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ST ISMAEL'S CHURCH, CAMROSE

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 303545

Map Reference SM92SW

Grid Reference SM9271620063

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Camrose

Type of Site CHURCH

Broad Class RELIGIOUS RITUAL AND FUNERARY

Period Post Medieval, Medieval

Site Description St Ismael’s Church is located within a rectilinear churchyard on a site with possible early medieval origins. First mentioned in the Taxatio of 1291. A fragment early medieval carved stone – possibly a cross slab – is built into the internal fabric of the church, near the chancel arch. Its carving is thought to be 9th- to 10th-century in date. Camrose is a large parish and the church has at least one dependent chapelry. A possible motte (NPRN 305253) lies some 130m south-southwest of the church and the two were probably associated. It has also been suggested that, rather than representing a medieval castle, the 'motte' was originally a viewing platform for the gardens of Camrose House.

The church is a Grade I listed building constructed of limestone rubble. It consists of 3-bayed chancel, 4-bayed nave and 2-storeyed west tower. The church is considered remarkable for its length. There was formerly a south chapel. The nave and chancel are thought to be 13th century in date. There is medieval benching and a medieval piscine in the chancel. Two former transpetal chapels may have been 14th–15th century. The tower is 15th century and its stair turret is 16th century. It is not tapered and lacks the basal batter and string course characteristic of the district. It has a crenelated parapet (partly rebuilt in 1883–1884). A rainwater chute in the form of a gargoyle also dates to the 15th century. The church was restored in 1877–1883, and in 1883–1884. The nave was refenestrated with neo-gothic 2-light windows and the north door was rebuilt. The oak nave roof was replaced with softwood, and was reseated and a new alter rail, pulpit and screen were fitted. The single sanctus bellcote was rebuilt (possibly as a replica of the old) and the old sanctus bell was rehung. The church was restored by Wyn Jones in 2001 after a fire. An octagonal pier at the junction of nave and chancel, found during recent restoration work, provides evidence for two lost south transeptal chapels.

Sources include:
Dyfed Archaeological Trust, 2000, Historic Churches Project, Pembrokeshire gazetteerDyfed Archaeological Trust, 2003, Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites Project, Pembrokeshire gazetteer

N Vousden, 15 November 2017

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