Rows of pretty town houses in pinks, blues, greens and creams line the harbourside at Tenby and above them all rises the spire of the parish church.
Clergy from St Mary’s church, in the town centre, were paid with seafood to lead the services, which were cancelled when rough weather caused waves to break over the chapel.
The old pier and chapel were demolished after it was found in 1840 that the harbour entrance was too narrow. This was causing silt to build up, making entry and egress increasingly difficult. The fishermen worshipped at St Mary’s, but the smell of their clothes was offensive to others in the congregation. Rector George Huntingdon therefore organised construction of the new St Julian’s Church in the late 1870s.
One of the prime backers of the new church was Miss Forde, who had previously led the fundraising campaign for the Seamen’s Rooms (or Fishermen’s Reading Rooms) which were opened in 1874 on adjoining land. Facilities included a refreshment bar for non alcoholic drinks. Miss Forde belonged to Tenby Temperance Society. It was she who applied to the town council in 1876 for a lease on the land needed to build the church. She produced a petition signed by 60 seamen in support, and said the only alternative to leasing the land was to build a chapel above the Seamen’s Rooms.
Volunteers open the church, especially in summer, to visitors, who are delighted by the interior details such as the lobster pots and replica crabs. The lobster pots supported fonts until a wooden font was obtained in 2003. Services are held here on most Sunday afternoons. The church also hosts an annual service for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.