.

Phase 6 – Vestry, C17-18.

Phase 7 – Restored C19, mainly 1890s, low impact.

Phase 8 – Boilerhouse, 1922.

 DESCRIPTION

The present church

St Mary, Carew, is a multicelled church, of large size. It retains approximately 90% pre-19th century core fabric.

The present church consists of a long 4-bayed chancel, a 4-bayed nave, a single-bayed vestry (former north chapel?) north of the chancel central bay, a 2-bayed north transept, a 2-bayed north aisle, a 3-bayed south aisle (absorbing former south transept),  a south porch (formerly with a parvis?), a 3-storeyed, Perpendicular west tower and a boilerhouse between the vestry and the north transept. Construction is in local limestone rubble. Medieval chancel arch, arcades, transept and tower arches, doorways, buttressing and window embrasures. The windows were rebuilt in the 19th century, largely in ‘Decorated’ styles, some possibly imitating the original openings, with grey and yellow oolite dressings. There is limited external render, from the 18th – early 19th century, mainly confined to the north aisle; pointing is mainly from the later 19th century but there is some poor 20th century repointing, particularly in the south aisle, and the interior is plastered. The tower is barrel-vaulted. Roofs are slated gables throughout; the vestry and boilerhouse have slated lean-to roofs, while the tower roof was not seen.

There are a number of early memorials including effigies from the 14th and 17th centuries. The church retains early 19th century box pews.

A shallow external drain surrounds the church. The churchyard was truncated by over 1m, all around the church, in the 19th century. The nave, transept and aisle floors may have been lowered in the 19th century. The boilerhouse floor is below churchyard ground level. Floors are suspended above heating ducts. External memorials lie significantly close to the east, south-east and north-west walls.

The chancel

The chancel is in roughly squared and coursed limestone rubble, and externally is buttressed into 3 bays with cross-buttresses at the east end; the buttresses are stepped, with string-courses, and are substantially 14th century but restored. The weathered east wall upstand is also from the 14th century, as is the chamfered external offset at the base of the side walls.

The 4-light east window has cusped, neo-Perpendicular tracery, in a 4-centred surround with a drip-mould on out-turned stops; it is in grey oolite from the 1890s and may be in imitation of an original, the 4-centred embrasure being from the later 15th century and contemporary with the chancel arch. There are 2 windows in the north wall and 2 in the south wall, in the east and west bays; all have 2 lights with cusped, curvilinear tracery in grey oolite, from the 1890s but possibly in imitation of the original detail; the embrasures are from the 14th century but the outer arches were rebuilt in the 1890s. The north-west window features a moulded human mask in the western splay, in situ?.

Internally, a 14th century string-course runs around the interior at sill level. There is an empty tomb-recess below this level in the north wall of the east bay, with a 2-centred surround in chamfered and roll-moulded limestone, from the 14th century. There is a similar recess to the west, in the east-central bay, the two being connected by a square opening; this recess was unblocked in 1843. There is a piscina in the south wall of the east bay, with a cusped, 2-centred surround in cavetto-moulded limestone from the 14th century, but the bowl has gone; it was unblocked in 1843.

To the west, in the east-central bay, is a triple sedilia with cavetto-moulded, 2-centred arches on cylindrical free shafts with plain abaci and tori, all in limestone from the 14th century, reopened in 1844. A further tomb-recess lies immediately west of the sedilia, like those in the north wall but smaller and with a chamfer and cavetto-moulded surround, also 14th century, reopened in 1843; it contains the very small effigy of a female, also 14th century and moved from the south aisle in 1843.

The west-central bay is entered through ‘priest’s doors’ in both side walls, that to the south with a 2-centred surround in chamfered limestone from the 14th century, restored in 1844 when both doors were unblocked and that to the north was entirely rebuilt.

A fourth tomb-recess lies in the west bay north wall, similar to those to the east and also 14th century; it contains the effigy of a knight, traditionally held to be Sir Nicholas de Carew, whose death in 1311 is consistent with the armour worn by the effigy.

