St Nicholas, Nicholaston

AN elegantly restored church with much work undertaken by the Talbot family in the 19th Century.

It overlooks Oxwich Bay, with views across to Devon and Cornwall on a fine day.

It is a Victorian restoration of an earlier medieval church. The first church in Nicholaston was built close to the sandy cliffs that overlook the sea. The sand gradually moved in and made the site unusable, so some time in the 14th Century a new church was built inland.

It was comprehensively rebuilt in 1894 by Olive Talbot as a memorial to her father, CRM Talbot, of Margam Castle and Penrice Castle.

The church is remote from the village it serves, standing just off the main south Gower road.


St John the Baptist, Penmaen

THE neighbouring villages of Penmaen and Nicholaston nestle at the foot of Cefn Bryn, the gently sloping hill that runs along the spine of the peninsula.

They are surrounded by a diverse landscape, including grassy fields and rivers that run south through woodlands and dunes to sandy beaches.

The Victorian church of St John stands at the heart of the village of Penmaen. It is very simply decorated.

The original church was on the burrows above Three Cliffs Bay. It was besanded in the early 14th Century, and probably was directly replaced by the current one.

From 1230 to 1540 it was owned by the Knights of St John. It was largely restored in the 19th Century.

Today, the building sits alongside the main south Gower road, and is wedged in between modern housing.

St Illtyd’s, Ilston

THE village of Ilston lies in the heart of the Gower AONB. It stands at the head of an attractive wooded valley, Ilston Cwm, through which a stream runs south. Ilston is not much more than a row of houses along a country lane.

A 6th Century monastic cell was one of the first Baptist places of worship in Britain. The 13th Century church incorporates the remains of the 6th Century cell.

The first written record of the church was in 1119; in 1221, it was granted to the Knights Hospitallers. The patronage passed to the English crown at the Reformation.

A yew tree opposite the church entrance is probably as old as the building itself.


St Mary’s, Pennard

THE original, ┬ámedieval church of St Mary’s became overwhelmed by sand, and a new church was built further inland in the early 16th Century.

The building contains 13th Century stonework. Perhaps the building pre-dates its use as a church, or stones from the original church may have been used in the construction of the new church.

Today, the church stands on a busy road junction between Southgate and Bishopston.

St Teilo’s, Bishopston

Situated at the head of the Bishopston Valley, St Teilo’s occupies the site of one of the earliest Christian settlements in Wales. The Bishopston stream, which winds for more than two miles to Pwlldu Bay, runs past the church gateway.

St Teilo’s dates back to 460-490 AD, when Teilo established a church hidden in a dell above the stream. The current building was built in the 13th Century.