St Govan’s Chapel, near Bosherston

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St Govan’s Chapel, near Bosherston

This chapel, on the site of an ancient cell, nestles in a cleft in the cliffs. To reach it, you must descend a long flight of stone steps. Try counting the steps on the way down, and then on the way back. Locals would have you believe the numbers are never the same in both directions!

The chapel was built in the 13th or 14th century, or possibly earlier. It’s only about six metres in length. In medieval times, pilgrims came here to seek help with eye infections or other ailments. St Govan’s well is a short distance further down towards the shore.

It’s thought that St Govan was born in Wexford, Ireland, and came to Pembrokeshire relatively late in his life. He established a cell at this spot and lived here until his death in 586AD. It is said that he’s buried under the altar of the present chapel.

According to legend, pirates from Lundy island once spotted St Govan on the south Pembrokeshire coast and tried to capture him for ransom. The cliffs split open to give him a hiding place, then closed around him until the pirates had left. One version of the tale says that St Govan was ashamed of his cowardice and stayed at the cleft for the pirates to return, when he would try to convert them to Christianity.

The chapel is now cared for by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Where is this HiPoint?

Website of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Details of chapel on Monkton Benefice website

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