St Govan's Chapel

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St. Govan's Chapel
St Govans' chapel - - 876068.jpg
St Govan's Chapel is located in Pembrokeshire
St Govan's Chapel
Location within Pembrokeshire
General information
LocationSt. Govan's Head, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Coordinates51°35′55″N 4°56′12″W / 51.59861°N 4.93667°W / 51.59861; -4.93667

St. Govan's Chapel is a chapel located at St. Govan's Head, Pembrokeshire in south west Wales.

Built into the side of a limestone cliff, the building measures 20 by 12 feet (6.1 m × 3.7 m) with walls constructed from limestone, and consists of two chambers, one in the front and one in the back.[1] The majority of the chapel was built in the thirteenth century, although parts of it may date back further to the sixth century when Saint Govan, a monk moved into a cave located on the site of the chapel. One legend suggests that Saint Govan is buried underneath the chapel's altar, located at the east end of the building.[2] The entrance to the building is via. a doorway on the north side, low stone benches run along the north and south walls and an empty bell-cote is located at the west end.[3] The slate roof is suspected to be a modern addition compared to the rest of the building.[3]

The building is accessible from the clifftop by climbing down a set of 52 stairs,[4] although tourist organisations propagate the legend that when counted, the number of steps differs between going down and going back up.[5]

Engraving of St Govan's Chapel (1810)

The building was listed with Grade I status on August 2, 1996. The chapel is within the Castlemartin Military Training Area and is sometimes inaccessible.


  1. ^ The Beauties of England and Wales, or, Delineations, topographical, historical, and descriptive, of each county, Volume 18. 1815. p. 805.
  2. ^ "St Govan's Chapel". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28.
  3. ^ a b "St Govan's Chapel". Coflein. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.
  4. ^ An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Wales and Monmouthshire: VII – Country of Pembroke. His Majesty's Stationery Office. 1925. p. 21.
  5. ^ "St. Govan's Head – Walk 6" (PDF). Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.