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Visitor information

location

Rhoscrowther
Dyfed
Pembrokeshire
SA71 5SJ

OS Reference

SM 901 014

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Open daily

This substantial, Grade I listed church nestles beneath a huge oil refinery. The church closed in 2005, an event that was accelerated by a calamitous explosion at the refinery, which shifted the roof of the church and led to the evacuation of the village.

This medieval church is robust. It survived the explosion, and continues to be extremely well-cared for by people in surrounding villages.

History

This Grade I listed, largely medieval, church with an especially tall Pembrokeshire tower, has an unusual dedication. Decumanus (meaning the 10th man) was born in Rhoscrowther. Wishing to lead a life of solitude, he crossed the Severn in a coracle and landed near Dunster. He settled near Watchet in Somerset, where he lived the life of a hermit until his martyrdom in AD 706 ‘at the hands of a truculent fellow who cut off his head with a spade’. His head was eventually returned to his birthplace in Rhoscrowther.

St Decumanus’s church has a complicated plan, which has four chapels or oratories, each built by the occupants of the four significant houses in the parish, including the remarkable, 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 St Mary’s, Pwllcrochan 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, perhaps dismantled during the Reformation.

St Decumanus’s has had several phases of restoration: one in 1852, another in 1869-70 by F Wehnert of Milford, and the last by W. D. Caröe in 1910.

St Decumanus, Rhoscrowther, Pembrokeshire (2)
St Decumanus, Rhoscrowther, Pembrokeshire (2)

Highlights

  • Two 12th-13th-century square scalloped fonts – one in the porch and one in the nave
  • Decorative 16th-century porch
  • Small figure of The Risen Christ over the main entrance
  • Marble Baroque monument with carved cherubs
  • Late 14th-century south chapel with two tomb recesses, one contains a14th-century female effigy

Further reading

Please use these links if you would like to know more about the church and the surrounding area

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