Holy Cross, Kilgwrrwg

Holy Cross has been described as the remotest church in Wales. It is a simple but very special place with a long history going back to 587. It is a Grade II listed building, in the middle of a field, on a popular walking route, and is in fairly good repair.

In the grave-yard is a memorial to Richard Morgan, who is said to have been one of the last who died in World War I, and the beautiful stained glass of the east window of the church is dedicated to him and to other men from the parish. (Read the BBC article about Richard Morgan). There is also a very early pre-Norman cross in the churchyard, which is both a Grade II listed structure and a Scheduled monument. Read more about the History of Holy Cross further down this page.

Access to the church is via a public footpath alongside a private garden and a footbridge across a brook, then a fairly steep climb across a large pasture (which may contain cattle). A small amount of parking is available for churchgoers at Kilgwrrwg House by kind permission of the owner (although a sign states that the parking is for residents only). There is no disabled access, mains electricity, mains water or toilet. The single bell is by William Evans Foundry of Welsh Street, Chepstow.

Holy Cross in the Snow

Contact & Find Us

Contact Details: Fr Michael Gollop (01291 622064) or Cynthia Matthews (01291 641901).

Church in Wales Page: Visit the page »

Address: Holy Cross, Kilgwrrwg, Devauden Green, Chepstow, NP16 6PD

A History of Holy Cross

The walls of the existing building may be early mediaeval; there are restorations recorded in 1718, 1820 and 1989-90. The 1820 one was undertaken and mostly paid for by the Devauden schoolmaster James Davies, and a major restoration in 1871 undertaken by John Prichard included work on the east window, the roof and the furnishings.

Local church members including Graham and Ann Cooke, Penny and Mike Davies and Eira and Naylor Firth were the moving spirits behind the 1989-1990 restoration, which involved replacement of the roof timbers, which had rotted, and refitting of the existing tiles. Afterwards the church was rededicated as the Church of the Holy Cross, Kilgwrrwg by His Grace the Bishop of Monmouth.

Written in 1990 - "Announcement of Rededication"

"The Church of Holy Cross, Kilgwrrwg is to be re-dedicated by the Right Reverend Clifford Wright, the Lord Bishop of Monmouth on Trinity Sunday, 10th June at 10.00am.

A tremendous amount of hard work has gone into the wonderful and full restoration which has been undertaken at Kilgwrrwg. And I want to take this opportunity of thanking all who have done so much to make the restoration such a complete success. The work, and task in hand, have often been daunting, but the enthusiasm and goodwill has overcome all problems and anxieties. It is my sincere hope that the Church will now become something of a centre for quiet and meditative prayer and regular worship.

Furthermore, I hope friends from all the parishes will be present to support the faithful congregation at Kilgwrrwg on this very special day, June 10th, at 10.00am".

Written in 1990 - "New Beginnings at Kilgwrrwg"

"One of the happiest days of 1990 was 10th June, when parishioners, and supporters from all over the world gathered at Kilgwrrwg for the service of thanksgiving and re-dedication following the recent fine restoration of the oldest church in our diocese. The Lord Bishop of Monmouth solemnly re-dedicated the Church by sprinkling the outside and inside of the church with holy water. This solemnity was somewhat warmed by the packed church and those standing both inside and outside the church. It was not a little enlivened by the sight of the incumbent 'ducking' the chandeliers along with the Bishop's mitre colliding with the same chandeliers every few moments of the procession. But the service was both moving and beautiful!

The singing was marvellous, the sermon was very special, and the atmoshphere of prayer and praise was enhanced by that spirit of appreciation and awe in what must be one of the most wonderful places of prayer and tranquillity in our area, if not beyond. We were surrounded by friends from the US, friends from the other parishes, friends from around the diocese, friends who became such during the project; architects, financial supporters, and the builders who carried out the most magnificent piece of work imaginable. But our thanks must also go to those who down the ages have played their part in maintaining the Christian life here. With much effort and enthusiasm we are part of that ongoing tradition of Christian spirituality and service, offering up sacrifices to our heavenly Father who has given us his Son in the fullness of time.

At Kilgwrrwg the 'fullness of time' has a special and lingering meaning which we invite you to share at regular services, and on days of personal quiet pilgrimage. Our warmest and most appreciative thanks to all who worship at Kilgwrrwg for everything they have done and, of course, to Eira and Naylor Firth and to Penny and Michael Davies, whose hospitality and welcome made the day even more special.

Laus Deo!


6th June '90 - Moving the Pews back in

6th June '90 - Moving the Pews back in

Written in 1990 - "My Lord Bishop"

"John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' parallels the story of Kilgwrrwg with decreasing numbers, decaying fabric and we entered the SLOUGH OF DESPOND. The 'sensible' thing would have bee to close and yet this Church was here for us when we wanted it, thanks to the efforts of many who had tended it previously. We asked for guidance and help and it came so that now we can gaze and enjoy Bunyan's HOUSE BEAUTIFUL.

Kilgwrrwg has been renovated and rejuvenated with the help of many people and the list of those who have helped is long and I hestiate to mention any without mentioning all. However, there are some whom I must thank publicly for their considerable help.

Mr Edwards and his foremen and workmen who have devoted their skills to achieving the wonderful result that is here for all to see today. Mr Hill, the Surveyor and Mr Keyse, the architect, for their professional services in specifying and overseeing the renovation.

CADW, Historic Churchs Preservation Trust, Incorporated Church Building Society, Gwent County Council, The Church in Wales, Monmouth Diocese - for financial assistance.

To our Rector for his unfailing patience, wise counsel and understanding, often in the face of 'stubbornness' or 'dedication' - depending on which side you are on. To Graham & Ann Cooke for all the fetching and carrying that they have done throughout the last 10 months and allowing us to use their fields for vehicle access to the Church.

To all those people who through raising large and small amounts of money have enabled us to complete the restoration, many of whom are here today.

To Mike and Penny Davies who arrived at Kilgwrrwg House as the answer to a prayer and who have taken this place to their hearts. Their barns barns and house have been full of Church furniture, they have looked after the cutting of the churchyard and footpath and assisted the many visitors to the Church.

To my wife Eira for the enormous amount of typing and financial accounting which she has undertaken during the restoration.

So many have helped to ensure that this precious place is now in a condition to enable many more generations to find the tranquility, peace and hope that so many people experience at Kilgwrrwg.

Naylor Firth, Churchwarden

The Redecorated Church

His Grace, the Bishop of Monmouth