The tall, 4-centred, later 15th century chancel arch is in roll- and cavetto-moulded limestone, with shallow, shield-moulded imposts and plain bases; the inner, cavetto-moulded order features rose-mouldings throughout – Tudor roses?. In the angle with the south aisle east wall is a semi-octagonal turret, added c.1500, which houses a stair leading from the aisle to the former rood-loft; it has a lean-to roof continuing the chancel roof southern slope. The stair is lit by simple slit lights, but the doorway to the loft itself is blocked; however, an internal corbel on the chancel west bay south wall is associated with the former rood-loft.

The softwood chancel roof is from 1844, with collar-rafter trusses concealed beneath a contemporary plaster ceiling of 3 cants. The floor is of medieval heraldic tiles, traditionally moved from Carew Castle in the late 17th century, edged with later 19th century plain tiles..

The nave

The nave side walls are both pierced by arcades, and the west (end) wall is represented by the tower arch (see below). The nave is roofs as the chancel, also from 1844. The floor may have been lowered; the passages are flagged in limestone from the 19th century, relaid (irregularly) when heating ducts were inserted in 1922, with suspended board floors.

The north transept

The north transept is entered from the nave through a tall, 4-centred arch, with detail like the chancel arch including the rose-mouldings, and similarly from the later 15th century. The north (gable) wall is cross-buttressed, like the chancel from the 14th century. It is lit by a window in the north wall, like the chancel windows and similarly from the 1890s but occupying a 14th century embrasures; the sill has been raised. A second window in the southern bay east wall has a similar 14th century embrasure, with a chamfered surround, containing ‘Y’-tracery of earlier 19th century character. There is a blocked window in the east wall of the northern bay, with 2-centred rear and outer arches like those in the chancel side walls and similarly 14th century, but with a low sill; it had been blocked by the later 19th century. An area of weathered masonry low down in the west wall of the northern bay may represent the site of a memorial; this area is shown with railings in a drawing from c.1850 (Tenby Museum & Art Gallery, 1983/1748). Internally, the north wall displays a low, plain internal offset, probably medieval. Roofed as the nave and chancel, from 1844; the slate creasing of an earlier, higher-pitched roof is visible on the nave north wall. Floored as the nave. In the north-west corner of the transept is a free-standing chest tomb with fine oolite effigies of Sir John and Elizabeth Carew, from 1637.

 The north aisle

The north aisle communicates with the nave via a 2-bayed arcade of chamfered, 4-centred arches with chamfered stops and a central octagonal pier, with plain chamfered bases and imposts, all from the later 15th century; the bases may have been renewed when the nave, transept and aisles were refloored (with a lower floor level?). There is a similar, contemporary arch into the north transept. The west (gable) wall has a medieval upstand that was truncated in the post-medieval period.

The aisle is lit by 2 windows in the north wall, each with a large, rather irregular semicircular-headed embrasure; these windows are shown as small square casements in early-mid 19th century drawings (NLW, Drawing Volumes 40, 17; Tenby Museum & Art Gallery, 1983/1748), but it may be that the embrasures relate to an earlier refenestration, of the 17th – early 18th centuries. They are now occupied by 3 light windows with cusped, curvilinear tracery in a different style from that in the chancel and north transept, with 2-centred drip-moulds on human mask stops, all in yellow oolite from the later 19th century, with 2-centred outer and surrounding infill. There is a third window in the west wall, like those in the chancel and north transept and from the 1890s when the embrasure, with a segmental outer arch from the later 15th century, was unblocked. The north door was blocked in 1836 but retains a 2-centred surround, in chamfered Old Red Sandstone, from the later 15th century (re-used)?

The aisle has a gable roof like those in the rest of the church and similarly from 1844. Floored as the nave.

The south aisle

The east bay of the south aisle was formerly a south transept and is entered from the nave through a tall, 4-centred arch, with detail like the chancel and north transept arches including the rose-mouldings, and similarly from the later 15th century. The two western bays communicate with the nave through an arcade like that to the north aisle; there is a similar, contemporary arch between the central bay and the east, formerly transeptal, bay.

