• Gower Churches

Rhossili Church

Rhossili Church, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, is built upon the 6th century foundations of an earlier church founded by St. Fili. An even earlier church existed at the foot of Rhossili Downs in an area known as "The Warren." This was later besanded, but the present day church's stone doorway frame is believed to have originated from that earlier building. 

The present church is of traditional 13th century Norman original with late 19th Century renovations. Its tower, once used as a landmark by passing ships, is a saddlebacked tower and houses two bells. One of the earlier bells of the church is of mysterious origin but local tradition has it that it was rescued from a wrecked Spanish vessel. The bells were sounded by a striking hammer and this caused the inscribed bell to crack. The bell was then converted into a safe.

Rhossili Church has several noteworthy points to observe. The decorated doorway contains a relatively rare scratch-dial where the time could be determined by the shadow cast from a pointer inserted into its centre hole. Another feature of the building is its 'leper window'. This is a narrow slit in the fabric of the church wall via which members of the church, known as Anchorites, who lived in solitude within the building, could hear confessions, communicate with the ill and get fed.

The church contains a white marble memorial to Rhossili local - Petty Officer Edgar Evans. Born in Ship Cottage, formerly Ship Inn, Evans met his end during Captain Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole in 1912.

Before leaving the grounds of the church, final items of interest can be viewed in the fine sundial and sculptured lamp base set in top of one of the gateposts.

The church is open from Easter to the end of October.

  • Rhossili Church
    Rhossili Church

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