Monastic Wales.

Remnants of Kidwelly Priory

The priory church of Kidwelly survives as the parish church of St Mary’s, and incorporates medieval fabric. Although the church was begun in the twelfth century extensive rebuilding was started in the thirteenth century, following a fire in 1223. Most of the surviving fabric dates to the fourteenth century, c. 1320, and includes window tracery, a piscina and triple sedilia. The tower dates from the thirteenth or fourteenth century.
Unfortunately it is not known who was responsible for or involved with the design and financing of this building project. Bishop Henry de Gower of St David’s (1328-47) and Earl Henry of Lancaster (Lord of Kudwelly) may both have had an input, but Sherborne Abbey likely played a leading role and the burgesses may also have contributed. The completed church was a fine and spacious building with an aisled nave and strong tower. [1]
In 1481 the church was struck by lightening and repair work was carried out. This led to the truncation of the west end of the nave.
The small monastic community at Kidwelly would only have required modest accommodation and may have simply occupied a house on Causeway Street, to the west of the church, where the remains of a medieval building known as the ‘Prior’s House’ survived until 1932, when the ruin was pulled down. This structure was thought to date from the late thirteenth century and according to Williams would have provided ample accommodation for the prior and his two monk companions.[2]

[1] See G. Williams, ‘Kidwelly Priory’, in Sir Gâr: Studies in Carmarthenshire History: Essays in Memory of W. H. Morris and M. C. S. Evans, ed. H. James (Carmarthen, 1991), pp. 189-204 (194); and the entry for St Mary’s Church, Kidwelly, in the Coflein database.
[2] Ibid., p. 195.

Monastic sites related to this article

Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire(Priory)