The east wall, now a gable, is blind, but the outline if a blocked window with a 2-centred head is visible externally. There is an internal doorway in the north-east corner, with a Caernarfon-headed limestone surround from c.1500, unblocked in 1844. It leads to the rood-loft stair turret (see above), which is squinched over the internal corner.

The south wall is pierced by 3 windows, all like those in the north aisle and also later 19th century, but in contemporary inserted embrasures with surrounding infill. Beneath the central window is a blocked light with a square-headed embrasure and a semicircular-headed surround, from the 17th – early 18th centuries like the north aisle embrasures?. There is a further blocked single lancet in the west (gable) wall, from the 15th century; it was reopened in 1843 but again blocked, with cement, in the later 20th century. The south door has a 2-centred surround that may have been rebuilt when the entry was reopened in 1838.

Internally, there is a plain, square, medieval recess in the east bay south wall, possibly a piscina for a former chapel.

The aisle has a gable roof like those in the rest of the church and similarly from 1844. Floored as the nave.

The south porch

The south porch is probably from the earlier 17th century. Both side walls feature medieval masonry benching. The main entrance doorway has a semicircular-headed surround in double-chamfered limestone from the early 17th century, blocked in 1836 and reopened in 1838. There is a simple, triangular-headed stoup in the east wall, also from the earlier 17th century. An internal offset at springer level suggests the possibility that a parvis formerly lay above lit by a blocked opening that possibly lies over the main door. The porch has a barrel vault with a semicircular profile from the early 17th century. The flagged floor may be from 1838 and is laid directly on the substrate.

The west tower

 The west tower, comprising 3 storeys in roughly squared and coursed limestone rubble, is unique within West Wales, exhibiting fine Perpendicular detail typical of West Country church towers of c.1500. The exterior is divided into the 3 storeys by string-courses, and there are further string-courses at the base, which is offset, and beneath the crenellated parapet. There are full height, stepped angle-buttresses at the west and south-east corners, while the north-east corner is occupied by an octagonal spiral stair turret which projects internally into the north-west corner of the nave, with a low string-course, and is entered through a doorway with a 2-centred surround, all from c.1500; it is lit by simple loops and a quatrefoil opening, and carries an octagonal masonry cap.

The chamfered, 2-centred arch from the ground floor into the nave reflects the profile of the 2-centred barrel vault from c.1500, with a central bell-raising port. The large west door has a chamfered 2-centred surround which was rebuilt, with infill, in 1836 when the entry was reopened. Above the door is a large, 5-light window with Perpendicular tracery in a 4-centred surround with a drip-mould on out-turned stops, in yellow oolite from c.1500 but largely rebuilt/restored. Floored as the nave.

The second stage is lit by simple, square-headed single lights with chamfered surrounds in the north and east walls, from c.1500.

The belfry stage has 2-light openings in all 4 faces, with uncusped, depressed semicircular heads in square surrounds with simple labels, all in chamfered limestone from c.1500. The crenellated parapet lies on the uppermost string-course, from c.1500 but restored during the later 19th century with a central strip-moulding applied to the central merlons on each face, in imitation of the original from c.1500.

The vestry

 The vestry cannot be closely dated (see Structural Development below). It is lit by a window in the east wall which was converted from a doorway in 1844; it is now occupied by a cusped lancet window in chamfered grey oolite from the later 19th century. The softwood lean-to roof may be from 1844 and continues the chancel roof northern slope. The vestry contains the header tank for the adjoining boiler, from 1922.

The boilerhouse

 The boilerhouse was established, between the vestry and the north transept, in 1922, with a low north wall connecting the two, in squared and coursed limestone rubble. It is entered from the churchyard through a plain square doorway in this wall. The flue from the boiler rises through the north-east corner of the nave to emerge as a plain, square contemporary chimney, also in limestone rubble. The low, lean-to roof is from 1922 and rises up to chancel sill-level. The floor is below churchyard ground level.

