Medieval ceiling carvings which usually go unnoticed 40-feet up in the gloom of the nave of St Mary's Church, Haverfordwest, are revealing their secrets.

From the scaffolding inside the church, as the £650,000 first phase of its restoration progresses, they can be seen face to face - and there are literally dozens of faces both on the oak ceiling bosses and the stone corbels.

Many of the faces are grotesque and pagan-looking, with foliage growing out of their mouths and round their heads.

Others include an elegant lady, a haughty gent and a bishop. One carved panel depicts a rather rude man, apparently mooning at whatever evil spirits he may be trying to keep at bay.

Specialist craftsmen from Hereford-based church restorers Capps and Capps, have been securing the ornate ceiling to the newly installed beams and joists above by inserting three-foot long stainless steel bolts. The craftsmanship and the methods of concealing the bolts are impressive.

"Their skill and knowledge are incredible. They can tell at a glance the difference between 16th century and 17th century carvings," said church member Mr Alan Barker, who is co-ordinating the work.

"The scaffolding has enabled us to get a close-quarter look at the carvings, and we have taken photographs of everything with a view to mounting an exhibition later on."

More than eight tons of lead has been used to cover the roof of the nave - a similar weight to that removed from the spire when it was taken down in 1802.