St Madoc of Ferns Church, Haroldston West, holds its final service
A former church in Pembrokeshire hosted its last congregation to end 1,000 years of worship at the building.
St Madoc de Fougères will no longer hold offices.
The church, located in Haroldston West, held its last service yesterday, Sunday July 31, with all the pews full and worshipers singing heartily.
However, this is not the end for the church – which was in danger of having its roof removed to become a safe ruin.
From now on, St Madoc will be managed by St Madoc of Ferns Community Trust, which will seek to maintain public access to the church and use the venue for the benefit of the Haven community.
Our title of sister, western telegraph, was at the final service where Reverend David Mortimer presided over a full congregation, including former priests who served in the church, and then everyone gathered for cake and coffee.
One of those present was a churchgoer, Diana Thomas.
Diana was the last churchwarden, but St Madoc means much more to her with memorable events in her life – her wedding, her daughter’s wedding and her first husband’s burial – all taking place at the church.
Diana had a smile on her face as she saw the numbers that turned out, but there was a tinge of wishing things had been different.
“I have mixed feelings,” Diana said. “The numbers have just dropped and it’s become impossible to function, but I’m glad someone is keeping the church going rather than letting it fall into disrepair.”
People traveled from as far as Shropshire to attend the service, which also hosted the chairman of the new St Madoc of Ferns Community Trust.
Richard Baker gave a talk to the congregation where he explained the purposes of the trust.
“We are in dialogue with the Church of Wales to take over the running of the church,” Mr Baker said.
“A meeting in Little Haven revealed a deep well of good for the church, and since then a small group of people have come together to discuss how to keep the church alive.
“I have always loved this church since I arrived here about ten years ago. It was therefore a great shock to learn that it was closing.
“We have a mountain to climb and we will take it one step at a time.”
St Madoc of Ferns Community Trust aims to:
- Preserve St Madoc of Ferns for public access and for the benefit of the Havens community.
- To educate and inform the Havens community and visitors to the area of the history of St Madoc of Ferns Church and the history of St Madoc.
- To promote visitation and use of the building for historical education, art, entertainment or other purposes by the local Havens community and by visitors to the area.
- To work with organizations in the UK and Ireland concerned with St Madoc, St David and the historic or spiritual pilgrimage routes in Wales, and promote St Madoc of Ferns Church as a place of religious tourism.
Also present was Canon John Davies, who was at St Madoc between 1982 and 1989.
The cleric said he could see why the church was closing.
“When I was here the church was full, including with children,” Reverend Davies said. “But children grow up, parents get old, people die, houses are sold.
“In my heart I am sad, in my head I accept. It is not the same as before, but the church serves a fluid community that is constantly changing and the church must be where the people.