Old Priory & St Illtyd

Caldey Island has had a Christian community since the 6th century, making it one of the earliest Christian sites in Britain.

About this church

Today it is a Cistercian Abbey, farmed by the monks for produce and for flowers to make perfume. The abbey buildings and grounds are not open to the public, but parts of the island are open, as is St Illtud's church.

St Illtud's is part of the buildings called the Old Priory, not occupied since the Dissolution in the 16th century. After this time the buildings were left to decay, and the island was given over to farming. In the 19th century the island was bought and some of the buildings repaired, and in 1906 monks returned after a break of over 300 years.

As it stands today St Illtud's dates from the 13th century, but the famous Caldey Stone, found in the grounds and now in the church, has a 6th century Ogham inscription on it and also a later, 9th century, Latin script. The church is simple and serene on the inside, with pebble floors and stone walls, and very picturesque on the outside, with lichen covered walls and a tall, spindly spire.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

St David

This is the parish church of little Caldey Island, where both islanders and monks are buried, their graves marked by wooden crosses.

St Mary

Rows of pretty town houses in pinks, blues, greens and creams line the harbourside at Tenby and above them all rises the spire of the parish church.

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