Friday, 5 February 2010


Yesterday's local newspapers carried the news of a fire in Abergavenny. The fire, which is believed to have started in an empty flat above an Indian Takeaway, sent flames shooting 12ft or more into the night sky. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the blaze. However, there is cause for concern as the fire has left the building, part of the 16th century Gunter Mansion, structurally unsound. It was in the Gunter home that Fr David Lewis and Fr Philip Evans regularly said Mass and ministered to the Catholics of Abergavenny and surrounding area. (Both priests were martyred in 1679.) It was common knowledge that Thomas Gunter had a secret Catholic Chapel in his home but its exact location had been lost to memory. In 1908, during renovations to the property, Gunter's secret chapel was discovered by surprised workmen. The above photo shows the Gunter Mansion, now divided into shops. The small, attic window in the gable in the foreground looks out onto Cross Street from the former chapel.

This strange looking photograph was taken from the back of the Gunter Mansion and clearly shows the remains of the lintel of the doorway. This doorway was the entrance to the secret chapel, which was entered via an outside staircase. It is exciting to be able to see, even just partly, this centuries old entrance and to picture in the mind's eye, those faithful Catholics who risked so much by adhering to their faith.


  1. We need to know the history of those that sacrificed their lives so that we could openly express and enjoy our faith. Thank you for posting this.

    It is funny, ever since I have been reading your blog, I have been asking David Lewis to intercede for me, that my faith may be strengthened. Sometimes I am in the oddest predicaments and I ask him to intercede for me. I believe he does.

    God bless and please keep sharing with us!

  2. Daily Grace
    Thank you so very much. Your comment has really made my day! You see, my only purpose in doing this blog is to spread devotion to this wonderful priest, St David Lewis, and your kind comment gives me much encouragement. Thank you again and God bless you.

  3. I shall pray to St David Lewis today.

    Thank you for this post. God bless.

  4. This is very strange! I was just wondering whether I should start praying to this saint, then I clicked on the comments....! Do you think I have been led here?

  5. St David Lewis pray for us all.

  6. Hello Victor
    Thank you for your comment. I am sure St David Lewis will intercede for you. His feast day, by the way, is 27th August. He kind of gets pushed aside by St Monica but I feel sure he was gentleman enough not to mind that too much. Anyway, there's no reason why we can't honour both of them on 27th August, is there? God bless you Victor.

  7. Hello the mother of this lot
    I love your user name! Thanks for your interest. It is certainly likely that you were led here. I think you will have an excellent intercessor in St David Lewis. In his day, he was loved and respected by both Catholics and Protestants and the Protestant authorities in the area did not want to put him to death and delayed as long as they could, hoping he would be reprieved. Alas, they were eventually forced to carry out the death sentence and the brave Jesuit went to his death with a prayer on his lips. God bless you.

  8. Hello puzzled
    yes, let us all ask St David Lewis to intercede for us. God bless you, puzzled.


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