Steps Back in Time :St.Govans Bay.
Our beautiful Welsh countryside.
It is a beautiful Sunday afternoon, a day which I always look forward to immensley since it's the only day of the week my partner Dai does not work. Whether we go for a walk near to home, or further afield,go to the cinema, go to the Sunday market or indeed simply stay at home I really don't mind as I love this day no matter what!!
Anyway that's enough of my ramblings, on this particular sunny Sunday we decide to go and explore.
Where to go?
Well we decided to head south towards the spectacular Pembrokeshire National Park and on to St. Govans Bay.
What can I tell you about St. Govans ??
Mmm mm well at the moment not an awful lot other than it is a 6th century hermits chapel and is supposedly named after the hermit and saint who lived there so many centuries ago, thus St. Govans.
I have never been there before so I will fill you in with the story as I go along.
Oh I can't wait!!
We drive along in our new Mondeo ( or rather Dai is driving as I never felt the need to learn) ( I think the majority of motorists in West Wales and far beyond should be very grateful that I don't). Now then back to the matter in question and we are flowing through the Welsh countryside which I am sure is equal to anywhere in this world when it comes to enchantment! We arrive at an MOD base and I look a little puzzled until Dai assures me
"Yes we are going the right way!!"
"Trust me!'" he says.
I do, of course I do hmmmmm!!
In the next instant my breath is swept away as we arrive at our destination!! I get out of the car as if in a trance, as I walk over to the fence where there is an arrow pointing downwards. The view is breathtaking as I take in the gleaming sea bobbing gently in and out of the bay. My eyes follow the direction of the arrow and I see very many higgledy piggledy steps .
At the bottom of these steps is the most quaint building I had ever seen built into the rocks. This building was St.Govans Chapel.
"Oh Dai what a spectacular place; this is amazing !!" I can hardly gasp these words out !!!
Isn't it strange that when we go anywhere for the day we meet up with someone whom we haven't seen for ages !!
"Well hello Dai fancy seeing you here !!" I turn round to see a local fisherman who only lives a mile or so away from us but we haven't seen him for months.
I can immediately recognise the signs that Dai and Ianto are going to have a little catch up so I decide to go exploring with an "I'll be along in a moment " from Dai.
"Yes yes !" I chuckle fondly and make my way down these steep steps.
Then all of a sudden I feel a little dizzy and find myself enveloped in a rose scented pink mist .......................................
There is some enchanted form of mystique present ;which I cannot explain......................
Just as quickly as it appeared it then disappears and I brush down my rough sacking robe.......................................
"It is now the year 490 and let me introduce myself "
"I am St.Govan" !!!!
"I was born of the Hy Cinnselach clan in Wexford Ireland and my name was Gobhan." "I was working in Wexford and the year was 490, it was very hard work as I was working as a cook for St. Alibe who founded the monastery of Dairins in Wexford." " I prepared food in the community and cooked for my Saints followers." " Our saint wanted to have the correct form of the mass therefore he sends myself and two of my colleges Lugich and Cailcean to Rome." " I was very sad when in 527 we had the news that St. Aibe had died." " I was summoned to return to the monestary of Dairinis where I was elected Abbot and baptised St. Govans."
"At this point I decided to stay as I knew that the locals feared the pirates greatly and I would be their watchman and protect them." " The followers built me a beautiful little chapel in the cliffs and the church named it after me ST. Govans. " "This is where I stayed for many years and inside the chapel there was a well whose water had healing powers and I treated many of the locals very successfully." " I cured eye ailments, skin diseases and rheumatic tendencies." " Oh how sweet my life was at this moment in time..........................................
"Many years later I decided to take a trip to Solva in Pembrokeshire, Wales as I wanted to find descendants of my beloved St. Aibe who was originally from these parts." " This is how I came to be here on this beautiful welsh jewel." " I was one day walking down the steps leading to the cliffs and the seas ,it was very strange because every time I counted these steps the total sum was different." " Not travelling very quickly as I was not a young man any more, I spotted a vessel out at sea." " I sat in a large gap made in the rocks and to my dismay it was a pirate's ship!!" " I made a very prominent sight in my abbot's attire and knew they would take me instantly and demand a hearty ransom." " I prayed to God for strength and to my astonishment the rock closed round me and miraculously opened again after the pirates had disappeared."
At this point I was once more enveloped in the rose scented mist ..................................
"Are you listening to me, you're daydreaming again aren't you?"
Dai's voice breaks into my thoughts and I find myself sat on the rocks below the Church.
"WWWhat do you want?" I jump up and make my way up into the chapel where Dai was waiting.
"Come in here!" he calls "I have never come across anything like this before !!!"
As I enter I link arms with Dai and act out the astonishment of seeing this mystical gem for the very first time!!
It was soon time to leave I take one look back at the bay and I'm sure I can see St. Govan stood by the chapel waving at me.
I wave back knowing that this would be mine and St. Govans secret!!
As we make our back we stop at the Ye Olde Worlde Café about half a mile away I knew that I would remember St. Govans for a very long time.
The waitress soon brought our order out; freshly baked scones, jam and cream. Then to wash it all down and finnish off a perfect day we had tea made with ground tea leaves that we poured out through a strainer. That took me back a bit too!!
I vowed to look up when I got home how St. Govan had lived the remainder of his years.
As soon as I had a minute I couldn't wait to check up how this great man lived the remainder of his life!!
This is what I read :-
'St. Govans lived the remainder of his life in this chapel, teaching, preaching and worshipping here in Pembrokeshire until his death in 586.'
'His saintliness was marked by the parish and they designated March 26th as St. Govans day!!'
'Outside the chapel stands a large rock boulder known as the Bell Rock.' ' Legend has it that St. Govan was given a silver bell which the pirates stole from the bell tower.' ' The Saint prayed for its return and the angels retrieved it and placed it inside the rock where they knew it would be safe, and St. Govan used to tap the rock which gave a note a thousand times stronger than the note of the original bell.'
'Tradition says that St. Govan is buried under the altar of the little chapel that bears his name.'
Well I hope you enjoyed today's visit to St Govans and will join me again for some more steps back in time.
Enjoy your day and lots of love from my little corner of Wales.