Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Saint Govan

Said returning editor had the good fortune to visit Pembrokeshire for the first time in December 2011 for a short break. Almost by accident we stumbled across Saint Govan’s Chapel. I have seen photos of the chapel many times but nothing quite beats being there – even if the wind was so strong that one dare not get within 25 yards of the cliff edge for fear of ending up in the Atlantic. The steps down to the present chapel (dating from the 13th century) provide shelter and the air around the chapel was quite still. Saint Govan (died 586) was an Irish monk who travelled to Wales to seek the family of the abbot who had trained him. He was set upon by pirates from Ireland or the nearby island of Lundy and chased along the cliffs. The cliff opened up to present Govan with a fissure just big enough to hide in until the marauders passed by. In gratitude, Govan remained and spent the rest of his days ministering to and educating the local people. The large rock and fissure form part of the Eastern wall of the chapel.