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Church Of St. Mary

A Grade I Listed Building in Carew, Pembrokeshire

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Latitude: 51.6899 / 51°41'23"N

Longitude: -4.8288 / 4°49'43"W

OS Eastings: 204569

OS Northings: 202804

OS Grid: SN045028

Mapcode National: GBR GB.SL7S

Mapcode Global: VH2PJ.8S1D

Entry Name: Church Of St. Mary

Listing Date: 14 May 1970

Last Amended: 6 February 1997

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 6007

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: In Carew Cheriton, 300 m S of the A477.

County: Pembrokeshire

Town: Tenby

Community: Carew (Caeriw)

Community: Carew

Locality: Carew Cheriton

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire

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A C14 church. (It is dedicated to St Mary, but an alternative dedication to St John has often been found.)

Ornamental features in or after the style of Bishop Gower, d.1347, are found in the chancel and the transept arches. These are the oldest surviving parts. The arches are decorated with four-leaved flowers in broad hollows. A rood of the Decorated period, removed in the C18, was reached by a stairs turret which remains visible at the S of the chancel.

The nave, aisles and porch were added in the mid-C15 in a different stone and in a plainer style. The W pier of the S transept arch is tapered awkwardly in plan to accommodate the thinner arcade wall of the nave.

The tower is a striking feature added in c.1500. The tower may be the work of Sir Rhys ap Thomas. It is one of the few in Pembrokeshire with angle buttresses. In 1842 it was described as a 'massy and lofty tower with turrets and spire', containing three bells. It lost its pinnacles in the C19 and the turret lost its spire in the C20.

There were numerous C19 alterations, and improvement grants were received from the Incorporated Church Building Society in 1838 (£75) and 1856 (£120). In 1836 the W door (designed by Richard Barrett of Pembroke) was inserted and a timber gallery built above it, although the latter was short-lived. In 1838 Vicar Hamilton re-roofed the nave. The main restoration was undertaken by David Brandon of London in 1856. The interior was replastered in 1889. In 1908 W D Caroe cut the plaster back at the arrises of the E window, revealing rough stonework not designed to be visible.


The church is surrounded by an extensive churchyard, and is central to an important group: other related listed buildings include the old Mortuary Chapel in the churchyard, the old Vicarage, adjacent on the S side, the old Rectory, nearby to the SW, and the almshouses.
The church stands on a rise and its appearance on approach is dominated by the bulk of the Perpendicular tower. The nave is comparatively low, as it is roofed separately from the aisles and does not rise above them. Its roof is lower than that of the chancel. There are also a N transept and a S porch. The masonry is generally random rubble in local sandstone, but that of the tower is of higher quality, in courses of varied thickness.
The chancel has large stepped buttresses, crossed at the corners. There are similar buttresses to the end of the N transept. Fine Decorated tracery to windows, some re-cut. A blocked original N doorway to the N aisle is seen externally.
The tower is of a Somerset type. It is divided by string courses into three main storeys. There are angle buttresses at three corners, and an octagonal stairs turret at the fourth, to the NE. Battlements with large crenellations and a central rib to each face standing on a gargoyle. Coupled belfry lights with louvres and a Tudor hood-mould. It appears to have been built a short distance from the nave and then joined by extending the nave to meet it.


Large chancel with original piscina, sedilia and low-side-window (the latter blocked). The paving within the sanctuary is of mediaeval encaustic tiles, many of which are believed to have been taken from Carew Castle. There are three tomb-recesses at the N, and one small one at the S. The vestry was a Carew family chapel and has a pointed stone vault.

Nave with transept arches at each side. That to the N is a true transept, that to the S is simply a bay of the S aisle behind a transept arch and divided from the rest of the aisle by a cross-wall. The N transept is known as the 'Carew Aisle'. W of the transept the arcades are of two arches on octagonal piers and columns. In the S aisle there is a small blocked round-headed recess below the window. The porch is vaulted and has benches and a water-stoup by the door.

The W window is a Crimean memorial of 1857, replacing an original Perpendicular window. At the same date the S windows were restored in similar style. The E window, in Perpendicular style, is by Alexander Gibbs and Co. of London, 1879, in memory of Vicar Phelps, and represents the Resurrection. The N aisle windows are of 1833. The chancel and N transept windows were restored in 1893, and the other transept windows in 1912. The altar and reredos are war-memorials of 1923 by John Coates-Carter.

The monuments include the tomb of Sir Nicholas de Carew, d.1311, builder of the Edwardian castle. This is at the N of the chancel. Opposite it is a child's tomb, or perhaps a heart-burial, with a small female effigy.

In the N transept known as the Carew Aisle is the tomb of Sir John and Elizabeth Carew. It is in Jacobean style with fine simple wrought-iron railings. At the W of the S aisle are two marble monuments with weeping figures, including a fine one to Hannah Brown, d.1845, by J Evan Thomas of London. There are numerous tablets to Allen and other leading families.

In 1844 Vicar Lloyd replaced the Norman font with a copy fashioned of West Williamston limestone.

Reasons for Listing

Listed Grade I as an exceptionally fine and well preserved medieval church.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Grove Manor
    In extensive grounds immediately S of St Mary's churchyard. There is a gateway in the churchyard wall for the use of this house. High boundary wall to the access lane with iron gate.
  • I Old Mortuary Chapel
    Within St Mary's Churchyard, about 30 m NW of the Church.
  • II St. Mary's Churchyard Wall
    Wall to the churchyard of St Mary's, with gates to the N, W and S.
  • II Old Almshouses
    At NW corner of St. Mary's churchyard, facing W to the lane. The almshouses are the last two remaining from a row known in the C19 as 'Alms Row'. A mounting-block is adjacent to the N gable.
  • II Old School and Schoolteacher's House
    In the village of Carew Cheriton about 100 m N of the Church. There is a small playground at the N of the school and a garden S of the house.
  • II* The Fortified Rectory
    100 m SW of St Mary's churchyard.
  • II Milepost at junction of A477 with A4075
    Immediately west of the junction of the A477 with the A4075, on the S side of Carew Village.
  • II Milton Bridge
    In the village of Milton, about 30 m N of the A477 road.

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