St Patrick’s Chapel, Whitesands Bay , Pembrokshire

St Patrick's Chapel, Whitesands

The Excavation of an early medieval cemetery at St Patrick’s Chapel

2014-2016; 2019 and 2021


St Patrick’s cemetery at Whitesands Beach in the very far reaches  south-west Wales  is made up of cist burials, these are stone lined burials, common in early medieval Britain, Ireland and Brittany as well. The map below shows the location of the site on the west coast of Wales, click on the Information Symbol on the map below to see a distribution map of early medieval cist cemeteries in Pembrokeshire. St Patrick’s Chapel is number 16 on the map.

The coastline around St Patrick’s Chapel suffered in the terrible storms of January 2014.  During this time, damage to the site revealed archaeological remains that could not be ignored.

We have always known that the site has been here, as it would have shown above ground at some point, but the only historical reference that we have is from George Owen, writing in c. 1600, and he describes the site as being wholly decayed.

Not far off is Capel Patrick full west of St Davids and placed as near his country, namely Ireland, as it could well be. It is now wholly decayed…

Meaning this site was already abandoned and a ruin by the early 17th century.


St Patrick’s Chapel – Final report 2021 (PDF format).


Heneb - The Trust for Welsh Archaeology