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St David's Church, Abergwili

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Map ReferenceSN42SW
Grid ReferenceSN4398020870
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCarmarthenshire
Old CountyCarmarthenshire
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval
This church replaced the old St David's Church (NPRN 418179) and is located on the same site, immediately to the north of the old church. The old St David's Church was a parish church during the medieval period, belonging to the Deanery of Carmarthen. The church may have been a collegiate chapel appropriated to St Davids Cathedral, but is has been suggested that the collegiate chapel was in fact located within the later Bishop's Palace (now Carmarthen Museum). Abergwil had three dependent chapelries at Llanfihangel-uwch-Gwili, Llanllawddog and Llanpumsaint. In 1833 the parish was a discharged vicarage in the patronage of the Dean and Canons of Windsor and the advowson belonged, by courtesy, to the Bishop of St Davids. In 1998 St David's was a parish church in the Archdeaconry of Cardigan, Rural Deanery of Carmarthen. The churchyard is rectilinear in shape. In 1917 a broken sepulcharal slab with carved cross was noted in the floor close to the west end of the south wall. The slab, thought to date to the thirteenth century, was reportedly found in the churchyard.

The old St David's Church was replaced by the new St David's Church, built on the same site but in a different location. It was constructed in 1840-1843 to the designs of C. Nelson and consecrated in 1843. The church is a Grade II listed building constructed of limestone rubble with an oolite broach spire to the tower. It is thought that the spire's finial is cut out of one of the stone supporters of the cross that stood in Lammas Street, Carmarthen, opposite the enrance to the friary. According to local tradition the stone was that to which was attached the stake at which Bishop Ferrar was burnt to death in 1555. The stone is said to have lain for years opposite the Old Plough yard, before being rescued by Bishop Thirlwall and used for its current purpose. The building consists of chancel, five-bayed nave, five-bayed north aisle, north porch, three-storeyed tower including (and above) north aisle west bay, north vestry north of north aisle and underground boilerhouse north of vestry. The church is thought to have been enlarged in 1889 to the designs of Ewan Christian, London. However, no features can be assigned to this time. An organ was added to the side aisle in 1890. The boilerhouse is thought to have possibly been added in the early twentieth century. The building was renovated in 1996, including re-pointing, re-slating and selective rebuilding.

Sources include:
Cadw, Listed Buildings Database
Cambria Archaeology, 2000, Carmarthenshire Churches, gazetteer, 48

N Vousden, RCAHMW, 7 January 2013