Building » Milford Haven – St Francis of Assisi

Milford Haven – St Francis of Assisi

Priory Road, Milford Haven, SA73 2EE

A plain Gothic structure of 1929 built on a loosely cruciform plan.

Milford Haven was developed from 1790, initially by Quakers as a whaling centre, then as a royal naval dockyard and commercial dock. In March 1843 The Tablet reported ‘pioneer work at Milford Haven’: ‘a missionary has been lately appointed to this place, for the benefit of the numerous Irish sailors putting in there, through stress of weather or other causes’. However there was no resident priest or Mass centre in the town until 1903, when the Rev. William Finucane arrived and built a small wooden and corrugated iron chapel. In 1912 his successor the Rev. Canon Richard Burke built a school alongside the church, now used as a parish hall. During the First World War a large number of Belgian refugees moved to the town. The present church was built in 1929 by the Rev. Evan Hope, to accommodate 350 people. Bishop Vaughan of Menevia laid the foundation stone in August 1929 and opened the completed church on 24 November in the same year. Canon Burke built the presbytery at the same time, its design ‘based on an ancient farmhouse in the Preseli Mountains’ (Llais).


The church is in a plain Gothic style and is cruciform on plan, comprising an aisleless nave with northwest and southwest porches, a northeast Lady Chapel, southwest sacristies and a short lower sanctuary. The walls are roughcast, the pitched roofs covered in slate. The gabled west end facing the road is divided into three bays by full height stepped buttresses which rise above the roofline. The central bay has a rectangular doorway and a large pointed window above with modern uPVC frames. The flanking bays have smaller pointed window openings, also with uPVC glazing. Both the main gable and the buttresses have moulded copings of what appears to be white glazed terracotta. The nave side walls are of four bays divided by plain buttresses. The west bays both have projecting porches with pitched roofs and moulded copings to the gables. The other bays have plain pointed windows with timber glazing bars. In the east bays the main roof is brought down over a chapel on the north side and sacristy on the south side. The short sanctuary has a large rose window in the east end wall.

The nave interior has a carpeted and timber boarded floor, plain plastered walls and an open timber roof with boarded underside and the main trusses supported by curved braces brought down onto stone corbels in the side walls. At the west of the nave is a timber gallery. The nave windows all clear glazed. At the northeast end of the nave is a pointed arch to the small Lady Chapel. A larger pointed and plain chamfered arch leads to the sanctuary which has boarded roof with exposed purlins, pointed side windows and a rose window in the east end wall with the figure of Christ in modern stained glass. Furnishings include a modern stone altar and tabernacle stand, a small wooden war memorial plaque commemorating six parishioners who fell during the Great War, two of them Belgian refugees. The church also contains a marble plaque inscribed with the Beatitudes, a post-war thank offering from the refugees. The oak bench seating in the nave may be original.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1929

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed