Monday, May 30, 2011


The Retreats Group is working in three magnificent properties around Pembrokeshire: Roch Castle and, in St. Davids, Twr-y-Felin, and the Penrhiw Priory.

In the Retreat Group website you can read this description of the last one:

"Penrhiw Priory was originally built in 1884 by the Church in Wales as a Vicarage. It was built on the site of a large longhouse farm building. The design was carried out by John Middleton and Son of Cheltenham.

Penrhiw is a fine example of high Victorian architecture, built in Tudorbethan style with squared Caerbwdi rubble stone, limestone ashlar dressings, steep slate roofs with bargeboards, terracotta ridge tiles and tall stone stacks. The interior woodwork is pitch pine; deep skirting boards. Large panelled doors, panelled window reveals and a lovely staircase. There are also two fine fireplaces with decorative tiles by William De Morgan the celebrated Arts and Crafts ceramics maker.

During the 20th Century Pen Rhiw ceased to be a vicarage and saw other uses. The local Doctor lived there and then Colonel and Mrs Weir ran it as a guest house for many years. During their tenure Anthony Eden [later Prime minister of the U.K.] stayed at Penrhiw a number of times.

In the 1960's the property became a Priory for the Community of St. John the Evangelist and was extended to 20 bedrooms, three reception rooms and a chapel. In 1985 the nuns left the Priory and it was sold by the Church in Wales in 1988 to Steve and Lis Cousens who ran it until 2000 as a centre for groups, hosting up to 30 people at a time. Tim Sime ran it as a Retreat for 4 years and then it was sold it to Adam Hill and Rachael Knott in 2004. Penrhiw was acquired by The Retreats Group Trust in 2009. A restoration contract was awarded to Carreg Construction in July 2009 under the design and supervision of Architects Acanthus Holden.

Penrhiw will re-open as a Retreat in May 2011."

This picture was taken today, May 30th.

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