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Ancient church opens doors as part of CADW celebration of Welsh history and culture

28 Aug 2023 3 minute read
St Madoc of Ferns. Photo by ceridwen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

An ancient church close to the Pembrokeshire coast will be hosting the first ‘Cadw Open Doors’ event in the county next weekend.

St Madoc of Ferns church in the hamlet of Haroldston West will be open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday (2 and 3 September) between 11am and 4pm, with members of the local community talking about their fight to save the church, the story of St Madoc, the history of the church, and recent discoveries in the churchyard.

Visitors will be also able to join a guided walk through a temperate rain forest and to a fourteenth century farm.

Parts of the church, built on the site of a religious community founded in 583AD by St Madoc (also known as St Aidan), date back over a thousand years.

Although restored in 1883, it retains much of the 12th-13th century foundations and walls, as well as a medieval font.

More recent stained-glass artwork includes memorials from the First World War and a 20th century depiction of St Madoc.

The church was closed by the Church in Wales in 2022 following declining attendances.

Irish court

St Madoc, the son of King Sawyl Benuchel was brought up at his grandfather’s Irish court where he became interested in the Christian religion.

He was educated in Leinster before travelling across the Irish Sea to Glyn Rhosyn to study the scriptures under St David at Llangennith.

Madoc was well known for his kindness to the poor and often gave away his food and clothes to them, while he himself lived on bread and water.

St Madoc of Ferns church. Image via Google

Chair of the St Madoc’s community group Gareth Morgan said: “We are excited to be able to open the church and to share our progress on being able to reopen the church permanently.

“This is a special place and much loved by locals and visitors to the area, who love its peaceful seclusion and its links to the age of Saints’.

Open Doors is an annual celebration of Wales’s heritage and culture. Organised and funded by Cadw, the Wales-wide event will see hundreds of historic sites, iconic buildings, landmarks and unusual premises offer free entry, activities and events to visitors throughout September.

For more information and full details of events across Wales visit the Cadw website.

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