by  • July 27, 2013 • Ceredigion, Church, Ferwig, Medieval, Modern, Period, Post-Medieval, Site Type • 0 Comments


    The church, a possession of Cardigan Priory, was granted to Chertsey Abbey by Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd in 1165. The chapels and half a carrucate of land pertaining to it were included in the grant. On 21st June 1406 Philip Weny was presented with the position of Vicar by the Abbot of Chertsey Abbey. In 1488 the Vicar was “…an honest and aged priest…” called Rees. On 16th August 1513 Owen Griffith became the Vicar, succeeding Griffin ap David Duy, who had resigned. In 1535 the church was divided between three owners. One part belonged to the Prior of Cardigan Priory, another to the Abbot of Talley Abbey, and the remainder to the Vicar of Ferwig. When Cardigan Priory was dissolved in 1538, Owain ap Gruffydd was still the Vicar.

    Jevan Griffith was the Vicar in 1606-29. On 25th September 1609 King James I granted to Francis Morris and Francis Phelips of London:

    “…a third part of the Rectory of Berwicke, in return for money formerly paid to the king…”

    A chalice at the church was dated 1615. A porch was added in 1627. In 1663 Rev. John Morgan became the Vicar. In 1667 Rev. Richard Harries became the Vicar. In 1667-70 Rev. Richard Harries was the Vicar. In 1715 Rev. T. Richards became the Vicar.

    In 1718 David James and David Rees were the church wardens. By 1733 until at least 1741 Rev. Evan Davies was the Vicar. On 15th November 1737 David Davies, the eldest son of the Vicar, Rev. Evan Davies, died aged 16. Between 1746 and 1757 the circulating schools frequently kept a schoolroom here. In 1750 Rev. J. Pryce became the Vicar. In 1758 Rev. David Davies became the Vicar. In 1758-97 Rev. David Davies was the Vicar. In November 1804 Rev. John Jones, Vicar, died. In 1808 Samuel R. Meyrick referred to the two previous incumbents – Rev. David Davies and Rev. Mr. James. He also made a brief description of the building in which he refers to a highly ornamented font in the form of a square basin on a pillar. He refers also to the pointed arch between nave and chancel and a smaller similar arch linking the nave and tower. He described various monuments, including:

    “…the remains of a white alabaster monument now lying on the ground viz, a slab turreted along the edge, six feet long and two feet broad. There is also a piece of freestone two feet four inches in length and one foot nine inches in height, on which are carved six figures, standing in as many highly ornamented niches, which appear to be very ancient and much mutilated. Another of the same height as the last, and one foot six inches in length, has a single figure on it, in a niche, but much more ornamented. It is probable that all these were parts of a monument to some Norman lord, who at one time possessed Verwic…”

    In 1832 Rev. Thomas H. Davies became the Curate. In 1833 Rev. David Thomas became the Curate. In 1833-39 Rev. David Thomas was the Curate. Circa 1833 Samuel Lewis wrote the following:

    The living is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king’s books at £10. 13. 4., endowed with £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor; impropriators, Arthur Jones, Esq., and the Miles family. A rent-charge of £240 has been awarded as a commutation in lieu of tithes, of which sum the impropriators receive two-thirds and the vicar one-third. The church, dedicated to St. Pedrog, is a small ancient edifice, and consists of a nave and chancel separated by a large pointed arch, with a tower communicating with the nave by a similar arch of smaller dimensions; the font is elaborately ornamented, and over the porch is the date 1627…”

    In 1841 Rev. Thomas Rees became the Curate of Ferwig. In 1842 Rev. Griffith Evans became the Vicar. In 1847 Rev. Thomas Rees became the Vicar of Mwnt & Ferwig, and resided at Pritchardfach (now Brynymor), Cardigan. He was still the Vicar in 1851, when he was 48 years old. In 1851 the congregation numbered less than 20. The church was rebuilt in 1853-54 to designs by Henry Woodyer, retaining a Norman tower. On 24th March 1854 the following appeared in the ‘Pembrokeshire Herald‘:

    East window in May 2000 (c) Glen K Johnson

    East window in May 2000 (c) Glen K Johnson

    “…VERWICK NEW CHURCH.—The beautiful little church which is now in course of erection at Verwick, near Cardigan, is nearly completed, and it is expected it will be ready to open for public worship in May next. The edifice reflects considerable credit on the contractors, Messrs. Jenkins and John Josephs, of Kilgerran and Cardigan…”

    On February 3rd 1855 Mary Rees, daughter of Rev. Thomas Rees, died aged 18. On May 22nd 1855 Thomas Rees, son of Rev. Thomas Rees, died aged 16. On March 21st 1864 Rev. Thomas Rees, the Vicar, died aged 64.

