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Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage' Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage'
Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)
Documenting the entire history of Kenfig & surrounding areas from Prehistory to the Present Day















History - Kenfig History - St James' Church, Kenfig
Search Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource)

An Educational Resource documenting entire history of Kenfig & surrounding areas from Prehistory to the Present Day

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HISTORY SECTION

Kenfig History - St James' Church, Kenfig (built c.1147-1154)


ITEMS IN THIS SECTION

1.1 - St James' Church, Kenfig (built c.1147-1154)

History of the Church

Site Plan - Kenfig Town, Castle & Church (Gray 1909)

Associated People & Places

During the 12th century the Normans progressed along the South Wales coast led by Robert Fitzhamon who split the conquest into knights fees keeping Cardiff and parts of Margam and Kenfig for himself, suggesting that they were of some significance. Kenfig became a Norman trading town attacked frequently by the Welsh.

The Normans had adopted the Roman form of Christianity and an organised church was becoming centred on Canterbury with the abbeys at other sites in England. As the Normans moved west they endowed abbeys at Tewkesbury and Gloucester with lands and authority in South Wales.

Kenfig was endowed to Tewkesbury Abbey.

Site of Church

The site of the old church is stated to have been South of the Castle's outer bailey (over 300 yards from Castle itself). A worked stone together with the outlines of graves and human remains have been noted in the site of the adjoining cemetery (the limits of which remain uncertain).

A floriated slab seen by Donovan in 1804 lay at Maudlam Church for many years before being housed in Margam (Stones) Museum. The slab can be dated to the late 13th or early 14th century; it's enriched with a floriated design and has an elaborate encircled cross in the head.

The Lombardic inscription at the sides is now undecipherable.

Medieval Kenfig

The church in the medieval town of Kenfig was initiated between 1147 and 1154. William, the Earl of Gloucester, petitioned the Abbot of Tewkesbury to permit Henry Thusard, clerk, to build a church in the town of Kenfig.

Thusard paid an annual pension of 2 shillings to the Abbot so that the rights of Tewkesbury to the tithes were not prejudiced. Thus the church of St. James in Kenfig was a Tewkesbury church. As time went on, the sand encroached on the town. A number of events indicate that this gradual process, accelerated by occasional storms, occurred largely during the second half of the 13th, the 14th and into the 15th centuries.

What happened to the St James Church?

The church of St.James in Kenfig was eventually overwhelmed and a new church was built in Pyle, again dedicated to St.James. Some of the costs of the replacement of the church in Pyle would have been borne by the burgesses of Kenfig who were given to understand that the church in Pyle was now their parish church. It is believed that St James' Church at Kenfig was removed stone by stone and rebuilt at Pyle being renamed St James' at that location.
Learn more... St James',Church in Pyle

St Mary Magdalene Church, Mawdlam

The Church Font - Was this font originally from St James' Church, Kenfig?)

The font in St Mary Magdalene Church, Maudlam is of early Norman origin with a distinctive fish-scale pattern all over and rope rim to its upper edge. The font occupies more than its fair share of space in the church with a theory that it was brought to Maudlam Church from the original St James' Church at Kenfig when that became inundated with sand.

A similar but smaller font can be seen in Llantwit Major church.

Margam Stones Museum

Learn more about the Margam Stones Museum
Margam Stones Museum



1.2 - St James' Church, Kenfig


The Buried City of Kenfig - Thomas Gray, 1909

Chapter IV - The Church of Kenfig & The Chapels


1.2.1 - Charter of William Earl of Gloucester (date unknown)

The ancient church at Kenfig, dedicated to St James, lay 300 yards to the south of the castle: the walls of its cemetery adjoin the castle-bailey; the grant of a messuage within the bailey of the castle, on the east near the wall of the cemetery of Kenefeg assists in locating it.

The Church of St James was erected about the same time, or soon after Margam Abbey, for the records of Tewkesbury Abbey show that Henry Thusard, clerk in Holy Orders, had a license from William Earl of Gloucester to found and build at Kenefeg the Church of St James and in the British Museaum, MS Cott., Cleop. A. VII., we have the foundation charter:

    "Earl William's Charter de Prima Fundatione Ecclesiae S. Jacobi de Kenefeg"

The Charter bears no date - the following is its English translation:

"Charter of William the Earl testifying that he has required the abbot and convent of Tewkesbury that they shall permit Henry Thusard, clerk of the same earl, to erect a church in Kenefeg, to hold from them while he shall live, paying a pension, or payment, of two, shillings, at the feast of All Saints, without any diminution of their tithes, which they have had in former times, so that after the death of the same Henry, the building and Shrubberies and other improvements or repairs made in the land of the church shall remain as their own for ever.

So also that if the ministers of the said earl shall by reason of war or larger pasture remove either his sheep or cows from any parish of the said abbot into the parish of Kenefeg and there be no residue there remaining, he shall have a tithe of them."

It would seem from this charter that the church land was planted with shrubs.

