St Mary, Walton East, Pembrokeshire


 Dyfed PRN 4460

 RB No. 3553

 NGR SN 0224 2339

 Listed Building No. 12017

 Grade B listed (1998)


 19th century church; 0% pre-19th century core fabric. On site of, and in same location as, medieval church (no separate Dyfed PRN).

A 3-cell church, small-medium sized. Consists of chancel, 2 bays; nave, 3 bays; north porch; vestry (north), 1 bay; all (re)built in the later 19th century. Construction is in limestone rubble. Neo-gothic. All internal walls are rendered/plastered. Slate gable roofs; vestry with slate lean-to roof. All openings are later 19th century. Buttressed externally, later 19th century. Western single bellcote, later 19th century.

Roofs and floors: later 19th century. Finishes: later 19th century.

Condition – good.

Archaeological potential – good. Church entirely rebuilt in the later 19th century, in same location as earlier church; no structural or physical evidence for earlier church; shallow external drain around 100% of church; no evidence for floor level changes; suspended floors and underfloor void in 70% of church; no crypt/vault evident; no evidence of former components beyond church.

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

Group value – medium. 19th century church in central village location.


All later 19th century.


St Mary, Walton East, is a 3-celled church, of small-medium size. It was (re)built in the later 19th century in the same location as its predecessor but retaining none of the earlier fabric.

The present church consists of a 2-bayed chancel, a 3-bayed nave, a north porch and a lean-to vestry of 1 bay, against the north wall of the chancel west bay. Construction is in limestone rubble throughout, unsquared but roughly coursed and with good quoins. The external pointing is good quality, later 19th century. All internal walls are rendered/plastered. All dressings are in oolite; the detail is all from the later 19th century and neo-gothic. It includes the chancel arch, the windows, with plain 2-centred surrounds, and the 2-centred north door, north porch door and vestry doors. The exterior is buttressed throughout, and a basal offset runs around all walls. The nave west wall carries a gabled bellcote, shouldered, with a single 2-centred opening, all later 19th century. The roofs are slated gables while the vestry has a slate lean-to roof, later 19th century. The floors are possibly suspended except in the porch, and from the later 19th century.

There is no physical evidence for the earlier church, but an earthwork platform is visible around the church to the south, west and east. A shallow concrete drain runs around the entire church, and an external concrete plinth runs along the south wall, later 19th century. 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 of former components beyond the present church walls.

The form of the earlier church is not known. Samuel Lewis, writing in 1833, called it ‘a very small rude edifice, consisting only of a nave, without tower or spire’ (Lewis, 1833). It is depicted on the tithe map in a stylised and non-representational form (NLW, Tithe Map, 1839).

The font bowl is square and scalloped, of probable later 12th century date; it has been retooled, and the stem and base are 19th century.

The present church was Grade B listed in 1998.


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

Walton East Church was a parish church during the post-conquest period, of the medieval Deanery of Cemais (Rees, 1932). It was granted, between 1147 and 1176, to the Knights Hospitaller of Slebech Commandery, by Wizo the Fleming of Wiston, his son Walter and grandson, another Walter (Rees, 1897, 98, 101). In the grant the church is termed ‘Ecclesia Sancti Petri de Waletuna’, but the dedication had been changed to St Mary by 1786 (Green, 1914, 231).

There is no valuation for Walton East in the ‘Taxatio’ of 1291, but the church was worth £10 13s 4d annually in 1338 (Rees, 1899, 229-33). It was assessed at £11 annually in 1536 (Green, 1914, 232) but by the mid 16th century the figure was £6 (Rees, 1899, 229-33).

At the dissolution, Slebech Commandery and all its appurtenances, including Walton East, fell to King Henry VIII. The patronage was in royal hands in 1594, when the living was described as a curacy (Green, 1914, 231). By the early 18th century it had been acquired by the Philipps family of Picton Castle (ibid.). As discharged curacy, the living had a certified value of £10 in 1786 (ibid.). By 1833 it was a perpetual curacy of the Archdeaconry of St Davids, in the alternate patronage of the Earl of Cawdor and the parishioners, endowed with £600 royal bounty and £200 parliamentary grant (Lewis, 1833).

In 1998 St Mary, Walton East, was a parish church. The living was a vicarage, held with Wiston and Clarbeston (Benefice 818) in the Archdeaconry of St Davids, Rural Deanery of Daugleddau (St Davids, 1997-8).


Map Evidence

NLW, Ordnance Survey 1:2500, First Edition, XXIII.2, 1889.

NLW, Parish of Walton East, Tithe Map, 1839.

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

Church in Wales Records

Jones, W., 1997, Quinquennial Report, Walton East.

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

Parish Records, Pembrokeshire Record Office, Haverfordwest

(HPR/147 – Walton East)

Printed Accounts

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

Anon., 1896, ‘Notes & Queries’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XIII, Fifth 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., 1914, ‘Pembrokeshire Parsons’, West Wales Historical Records Vol. IV.

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

RCAHM, 1925, Inventory: Pembrokeshire.

Rees, J. R., 1897, ‘Slebech Commandery and the Knights of St John: Part I’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XIV, Fifth Series.

Rees, J. R., 1899, ‘Slebech Commandery and the Knights of St John: Part II’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XVI, Fifth Series.

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