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History

Pill Priory (Private Property) is apparently the oldest full time inhabited ruin in Wales. It is a Tironian house founded near Milford Haven in the second half of the 12th Century (1160-1190) and believed to be a daughter house of St Dogmaels Abbey near Cardigan.Pill Priory

Pill Priory lies on a flat area of land (Grid reference UK: SM 90276 07264, Latitude:51.724775, Longitude:-5.0380019 ), click here for area map, overlooked from the west and east by steep wooded valley sides of the upper reaches of Hubberston Pill and some 1.7km upstream from its dammed estuary which forms Milford Haven docks.

Pill Priory lies on the confluence of two small streams and this at the center of the small community of Lower Priory, around 1km north of the town of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, South West Wales. The medieval priory buildings occupied level ground within the triangular area between the two streams, running into 'Goose Pill' lake before entering Milford Haven docks (wikipedia) .

Pill Priory (old Hubberstone Priory) lies near Liddeston which in turn lies almost entirely within the old and character ecclesiastical parish area of Hubberstone, situated on the north shore of the Milford Haven waterway. Hubberston is now partly within the Milford Haven parish, it occupies the medieval Manor of Pill, part of the larger Manor of Pill and Roch which was created between 1100 and 1130, whose relationship with the Lordship of Haverford, within which it lay, was always a matter of dispute.

Pill was a large and important manor, encompassing the modern town of Milford Haven. Successive Lords of the Manor granted much of the land within this area to the late 12th century Tironian Pill Priory, the priory fish- or mill-pond lies here. Settlement in this area comprises of two large farms or hamlets. The first one is Liddeston which was a medieval village that was granted to Pill Priory in the mid 13th century, this as ‘Lidden’s township’. The Barlows of Slebech acquired it in the 16th century together with the priory. The second one, Gelliswick and its former rabbit warren have long been thought to be associated with the priory. However, the place-name is not recorded until 1539 and appears to derive from the Gely family, who provided rectors of Hubberston in the 15th century. There is no evidence that its former windmill was associated with Pill Priory. The Barretts who where the major landowners in the area, held it in the 16th century and later the Philipps of Picton Castle.

The priory church was a large cruciform structure constructed from the local Old Red Sandstone (Probably quarried about 1km North-west from the Priory) and Carboniferous Limestone . It is now represented by just the Chancel Arch, the base of a square central tower and the south wall of the south facing Transept. The layout and dimensions of the crossing and transepts are very similar to those of the mother house at St Dogmaels, however, from the standing remains alone it is not now possible to reconstruct either the plan or dimensions of the Nave and chancel. It was suggested that the north transept was never completed, but masonry probably representing its north wall was exposed during the groundworks in the 1990' and watching brief. It is believed that the cruciform church was at least 40m from east to west overall, comprising an aisleless nave & chancel.

It was customary in most abbeys and priories for the conventional church to be placed on the north side and for the monks' domestic buildings to be ranged round the cloister on the south side of the church. This pattern was adopted at Pill.

All that have survived above ground from the conventional cruciform church are the East Wall of the central tower and the South Wall of the South transept. Whether the nave had aisles is not known. That there had been a North Transept as well as a South Transept is indicated by the surviving portion of the tower.

East facing 'Chancel Arch'

South 'Transept'

Chancel arch South Transept

The East Wall of the tower retains its main archway which led into the choir to the east, whilst over this archway are three small lights. The upper portion of this wall (shown in early pictures of the ruins) was pulled down some years ago for safety reasons. However, on the East side of the wall (above left picture) may be seen as an inverted V the roof line of the vanished choir. More history information......

'Chancel Arch Stairway Entrance'(West facing)

'Chancel Arch Stairway'(East facing)

Chancel Entrance Chancel arch stairs entrance.

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