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.
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.
|A flight of worn
stone steps leads up to the tiny chapel where St Govan (or Gawain)
had his cell.
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.