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ST JAMES' AND ST ELIDYR'S CHURCH, STACKPOLE ELIDOR

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 303861

Map Reference SR99NE

Grid Reference SR98729730

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Stackpole

Type of Site CHURCH

Broad Class RELIGIOUS RITUAL AND FUNERARY

Period Medieval

Site Description St James and St Elidyr’s Church lies within a formerly irregular, subrectangular churchyard. The church is mentioned in mid-19th-century documents, and again in 1291. The church was the centre of a settlement called Cheriton, which lies some 800m north of the Anglo-Norman vill of Stackpole. In the Life of St Telio (Book of Llandaff), Teilo is said to have been known as Eliud, and Pembrokeshire Churches dedicated to St Elidyr are almost certainly associated with the Teilo churches in the district. It has been suggested that all Teilo churches in the region may be pre-Conquest in origin, having ended up in the hands of monastic houses during the 12th century, possibly at the instigation of the Bishop of St Davids, in order to rival the claims made on Teilo churches by Llandaff. An early medieval inscribed stone, Stackpole Elidyr 1 (NPRN 423657), is located within the porch, set against the east wall.

The church is a Grade 1 listed building, as an important medieval church of regional type restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott. It is constructed of limestone and Old Red Sandstone rubble and consists of 4-bayed nave, 2-bayed chancel, south chapel, north transept, south transept with skew passage, 4-storeyed tower, south porch, vestry (north of chancel west bay). The nave and chancel may date to the 12th century. The east end of the nave south wall has a high window related to the rood position indicated by a surviving corbel. A crypt beneath the chancel is now filled in. Very large squints connect each transept with the chancel. The transepts and skew passages (and former south porch) are thought to date to the 14th century. The transepts and all stages of the tower have medieval barrel vaults. The tower is thought to be 15th-century in date. It is of typical local form with a parapet carried on corbels and a stair-turret at its north-west corner. It lacks the usual crenellations and it is of unusually slender proportions. The south chapel is rib vaulted and is thought to be 16th-century in date. The church was restored in 1851, when the vestry was constructed, and the south porch and part of the nave were rebuilt. It is during this restoration that the early medieval inscribed stone may have come to light. The boilerhouse and coal cellar were added in the late 19th century. Lord Cawdor's coat of arms is displayed on floor of chancel. Documentary sources refer to a damaged painting the south transept.

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

N Vousden, 16 November 2018

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