Mathern is said to have derived its name from "Merthyr Tewdric" - the martyrdom of St. Tewdric, King of Glamorgan, who died here in the 6th century from the effects of a wound received in battle against the Saxons, and who was afterwards esteemed a saint and martyr; his remains having been interred at this place a church was erected on the spot and dedicated in his honour, and in the chancel is a monument recording these facts.
The church of St. Tewdric or Theodovic is a building of stone partly of the Early English period, with extensive additions in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and a very fine and lofty embattled tower with angle turret and pinnacles, built in the last quarter of the 15th century by John Marshall, bishop of Llandaff, and containing 6 bells, all cast by Evans of Chepstow in 1765.
On the north wall of the chancel is a tablet, put up about the beginning of the 17th century by Bishop Godwin in memory of St. Tewdric, whose stone coffin was found beneath this spot by the bishop whilst repairing the church.
During the restoration in 1881-1884 a stone coffin was uncovered here and carefully re-interred with the bones it contained in the same place; according to Godwin, four of the Bishops of Llandaff were buried at Mathern during the period 1516-91, but no monument to any of them remains: there is an old slab in the chancel with an incised cross; in the south aisle is a curious brass with kneeling effigies to Philip Williams, who died 20th May, 1562, and Alice his wife, who died 31st May, 1567.
In the chancel is a large mural monument to Colonel Thomas Hughes, of Moignes Court, governor of Chepstow during the Civil War, who died 22 Aug. 1662. There are besides several floorstones to the Hughes family and numerous other memorals.
The pulpit, and the altar table and its ornaments were given by the Rev. Robert Vaughan Hughes M.A. of Wyelands, at a total cost of £150. The font, presented by the same family, cost £40, and the lych gate was also given by the Rev. R. Vaughan Hughes.
There are three modern stained windows, one of which is a memorial to Mary Anne Mainwaring, wife of the Rev. R. V. Rughes, d. 14 Jan. 1865; and some fragments of old stained glass; the organ was given by.C. F. Abdy Williams esq.; the church was restored in 1881-4, and again in 1890, at a total cost of about £3,500: there are 270 sittings. The register dates from the year 1565.
The living is a vicarage, net income £233, with about 19 acres of glebe, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Llandaff, and held since 1879 by the Rev. Watkin Davies B.A. of St. David's College, Lampeter. The Wesleyans have a place of worship at Pwlmeyric.
Moignes Court was built A.D.1609 near the site of a former mansion, and probably out of the old materials, by Francis Godwin, bishop of Llandaff, 1601-18; the arms of the See of Llandaff and those of Bishop Godwin are carved over the principal entrance: in 1624 it was the property of Colonel Hughes, the parliamentary governor of Chepstow Castle: the fine gateway still remaining is supposed to have been the approach to the original mansion, the site of which and the moat by which it was surrounded may still be distinctly traced in the orchard close by: Moignes Court is the seat and property of,Charles Edward Lewis esq. D.L., J.P.
Near the church is the ancient Episcopal Palace, occupied by the Bishops of Llandaff down to the time of Bishop Bew, who died in 1706; it is quadrangular in plan, and dates from the early part of the 15th century: the chapel, now a granary, retains portions of a fine east window: on removing an old wall in 1851, some human bones, a glass bottle, a key and spurs were found n a recess: it is now the property and residence of Henry Avery Tipping esq.
Wyelands, the seat of the Rev. Robert Vaughan-Hughes M.A. is a handsome modern mansion, well situated in finely wooded grounds, and commanding a wide and beautiful panoramic view of the Channel and the surrounding hills.
Charles Edward Lewis esq. who is lord of the manor, and the Rev. R. Vaughan-Hughes are chief landowners. The soil is of various qualities; subsoil, gravel and clay on limestone, resting on limestone intermixed with sandstone. The chief crops are about one-half grass, the rest corn. The area is 3,466 acres of land, 16 of water, 337 of tidal water and 162 of foreshore; rateable value, Mathern and St. Pierre, £6,022; the population in 1891 was 585 in the civil and 538 in the ecclesiastical parish.
PWLMEYRIC is a large hamlet, a mile north, on the Chepstow and Newport road.
For civil purposes Runston, 1½ miles west, and St. Pierre are combined with this parish, and for ecclesiastical purposes Runston, St. Pierre, and Portsewitt are combined with this parish.
Parish Clerk, John Maynard Closs.
Post Office: Mathern, George Morgan, sub-postmaster. Letters received through Chepstow at 8.10 a.m.; dispatched at 6.45; sundays, 10.45 p.m. Postal orders are issued here, but not paid. Chepstow is the nearest money order & telegraph office, 2 miles distant.
A School Board of 7 members was formed in 1875 for the United District of Mathern & St. Pierre, Runston & Mounton; F. Evans, Chepstow, clerk to the board; William Williams, Chepstow, attendance officer.
Board School (mixed) (re-established in the building of the former Endowed School), for 120 children; average attendance, 107. William Buckland, master; Miss Ada Morgan & Miss Elizabeth Maisey, assistant mistresses.