Welcome to the 2019 Gower Festival

We look forward to welcoming you to great concerts in a wonderful environment.

1-13 july 2019 events programme

For more than forty years the Gower Festival has been bringing music of the highest quality to this area of south west Wales. Once again, during the first two weeks in July, at a different venue each evening, we are inviting internationally acclaimed musicians to play in the superb acoustic and atmosphere of our ancient churches.

As you navigate the web site, clicking photographs will reveal further information.

One of the most ‘special’ festivals in the UK, the Gower Festival creates a magical experience for both performers and audience alike.
I warmly welcome you to our 2018 season, Croeso!

Gordon Back

Artistic Director

gordon back

Artistic Director

“It is a privilege for me, as a patron, to be able to welcome you to the Gower Festival, my ‘local’ festival, having been raised on the beautiful Gower Peninsula. There is an exciting programme for you to enjoy, with concerts in the historic churches of Gower”.

Sir Karl Jenkins CBE

Patron

Sir Karl Jenkins CBE

Patron

Llŷr Williams

Patron

“I’m very proud of my association with the Gower Festival and always look forward to returning there to play to highly appreciative audiences in beautiful surroundings”

Llŷr Williams

Patron

The details of the programme will be confirmed as soon as is possible.
An exciting programme to include:

Sir Karl Jenkins 75th birthday Gala

Llŷr Williams

London Conchord Ensemble

Carducci Quartet

Ji Liu

Plus the outstanding young violinist:

Christian Li

Youngest ever first prize winner, 2018 Menuhin Competition

Today Morfydd Owen is increasingly recognized as one of Wales’s most powerful and original talents. As Elin Manahan Thomas explains, “Our hope is to encourage a renaissance of Morfydd Owen’s musical legacy: a legacy not only for Wales but for musicians everywhere.”
Tickets £15

Elin manahan-thomas

Monday 2 July 7.30pm

Elin manahan-thomas

Monday 2 July 7.30pm

“It is a privilege for me, as a patron, to be able to welcome you to the Gower Festival, my ‘local’ festival, having been raised on the beautiful Gower Peninsula. There is an exciting programme for you to enjoy, with concerts in the historic churches of Gower”.

Leon McCawley

Saturday 7 July 7.30pm

LEON MCCAWLEY

Saturday 7 July 7.30pm

“It is a privilege for me, as a patron, to be able to welcome you to the Gower Festival, my ‘local’ festival, having been raised on the beautiful Gower Peninsula. There is an exciting programme for you to enjoy, with concerts in the historic churches of Gower”.

Andrey Lebedev

Thursday 5 July 3.00pm

Andrey lebedev

Thursday 5 July 3.00pm

Today Morfydd Owen is increasingly recognized as one of Wales’s most powerful and original talents. As Elin Manahan Thomas explains, “Our hope is to encourage a renaissance of Morfydd Owen’s musical legacy: a legacy not only for Wales but for musicians everywhere.”
Tickets £15

Elin manahan-thomas

Monday 2 July 7.30pm

Elin manahan-thomas

Monday 2 July 7.30pm

“It is a privilege for me, as a patron, to be able to welcome you to the Gower Festival, my ‘local’ festival, having been raised on the beautiful Gower Peninsula. There is an exciting programme for you to enjoy, with concerts in the historic churches of Gower”.

Leon McCawley

Saturday 7 July 7.30pm

LEON MCCAWLEY

Saturday 7 July 7.30pm

“It is a privilege for me, as a patron, to be able to welcome you to the Gower Festival, my ‘local’ festival, having been raised on the beautiful Gower Peninsula. There is an exciting programme for you to enjoy, with concerts in the historic churches of Gower”.

