Known in Welsh as Tremarchog (The Knight’s Estate), St Nicholas is a peaceful, picturesque village on the Strumble Head peninsula (Pencaer). St Nicholas Church is a little gem nestling in the heart of the village. It was last restored in 1865, but there may well have been a place of worship here since the end of the Roman period.
The living of St Nicholas was recorded as a separate and single benefice in 1287. This continued until 1534 when there was a union with the church at Granston. Between 1672 and 1824 the joint benefice was held with the addition of the parish of Mathry. But in the Victorian period, with church attendance increasing, St Nicholas and Mathry again had their own vicars, notably in St Nicholas, over the course of 34 years, the Revd Rowland Daniel succeeded by his son the Revd Rowland Daniel.
As is the case with so many churches, repair and renovation work has become necessary at St Nicholas We are delighted to have been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, which will enable us to repair the roof, restore heating, and repair brick and stonework. Some of the wood flooring will also be replaced, having been there for hundreds of years. With this work underway, the church is currently closed, with services temporarily being held in the village hall.
- The south transept of the church has a squinch, an arched covered area where the first hermit or saint might have lived; in other words, this might have been the founder’s cell. Another early feature of the church is the Norman font. Surviving mediaeval fabric in the church includes the vaulted south transept, squint, and west wall with its impressive, massive external buttress.
- In the chancel are three 5th-6th century Christian inscribed stones. One stone was once used as a stile in the wall of the churchyard to the east of the porch. By 1873 it had been set into the churchyard wall and was moved into the chancel in 1905. The Latin script reads ‘TUNCCETACE UXOR DAARI HIC IACIT’ – ‘Tunnccetacem wife of Daarus, lies here.’ A primitive linear cross, probably 7th-9th century has been cut into the lower right-hand side of the stone.
- Two other stones are set into the base of the north chancel arch. These were once used as gateposts on Llandruidion farm, possibly the site of an early Christian settlement. One stone is inscribed with a small cross and the name ‘PAANI’ meaning the memorial stone of Paani. The stone has clearly been split, probably by the farmer who wished to reduce the size of the gatepost. The second pillar stone in the chancel bears the scars of its gatepost existence in the shape of clearly visible holes: six on the face and three on the left side.
- A natural spring is located a short distance from the church. This provided the village with water from medieval times until the 1940s and is still used during water shortages. It was re-dedicated by Bishop Hugh Jones during a pilgrimage in August 1995.
- The ancient name for the church was ‘Ecclesia de Villa Camerarii’. In Latin, the area was called Villa Camerarii which means ‘The Chamberlain’s Estate’ which is close to ‘Tremarchog’ meaning ‘The Knight’s Estate’ in English.
- The school, which is now the village hall, was built in 1868 and opened on 21st June 1869. The County Council decided to close it in 1958 due to a reduction in the number of children attending. The children from Tremarchog then went to Goodwick School.
St Nicholas: Church of St Nicholas
Goodwick, SA64 0LG