As Earl William succeeded his father, Earl Robert in AD 1147, the year of the foundation of Margam Abbey, St James's Church was probably built soon after; in fact, we find the church was in existence before AD 1154 for in T.378 (C.DCIX) we have a record of an arbitration in that year by Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate and Legate of the Apostolic See, directed to Nicholas ap Gwrgan, Bishop of Llandaff, settling the dispute between Job the priest, parson of St Leonard, Newcastle, Bridgend and Master Henry Tusard, parson of St James, Chenefeg, so that the said Henry relinquishes to the church of Newcastle the tithe of Geoffrey Esturmi (from whom comes the name Stormy - Stormy Farm and Stormy Down) and thirty acres of land belonging to the church of Chenefeg, dated at Caterbury AD 1154.

St James's Church was therefore built between AD 1147 and AD 1154.

1.2.2 - The Church of Kenfig & The Chapels

Among the Cottonian MS in the British Museum is a long charter, A VIII. 68, by Nicholas, Bishop of Llandaff, confirming to Tewkesbury Abbey all churches and benefices which the Abbey holds in the diocese of Llandaff.

The document discloses the large number of churches held by the Abbey in these parts, presented to it by Fitzhamon, his son-in-law, Robert Earl of Gloucester and the latter's son, William, William Earl of Gloucester. Thus did these lords gain the powerful support of the Church.

In this charter we find there are two churches in the town of Kenfig, betokening a large and important place.

There was also a chapel in each Corneli.

The Bishop confirms to Tewkesbury the church of St Jame of Kenefeg, with the chapel of St Thomas in the same town; the chapel of Corneli which is the town of Thomas; the chapel of St Wenduin in the town of Walter Lupellus or Lovel. The date of the charter would be between AD 1149 and 1183 - the period in which Bishop Nicholas held the see.


Source:
The Buried City of Kenfig, Thomas Gray, 1909.
Chapter IV, The Church of Kenfig & The Chapels pp 67-70;
Illustrations, Tombstone from old St James' Church, Kenfig p 84; East window of the Chapel of St Corneli at South Corneli p 77; Plan of Site of Kenfig Town, Castle & Church p 58;


1.3 - Incumbents (Pyle & Kenfig Parish, 1154 AD to Present)

Search through the Centuries

Below: c.12 = 12th century, c.13 = 13th century etc.

12th Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

1154
Henry Thusard - founder of the Church of Kenfig
1170
Daniel & Richard, Priests of Kenfig
1197
John, Priest of Kenfig

Related Website Links

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13th Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

1202 to 1219
Stephen, Clerk of Kenfig
1207 to 1267
Thomas, Chaplain of Kenfig
1220 to 1230
Robert & John, Priests of Kenfig
1226
Hugo, Vicar of Kenfig
1233 to 1271
Richard, Clerk of Kenfig
1242
Gilbert of Sully, Vicar of Kenfig died (Walter Alured presented by the Abbot of Tewkesbury - succeeded above Gilbert)
1254 to 1266
William, Clerk of Kenfig
1258
John Bareth, Clerk of Kenfig
1258 to 1266
Philip, Clerk of Kenfig
1276
Hugh, Vicar of Kenfig, Robert Presbyter
1289
Robert of St Fagan's, Vicar

Related Website Links

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14th Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

1329
Nicholas de Sherlake, Vicar
1397 to 1411
John Tudor, Vicar

Related Website Links

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15th Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

1460
Sir John Stradling, Vicar

Related Website Links

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16th Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

1544
Griffith ap Lefen, Vicar
1548
Robert Thomas
1553 to 1554
Philip Grant
1562 to 1563
Richard Rees
1596 to 1597
William Lloyd M.A.

Related Website Links

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17th Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

1607
John Howard (or Hayward)
1662
John Butler
1665
William Jones
1687 to 1715
William Lewis

Related Website Links

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18th Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

1725 to 1753
John Thomas (Described as Curate of Pyle & Newton Nottage)
1740
John Williams
1753 to 1757
John Walters, Lexicographer
1757 to 1794
John Williams (died 1794)
1795
John Hunt LI.D.
1799 to 1820
John Morgan

Related Website Links

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19th Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

1820
Richard Williams
1849
William Williams
1854
John Banks Price
1860
Walter Evans
1863
Daniel Evans
1865
John N Evans
1874
Watkin Davies
1880
W Pascal Davies
1883
John Tyssul Evans
1889
Thomas Melville Jones

Related Website Links

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20th Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

1904
John Bangor Davies
1915
David John Arthur
1938
D Godfrey Samuel
1949
David Davies
1972
J Chalk
1977
P G White
1999
Erle Hastey

Related Website Links

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21st Century - Incumbants (Pyle & Kenfig Parish)

date

name & details

2005
Ian Rees
2011
Dr Duncan Walker

Related Website Links

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Digital Database Author: Copyright Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2016






ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services
The Story of Kenfig Book - A. Leslie Evans
The Buried City of Kenfig - Thomas Gray, 1909.
The Parish of Pyle & Kenfig
Digital Database development/design/author/creator: Rob Bowen [See IP - DATABASE RIGHTS]


WEBPAGE RESEARCHER/AUTHOR

Copyright Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2016



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