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Parish Church of St Peter

A Grade I Listed Building in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.858 / 51°51'28"N

Longitude: -4.3027 / 4°18'9"W

OS Eastings: 241523

OS Northings: 220221

OS Grid: SN415202

Mapcode National: GBR DG.T3DS

Mapcode Global: VH3LH.CKQH

Entry Name: Parish Church of St Peter

Listing Date: 18 August 1954

Last Amended: 28 November 2003

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 9435

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Situated in rounded churchyard at end of King Street.

County: Carmarthenshire

Community: Carmarthen

Locality: Church Lane

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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Carmarthen

History

Anglican parish church recorded from the C12, originally granted to Battle Abbey, but under the bishop of St David's in 1125. The structure is difficult to date as most of the detail is C19: but the nave and chancel are possibly C13 or C14, S aisle late C14 or C15 (the fine S door looks late C14), and N transept also. Porch added and tower rebuilt in late C15 or early C16.
Later alterations: The tomb of Sir Rhys ap Thomas was moved to the church in the C16 after the dissolution of the Friary, the N transept roof is later C17. John Nash, with S. Saxon, replaced the other roofs in 1785, but since replaced. Again, the structure of the W gallery of 1789 may survive, though with a C19 front. The E end of the S aisle (called the town chancel) was fitted up as a consistory court for the diocese in late C18, refitted in C19. The organ of 1796 by George Pike England, said to have been made for Windsor Castle (repaired 1818, 1850, 1865) retains its original case. An unusual black marble altar of 1829, by D. Mainwaring, survives, though replaced as main altar.
The main repairs began in 1838-42 by David Morgan, and most of the windows were replaced in 1846, previously they were flat-headed. In 1851 the N transept arch was removed to resite organ. Nash's nave and aisle roofs were replaced by W.H. Lindsey in 1861. R.K. Penson in 1865-6 restored the chancel with new roof, refitted the consistory court, rebuilt the NE vestry, resited the organ in W gallery which he refronted, and rebuilt the N transept N window. The tomb of Sir Rhys ap Thomas was moved and much restored in 1865-6 by Field of London. The W window was altered in 1868, the consistory court porch added in 1869. Tiled pavements by Maw & Co were installed in the chancel 1866 and in aisles and consistory court 1876. In 1886 the organ was moved again to the chancel site of the Rhys ap Thomas tomb, which was moved to the S aisle, and an additional vestry was added, these works by Middleton & Son. Tower repaired and clock added in 1903-4, by E.V. Collier. Tower repairs 1935 by C.W. Mercer, and 2001 by P. Bartosch, when it was lime-rendered. Monuments restored 2002.
In the churchyard some tombs of interest, notably table tomb of Major General Sir William Nott, N of nave.

Exterior

Parish church, rubble stone with low-pitched slate roofs and coped gables. Double nave plan with W tower, N nave and chancel, equal-length S aisle, N transept and NE vestries, and 2 S porches. Lime-rendered tower has exposed cornerstones, NE square stair turret, battered base with chamfered top course, moulded cornice under parapet with stone gargoyle rainwater spouts (some possibly late medieval), and ashlar battlements of 1867. W side has pointed chamfered W door with hoodmould and C19 double panelled doors, large 3-light window of 1868 with reticulated tracery, renewed with George VI and Queen Mary head stops to hoodmould. Small medieval cusped lancet at mid height, 1904 clock, and altered late medieval bell-opening with centre mullion. N side stair tower to left, small loop at mid height and plain square-headed altered bell-opening. S side has cusped medieval small light set to right at 2/3 height and late medieval cusped 2-light bell-opening. E side has similar bell-opening.
Nave has 4 tall N windows of 1846 with thin 2-light flush tracery, the first with brick surround and no hoodmould, the others with hoods and brick above. Medieval rough stone voussoirs in wall low down (corresponding to 4 recesses within).
N transept has big 3-light 1866 N window with octofoil in tracery. Two blocked pointed openings below to left. Lean-to store on W, without obvious masonry joint, low N door with stone voussoirs and rectangular light over. Grey limestone chimney in angle to nave. Transept E blocked brick framed window. One further nave window to left, flat-headed C19 4-light with hood and brick voussoirs.
Chancel N C19 flat-headed 3-light with hood, 2 blank rectangular panels over vestries and second window with C19 2-light ogee tracery, hoodmould and carved stops. Voussoirs of earlier window over. E vestry remodelled 1865 and W vestry of 1886. W vestry has flat roof and parapet, 3-light flat-headed window and Tudor-arched door. E vestry is gabled to N with 3-light N window with straight mullions and blocked E opening. Chancel E big 1865 5-light with ogee tracery and stone voussoirs and relieving arch. E wall plaque to A. Jones (d 1747). S 2-light similar to chancel N window.
S aisle has long single roof, E end has cross finial and big 5-light window of 1865 with brick relieving arch. Plaque to children of Dr C. Brown c1784 beneath. S side has blocked large window to right with stone voussoirs, and 5 1846 cusped 3-light pointed windows (similar to nave N windows), with hoods, brick voussoirs and voussoirs of earlier windows over. Small consistory court porch of 1869 towards right. Larger medieval S porch between first 2 windows, refaced 1869, doorway removed in 1969 for a narrow pointed window, bronze 1810 sundial over. S aisle W 3-light of 1846.

