Built into the side of a limestone cliff, the St. Govan's Chapel measures 6.1 m × 3.7 m with walls constructed from limestone, and consists of two chambers, one in the front and one in the back. The majority of the chapel was built in the thirteenth century, although parts of it may date back further to the sixth century when Saint Govan, a monk moved into a cave located on the site of the chapel. One legend suggests that Saint Govan is buried underneath the chapel's altar, located at the east end of the building. The entrance to the building is via. a doorway on the north side, low stone benches run along the north and south walls and an empty bell-cote is located at the west end. The slate roof is suspected to be a modern addition compared to the rest of the building.

The building is accessible from the clifftop by climbing down a set of 52 stairs, although tourist organisations propagate the legend that when counted, the number of steps differs between going down and going back up.

The building was listed with Grade I status on August 2, 1996. The chapel is within the Castlemartin Military Training Area and is sometimes inaccessible.



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Bosherston, United Kingdom
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Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Evan Lloyd (2 months ago)
Just a tiny little chapel on a cliff. Somehow very impressive, though.
Mick (3 months ago)
ST. GOVAN LIVED HIS LIFE as a hermit in a cliffside cave in Wales, and those willing to make the steep hike can still visit his mystical hermitage by the sea. The history of St. Govan is murky at best. It’s believed he was an Irish abbott living in the 6th century, though other more fanciful stories describe him as a thief. Some even believe that “Govan” is a mutation of “Gawain,” a legendary knight from the court of King Arthur who was said to have receded into hermitic life in his final years.
kiki maddocks (6 months ago)
A great little find. Love finding historic places like this on walks. Steep but very manageable steps down to it and your able to walk through and out the building. Wish there was some historical information about it. Definitely worth visiting it.
John Miller (6 months ago)
A lovely quaint chapel set on the cliff face reached by step pathway and steps. Just remember to check that the Army aren't using that part of the rifle ranges because if they are you can't reach the chapel!
Jen (8 months ago)
Stunning location. I’ve wanted to visit here for years and I wasn’t disappointed. We had the place to ourselves. Access to the coast is via a live firing range site so do check if access is possible beforehand if you can. We arrived the morning of our visit to find the gates closed until 4.30pm. Luckily we had the time to return that afternoon as I was told that the following 2 days the site was closed for the full day so access wouldn’t be possible those days. Really worth visiting though!
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