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Brecknockshire Churches Survey

Church of St Cynog , Battle

Battle Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Yscir in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO0082630974.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16707 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Battle Church, CPAT copyright photo 440-26.JPG


St Cynog's church lies close to the lip of the Ysgir valley about 3km north-west of Brecon. The church is a simple structure rebuilt in 1880 with virtually nothing of earlier date apart from its roof. The rectangular churchyard disguises a sub-circular predecessor.

The church was completely rebuilt in 1880, though the late medieval roof was re-erected.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1979 publication The Buildings of Wales: Powys by Richard Haslam


The dedication, location and morphology of the earlier enclosure point to an early medieval origin.

Early references to Battle, even late medieval ones, are very rare. Nothing appears in the 13thC taxation returns, but the Valor Ecclesiasticus refers to 'Capella de Batell' in 1535.

The early 19thC chapel is depicted in Jeston Humprey's copy of Jones' 'History of Brecknockshire' (c.1820), at least one three-light window having reticulated tracery.

Glynne visited the whitewashed church in 1865, noting the lack of division between nave and chancel, the presence of a west bellcote, a Perpendicular east window of three lights, and a poor Perpendicular window of two lights in the north wall of the chancel. The remaining windows were modern. Internally there was a wagon roof, the north doorway had a pointed arch and nearby was a large square stoup.

The church was entirely rebuilt by J. Bacon Fowler of Brecon in 1880, though the specification for the works implies a much more limited level of repair, with replacement of the old pews and paving, demolition of the old bell-turret and the construction of a vestry.


Battle is a small church consisting of a nave and chancel in one, a north porch, a south vestry and a bell turret towards the west of the nave. It is aligned fractionally south of due west.

Fabric: small to medium slabs, with some blocks, of grey-brown sandstone, weathering to grey; the weathering may disguise a greater range of masonry; dressed blocks for quoins; some coursing.

Roofs: slates; ceramic ridge tiles, ornamented over chancel; finial, probably incomplete, over west end of nave.

Drainage: concrete and tile gully, generally at least 0.3m wide and 0.3m deep on all sides except east and around porch.

Note: as this church was entirely rebuilt in the late 19thC the following is only a summary description.

Exterior General. Base of each wall battered to height of c.0.4m. West wall completely rendered with no windows or other features. Remaining walls of bare stone.

Rectangular wooden bell-turret, with two rectangular openings containing ogee-headed tracery on each side.

Windows on north and south consist of groups of two and three round-headed lights with sunken spandrels, all reasonably fresh in appearance, and in light sandstone. East window of three ogee-headed lights with cinquefoil tracery and cusped panels above, all under a two-centred arch with hoodmoulding.

Porch General. Ashlar pillars support outer wooden two-centred archway; decorated barge boards. Plain side walls set on chamfered plinth at 0.3m.

Vestry General. Conforms to rest of building though south window comprises pair of trefoil-headed lights.

Interior General. Floors tiled but carpeted over; flush wooden boarding for benches; chancel approached by two steps, the sanctuary by one. Walls plastered and whitewashed (in yellow). Wagon-roof of sixty panels over nave and chancel with moulded ribs and purlins and plastered interspaces, this the only surviving medieval feature, from c.1500.

Splayed windows, the dressing bare, and wooden lintels on inner parts of the soffits. Hexagonal stoup on north wall just inside door; brasses and mural tablets on south wall and marble mural tablets on west wall. All these are of late date (i.e. 19thC), though some pre-date the rebuilding of 1880.

Porch. General. Tiled floor; plain unplastered walls; roof of collars and collar purlins. Main doorway to church has two-centred arch with stopped chamfers on the jambs; in reddish-grey sandstone but all Victorian.


The present churchyard is roughly rectangular with the church erected close to its southern edge. That this form, which was certainly in existence in 1847, bears little relationship to the original enclosure is suggested by a bank and scarp both within and outside the present churchyard wall (see below). There is thus every reason to believe that originally the church lay more centrally within a sub-circular enclosure.

The ground within the present churchyard falls gently from north to south though the church itself is on relatively flat ground. A short distance to the south the ground falls away steeply to the valley of the Ysgir and a dry tributary valley.

It is well maintained and is used for modern burials.

The present boundary is provided by a stone wall, drystone in places, mortared in others. West of the main north entrance, this is set on a low bank, elsewhere it is on level ground. In general there is little obvious evidence of a raised interior though on the south the ground level appears to be 0.5m higher internally.

Monuments: dense in places on the north, with modern burials in the north-west, and just a few graves to the south of the church. East of the chancel are two 18thC graveslabs, the legible one of 1782. Most of the gravestones and tomb chests are, however, probably 19thC though weathering and lichen are effective disguises.

Furniture: none.

Earthworks: west and north-west of the church are traces of a broad low bank up to 6m wide, and it is probably a continuation of this bank that underlies the boundary wall on the north side. South of the present churchyard in the gardens of Bryn yr Haf and Y Dderwen a continuation running along the valley lip, has been postulated though the evidence is faint. Overall there is reasonable evidence for a sub-circular enclosure about 60m across.

Ancillary features: double iron gates on north, with ornamental lamp holder (but no lamp) arching over. Tarmac path to porch.

Vegetation: two sizeable yew trees to the west and north-east of the church; otherwise bushes and a few small trees around the periphery.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 14 March 1996
Faculty 1880: NLW/SD/F/31
Glynne 1886, 270
Haslam 1979, 281
NMR Aberystwyth
Powys SMR

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Please note that many rural churches are closed to the public at certain times. It is advisable to check when the church will be open before visiting. Information about access, or how to contact parish clergy, can often be obtained from the relevant Diocesan Office which can be found through the Church in Wales website. Further information about Battle Church may also be found on the Swansea and Brecon Diocese website.

The CPAT Brecknockshire Churches Survey Project was funded by Cadw as part of an all Wales survey of medieval parish churches.

This HTML page has been generated from the Cadw Churches Survey database & CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record - 17/07/2007 ( 22:00:31 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7DL tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email -, website -

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