Interior

Tower has C19 panelled boarded ceiling, encaustic tiles, narrow pointed N door to stair and plain tall pointed tower arch. Body of church has plastered whitewashed walls and later C19 tile floors. Plastered 5-bay arcade of plain pointed chamfered arches on octagonal piers with caps and raised 'sleeves' to bases. 1861 nave and aisle roofs of 13 and 19 close-set broad low trusses on hammer-beams braced from timber corbels below, the braces ornamented with shields or rosettes. Cornice with rosettes between trusses, heavy tracery in low space above tie-beams. Nave N wall has 4 pointed tomb recesses. N transept has arch replaced by 1851 timber Tudor-arch on angel corbels, and 4-bay C17 roof of thin collar trusses with false hammerbeams, pendants, and carved thin raking struts to high collars with pendants. Ovolo-moulded double purlins, boarded panels. Large pointed recess on transept W wall.
Chancel has pointed arch to nave and segmental-pointed S arch with responds as on nave arcade. Shallow-curved panelled chancel ceiling of 1865. Pointed vestry door with iron hinges of 1866. Two steps to sanctuary, encaustic tile paving.
Two vestries: W room of 1886 with panelled boarded ceiling, 1886 door between with open cusped top panels and fine inset ironwork below. E room of 1865 has flat-boarded ceiling also.
S porch, refitted 1969 as war memorial to Grammar School pupils, has plastered medieval barrel vault and fine heavily moulded C14 S doorway with hollow between 2 keel mouldings, the arch stones roughly alternately red and cream. S aisle E has tile pavement by Maw & Co 1876 with border of mitres in front of consistory court pews. Cambered-headed S door.
FITTINGS: Octagonal stone late medieval font, retooled 1857, with quatrefoil and rosette panels, chamfered below with vigorous leaf carving, on octagonal shaft with cusped pointed panels. Ornate pulpit of 1892 by Jones & Willis, black marble plinth, ashlar base with 8 pink marble shafts, and bands of marble in cornice, under oak diagonally-set square pulpit with traceried panels, one with carved relief, and carved saints under canopies at angles. Ashlar steps with brass rail. Brass angel lectern of 1888 by Jones & Willis. Organ between chancel and S aisle, 1790s by G. Pike England in case with centre rounded tower and square outer stacks, minimal Gothic detail. Nave W gallery possibly of 1789, altered, 6 plain iron posts, flat underside, and pitch-pine front of 1855 with diagonal grid. Pews of 1855 by James Wilson with poppyhead finials and doors. Panelled low screen across chancel arch, the panelling carried around to pulpit stairs. Chancel stalls of 1892 by Jones & Willis with cusped panels to fronts, corner shafts, quatrefoil panels to bench ends and panel doors. Timber rails of 1866, Gothic open panels with wrought iron inserts. Oak Gothic reredos of 1892 by Jones & Willis, centre tabernacle, 2 bays each side with finials, and outer bays with statuettes under canopies. Side panelling 1927. Consistory court fittings of 1866 including enclosed pew with centre table, Gothic canopied bishop's stall in row behind, with mitre in roundel and 4 ornate pews the other side. S aisle timber screen probably c.1865. Under W gallery is fine oak 1709 'faculty pew', with plinth, fielded panels, turned columns and ornate moulded cornice. Painted grained within, benches on 4 sides and corner entries. C18 family pew of Griffith Lloyd by S pier of chancel arch not in situ 2002. Mayor's seat opposite: heavily carved chair, 1851 by Isaac Davies, and arched wrought iron frontal with borough arms and fasces. Nearby deal altar table dated 1716. Former marble altar by D. Mainwaring 1829. In W vestry late C18 painted Commandment boards in pilastered frame. Two faded early C18 benefaction boards in E vestry and clock dated 1803. Fragment of C17 wall-painting on E wall of SE chapel. Reset C15 stone shield with Henry V arms by SE chapel door, found 1878 near Priory site.
