Monday, May 29, 2006

St Pierre

The venue for my daughter's wedding was just over the old Severn Bridge into Wales. Well, I say Wales, but when I went to school Monmouthshire was part of England, but it became Gwent and part of the Welsh Principality. The old Severn Bridge was built in 1966. Diane and I walked over it in November that year, but the more direcct route into Wales (and the M4) takes the new Severn Bridge, built in 1996.

The church of St Peter was built around 1100 AD, although there was probably an even older Saxon church there. It was restored by the Victorians (at the cost of £1000) but incorporated a wooden chancel screen from 1400 and two stone coffin lids from the 13th century. The manor of St Pierre is first mentioned in 1340, but the house was built in 1475 and has been added to and improved ever since.

Ownership of the estate changed hands many times, and in 1946 it fell into the hands of the National Association of Boys Clubs. When they moved elsewhere it was eventually established as St Pierre Golf and Country Club. It became the site of the Welsh Open in 1971 and the Dunlop Masters was played there the same year. In 1973 it was acquired by Whitbread Hotels and in 2005 it became part of the Marriott chain. In 1996 the Solheim Cup was held there and in 2000 the Welsh Masters.

Today the house is a hotel and leisure center with two 18 hole golf courses, swimming pool, gym and tennis courts. There are 143 rooms many of them as appartments and small cottages. A very pleasant place to spend a few days.


Vance Esler said...

One thing that continually fascinates me is how old things are in Europe. Here in the Great Plains of the U.S., where nomadic tribes lived in teepees and settlers lived in adobe/wooden huts, it is rare to find much of anything older than the late 1800's. It is interesting how relative "old" is.

Steve Madden said...


I remember riding my bicycle from Bath across the severn bridge and home again in 1967. I wonder what happened to the ferry?


The school I went to in England was founded in 1552. But now, living in Australia 100 years old is unusual. Unless we include the oldest civilisation Australian Aboriginals who have lived here for at least 40,000 years.

Old is very relative.

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