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Latitude: 51.8075 / 51°48'26"N
Longitude: -4.7799 / 4°46'47"W
OS Eastings: 208450
OS Northings: 215746
OS Grid: SN084157
Mapcode National: GBR CT.XC1T
Mapcode Global: VH2NZ.3TFS
Entry Name: Robeston Wathen Church
Listing Date: 21 June 1971
Last Amended: 11 August 1997
Source ID: 6092
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Prominently situated on a hilltop site at the centre of the village of Robeston Wathen, in a raised graveyard with rubble stone walling.
Community: Llawhaden (Llanhuadain)
Locality: Robeston Wathen
Traditional County: Pembrokeshire
A mediaeval church, annexed to Narberth rectory. It was largely rebuilt on its old foundations and greatly increased in area in the C19. Some of the masonry on the S side might be mediaeval, as its character (brought to courses) is different to that of the masonry of the C19 N aisle. There is a shallow corbel table below eaves at the S of the chancel, perhaps rebuilt.
The church originally comprised nave and chancel only, with later transepts. In the C15 a W tower and a sepulchral chapel N of the chancel were added, but the chapel had disappeared by the early C19. Architectural evidence for it was reported by Freeman in 1852. The mediaeval tower is the best feature of the church. It was a local custom for its key to be kept by the lord of the manor of Robeston Wathen, so that it might be available as a place of refuge for the villagers in time of war; a hint of the purpose of church towers in south Pembrokeshire, so many of which are plainly late additions.
In 1840 in the time of the Rev. William Lloyd, work was carried out on restoring the roof. The architect, Thomas Lewis of Narberth estimated the cost at £275. The church was re-opened in 1842.
The main restoration of the church was by the architect Sir Thomas Jackson in 1875, under the Ven. George Clark: the church was rebuilt apart from the tower. A gallery at the W of the nave was removed. The windows were restored in Perpendicular style, probably replacing C15 windows. Internally, the arch of the old very small chancel and the box pews in front of it were removed, and a new arch of two orders was built, increasing the chancel area to more than double. The N transept was replaced by a large N aisle, which has two arches to the nave and one to the chancel. An exterior plaque on the N aisle wall refers to this restoration.
The clock was donated in 1885.
The church consists of a fine tower, through which it is entered, plus nave, chancel, S transept and a large C19 N aisle. The masonry is of the local gritstone, hammer-dressed, generally irregularly coursed but the chancel masonry being more evidently brought to courses. The roofs are of slate. The windows all of the C19 restoration in a Perpendicular style.
The tower walls have no appreciable batter. A stairs turret projects slightly at N and W. The tower has a crenellated parapet on a corbel table except around the stairs turret. Its roof is hipped with a short ridge, and carries a weathercock. Belfry openings to all four sides. Above the W door there is a pair of flat-headed lights. The door arch is equilateral pointed, chamfered, and of two orders.
The church is entered through the tower on the nave axis. The tower base has a pointed vault, fully opening to the nave. The second and third floors of the tower are of timber.
There is a water stoup in the entrance, and there are marks in the tower base of the stairs which formerly led to a W gallery. The C19 N aisle is of similar width to the nave, and overlaps the chancel. The small S transept is now a Lady Chapel. Slate floor. Two steps up at the chancel arch and two more at the sanctuary; in the sanctuary the floor is paved with patterned quarry tiling. C17 oak altar. Throughout the church the timber ceilings are canted timber barrel vaults plus exposed tie-beams and king-posts.
The stained glass is mostly of the time of the main late C19 restoration, and is in deteriorating state. The E window is in memory of Archdeacon Clark. There is a good early C20 window at the S of the chancel. The N aisle windows are memorials to servicemen.
The font stands at the entrance beneath the tower: circular, designed with multiple arches, in black marble; it is said to be C17.
A prominently sited mediaeval church retaining some original masonry and a fine tower, well restored in the C19.
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