MONUMENTS:Carmarthen church has the most extensive collection of church monuments in SW Wales, some of the highest quality.
In S aisle Sir Rhys ap Thomas effigy on C16 tomb chest, restored in 1866, originally brightly coloured. Effigy of Sir Rhys is complete, in armour with dog at feet and helm under head, effigy of his wife is not apparently made for the same tomb as too small. Tomb chest has canopies over carved figures: S side has 4 figures each with double canopy, 2 original, and 3 pilasters with carved arms and small figures. E end has a blind traceried rose with coat of arms. N side is mostly C19, one original figure. Nave N second niche has C14 coffin lid with carved head and side inscription possibly to a Richard Rosb(u)r. Also a carved stone boss, possibly C13. In 4th niche, the top half of a medieval male effigy with hand on chest. In tower base a Roman pillar altar.
WALL MEMORIALS:: Nave N: Thomas Morris (d 1839) neo-Grec, by Tyley; small sarcophagus plaque to Herbert P. Ball (d 1798), by Wood; plaque with urn to Mary Oakley (d 1801) by Foster & Co. Very fine pair of joined large monuments with cherubs under, scrolled sides, and 2 cherubs over left plaque holding portrait ovals to John Phillips (d 1730) and arms over right plaque to Ann Philipps (d 1720). Arch between over plaque with portrait oval to Rechell Lloyd (d 1723). Nave E fine Baroque monument with fluted pilasters, cherubs and curved pediment to Sir George Lewis (d 1715). N transept: W wall large slate plaque to Ann Philipps (d 1720) and family to 1734; in recess coloured marble pilastered memorial to Elizabeth Evans (d 1765); slate plaque in big ashlar frame to David Lloyd (d 1752) . N wall neo-classical plaque with small urn to Thomas Cookes (d 1802), by J. Bacon Jr; oval plaque with urn to Eliza Miers (d 1772). E wall massive black sarcophagus to Sir James Hamlyn Williams (d 1829) by D. Mainwaring; oval plaque like Miers memorial to Jane Philipps (d 1766). Chancel N oval plaque to Thomas Jones of Job's Well and descendants to 1810, by D. Mainwaring; marble plaque with urn and weeping willow to J. Jones of Ystrad (d 1842) designed by the painter T. Brigstocke made by Gaffin of London 1856; Rev R. Prichard (c1715) portrait bust in recess between carved pilasters, cornice, plaque with cherubs and arms below. Over vestry door Mary Howell (d 1721-2) portrait bust over scrolled plaque.
In NE vestry unusual painted wood Baroque surround with scroll pediment to Anna Wotton (d 1719); plaque with urn to Rev John Thomas (d 1793) by F. Lancashire & Son of Bath.
Chancel N Richard Vaughan (d 1724) by William Palmer, fine quality, with curved head over cherub-head relief; William Lloyd (d 1710), grey marble panelled pilasters, cornice and arms on pedestal; Rev. Edward Meyrick (d 1713) with cherub heads, scrolled sides and arms over cornice; John Lloyd (d 1802) and wife (d 1814) by Drewett & Co, draped urn; Edward Davids (d 1758), pedimented. On chancel E wall, James Hughes, (d 1803), mourning female and urn, by Wood, Esther Williams (d 1802) oval with urn, by Drewett & Co; Baroque oval plaque with