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Parish Church of St Mary at Pennard, Gower

Pennard church by Barbara Ballard Pennard was an estate of the first Norman Lord of Gower in the 1100s. He granted several of the churches in the Gower peninsula to a Benedictine abbey in Normandy. One of these was the church in the village of Pennard. However, there is no written evidence of a church here until 1195, long after his death in 1119. By 1195 the lordship of Gower belonged to the crown, and in 1203 it was granted to William de Breos I.

Ruined church and castle by Ceridwen courtesy Geograph Another church, now in ruins, was built in 1280 beside a now ruined castle. It dates from the time Edward I conquered Wales. By the 14th century this area was largely uninhabited.

In the parish church of St Mary work can be seen that dates from the 13th-17th centuries. The date of the porch is not known but it was added after the nave. The porch was used as a place of penance for people who broke ecclesiastical rules.

Church tower by Ceridwen courtesy Geograph The church tower is unusual in that it gets wider the higher it goes. A spiral staircase is set half in the tower and half in the western wall. The tower had a spire at one time. There are two bells in the tower, but they are not the original ones.

Chancel and nave by Ceridwen courtesy Geograph The nave was also used as a parish hall. In it are a number of monuments. It was separated from the chancel by a rood screen until the reformation. Also before the reformation, there was a rood (cross) above the screen. There was a set of external stairs to the gallery. There are a number of monuments in the chancel. In the church are the royal arms of Queen Victoria.

Church interior by Ceridwen courtesy Geograph The carved stone font dates from somewhere between 1184-1203. It is thought the stone on which it is mounted had previously served as a millstone. The wood cover dates from the Jacobean period (1603-1625). The wooden pulpit dates from the early 1600s. The lectern was made locally in 1902.

Church pulpit by Ceridwen courtesy Geograph The north stained glass window is dated 1948. The west window is thought to date from the 14th century. There are two lancet windows in the south wall of the sanctuary that date from the early 13th century. Dog tooth moulding over one is from 1220. Other stained glass windows are 20th century ones.

Visitor Information

Pennard is on a minor road off the A4118 on the south Gower peninsula.

Photo of exterior by Barbara Ballard. Other photos by Ceridwen courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland

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