Today is my Birthday, and besides lots of lovely presents, Mr Bumbleandme, me and Bee took to the road and explored the Pembrokeshire coastline. We were hunting for St Govan’s chapel.
St Govan’s Chapel is reputed to have been built in the thirteenth century in honour of a hermit and Saint who lived at the site. It is nestled on the side of a cliff, looking down on a small rocky cove. St Govan lived there in the sixth century and there are many myths and legends surrounding him and the chapel. Legend has it that Govan hid in a small fissure in the rocks to evade pirates. The crevice closed up to protect him and opened once the Pirates had gone. Afterwards he decided to build a small cell near the fissure and protected the locals from Pirates that troubled them. Govan died in 586 and is said to have been buried under the stone alter inside the chapel.
Legend also tells of a bell that was given to Govan, which was stolen by pirates. After praying for it’s return, Angels recovered the bell and hid it in a large rock nearby for safe keeping. When Govan tapped the bell rock the sound was one thousand times louder that it was originally.
Another legend says one of King Arthur’s knight, Sir Gawain lies buried at the stone alter, having retired there to live out his days as a hermit after Arthur’s death. This could be where the stories of St Govan and Sir Gawain become blurred.
There are two wells on the site, which have long since dried up, but it was at one time fashionable to take a pilgrimage there and drink from the wells to cure rheumatism, and eye problems.
It’s a magical place and the waves make a dramatic noise as they crash against the rocks below.
After climbing the stairs back up to the clifftops, which I should mention legend has it that you’ll never count the same number of steps up and down, we walked a short way along the coastal path. At St Govan’s head you look the you’ve walked and you can just see the chapel in the distance, nestled in the cliffs.
On our way home we stopped off for some lunch in a quaint little cafe, which was someone’s front garden in Bosherton. It’s a pretty little village famed for its lilly ponds, which we didn’t visit. We’ve saved that for another day, as I’m certain we’ll be back at St Govan’s chapel.