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Visitor information

location

Llandawke
Carmarthenshire
SA33 4RD

OS Reference

SN 282 211

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Open daily

This ancient church with dual dedication nestles into a watery dell.

Hidden from the roadside and encircled with trees, the churchyard is a picture of serenity and repose.

History

The church of St Oudoceus is reached through the grounds of The Old Rectory. It dates from the 13th century, and was remodelled in the late 14th by the Lord Marcher of Laugharne, Sir Guy de Bryan.

On a ledge by the chancel arch, you will see the oldest part of this church: a Latin and Ogham inscribed stone, thought to date to the 5th/6th century. Until the 19th century, the stone was used as threshold in the south door.

In the chancel is a 14th century effigy of St Margaret Marloes, found in the churchyard in 1838 broken into three pieces. Margaret was the niece of Sir Guy de Bryan, who restored the church in the 1300s. Tradition has it that Sir Guy rebuilt the church for his niece, and that she created a beguinage – a community of like-minded women who lived together without taking vows or withdrawing from the world.

Originally, the church was dedicated to St Oudoceus, but locally is also known as the church of St Margaret Marloes.

That the church survives at all is due to the efforts of Mrs Weinholt of Corse House in 1882. Newspapers report how the church “resembled a barn more than a House of God”. Mrs Weinholt held a hugely successful fundraising bazaar, which paid for the restoration, and a new oak altar carved by local stonemason, Owen Williams. The altar is decorated with vine-wrapped tracery, doves bearing olive branches, angels, Lily of the Valley, Rose of Sharon,  passionflowers and more.

We took this church into our care in 2006.

St Oudoceus's, Llandawke, Carmarthenshire
St Oudoceus's, Llandawke, Carmarthenshire

Highlights

  • 6th-century inscribed stone with Ogham writing and a later Latin inscription
  • 14th-century Effigy to local saint, Margaret Marloes
  • Oak altar table, carved by local stonemason Owen Williams in 1882
  • Ledgerstones on the chancel floor
  • Gravestone to Rebecca Uphill, a local servant who was believed to have been murdered in 1850

Further reading

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

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