Structural development

The nave is secondarily arcaded all around and cannot be dated. Stylistically, the long chancel is entirely Decorated, from the earlier 14th century, and with its buttressing, former windows, tomb-recesses, piscina and sedilia is a fine example only paralleled in West Wales by the chancel at St Mary’s, Cardigan. The transepts have similar window embrasures and buttressing, and are probably contemporary, but their arches were rebuilt when the aisles were added during the later 15th century; the chancel arch and east window were also rebuilt. The west tower has good Perpendicular detail, and stylistically is the only fully ‘West Country’ tower in South-west Wales; with the similar rood-loft stair turret it is from c.1500, and is traditionally held to have been built under the then Lord of Carew Sir Rhys ap Thomas. The south porch has semicircular-headed openings and is probably from the earlier 17th century, it may formerly have featured a parvis. The aisles were refenestrated during the 17th – 18th century. The church had apparently featured late medieval oak wagon-roof ceilings, ‘like those at Tenby St Mary’, until 1844 (Pembs. R. O., HPR/68/21).

The chancel is floored with medieval heraldic tiles, from c.1500, traditionally brought from Carew Castle and laid in the church in the late 17th century; the chancel floor was ‘paved with bricks’ in 1811 and 1833 (Fenton, 1903, 148: Lewis, 1833). The chancel effigies were observed by Fenton in c.1811 when they lay loose ‘on the projecting bench running the length of the (south) aisle’ (Fenton, 1903, 149). The benching has now gone, along with a third effigy of a priest.

The vestry cannot be closely dated. It is shown on a map of 1815 (NLW, Maps of the Estates of the Lord Bishop of St Davids, 14429/6) when it was used as a lime store, but it may have earlier origins, as a north chapel?.

Alterations were undertaken throughout the early and mid 19th century, recorded in vestry minute books, churchwarden’s accounts and an annotated preacher’s book  (Pembs. R. O., HPR/68/21 & 26). The south transept appears to have retained its gable, but this was truncated during the 18th – earlier 19th century. A west gallery was installed during the same period.  The rood screen was not removed until 1805. The west door, which had been blocked at an unknown date, was reopened in 1836, when the north and south doors, and the north porch door, were blocked; the southern doors were reopened in 1838. In 1843 the churchyard was lowered, by over a metre, all around the church, and the tomb recesses in the chancel, which had been blocked, were reopened and the effigies, which had lain in the south aisle, were (re)inserted within them. The ‘priest’s doors’ in the chancel, which had been blocked at an unknown date, were reopened in 1844 and a vestry was established in the building – hitherto a lime store (see above) – to the north, its eastern doorway into the churchyard being converted into a window. The church was reroofed with the present trusses and ceilings, in deal and plaster, in the same year. The flagged floors in the nave, aisles and north transept are probably earlier 19th century, as is the present box-pew seating.

A drawing of the church from the north, dated 1835 (NLW, Drawing Volumes 40, 17), shows square, casement windows in the north aisle, and ‘Gothic’ windows in the north transept and chancel north wall; the drawing is not clear, but the latter may represent early 19th century ‘Y’-tracery as surviving in the north transept. A drawing from c.1850, this time from the north-west (Tenby Museum & Art Gallery, 1983/1748), shows 3-light, ?timber-framed windows in the north aisle north wall (the west wall of which was blind) beneath semi-circular outer arches from the 17th – early 18th centuries; a similar window is depicted in the end wall of the north transept.  Otherwise the church is as today, including the north aisle upstand and blocked north door, and the lean-to vestry.

Restored by Gilbert Scott in 1852!!!!!!!!! (Freeman, 1852, 201, who says ‘Cheriton is now rebuilding by Mr Scott)

 The church was restored in the late 19th century, but neither the details, nor the architect(s) responsible, are known. The chancel windows are from the 1890s and the remainder, which are similar, may be roughly contemporary. They were inserted in the existing embrasures except in the south aisle where infill is visible around the surrounds. The church possibly received its present finishes at the same time.

The boilerhouse was added, and underfloor heating installed, in 1922 (NLW, SD/F/84); the heating is still operational.

The softwood box pews are from the earlier 19th century. The organ, in the east bay of the south aisle, is 20th century, by Sweetland of Bath. The carved oak reredos and altar table are from 1922 (NLW, SD/F/84). The oak and oolite pulpit is from 1965  (Pembs. R. O., HPR/68/28). The chancel fittings, including the oak stalls and altar rail, were installed in 1971  (Pembs. R. O., HPR/68/29); the impression of earlier stalls can be seen in the internal plaster.

