The Church of St Petrox, as the name implies, is dedicated to St Petrox or Petrocus. He lived in the 6th century, and emigrated perhaps from somewhere in South Wales to Ireland. There he studied for some time in monasteries before visiting Rome and eventually settling in Cornwall, where he set up a monastic and missionary centre at Padstow. Later he is said to have lived as a hermit on Bodmin Moor. According to William of Worcester St Petrox died on 4th June 564. The old name of Bodmin was in fact Petrockstow, and Padstow is probably a corruption of the same name.
His relics were preserved, and greatly revered, in an ivory casket in Bodmin Church until, in 1177, they were stolen and carried off to the abbey of St Mevennus in Brittany! It required a personal intervention on the part of Henry II to secure their return. There are two other churches dedicated to St Petrox in Wales - Llandedrog (North Wales) and Verwig (Cardiganshire), as well as 17 in Devon and 6 in Cornwall, including Bodmin and Padstow. Brittany has 8 churches dedicated to him.
The oldest parts of the present structure are the tower and part of the north wall, which probably date from the 13th Century. The tower is of the typically tall, narrow Pembrokeshire style, with a pronounced batter - ie narrower at the top than at the bottom, and with corbelled out parapets. The church was extensively restored, almost to the extent of being rebuilt in 1854, the architect being R Kyrke Penson, and the whole cost being borne by John Frederick, first Earl Cawdor. A vestry was added at the same time on the north side. Richard Fenton, in his Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire, published in 1810, described the Church at the time as, small, but very light, airy and neat, a fair description of its present state. A note in the flyleaf of the Baptisms Register reads, The Church of St Petrox was reopened March 11 1855 - having undergone a thorough restoration, with new sittings; the Chancel rebuilt, and a new Vestry Room added, at the sole expense of the Right Honble. John Frederick, first Earl of Cawdor, Stackpole Court. It is signed by the then Rector, F G Leach.
Memorials in the church include an unusual brass in memory of William Lloyd, 1674, with skull and cross-bones; there is also a baroque memorial to Lady Jone Mansell dated 1692.
In 1985 the Parishes of St. Petrox and Stackpole Elidor were grouped with Bosherston and St. Twynnells. In 2001 these four parishes were further grouped with the St Mary's and St Michael's Pembroke and in 2004 became part of the Rectorial Benefice of Monkton.
The Old Rectory
The last Rector to live in the Rectory at St. Petrox (now the Old Rectory Farm) was Francis Leach. His successor, J. E. Brown, lived in the new Rectory at Stackpole Elidor, built in 1877 by Lord Cawdor - probably just as well, as apparently Mr. Brown had fifteen children!