Church of St Decumanus
This substantial church, nestling beneath the huge oil refinery, came to The Friends in 2005. It probably would have struggled on in use had not the refinery suffered a calamitous explosion in 1994 which shifted the roof of the church and led to the evacuation of the village.
This Grade I listed, largely medieval, church with an especially tall Pembrokeshire tower, has a most unusual dedication. Decumanus was born nearby but sailed away to live a hermit’s life on Exmoor Having crossed the Severn in a coracle he landed near Dunster in Somerset where he lived the life of a hermit up to a supposed martyrdom in 706 ‘at the hands of a truculent fellow who cut off his head with a spade’.
Even more striking for such a comparatively remote site, is the complicated ground plan which has 4 chapels or oratories, each built by the occupants of the 4 significant houses in the parish, including the remarkable and surviving tower house at Eastington.
The interior retains a small rather animated late medieval figure of The Risen Christ high above the inner door to the south porch, several tomb recesses, one with a 14th century female effigy and a number of objects moved from Pwllcrochan church when that was converted to a house in 1994. The best of these is the very fine Rococo monument to F Powell of 1716 but the second of the church’s two 12/13th century fonts also come from the same source. The finely carved step into the north transept seems to be the remains of a 15th century altar tomb, no doubt dismantled at The Reformation.