Evidence of a 19th century chapel in Monkton, Pembrokeshire

by Jill Morgan

Daniel E Williams

Pembroke is a well-known Welsh town with a magnificent medieval castle. Largely unknown is its close neighbour to the southwest, the village of Monkton. But in the mid-19th century, Monkton was the hub of Church activity in the area, and recently discovered sources also strongly suggest that it had a purpose-built LDS chapel.

Research into missionary journals held at the Church History Department in Salt Lake City by Grant Vaughn of Centerville (Utah) revealed that:

Daniel E Williams recorded in his journal for 23 June 1852: “… conference took place on 23rd May 1852 in a new chapel which was opened on that day at Monkton.”

On 23rd May 1852 John Price recorded in his journal: “Had a splendid conference in our new chapel at Monkton.”

John Price

The following month he refers to money being borrowed from member George Sinnett for the chapel’s construction, and an agreement to pay rent, as the chapel was constructed on land that George and Martha Sinnett rented. There are also notes that Martha contributed to the cost of the building, and that sums were paid for carpentry and for hauling stone. On 24 August 1852 Daniel Williams records that he registered the building for worship.

Pembrokeshire historian Keith Johnson has identified the Sinnetts’ home as being in Bush Terrace, one of the few parts of the old village still standing. These houses stood on long plots of land; shown at the end of one of the plots on an 1860s Ordnance Survey map is a small building with a porch. It would have been accessible via Watery Lane (now Old Conduit), which runs along the end of the plots. Until recently, remains of stone walls could be seen through the shrubbery.

Bush Terrace

Most local members emigrated in the mid 1850s and the chapel is long gone, but this evidence shows that Monkton has earned its place on the map of Church history.