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Brecknockshire Churches Survey

Church of St Gastyn , Llangasty Tal-y-Llyn

Llangasty Tal-y-Llyn Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Llangors in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO1331026133.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16865 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llangasty Tal-y-Llyn Church, CPAT copyright photo 372-09.JPG

Summary

St Gastyn's church, some 9km to the east of Brecon, occupies level ground within a polygonal enclosure, no more than 100m from the southern edge of Llangorse Lake. It is largely of 19thC build though the tower is earlier. Only three of the bells and portions of the 16thC screen survived the restoration.

Whole structure raised anew with fresh masonry in middle of 19thC. The only exception is the tower, the lower stages of which could be medieval though a date of c.1670 is attributed to it in the church guide.

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

History

An early medieval origin is likely, based on the church's location, recent archaeological work on the churchyard, and the unique dedication to St Gastyn. He was reputedly the tutor of the better known saint, Cynog.

The church is recorded as 'Llangastey' in the Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535 when it was worth relatively small amount of 4 18s 7d.

It has been claimed that the church was rebuilt in the mid-16thC, though on what basis is unclear, and that the tower was added about 1670.

By the early 19thC the church was in poor repair and was described in 1838 as 'a dark, ancient and decaying edifice'. It was rebuilt by the architect J.L.Pearson for Robert Raikes who had come into contact with the Tractarians at Oxford in the 1830s (Raikes' building programme included the neighbouring school and the rectory). Church begun in 1848, and part of tower incorporated and faced with new stone. Furnishing was still in progress in 1856.

Wall stencil and 'diaper' work re-painted in 1970.

Architecture

Church consists of west tower, narrower than contiguous nave and slightly eccentric to its axis; narrower chancel to east with organ chamber and vestry opening off chancel to south and north respectively; south porch off nave. Church is aligned north-east/south-west but 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here for descriptive purposes.

Fabric: 'A' predominantly red sandstone slabs with partial coursing; buff coloured sandstone dressings. Some walls, particularly those of nave, appear to have been recently cleaned.

Roofs: stone tiles, grey ceramic ridge tiles and cross finials.

Drainage: flagstones around all outer wall faces except organ chamber may cover drainage trench.

Exterior

Tower. General. Base of tower has plinth with sandstone chamfer at c.0.6m off ground with string-course at c.1.4m (first stage); further string-courses define second and third stages; plain parapet. Stair turret set in north wall and rises above tower roof. All windows are Victorian except for slits lighting stair turret which are all of different sizes and all have (?re-used) red sandstone dressings.

North wall: one lancet at top of second stage and two slit windows with chamfered dressings for stair turret (see above). Gargoyle just below top of third stage.

East wall: plain wall but for string-courses, and two slit windows and a quatrefoil light which illuminate stair turret in north-east angle.

South wall: one lancet window at top of second stage; centre of third stage has one large louvred two-light window with quatrefoil above, all under two-centred arch with hoodmoulding with decorated stops and relieving arch. Obvious ashlar quoins from third stage upwards.

West wall: as south wall but large lancet window at bottom of second stage.

Nave, chancel and other units. General. All parts in Fabric 'A', and of Victorian build in Early English Style. Windows: single and paired lancets, apart from triple lancets for east window. Dawson claimed that old stones incorporated in jambs of south door.

Interior

General. Completely Victorian interior. Fine roof with angular arch-bracing springing from corbels, and scissor trusses. East window has lights set in recesses with slender marble pillars. Marble altar steps, encaustic tiles for chancel floor, painted and gilded walls with frieze of texts and painted roof timbers; wrought iron screen for organ chamber.

Churchyard

Llangasty churchyard is polygonal and relatively small. The only hint of curvilinearity is in north-west corner, but recent geophysical survey hints at a curvilinear ditch just outside east side. Churchyard lies on level ground about 50m from southern edge of Llangorse Lake.

It is well-maintained and used for current burials.

Boundary: consists of a stone wall around the whole perimeter; the internal ground is generally higher than outside, but the difference varies from virtually nothing to nearly one metre in north-west corner.

Monuments: generally well spread and not particularly dense; only to the south-west of the church and in the north-western quadrant of churchyard are gravestones absent. 18thC stones - the earliest 1729 - immediately to south-east of chancel. Some stones lean against south wall of churchyard, mostly 19thC but one of 1768.

Furniture: modern churchyard cross, north of tower.

Earthworks: churchyard has slightly undulating ground surface and there is a faint drop to east of chancel, but nothing of obvious significance.

Ancillary features: single entrance from south-west covered by Victorian lychgate. Gravel paths lead to porch and past west end of church. Stone hut tucked away in north angle of churchyard has date 1986.

Vegetation: immature yews (except for one) along south side of churchyard; two older yews against north wall of churchyard.

Sources consulted

Church Guide: n.d.
CPAT Field Visit: 17 August 1995
Crossley and Ridgway 1952, 74
Dawson 1909, 128
Haslam 1979, 343
NMR, Aberystwyth
Powys SMR
Redknap 1993
Click here to view full project bibliography

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 Llangasty Tal-y-Llyn 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 ( 22:00:54 ).
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 - chrismartin@cpat.org.uk, website - www.cpat.org.uk.

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