Andrey Lebedev

Thursday 5 July 3.00pm

Andrey lebedev

Thursday 5 July 3.00pm

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gower festival venues 2018

1

Pennard Church photo
St Paul’s Church, 
Sketty, SA2 9AR

St Paul’s church was built by John Henry Vivian (1785-1855) of Singleton Abbey and one of the founders of the largest industrial dynasty which would establish Swansea as ‘Copperopolis’. In 1848 his wife Jesse, aged 22, had died and he wished to build a memorial chapel which he envisaged as an estate church. The Bishop of St Davids consecrated the building in 1850 as a ‘Chapel of Ease’ to St Mary’s. The architect was Henry Woodyer, a disciple of Pugin, and the design included Geometrical, Perpendicular and Decorated features. However as the population of Sketty was expanding so rapidly and to counteract the growing popularity of the Nonconformists, the chapel became a new autonomous parish, separate from St Mary’s in 1851. As the congregation continued to grow the building was extended in 1907 and 1928 when the north and south aisles were added and the chancel and vestry enlarged.

2

St Mary's Church photo
St Mary’s Church, 
Pennard SA3 2EA

Pennard, in one of the best farming areas in Gower and long attractive to settlement, has seen several churches. The original is thought to have been dedicated to St Cenydd. In the C13th a church was built near Pennard Castle but soon afterwards a great sand inundation created the Pennard Burrows. By the C16th this was finally abandoned and the present church of St Mary’s became the parish church on the site of an existing chantry or private chapel or even one of Gower’s mediaeval ‘lost’ churches. Numerous original features from this site plus parts of the Burrows church were incorporated into the new structure. All Souls, Oxford was the patron until 1838 when the title was transferred to Thomas Penrice of Kilvrough Manor who began some restoration after centuries of neglect. The embattled west tower is smaller than that in other local churches but recent restoration of white limewash to the whole building has made it a striking Gower landmark.

3

St Cadoc's Church photo
St Cadoc’s Church, 
Cheriton SA3 1BY

Cheriton Church is dedicated to St Cadoc, who founded Llancarfan monastery and was one of the chief figures in the early Celtic Church. The building is of the late C13th and early C14th, built after Llandimore church was abandoned owing to sea encroachment. The structure introduced a totally new concept of church architecture to the area and earned the name of the ’Cathedral of Gower’. The large tower has a saddleback roof and below the parapet are numerous holes which could have supported beams to form a fighting platform in case of attack. This was a common occurrence when the Burry estuary was a busy shipping channel to the numerous small ports on the north shore of Gower. In the churchyard lies buried Ernest Jones, Freud’s biographer and well known pioneer of early psychoanalysis, who was born in Gowerton but had a holiday home nearby.

4

St Andrews Church photo
St Andrew’s Church, 
Penrice SA3 1LN

St Andrews church probably dates from the early C12th. The church is cruciform in shape and consists of chancel, nave, north transept and a south porch which is remarkable for its unusual size. One view is that it was added later for secular purposes. J D Davies, the Gower historian, wrote that the north transept might have been used as a chantry chapel where mass was said for the souls of the departed members of the Penrice and Mansel families. In 1893 the dilapidated condition of the church concerned the patron, Miss Emily Talbot of Penrice Castle, who then generously funded a 15 month restoration of the church by a local Horton firm, Bevan and Gibbs. A nearby farmhouse called ’Sanctuary’ was possibly the local centre of the Knight Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem who held the patronage of not only Penrice but numerous other Gower churches.

5

St Cattwg Church photo
St Cattwg’s Church, 
Port Eynon SA3 1NL

Port Eynon Church is dedicated to St Cattwg of Llancarfarn and is thought to have been founded in the C6th. The present church dates from the C12th and the south doorway, in spite of changes through the centuries, has retained its original Norman form. The church was restored and enlarged in 1861, and there was further work in 1901, to accommodate the growing population and activities of this busy coastal village. Unusually the church lacks both an East and a West window. The North transept became the ‘Schoolroom ‘ but a recent project has seen a kitchen added, as well as comfortable seating for a meeting area and every Saturday morning it becomes the very popular ‘Caffi Cattwg’. The white marble statue in the churchyard is a memorial to three local men who were drowned and also a thanksgiving for the ten survivors in the 1916 ‘Janet’ lifeboat disaster.

