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ST ANTHONY'S CHAPEL, CHURCH SITE, WEST ANGLE BAY

Site Details

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

NPRN 409858

Map Reference SM80SE

Grid Reference SM85130305

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Angle

Type of Site CHAPEL, CIST GRAVE CEMETERY, DEFENDED ENCLOSURE

Broad Class RELIGIOUS RITUAL AND FUNERARY

Period Early Medieval

Site Description St Anthony’s Chapel was mentioned in documents of c.1500 when it may already have been in decay. A possible chapel site has been identified by geophysical survey. An oval enclosure measuring c.55m east-west by c.45m north-south presumably represents its surrounding churchyard. The oval enclosure is depicted on first edition Ordnance Survey mapping and is visible as an earthwork. The field in which it is located is referred to as ‘Church Field’ on 19th century tithe mapping. An Iron Age promontory fort is situated on the eroding cliff edge some 160m west-north-west of the chapel.

The oval enclosure lies within a larger rectangular enclosure with rounded corners, measuring 120m east-west by 60m north-south, delineating the boundary of a cist cemetery. There is a 30m-wide ‘annexe’ on the rectangular enclosure’s east side. Its northern boundary is not visible as the northern part of the cemetery is disappearing with the eroding cliff-face, ‘graves and stone coffins’ being noted as far back as 1811. The presence of cist burials in the eroding cliff was noted in 1997 and the cemetery was excavated in 2005–2006 by Dyfed Archaeological Trust and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. A radiocarbon date of AD 540-550 was obtained from the west ditch of the rectangular enclosure, which may be the earliest feature on the site. The ‘annexe’ may have been contemporary and have become disused by the 7th century. The earliest burial dated to 650-780 and lay outside the oval enclosure but within the rectangular enclosure. A possible ditch noted in the eroding cliff in 2011 may represent the cemetery enclosure boundary.

Excavation indicates that the oval enclosure dates to AD 660-870. The earliest burial within the oval enclosure also dates to that time. Burial within the oval enclosure continued until around AD 890-1120.

Sources include:
Dyfed Archaeological Trust, 2003, Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites Project, Pembrokeshire gazetteer
Groom, P. Schlee, D. & Ludlow, N. 2011, ‘Two early medieval cemeteries in Pembrokeshire: Brownslade and West Angle Bay’, Archaeologia Cambrensis 160, 133–203

N Vousden, 03 November 2017

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