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St Michael & All Angels - Bosherston

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Location: Bosherston, near Pembroke
OS Reference: SR966948
Listed: Grade II*
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

The church is open during daylight hours throughout the year.

St Michael's Bosherston from the south

The Village
Bosherston is a South Pembrokeshire village, in the Diocese of St Davids, situated five and half miles south of Pembroke.  The ancient name of Stackpole Bosher indicates that the hamlet was given to one Bosher in the retinue of De Stackpole who came over with William the Conqueror,  Bosher's Town becoming in course of time BOSHERSTON.  It is now one of eleven churches within the Monkton Rectorial Benefice which was formed in 2004.  

Present-day Bosherston is very different from what it used to be, for the creek has been dammed to form the famous Lily Ponds, while the sea has receded to form the extensive Broadhaven Beach and nearly one quarter of the Parish was bought in 1938 to form part of the RAC Range for the then War Department.  A small part of this range is used for a Royal Navy Bombing Range.  

Bosherston presents some of the most attractive scenery of Pembrokeshire with its majestic St Govan's Head, its quaint St Govan's Chapel, its Huntsman's Leap, Newquay and Bullslaughter Bays as well as Broadhaven and downland rolling gently from the sea northwards.  The whole area is rich in legends including some of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.


The Church
The small church of St Michael and All Angels is a fine Norman church, of the late 13th century, built on the site of a former church.  The building is in the traditional form of a cross, having north and south transepts.  The Church was extensively restored in 1855, along with the other Churches on his estate, by John Frederick Campbell, first Earl of Cawdor, the local landowner at the time, then living at Stackpole Court.  Its old high-backed pews have disappeared and its Norman windows have been replaced by those of later Gothic design.  The Cawdor arms may be seen in the tiling of the Chancel and Sanctuary floor.

The Church was completely re-roofed in 1991-1992 and it is intended to redecorate completely inside as soon as Church finances make this possible.  


The font
Just inside the main door to the Church there is an old Norman Font.  It is now lead lined and covered with an oak lid.


The East Window
This lovely window of nine lights, depicting the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Baptism, the Agony in the Garden, the Crucifixion, the Burial, the Resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost was erected in memory of the Revd William Allen, Rector 1831 -1872.  The Diary of William's wife, Francis, was discovered recently, covering the period from 1832 to 1865.  It furnishes a fascinating picture of country clergy life in South Pembrokeshire in the early

South transept window

The Transept Windows
The four lights are erected in memory of another incumbent of Bosherston, The Ven David Edward Williams (1913-1920) who was Archdeacon of St Davids (1900-1920).  It is interesting to note the choice of lights, in the south transept they depict St Teilo, the Rector's favourite saint and St Govan, our local saint, surmounted by the Arms of Exeter College Oxford where the Rector was educated.  The north transept lights show St Michael, the dedication of the Church and St David our Diocesan patron saint, surmounted by the Arms of St David and the Diocese of St Davids.

The Squint Window and the West Window
These were erected by a schoolmistress who taught for many years in the old Bosherston School (now the Church Hall).  The squint window depicts St Nicholas as the patron saint of sea-farers and is in memory of Petty Officer George Evans, her husband, who was killed in the battle of Jutland.  The west window is a depiction of Jesus.  The Resurrection and the Life was erected in memory of her father, James Walter Davies of Pembroke Dock.


Tombs
Under the North Transept window there is what is thought to be the tomb of a Dowager Duchess of Buckingham, an antecedent of the Duke of Norfolk.  The fact that she was a widow may be gathered from the veil and cloak shown on the figure carved on the tomb.  That she was of noble birth can be seen by the coronet on her head and the dog at her feet.  Under the south transept window there is a stone tomb surmounted by a figure depicting a Crusader.  It is thought to have been carved in the 14th century.


War Memorial
On the North wall of the Church there are brass tablets commemorating the men of the Parish who lost their lives in the First World War and a coast guard killed on duty in the Second.


Other Memorials
On the Nave walls are two stone tablets placed in memory of local families and near the organ there is a framed vellum inscription stating that when electricity was installed in the Church in 1958 each light was dedicated in memory of some local individual.  The Church was rewired and new lighting installed in 1987.


The Preaching Cross
Outside the church, erected on a two-tier throne, there is an unusual Preaching Cross - unusual in that it has an unnaturally short upright and that it has a face carved on the centre of the cross.  It has been suggested that originally there was a full stone crucifix which was mutilated and partly destroyed, perhaps during the Reformation, and that local folk found the cross but being unable to find its stem placed the cross on a simple upright of locally-hewn stone and erected it to serve as a Preaching Cross.


St Govan's Chapel
About a mile to the south of Bosherston there is the picturesque old chapel associated with St Govan.  It is at least as old as the 11th century and may well be as old as the 6th century.  See the separate page for fuller details

The nave, chancel and sanctuary

All images © Carl Ryan
PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER

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