6

St Peter's Church photo
St Peter’s Church, 
Newton SA3 4RB

St. Peter’s is said to be named after the c11th ruins of St Peter’s Well and monastic chapel in nearby Caswell Valley. Consecrated in 1903, as part of the parish of Oystermouth, it reflects the increasing population and wealth of late c19th Swansea as it spread on the edge of Gower. The church design in the decorated Gothic style was described as ‘ambitious’ although insufficient funds denied the building of a 90ft tower at the south east corner and the early building was thought to be plain. The church is constructed of greenish sandstone from Bridgend, with Bath stone carvings, particularly intricate inside. The interior has a richly appointed chancel. Today much of the beauty and warmth of the building lies in the works of art, given as memorials of/by people whose lives were woven into the fabric of the church and history of the area.

7

All Saints Church, 
Oystermouth SA3 4BZ

All Saints was probably built on the site of a Roman villa or mansion (inn) or even a military/naval base. It is suggested that St Illtyd established the original church as early as the c5th but the first recorded reference dates from 1141. The oldest parts are the large Norman Tower (to protect the Anglo-Normans from Welsh attacks!) and the Early English Lady Chapel. By 1800 the church was described as ‘notoriously poor’ but during the c19th fortunes changed with rapid population increase as Oystermouth grew into a busy fishing, trading and tourist centre. The church was enlarged in1860 and again between 1915 –1937 when the architect was Leonard William Bernard.

8

Gowerton Church Hall
Gowerton Church Hall SA4 3EA

The first Church Hall, which opened in 1929, was an impressive building with a fine balcony and reflected the prosperity that had been brought to Gowerton by its steelworks and railways. By the 1980’s this needed much repair and was demolished. After much fund-raising by the church members the current hall was opened in 1989.

9

St Cenydd's Church photo
St Cenydd’s Church, 
Llangennith SA3 1HU

The original c6th church settlement in a llan is thought to have been founded by Cenydd/Kyned/Kennith, who was also associated with a hermitage on Burry Holms. In 986 these were destroyed by Viking raiders. Early c12th Normans built a small priory cell, and then the Early-English style church, dedicated to St Cenydd, on the original site. Today this is Gower’s largest church. Initially linked to a Benedictine Priory in Normandy, from 1441 to 1838 the church was the property of All Soul’s College, Oxford. Hence College House nearby. The ancient and important building has seen many changes in windows, doorways, stairways which can still be traced but major restoration took place from 1882 - 84 since the church was in such a ‘ruinous state’. This included raising the floor by four feet which made the tops of old cloister doorways the alcoves in the south wall.

10

St Hilary's Church photo
St Hilary’s Church, 
Killay SA2 7DZ

St Hilary’s is the most recently built local church and was consecrated in 1926.
Today it is difficult to imagine the rural setting of late c19th Killay – farms and woods laced by poor tracks leading to Sketty or Dunvant or Gower. However the Clyne valley coal mining and especially the railway line led to rapid population growth and after World War I plans began for a new church, designed by Glendinning Moxham, to serve the new housing. As well as some generous benefactors, many small donations as well as physical labour came from members of the church. But the effects locally of the General Strike had reduced the money available and the church, never completed as originally intended, (shorter by one bay), began with a debt of more than £3,000. The simple building of red brick, with black mortar mixed in the Clyne valley, holds a number of attractive features.

11

St Rhidian Church photo
St Rhidian & St Illtyd’s Church, Llanrhidian SA3 1ER

St Paul’s church was built by John Henry Vivian (1785-1855) of Singleton Abbey and one of the founders of the largest industrial dynasty which would establish Swansea as ‘Copperopolis’. In 1848 his wife Jesse, aged 22, had died and he wished to build a memorial chapel which he envisaged as an estate church. The Bishop of St Davids consecrated the building in 1850 as a ‘Chapel of Ease’ to St Mary’s. The architect was Henry Woodyer, a disciple of Pugin, and the design included Geometrical, Perpendicular and Decorated features. However as the population of Sketty was expanding so rapidly and to counteract the growing popularity of the Nonconformists, the chapel became a new autonomous parish, separate from St Mary’s in 1851. As the congregation continued to grow the building was extended in 1907 and 1928 when the north and south aisles were added and the chancel and vestry enlarged.

