Granston – Church of St Catherine

Granston Church stands on a mound veiled by trees, overlooking Granston farm. The present building dates from 1877, replacing an early medieval church. The original foundations of the church seem to have been retained; a plain edifice of a nave and chancel with a squinch arch – lit from the outside by a small circular window – leading through what is now the north transept. The victorian structure has retained much of the unadorned simplicity that appears to have characterised the earlier, medieval building. On the theme of the loaves and fishes the altar, lectern and pulpit hangings have modern embroideries.

The Taxatio of 1291 and the Black Book of St Davids – an inventory of the diocesan assets prepared for Bishop Martyn in 1326 – record that the benefice of Granston had connections with the Tironian monastery at St Dogmael’s near Cardigan. When the parish was united with that of St Nicholas, the patronage of St Nicholas remained with the bishop of St Davids, while that of Granston was attached to the crown after the Dissolution.

Granston was the site of an episcopal court which collected rents and was responsible for ensuring that the tenants of the bishop performed their feudal duties at the appropriate season. To the north west of the churchyard, a small stone enclosure containing a quantity of fallen stone rubble may, according to local tradition, be part of an early court building. The Welsh name for the manor – Treopert – points to the tenure of one Robert at an early stage in its history. Tradition associates Granston with Robert, one of the sons of William the Conqueror, but given the connection with St Dogmael’s Abbey, it is possible that the Robert in question may be Robert FitzMartin of Cemais.

In 1833, S Lewis in his Topograpical Dictionary of Wales noted that the the church was ‘a plain edifice, not claiming notice for any peculiarity of architecture…’ but ‘with several good mural tablets’ erected to the memory of the Priskilly family. A plaque inside the church comemorating Rev Rowland Daniel who died in 1879, notes that it was through his zeal that the church was rebuilt. A report of the reopening of Granston Church was printed in the Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser in July 1878

The graveyard of this picturesque church is full of snowdrops, primroses and daffodils in the Spring. The gravestones include that for the crew of the CHARLES HOLMES, wrecked at Aberbach during the Royal Charter Gale 25-26 October 1859. Also an unknown man found drowned at Abermawr on 19 January 1916 (possibly a mariner from a ship lost to enemy action?) .