Mathern including Runston & Pwllmeyric
(A description written in 1891)
A Parish bounded on the south by the British Channel and the road from Chepstow to Newport; the Meurig, or the Mountain brook, runs through the parish and falls into the Channel at St. Pierre Pill: it is 1.1/2 miles south-south-west from Chepstow railway station; in the Southern division of the county, Hundred of Caldicot, Petty Sessional division, Union and County Court district of Chepstow; eastern division of the rural deanery of Netherwent, archdeaconry of Monmouth and diocese of Llandaff.
Mathern is said to have derived its name from "Merthyr Tewdric" - the Martyrdom of St. Tewdric, who died here in the 6th century from the effects of a wound received in battle against the Saxons, and whose remains having been interred at this place - a church was erected on the spot and dedicated in honour of King Tewdric, who was esteemed a saint and martyr.
The church of St. Tewdric is a building of stone partly Early English, with extensive additions in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and a very fine and lofty embattled tower with pinnacles, built in the last quarter of the 15th Century by John Marshall, Bishop of Llandaff, and containing 6 bells, all cast by Evans of Chepstow in 1765: on the north wall of the chancel is a tablet, put up about the beginning of the 17th Century by Bishop Godwin in memory of St. Tewdric, whose stone coffin was found beneath this spot by the bishop whilst repairing the church: during restoration in 1883-84, a stone coffin was uncovered here and carefully re-interred with the bones it contained, in the same place; several of the Bishops of Llandaff were buried at Mathern, but no monument to any of them remains; there is an old slab in the chancel with an incised cross; a curious brass to Philip Williams, who died in 1561; a large mural monument to Colonel Hughes, of Moignes Court, Governor of Chepstow during the civil wars, who died in 1662; several old floor-stones to the Hughes family; and numerous other memorials: there are three modern stained windows and some fragments of old stained glass: the church was in 1883-84 very carefully restored at a cost of £2,399, raised principally by the voluntary contributions of the parishioners and other: there are 270 sittings, all free. The register dates from the year 1565. The living is a vicarage, £277 yearly tithe rent-charge, net income £240, with about 19 acres of glebe, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Llandaff, and held since 1879 by the Rev. Watkin Davies B.A. of St. David's College, Lampeter. Parish Clerk: Joseph Harris.
Moignes Court was restored A.D.1609 near the site of a former mansion, and probably out of old materials, by Francis Godwin, Bishop of Llandaff 1601-1618; the arms of the See of Llandaff and those of Bishop Godwin are carved over the principal entrance: in 1624 it was the property of Colonel Hughes, the Parliamentary Governor of Chepstow Castle: a fine gateway still remaining is supposed to have been the approach to the original mansion, which appears to have been built by the De Knovile family and subsequently belonged to Sir Thomas Moigne, from whom the present mansion derives its name: the site of the older mansion and the moat by which it was surrounded may still be distinctly traced in the orchard close by: Moignes Court now belongs to Charles Edward Lewis Esq. of St. Pierre.
Near the church is an ancient Episcopal Palace, occupied by the Bishops of Llandaff down to the time of Bishop Beau, who died in 1706; the remains of the palace are now used for labourers' cottages, and the chapel has been turned into a store room: in the chapel are portions os a beautiful window: on removing an old wall in 1851 some human bones, a glass bottle, a key and spurs were found in a recess.
Wyelands, the seat of the Rev. Robert Vaughan-Hughes M.A. is a handsome modern mansion, well situated in finely wooded grounds and commanding a wide and beautiful panoramic view of the Channel and the surrounding hills.
1.1/2 miles west, which for civil purposes is associated with St. Pierre, is for ecclesiastical purposes combined with this parish. The Wesleyans have a place of worship here.
PWLLMEYRIC or Pwllmewric
A large Hamlet, 1 miles north, on the Chepstow to Newport road.
Post: Wall Letter boxes at Pwllmeyric cleared at 7.50 p.m. & Mathern Village cleared at 6.50 p.m. Chepstow is the nearest money order & telegraph office.
A School Board of 5 members was formed in 1875 for the United District of Mathern & St. Pierre & Mounton;
Clerk to the Board: F. Evans, Chepstow
Attendance officer: William Williams, Chepstow
Board School (re-established in the building of the former Endowed School), for 100 children; average attendance, 80; William Buckland, master.
Charles Edward Lewis Esq. D.L., J.P. of St. Pierre, who is lord of the manor, the trustees of the late Rev. Thomas Lewis Williams and the Rev. R. Vaughan-Hughes are chief landowners. The soil is of various qualities; subsoil, gravel and clay on limestone, resting on limestone intermixed with sandstone. The chief crops are about one-half grass, the rest corn. The are is 2,167 acres of land and 499 of tidal water and foreshore; rateable value,: Mathern & St. Pierre, £5,623.
The population is 1881 was 549
(extracts from Kelly's 1891 Directory of Monmouthshire, transcribed by J. Doe)
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