The Churches of our parish range from the seaside locations of Port Eynon, Rhossili and Oxwich to the
countryside churches of Reynoldston, Penrice and Llandewi. They are all worth exploring and a warm welcome awaits at all of them. Details of service times can be found here.
Many of the Gower churches are dedicated to the Celtic saints such as Cenydd and Teilo who brought Christianity to the area. The founder of our church in Reynoldston is believed to be Reginald (or Reynald) de Breos, from whom the village gets its name. The De Breos family were given the Lordship of Gower from King John in c12th century. The church was erected in the early 13th century. The southern and western parts of the peninsula were populated largely by English settlers. It is hardly surprising then that the church was dedicated to St George, the Patron Saint of England!
St Cattwg was a Welsh saint born c497AD and the present church dates from the mid-19th century. It was restored at the expense of Christopher (Kit) Rice Mansel Talbot of Penrice, the owners of the land, though its foundation may go back to the 6th century. An unusual feature of the church is the absence of both an east or west window. Also of interest is the (now bricked up) leper's window on the south side of the chancel. This is the only Gower church apparently with a single (north) transept. The church and graveyard host several memorials to the "Janet" lifeboat disaster on January 1st 1917.
Dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, the present structure was probably built in the late 12th century. The entrance arch is a fine example of the late Norman period. The outer dogtooth moulding and the inner moulding of deeply cut chevrons are considered to be rare in Wales.
On the left hand pillar can be seen the remains of a scratch dial. A memorial tablet in white marble can also be found dedicated to Petty Officer Edgar Evans, RN, who died in 1912 with Captain Scott on the tragic return journey after they reached the South Pole. It was erected by his widow, Lois Evans (formerly Beynon) and bears the inscription: ‘To seek, to strive, to find and not to yield.’
St David’s Church, Llanddewi is small, simple 13th Century church. In the rural heartland of Gower, it is situated in a farmyard on the Gower Way, a route established for walkers using public footpaths and rights of way. The saddle-back tower is accessed internally through a wide arch from the nave, while another wide arch separates the nave from the chancel. The chancel is slightly off-set to the right, said to symbolise the head of the crucified Christ. The church is light and welcoming, having low, plain-glass windows.
Almost hidden from view, beneath the looming shadows of the woods neighbouring Oxwich Bay, nestles the church of St. Illtyd. Reputedly, a Christian building has been present on this site since the 6th century, but the current building is a largely 13th century construction with a 14th century tower.
Rev Justin Davies
©The Parish of South West Gower is part of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon in the Church in Wales