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St Govan's Chapel
Dyfed, Wales

St Govan's Point is the most southerly point on the Pembrokeshire coast. Nearby is St Govan's Chapel, a tiny cell measuring 18 by 12 feet.
St. Govan's Chapel
A flight of worn stone steps leads up to the tiny chapel where St Govan (or Gawain) had his cell.
Most of it dates from the thirteenth century, but parts of it - the altar and a seat cut in the rock - may be much earlier, possibly even as early as the sixth century, when the saint reputedly established a hermitage here after miraculously escaping pursuit by pirates. The rock itself, so the story goes, opened and closed around him, keeping him hidden until his pursuers had gone.

Another story connects no lesser person than Sir Gawain - Arthur's nephew, with the site. According to local legend, he is buried here, having retired to live out his days as a hermit after Arthur's death. This conflicts with other stories which place Gawain's death before the final battle in which Arthur met his end. There is a further conflict in that no one can decide whether Govan is a corruption of Gawain - in which case the saint is probably fictitious - or the reverse, so that one would assume that Gawain's name became attached to the place some time after the end of the Arthurian era.

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