You have no advanced search rows. Add one by clicking the '+ Add Row' button

St James's Church, Manorbier

Loading Map
Map ReferenceSS09NE
Grid ReferenceSS0650097640
Unitary (Local) AuthorityPembrokeshire
Old CountyPembrokeshire
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval

St James's Church, Manorbier, is situated within a subrectangular churchyard, some 110m south-east of Manorbier castle (NPRN 94195), but physically separated from it by a valley. It has been suggested that the two may be early medieval in origin and represent a paired ecclesiastical/secular site arrangement. The castle may occupy the site of a pre-Norman aristocratic centre (llys), possibly overlying an Iron Age promontory fort. During the post-Conquest period the church was a parish church belonging to the Deanery of Pembroke, with the sub-lordship of Manorbier. In 1301 John de Barri, Lord of Manorbier, granted the church to the priory of St Nicholas at Monkton. The church fell to the Crown when Monkton was suppressed by Henry V as an alien Priory. Henry VII granted it to his mother Margaret, who regranted it to Christ Church, Cambridge. A post-Conquest consecration stone lies loose in the porch.

The church is a Grade 1 listed building (LB 5975), considered one of the most interesting medieval churches in south-west Wales retaining a valuable series of stone vaults and furnishings. The church is constructed of limestone rubble with some Old Red Sandstone. A square, scalloped limestone font bowl on a cylindrical stem is thought to be 12th-century in date. The nave may date to the 12th century, although it is thought more likely to be 13th. The barrel-vault was added in the 14th century, when the transepts were added and the chancel was rebuilt. A 14th century effigy of John de Barri is now located in the chancel, having been moved from the chapel. A second limestone font bowl is octagonal in shape and thought to be later medieval. It sits on a secondary stem and base which probably date from the 19th century. The tower is thought to have been inserted between the chapel and north transept in the mid-14th century. The south aisle is probably 15th-century in date, and the porch is thought to have been added around 1500. The vaulted porch roof is painted with imitation vaulting ribs, floral and leaf-scroll decoration in panels between. The tower's belfry stage was added in the 16th (or possibly 17th) century. The north transept's north bay is thought to be late 16th-century and the north aisle may have been added in the 17th century. There are thought to have been two rood screens: a medieval screen in the nave and north transept (removed in 1865-1868) and an early 17th century screen with carved figures (removed in 1707 and replaced by the painted royal coat of arms of William III) in the north aisle and represented by the present gallery. traces of painting also survive on the ribs of the gallery and north aisle. The church was restored in 1865-1868, to the designs of Frederick Wehnert. The vestry was rebuilt to a larger plan, and new windows were inserted in the chancel, transepts and west end. The tower's ground floor openings were reopened or rebuilt at this time, and the chancel and north transepts were reroofed in softwood. The pews, alter table and reredos are 20th-century, as may be the chancel and tower screens and pulpit. The roofs wee reslated in the 1980s.

Sources include:
Cadw, Listed Buildings Database
Cambria Archaeology, 2000, Pembrokeshire Churches, gazetteer, 48
Cambria Archaeology, 2003, Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites Project, Pembrokeshire gazetteer

Source: Richard Suggett, Painted Temples: Wallpaintings and Rood-screens in Welsh Churches, 1200–1800, (RCAHMW 2021), pp. 96.


application/pdfSJC - St. James Church, Manorbier, Graveyard Survey CollectionDigital version of the data recording sheets from a gravestone survey at St. James' Church, Manorbier. The survey was conducted by Trinity College Carmarthen.