It is generally accepted that St. Mary’s Church, Kidwelly, a Grade 1 listed building, is one of the finest parish churches in Carmarthenshire, if not the whole of South-West Wales. This ancient and historic priory church has survived the ravages of time and been a place of worship for many centuries. Together with Kidwelly Castle, the Church dominates the skyline as the traveller approaches the town and especially at night when St. Mary’s slender and beautifully proportioned spire is floodlit. Pointing heavenward it witnesses to the central place traditionally held by the Christian faith in this community.
Yet time has not been kind to this edifice. Three times in its history the spire has had to be rebuilt. Late in 2010 the Spire and Tower were surrounded by scaffolding as another restoration programme began to replace decaying stonework and repoint the whole structure, in order to make it weatherproof.
The enormity of the project, completed by May 2011, is reflected in the cost of over £400,000 which was met through a number of grants and fundraising activities. As part of the fundraising it was decided to form an association to be called The Friends of St. Mary’s. The Friends, run by an Executive Committee, continues to support the work of the Church in a variety of ways.
Aims of the Friends
Our aims are quite simply to:
i. Assist the Incumbent and Parochial Church Council in maintaining this historic Church to the greater glory of god and in honour of Mary.
ii. Subscribe to the funds required for the on-going worship and maintenance and beautification of the fabric of the building.
iii. Assist in the raising of capital funds for any emergency which cannot be provided from funds readily available to the Incumbent and Churchwardens.
How to become a Friend
As Friends of St. Mary’s we are attempting to contact people who have either a connection with the Church or would like to support its work. For a minimum annual subscription of £15, you can join the Friends. In return you will receive an annual Newsletter; information relating to forthcoming events and be the given the opportunity to rekindle or develop links with our active community.
Anyone can become a Friend. In particular we have thought of people who no longer live in the locality but who have had some previous contact with the Church through family links such as baptisms, weddings or through the burial of relatives in the Churchyard.
We would be grateful if you could, please, either consider becoming a Friend yourself and/or spread the message to others who you think might be interested in becoming a Friend. Your help in publishing the work of the Friends as widely as possible would be much appreciated.
The Friends would also like to aim this part of our appeal to those who do not necessarily share our faith, but who, for a variety of reasons, might wish to be associated with St. Mary’s.
Update on what has the Friends have been doing?
With funding from various social events during 2015 and 2016 the Friends have made donations towards the work at St. Mary's for:
Additional work on the East Wall of the church £3,000
Refurbishment of the churchyard footpaths and gates at the top end of Lady Street £5,000
£2,000 towards the cost of £20,000 for a new central heating boiler
Still much to do!
Like so many places of worship we want to support the continued efforts of the St. Mary’s Parochial Church Council in as many ways as possible. We are currently planning our programme of events for 2017 - Coffee mornings have been runninng throughout the year and are well attended. The Grand Raffle was held at our harvest Supper on 29th September and raised a considerable sum of money. A Beetle Drive will be held later in the year.
Friends Of St Mary's
If you are interested in becoming a Friend, or simply finding out more, or if you know of someone else connected with St. Mary’s or Kidwelly, contact us through the Church website