St Clears Town Council

The Priory Church of St Mary Magdalene

Track 8 - St Mary Magdalene

If you want to visit the Church, a key can be obtained from the Vicarage
The foundation date is unknown but from sometime between 1147 and 1184 AD it became the church of the Cluniac Priory and served as the parish church. The dedication to St Mary Magdelene probably reflects the association with the Cluniac Priory at Barnstaple.
St Clears Priory was never a large establishment – one Prior and two monks are the maximum recorded. It was dissolved in 1414 and its property, income and the right of appointing vicar were granted in 1446 to All Souls College, Oxford. The Priory Buildings adjoined the church on its Southside and this area is known as “Priory Field”
The earliest phase is represented by the 12th Century chancel arch of Norman Romanesque design and the primary walls of the nave are probably contemporary with the arch. The tower was in all probability a 14th Century addition.
The font, located near the west door, is probably 12th or 13th Century in origin, a witness to the early parochial function of the church. The bells currently in use were recast in 1969 from bells originally in use from the late 17th Century
The graveyard contains many interesting inscriptions and examples of local masons' skills. The handsome lychgate, a fine structure in Gothic style, was erected in 1911 soon after a new vicarage was built opposite the Church in 1902.
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