Granston Church stands on a mound veiled by trees, overlooking Granston Farm. The present building dates from 1877, replacing an early medieval church.
The original foundations of the church seem to have been retained: a plain edifice of a nave and chancel with a squinch arch – lit from the outside by a small circular window – leading through what is now the north transept. The Victorian structure has retained much of the unadorned simplicity that appears to have characterised the earlier, medieval building.
On the biblical theme of the loaves and fishes, the altar, lectern and pulpit hangings of the church have modern embroideries. Outside, the graveyard of this picturesque church is full of snowdrops and daffodils in the Spring. When visiting St Catherine’s, it is engaging to reflect on the fact that Norman lords created this small parish back in 1150, and, consequently, that one is on the site of nearly 900 years of recorded history.
- The Taxatio of 1291 – an ecclesiastical taxation assessment of English and Welsh parish churches and prebends – and the Black Book of St Davids – an inventory of the diocesan assets prepared for Bishop Martyn in 1326 – record that the benefice of Granston had connections with the Tironian monastery at St Dogmael’s, near Cardigan.
- When the parish was united with that of St Nicholas, the patronage of St Nicholas remained with the bishop of St Davids, while that of Granston was attached to the crown after the Dissolution.
- Granston was the site of an episcopal court which collected rents and was responsible for ensuring that the tenants of the bishop performed their feudal duties at the appropriate season. To the north-west of the churchyard, a small stone enclosure containing a quantity of fallen stone rubble may, according to local tradition, be part of an early court building.
- The Welsh name for the manor – Treopert – points to the tenure of one Robert at an early stage in its history. Tradition associates Granston with Robert, one of the sons of William the Conqueror, but given the connection with St Dogmael’s Abbey, it is possible that the Robert in question may be Robert FitzMartin of Cemais.
- In 1833, Samuel Lewis in his Topograpical Dictionary of Wales noted that the church was ‘a plain edifice, not claiming notice for any peculiarity of architecture … but with several good mural tablets’ erected to the memory of the Priskilly family.
- A plaque inside the church commemorating Revd Rowland Daniel, who died in 1879, notes that it was through his zeal that the church was rebuilt.
- The gravestones in the churchyard include one for the crew of the Charles Holmes, wrecked at Aberbach during the Royal Charter Gale of 25th-26th October 1859. There is also the grave of an unknown man found drowned at Abermawr on 19th January 1916, possibly a mariner from a ship lost to enemy action.
- Granston includes the estate of Tregwynt. The Tregwynt Hoard – a hoard of coins from the Civil War – was found at Tregwynt Mansion in 1996. The present Grade II* listed manor house dates from the eighteenth century.
Tregwynt Mill (Melin Tregwynt) dates back to the seventeenth century when it served the surrounding area’s sheep farming. It is still in operation, employing about 30 people, and in 2012 celebrated 100 years as a family business, now weaving for a global market.
Granston: Church of St Catherine
Haverfordwest, SA62 5UR