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All Saints' Church, Oystermouth, Swansea, Glamorgan

Denomination: Anglican

Dedication: All Saints (but see Note 1)

Built: 13th century
Extended: 1860
Photography: Edward Llewellyn-Jones
Date: 1 April 2011
Camera: Sony DSC-WX1 digital

Note 1: All Saints, Oystermouth . . . may have originally been dedicated to St Illtud.
[Source: The People of Gower, by Derek Draisey, Draisey Publishing, Swansea, 2003; ISBN 0-9546544-0-4]

Note 2: There has been a church at Oystermouth since the days of the Celtic church, as this church is mentioned by Nennius in the 9th century. It is probable that there was a llan here before the ninth century, and conceivable that the present building is on the original site. Beside, or beneath the church, was a Roman building with a tessellated floor, fragments from which have been found at various times. The north aisle of the present building was the original church until it was enlarged in 1860. The architecture of the present south aisle is typical of the Early English architectural period and the eastern end is a good example of early 13th century design. Following the Norman occupation of Gower, the church was granted to the Abbey of St Peter at Gloucester. In 1367 the church was transferred to the Hospital of St David in Swansea, which retained it until its suppression in 1540. Within the church can be seen some fragments of Roman mosaic, an early font and a pillar piscina.
[Source: The Churches and Chapels of Gower, The Gower Society, Llandybie, 2007; ISBN 0-902767-39-9]

All Saints' Church, Oystermouth

Note 3: The tower, long nave, and chancel are all probably of 13th century origin although the tower top and several windows are late medieval. The chancel has three east lancets and contains a pillar piscina. It and the nave now form a south chapel and aisle to a large new late 19th century church. There is a scalloped Norman font.
[Source: The Old Parish Churches of Gwent, Glamorgan & Gower, by Mike Salter, Folly Publications, Malvern, Worcestershire, 1991; ISBN 1-871731-08-9]

All Saints' Church, Oystermouth
Above: Altar in the Lady Chapel – formerly the sanctuary of the original ancient church.

Note 4: Oystermouth Parish Church, dedicated to All Saints. Situated about the centre of the parish. Supposed to have been consecrated centuries ago, but age unknown. Under what circumstances consecrated or licensed: the Minister cannot tell, save and except its being consecrated to the worship of Almighty God and dedicated to his service.Remarks: The congregation fluctuates from 200 to a full Church (600). The service from Easter to November are Morn. 11; –aft. 3., from November to Easter 11 in the morning.
[Source: The Religious Census of 1851 – A Calendar of the Returns Relating to Wales: Volume I, South Wales, transcription edited by Ieuan Gwynedd Jones and David Williams, University of Wales Press, Cardiff 1976; ISBN 0-7083-0619-5]

All Saints' Church, Oystermouth
Above: The impressive Reredos immediately behind the High Altar was designed by G. B. Beadle of Faith Craft Works, London.
It was dedicated on 1 November (All Saints Day) 1951.

Note 5: In 1141, Maurice, son of William de Londres, made a gift of the income of Oystermouth Church to St Peter's Abbey at Gloucester. The family expired in the male line in the early 13th century and, in a charter of 1306, Oystermouth is not listed as a fief, but as a demesne manor of the lords of Gower.
[Source: A History of Gower, by Derek Draisey, Logaston Press, Almeley, 2002; ISBN 1-873827-13-X]

All Saints' Church, Oystermouth All Saints' Church, Oystermouth
The bell (above right) is part of an historic ring of bells brought to Swansea from Santiago, Chile, 150 years ago. It is thought the bells were
shipped to Chile by Jesuit missionaries in the early 19th century, and hung in the tower of the Church of  'La Campania de Jesus' in Santiago.

Note 6: Fragments of mosaic pavement in All Saints' church suggest that the church was built on the site of a Roman villa. The churchyard contains the grave of Thomas Bowdler (1784-1825), the English physician notorious for 'bowdlerizing' the works of Shakespeare – i.e. expunging everything 'which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family; Bowdler spent the last 15 years of his life at Rhyddings House ib Swansea's Brynmill area.
[Source: The Welsh Academy Encylcopaedia of Wales, edited by John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines, Peredur I. Lynch, Unversity of Wales Press, Cardiff, 2008; ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6]

See here for further details of Thomas Bowdler.

The theme of the window (below left) is 'Putting on the whole armour of God' as described by St Paul in Ephesians 6. The window on the right, representing Gentleness, Love and Patience, commemorates Dame Catherine Prudence, wife of Sir Jonh J. Jenkins MP, who died 29 June 1900.

All Saints' Church, Oystermouth All Saints' Church, Oystermouth

For further information about All Saints' Church, visit the Parish of Oystermouth website.

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