• Gower Churches

Cheriton Church

St. Cadoc's Church, Cheriton, was built in the 14th century to replace the one at nearby Landimore (which was abandoned because of the encroaching tides of the Burry Estuary). It is believed that the altar here is actually from this earlier church - its chipped corner being the result of falling from the cart onto the road during its transportation. The church is built around the design of a cathedral and is the most elaborate of the churches found on the Gower Peninsula - as well as being generally acknowledged as the most beautiful.

In 1874-75, using his own inheritance from the death of his parents a few years earlier, Reverend J. D. Davies, rector of both Cheriton and Llanmadoc (1868 - 1911), carried out restoration work on the medieval building. A keen carpenter, he also carved the church's choir stalls, altar rails and the embossed wooden ceiling. Other Gower churches which evidence the rector's handiwork include Llanmadoc Church, Llanrhidian Church and Oxwich Church .

The Reverend, famous for his historical writings on the peninsula, died in 1911 and is buried close to the south porch of the church.

It is difficult to find a more idyllic and serene spot as the churchyard at Cheriton but, in 1770, the churchyard was the scene of vicious and prolonged fighting between two feuding factions of the famous Lucas family. Reverend John Williams was again the rector at the time of this bitter argument, but on this occasion he was not to play a role in the uproar, as the crowd who gathered there locked him within the church for the duration of the fight, believing it to be an offence for the clergy to witness the shedding of blood.

At the time, it seems that Cheriton held some kind of court for legal arbitration and John Lucas of Horton, together with his son, also named John, gathered at the church to claim a certain tract of land by rights of an earlier marriage in the family. They arrived at the church with many men, prepared to take the land by force should their reasoned argument fail to procure them the acreage in question. To argue against the Horton Lucas' claim, yet another John Lucas, this time of Stouthall, arrived at Cheriton - again with his own army of followers. Rational debate failed to raise an amicable settlement and a great and bloody battle ensued, resulting in one of the party being murdered. They fight did not end until the High Sheriff of the County of Glamorgan arrived at the scene with his own band of armed officers of the peace.

Opposite the church, across the stream, once stood a great 17th Century mansion with its own spring - Craddock's Well. The well was said to possess supernatural powers and pins used to be dropped into its waters as votive offerings.

The Churc is kept locked but visitors can borrow a key from the very friendly shop in Llanmadoc.

  • Cheriton Church
    Cheriton Church

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