The limestone font has a square, scalloped bowl, a cylindrical stem and a square base, all from 1844  (Pembs. R. O., HPR/68/21).

There are 3 bells in the tower. One is from 1694, the other 2 from 1809, and all were restored in 1881 (Bartosch & Stokes, 1992).

The church was Grade I listed in 1998.

 The churchyard features, to the west of the church, a masonry mortuary chapel, with a vaulted basement and a vaulted roof. It retains most of the original openings which date the building to the 15th century. It was used as a schoolroom in the 18th and earlier 19th centuries.

 Between the chapel and the church lies a pronounced scarp, which may represent the former north-west corner of the boundary of a smaller churchyard.

 SITE HISTORY

 There is  a strong tradition of the pre-conquest religious use of the site.

St Mary, Carew, was a parish church during the post-conquest period (Rees, 1932), of the medieval Deanery of Pembroke. The living was both a rectory, in the patronage of the Earls of Pembroke before passing to the Carew family, and a vicarage, in the patronage of the rectors (Green, 1911, 262). The church was assessed at £40 in 1291 (ibid.).

The patronage of the then Lord of Carew, Sir Rhys ap Thomas, in the late 15th – early 16th century is thought to provide the context for work at the church during this period, in particular the fine west tower. The rectory had passed to the crown by 1594 (ibid.), and then to the Bishops of St Davids (ibid.). In 1833 the living was a discharged vicarage, endowed with £200 private benefaction, £400 royal bounty and £800 parliamentary grant, but not rated in the king’s books (Lewis, 1833).

In 1998 St Mary, Carew, was a parish church. The living was a vicarage, held with Lamphey and Hodgeston (Benefice 811) in the Archdeaconry of St Davids, Rural Deanery of Castlemartin (St Davids, 1997-8).

The church may have originally been dedicated to St John the Baptist, the dedication given by Lewis, 1833, and Green, 1911.

SOURCES CONSULTED

 Map Evidence

NLW, Maps of the Estates of the Lord Bishop of St Davids, 14429/6, 1815.

NLW, Ordnance Survey 1:2500, First Edition, Pembs. Sheet XL.8.

NLW, Ordnance Survey 1:2500, Second Edition, Pembs. Sheet XL.8.

NLW, Parish of Carew, Tithe Map, 1838.

NLW, PB6465, RM A134, n.d.

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

 Pictorial sources

 NLW, Drawing Volumes 40, 17, 1835 (church from north).

Tenby Museum & Art Gallery, 1983/1748, c.1850. (church from north-west).

Church in Wales Records

Bartosch & Stokes, 1992, Quinquennial Report, Carew.

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

NLW, SD/F/84, Faculty – Heating apparatus, reredos and altar, 1922.

Parish Records, Pembrokeshire Record Office, Haverfordwest

HPR/68 – Carew:-

HPR/68/21 – Preacher’s Book with notes on church building, 1845-81.

HPR/68/26 – Churchwarden’s accounts and Vestry Book, 1780-1883.

HPR/68/28 – Faculty – Pulpit, 1965.

HPR/68/29 – Faculty – Stalls, altar rail and door, 1971.

HPR/68/30 – Archdeacon’s Certificate – Font cover and lamp, 1971.

Unpublished Accounts

Drew, Q., 1992, ‘Carew Chapel’, Carew Castle Project Interim Report (Unpublished University of Wales, Lampeter, research report; copy held in Dyfed SMR).

Thomas, W. G., 1964, Carew Church (in National Monuments Record, Aberystwyth)

Printed Accounts

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

Cadw, 1997, Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Carew).

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

Freeman, E. A., 1852, ‘Architectural Antiquities of South Pembrokeshire’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. III, Second Series.

Green, F., 1911, ‘Pembrokeshire Parsons’, West Wales Historical Records Vol. I.

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

RCAHM, 1925, Inventory: Pembrokeshire.

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

SPARC (South Pembrokeshire Partnership for Action with Rural Communities), 1996, Carew and Milton leaflet.