In Lamphey Bishop’s Palace was the retreat of choice for those medieval bishops seeking solace from the everyday stresses of Church and State.
The medieval bishops of St Davids were worldly men who enjoyed the privileges of wealth, power and status. Lamphey did not disappoint. A palace fit for a queen…or at least the occasional bishop.
What we see today is mainly the work of the dynamic Henry de Gower, the bishop of St Davids from 1328 to 1347. Thanks to his vision, elegant Lamphey became the ‘away from it all’ palace for high-ranking members of the clergy keen to play at being country gentlemen.
Bishop Gower’s great hall, 82 feet (25m) long, is a particularly fine architectural achievement and its sheer grandeur would have impressed even the most privileged of bishops. Equally well-preserved and detailed in their architecture are the western hall and inner gatehouse.
Lamphey’s gilded existence came to an abrupt end during the reign of King Henry VIII when many Church estates fell into the hands of the Crown.