    In 1864 Rev. Rees Williams became the Vicar and remained so in 1864-68. In 1875 he was succeeded by Rev. Daniel Harries Davies. A surprise religious census in 1884 showed just 11 attending morning service. In 1899 reference was made to the church by William Edward Yerward James in the Cardigan Guide:

    The curious square western tower is very ancient, apparently of Norman architecture. As in Mount Church, there is also here an old wooden Bier, and the other most interesting objects are an ancient and peculiar iron chest, lined with wood, used for keeping the records, and a silver Chalice with a cover, dated 1615, and in use at the present day…’

    In 1903 E. Horsfall-Turner wrote the following:

    ...The church is built almost in the valley, a rather unusual position, and its appearance is more singular from the fact that the ancient, massive, square western tower is overtopped by the roof of the restored nave. It is dedicated to Saint Pedrog and was built in 1853 on the site of the previous erection which bore the date 1627. The beautiful silver chalice with cover bears, however, the earlier date of 1615, and the shape of the tower, the thick walls of which are cracking with age, suggests the presence of a very early structure in the days when these Norman towers were probably used in part for defence. The interior is spacious and lofty, with fine roof-beams, partly stained East window, plain stone pulpit with slate steps, with a stone wall and iron gates separating the chancel from the nave. The handsome font is a modern octagonal structure on octagonal pillar and plinth. The records of the parish are kept with the chalice and plate in an old peculiar iron chest lined with wood...

    On 12th April 1912 Rev. Daniel Harries Davies resigned. On 24th May 1912 Rev. John Jones (b.1865) became the Vicar. In 1914 Rev. John Davies became the Curate. On 18th September 1917 Rev. John Jones married Miss Evelyn Morgan-Richardson of Rhosygilwen, Cilgerran. On 22nd August 1929 the Bishop dedicated a new organ. In August 1930 major renovations were being undertaken here. Rev John Jones retired on 6th February 1942 and died on July 4th 1943. On 9th December 1943 Rev. T. J. Thomas, Curate-in-Charge, married Miss Mary Harper. In January 1945 Rev. T. J. Thomas was still the Curate-in-Charge. In late September 1945 Rev. D. Thomas Richard was appointed Curate. In November 1947 electric lights were installed here. In 1948-52 Rev. D. T. Price was the Curate-in-charge, having succeeded Rev. D. Thomas. In April 1957 Rev. J. E. Jones became the new Vicar. In September 1957 an extension to the churchyard was dedicated by the Bishop of St David’s. In June 1958 the Archdeacon dedicated a new window here. The ancient tower was largely demolished in February 1968. In February 1974 Rev. Alfred Joseph Davies became the Vicar. In 1976 the Royal Commission referred to the removal of the foundations of the tower and to burials beneath that pre-dated the structure. The tower had been demolished “…in a rather informal manner…” In May 1976 the Church was re-opened and re-dedicated following repairs. Rev. E. E. Jones was then the Vicar. In 2005-09 Rev. John Powell was the Vicar.

    Ferwig Church in May 2000 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Ferwig Church in May 2000 (c) Glen K Johnson


    In 2000 the following observations were made:

    Anglican Church of 1853 in coursed blue lias with steeply pitched slate roofs, coped gables with cross finials and sandstone traceried openings. Sandstone quoins to angles. Single storey with W chancel having attached vestry, taller nave to E with S porch, tower demolished. Stone block W wall. Nave has 2 bays of sandstone traceried arched-headed Gothic lights with hoodmoulds and leaded glass. South wall has gable-fronted porch to W and two bipartite traceried windows. Porch has coped gable, pointed Gothic arched door and steep slate roof. Chancel has small lean-to vestry in similar stone, slate roofed, to NE near angle. East wall has raised sandstone sill band beneath large Gothic arched, hooded and traceried window. Five pointed star above 5-light, outer pairs with Gothic heads and ogee head tocentre light. South wall has single light to left and bipartite window to right. Some stone buttressing evident.


    NLW Allt Llwyd MS 1

    Llangoedmor Parish Records

    NLW Church in Wales: Episcopal Papers of St David’s

    Cambrian Journal 24/11/1804

    The History & Antiquities of the County of Cardigan, Samuel Rush Meyrick 1808

    Census Returns 1851

    The Religious Census of 1851

    The History of Cilgerran, John Roland Phillips 1867

    Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1868; 1875; 1905; 1912; 1914-15; 1917; 1924; 1929-30; 1942-43

             1945; 1947-48; 1952; 1957-58; 1968; 1974; 1976; 1996; 2008; 2010

    Cardigan Observer 1884

    A Guide to Cardigan & District, William Edward Yerward James 1899

    Cardiganshire & Its Antiquities 1902

    Cardigan Priory In The Olden Days, Emily M Pritchard 1904

    Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1895; 1926

    Episcopal Register of St. David’s

    The Church Bells of Cardiganshire

    Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest – Cardigan, Julian Orbach, CADW 1992

    Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest – Ferwig, Julian Orbach, CADW 1997

    Monumental Inscriptions, Ferwig Cemetery

    Hanes Ysgol y Ferwig 2007.

    © Glen K Johnson 27/07/2013


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