12

Llanmorlais Hall photo
Llanmorlais Community Hall SA4 3TZ

In the 1940’s a local benefactor donated funds to build a metal structure called the Welfare Hall for the benefit of the village of Llanmorlais and nearby Crofty (much smaller than today) plus several outlying hamlets. It soon became a busy focus for the community with numerous organisations and weekly activities. The Hall Committee began fundraising for a permanent building and in 1977 the present Hall was opened. It continues to be very active and in 2016 the Annual Carnival, based at the Hall and its grounds and which each year raises thousands of pounds, celebrated its 100th Anniversary.

13

Reynoldston Village Hall photo
Reynoldston Village Hall SA3 1AA

The original Hall in Reynoldston was a vestry hall built in 1887 by the church. It was called the Institute – a place to be used for meetings, Sunday School and as a Reading Room. Gradually less serious activities took place – concerts, inter-village draughts matches and fund raising events. In 1923 this was replaced by the present building, called the Church Hall and which, because of its central location, became the focus for organisations and entertainment not only locally but from all quarters of Gower. The building was purchased by the village from the Church in Wales in 1994 since which time, major improvements have been made to the building and its facilities. The Hall plays a key role in community life with over eight thousand people annually attending societies, activities and events.

The Story of the Gower Festival

The Gower Festival has its roots in the long, hot summer of 1976 when Jonathan Beecher, an Oxford cellist, brought a student orchestra and a handful of professional soloists to perform an astonishing series of thirty-one concerts in Gower churches during the last two weeks of August. So many events packed into a fortnight may have been over-ambitious. But the idea of holding a music festival in Gower churches was such a good one that it led to the formation of the Gower Festival Society and in due course to the appointment of John Fussell MBE, Swansea's Director of Music and City Organist, as Artistic Director of the enterprise. More than anyone else, it was John who established the high standards of musical performance and well-chosen repertoire which have characterised the Gower Festival ever since.

READ MORE
OF OUR HISTORY OVER THE PAST
40 YEARS 

Friends of the Gower Festival

We have some wonderful concerts arranged for the 2019 Gower Festival.
Festival Friends have priority booking.

Benefits of becoming a Friend

➢ Advance booking for concerts - four weeks before the general public. This benefit is much appreciated by Friends as many concerts, particularly at smaller venues, sell out quickly.
➢ Regular Festival email updates.
➢ Acknowledgement in the Festival programme.
➢ Invitation to masterclasses during the Festival.
➢ Opportunities to help with the running of Festival events and to participate at the Society’s Annual General Meeting.

Annual Membership costs: £10 for a single person or £15 for two people living at the same address.
You can join in one of four ways:
♦ Contact Mrs Anne Pope, 10 Vowley View, Royal Wotton Bassett, Wiltshire SN4 8HT
♦ Email: friends@gowerfestival.org
♦ Download a Gower Festival application form
♦ Pick up an application form at any festival venue.

Gower Festival Friends 100 Club

Don’t miss your chance to support the Gower Festival Society and win cash prizes for yourself!
There are three prize draws per year - July, November and March.
➢ 1st Prize per draw £100
➢ 2nd Prize of £50
➢ 3rd Prizes of £25 (the number of 3rd prizes is dependent on the number of tickets sold per year).
Last year the 100 Club raised over £600 for the Gower Festival - a significant contribution towards the cost of a concert.

The cost of a share is only £12 per year - that’s just £1 per month. You may take out more than one share if you wish.
You can join in one of three ways:
♦ Contact Mrs Anne Pope, 10 Vowley View, Royal Wotton Bassett, Wiltshire SN4 8HT
♦ Email: friends@gowerfestival.org
♦ Pick up an application form at any festival venue.

useful links

Gower Festival secretary at info@gowerfestival.org
Friends of Gower Festival secretary: friends@gowerfestival.org
Information about Swansea and Gower including, walks, what's on,
accommodation: www.visitswanseabay.com/
destination/gower-peninsula