twisted columns and missing pediment, to Mary Harries (d 1700). Chancel S: Lady Anne Vaughan (d 1672) fine painted kneeling figure in recess between Corinthian columns; double large plaque with urn to infant children of H. Lawrence (dd 1834-8) and to James Hughes and family to 1841, by J. Mainwaring. Small lozenge to Mary Mansel (d 1811) by Cooke. Big oval plaque with urn and scrolls, to J. Williams (d 1687). Plaque to Lady M. Mansel (d 1811) by Cooke. Right of organ, small plaque with flaming urn to T. Holliday (d 1787) by R. Isbell. In chancel floor, floor slab by D. Mainwaring to Charlotte Dalton (d 1832) and Margretta Dalton (d 1839).
S aisle: N wall: Rowland Phillips (d 1726) segmental pediment and fluted pilasters; fine double monument to John William of Bwlchgwynt (d 1739) and wife (d 1744) with fluted pilasters and double curved pediments. E wall: G.W. Bevan (d 1768) coloured marble by R. Morgan; Frances Diggle (d 1797) oval with urn by W. Paty; John Lewes (d 1742), open pediment and cherub; Mary Osborne (d 1730), with finely carved skulls below and curved pediment. S wall: Jonathan Oakley (d 1677), baroque with twisted columns and half-length figure; Sir John Scurlock (d 1682) baroque with twisted columns, skulls and broken curved pediment with fruit; Sir William Nott (d 1845) large marble plaque with sword above, by J. Loft; M. Roch and D. Davies, (both d 1818) each with sarcophagus, probably by Mainwaring; Sir Richard Steele (1671-1729), brass memorial erected 1876; Bishop Robert Ferrar (burnt 1555) memorial 1843 by J. E. Thomas, with mitre and bible; Catherine Morgan (d 1767) open pediment and columns; John Thomas (d 1731) crude ashlar with curved top; Dr John Morgan (d 1784) by T. Paty fine Grecian woman and urn; Rev. W.H. Barker (d 1816) by D. Mainwaring, sarcophagus over shield plaque; B. Waugh (d 1827) and wife (d 1840); Fanny Shirley (d 1764); Sarah Shirley (d 1783) pedimented; Richard Philipps, organist, (d 1823); Susanna Richards (d 1742) with fluted pilasters and three colours; Maria Warlow (d 1809) with urn over shaped plaque by Mainwaring; James Hills d1818, with urn, by Mainwaring.
Stained glass: Nave N 2 Courage & Victory, to Lt P. Girardet (d 1914) Kempe-style; N3 1903 Christ & St Peter, possibly by Powell; N4 to M. Thomas, finely drawn High Victorian Gothic, Crucifixion and Resurrection, 1870 by Heaton, Butler & Bayne. N transept N big colourful window with much pattern work and 3 scenes, Call to Peter, Feed my Sheep, and Christ stilling the waves, by Wailes of Newcastle, 1866, to David Morris MP (d 1864). Chancel N1 1978 by John Petts 'the desert shall bloom'. E large 5-light window of 1873 by Alexander Gibbs, to Isaac Horton (d 1872) 5 scenes from the Crucifixion and 4 top-light panels including Light of the World and Feed my sheep. S aisle has 3 major works of 1864 by Joseph Bell of Bristol: the E 5-light of Christ, St Peter and Evangelists, neo-classical drawing style but Gothic tabernacles, S wall 4 th, 3-light, Faith, Hope & Charity, to Miss A. Lewis, and S wall 3rd, 6 vesica-shaped panels of Works of Mercy, to Charles Morgan. S aisle 2nd, 1926, 3 warrior saints to R. Lester, probably by Shrigley & Hunt of Lancaster. S aisle 1st, 1987 by John Petts, tree of love. S aisle W has panel of armorial glass, earlier C19. In NE vestry a panel of Lamb of God.

Reasons for Listing

Graded I as a substantial essentially medieval church with landmark tower and an outstanding collection of monuments within.

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