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Carew Old Rectory

In the community of Carew.
In the historic county of Pembrokeshire.
Modern authority of Pembrokeshire.
Preserved county of Dyfed.

OS Map Grid Reference: SN04450273
Latitude 51.68921° Longitude -4.83047°

Carew Old Rectory has been described as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Within a hundred yards of the parish church is a residence known as the Old Rectory, which name, there can be little doubt, correctly represents its former status. The original house may have been built at the time when Sir Rhys ap Thomas was engaged in modernising the neighbouring castle, that is, within the period 1490- 1510; but it probably suffered from neglect and want of repair until about the middle of last century, when it was considerably altered and renewed. Fenton describes it about 1800 as "of a singular appearance, having a square tower on one side through an arched opening, in which, now stopped up, was once the principal residence. It is a large, irregular building, a great part of considerable antiquity, unroofed, and in ruins" (Tour, p. 271). The low square tower, with its corbel table and newel staircase still remains: it should be compared with the square tower in the south curtain of the neighbouring castle; and a portion of the embattled wall which surrounded the house has also survived. (RCAHMW)

A defensive tower is central to the main elevation, with the early part on the right and the C19 wing at the left. Built mostly random-rubble masonry. The main roofs are of slate with a tiled ridge. There is an end-chimney at the west, 2 chimneys attached to the tower and another in the centre of the east wing. The central tower and the adjacent stairs turret have the start of corbelled parapets but with a later hipped roof and no surviving crenellations. 12-pane sash windows in the older parts, 16-pane hornless sash windows in the E wing, all 19th century. In the defensive tower one of the windows occupies the space of an earlier larger opening beneath a four-centred arch at first-floor level. (Coflein)

Carew Rectory was included in the grant of Royal property to the Bishopric in 1547 in exchange for Lamphey Palace. The mediaeval part of the house is its W range, about 10 m in length. A lateral chimney stands against the N wall. It has a cross-wing roof at its E end, the trusses of which remain visible internally. An upper floor has been inserted served by a stone staircase in a lateral outshut against the S wall. This part predates the fortified element, which is a three-storey defensive tower with a large winding staircase in a side turret. There appears to have been a first-floor entrance to the tower beneath a four-centred Tudor arch. That the fortified tower is secondary is evident as an upper door from it into the main house could be defended on the tower side. The Rectory was garrisoned in the Civil War, and after the war it, like the Castle, fell into decay, so that Fenton in 1811 described it as unroofed and in ruins. It was taken back into use in the early C19, and a double-pile two-window and two-storey block added at the E end. A fine C18 staircase saved from Lawrenny Hall was installed c.1850. The new wing contains a dining room at the front above a vaulted cellar and a kitchen at the rear. The Church Commissioners sold the house into private ownership in 1908.
The early cross-wing roof consists of four surviving arch-braced collar-beam trusses with a wide chamfer to the underside. The trusses are not visible above collar level and nothing is visible of any purlins or windbracing. A doorway from the defensive tower into the main part of the house has holes in the stone reveals for a bar to be drawn across.
At the entrance to the grounds there is a 40 m length of high wall with a raised section incorporating a large archway.To the S and W of the house is a walled garden, and the Former Tithe Barn is about 50 m to the NW. The house is approached from the N side. The defensive tower is central, with the early part on the right and the C19 wing at the left. Mostly random-rubble masonry, some of it coursed. The main roofs are gabled with slates and a tiled ridge. There is an end-chimney at the W and two chimneys attached to the tower; another in the centre of the E wing. The central tower and the adjacent stairs turret have the start of corbelled parapets but with a later hipped roof and no surviving crenellations. Twelve-pane sash windows in the older parts, 16-pane hornless sash windows in the E wing, all C19, with rendered surrounds. In the defensive tower one of the windows occupies the space of an earlier larger opening beneath a four-centred arch at first-floor level. The present main doorway is beneath this. The stairs turret beside the tower is lit by loopholes and by one inserted sash window at the side.(Listed Building Report)

Described as the Fortified Rectory on the OS map. Davis suggests it may be a gatehouse of a larger lost mansion and notes the reference to an embattled wall. King and Hogg describe this as "Thin-walled porch, appears to be a tower from a distance. No known history" They reject it as a fortified building. It is hard to believe King and Hogg were not aware of Fenton's description or the Inventory notes.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016