A Message from our Patron
Major General Robert Talbot Rice
Regimental Lieutenant Colonel of the Welsh Guards
I first visited St Peter's in 2012 - a long overdue trip to see the tomb of my fourteen times great grandfather, Sir Rhys ap Thomas. Like many visitors before me, I was struck by the remarkable sense of history that surrounds this elegant church – something that should be protected and cherished. I was therefore hugely honoured when Reverend Leigh Richardson asked me to become the first Patron of the Friends’ Association, and was delighted to have a really good reason to make regular return visits to Carmarthen. I hope that the Association will act as a creative focus for others who appreciate the significance of this remarkable church, and the extraordinary lives that are commemorated there.
The Friends of St Peter's Carmarthen
The Friends of St Peter's is being launched in response to the increased interest in the survival of St Peter's Church as the spiritual heart of the town of Carmarthen. St Peter's plays a significant role in the life of the town, whether celebrating the highs as people come to church with their babies for baptism, as couples start their married lives together or in sharing in the hard times as families say their final goodbye to loved ones. Whichever it is—family history and heritage run deep, and St Peter's must remain as a beacon in the town.
St Peter's is also an active worshipping community with weekly Sunday and daily weekday services. It has an active Mothers’ Union, mixed choir and a band of bell ringers as well as other groups which meet weekly to study, and pray and share.
We have recently been reminded that St Peter's Church has a large and extended family, which goes far beyond our regular worshipping community. The people of Carmarthen hold the church in high regard and as an significant historic building St Peter's receives hundreds of visitors from both the local area and worldwide.
St Peter's Church has a history stretching back over 1500 years and houses many features of historic interest which include some of the finest wall memorials in Wales.
St Peter's Church is also the final resting place of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, who along with his men, is thought to have killed Richard III in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth and made Henry Tudor king. St Peter's was also the location for the trial of Dr Robert Ferrar, Bishop of St David’s who was executed by burning at the stake in what is now Nott Square in 1555.
The organ was built for Windsor Castle on the orders of George III by George Pike England in 1796, but secured for St Peter's by famed architect John Nash who was responsible for designing Buckingham Palace and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.
Many of our visitors just come to sit in the tranquil peace of the church — the comments in the visitors book range from just plain ‘thanks for being open’ to ‘didn’t realise this place existed and can’t believe the history in this place’. Some people come to listen to what God has to say to them in the quietness and have been reassured and transformed by their experiences.
Our aim as the Friends is to give everyone who visits for whatever reason the opportunity of belonging to this unique community and to play a part in the mission and witness of St Peter's here and promoting it wherever they are.
What are the Benefits?
There will be an annual Friends Day, probably in the early autumn, which will include a service, and later a dinner or a concert—perhaps an historical talk about an aspect of the church. There will also be an AGM where an annual report would be given and produced with the names of all the Friends listed and details of the finances and activities in the previous year. In signing up to The Friends, there would also be an opportunity to receive the weekly church newsletter by email or post helping you to stay in touch.
Of course, the largest benefit will be in knowing that you are playing an active part in securing the future of this important place which means so much to so many.
Who can be a Friend?
- Members of our local worshipping community
- Residents of Carmarthen and the surrounding area who have an interest in St Peter's
- Overseas friends via Facebook
- Those visiting who want to stay in touch
- Membership for individuals—£12 per year
- Small groups or families—£30 per year
- Corporate Membership for businesses—£100 per year
Life Membership —£350 one off payment
Life and Corporate Members will receive a framed and signed large portrait of St Peter's by the celebrated Carmarthen photographer Mike Walters, will be noted as life/corporate members in the Annual Report and receive advanced notice for ticketed events
- All are encouraged to fill in the Gift Aid Declaration with cheques made payable to “The Friends of St Peter's Church Carmarthen”
To become a Friend is very simple—please contact:
The Secretary to the Friends of St Peter's
c/o 1 Is Y Bryn,