Monknash - St Mary
Monknash is so called because there was a monastic grange near the village of Aissa or Ash in the 12th century belonging to Neath Abbey, which provided a monk or a chaplain to serve the church. The church consists of a porch, nave and chancel, and the outer walls are constructed of local lias limestone rubble.
The chancel arch, inner porch arch and a chancel window are evidence of the Norman building; indeed the whole building is Norman, though with later windows and a restoration in 1890-91. It retains the atmosphere of a simple country church.
An interesting feature is the large former rood-loft doorway, the steps of which now lead to the pulpit. The roof timbers of the nave are said to have been recovered from wrecked ships of the Spanish Armada, but probably they are even earlier.
The remains of the monastic grange can be seen north of the church off the road to Cwm Nash. Within the enclosure of banks and ditches is the ruin of the barn, built in the 13th century and one of the largest monastic barns in the country.
St Mary’s Church is listed Grade II* ‘as a largely complete early medieval church which has retained its character and has a number of important features’.
Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SS 92109 70456
Post-code (for Sat Nav): CF71 7QQ
Times of services: 3rd Friday of the month 9.30a.m.