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Brecknockshire Churches Survey

Church of St David , Trallong

Trallong Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Trallong in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SN9660129586.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16963 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Trallong Church, CPAT copyright photo 413-23.JPG


St David's church at Trallong sits on the northern lip of the Usk Valley, 8km to the west of Brecon. The church is a single-celled structure, the core of which is certainly medieval though there was also considerable rebuilding in the Victorian era. Some of the windows are refurbished Perpendicular survivals as is the priest's door. Internally there is little of early date except for the font and an early medieval inscribed stone. The churchyard appears to have been sub-circular in the beginning but has been enlarged subsequently.

Nave and chancel partly rebuilt but in materials that make it difficult to distinguish the phasing. An extreme view is that only the lower part of the more westerly half of the north wall is original. With the east and south walls it is impossible to determine how much has been rebuilt, but perhaps the whole of the east end has been reconstructed, and this is in line with a report of 1861 which noted that it had been rebuilt on its ancient foundations. Porch is Victorian.

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


The morphology of the churchyard and its location go a long way to conveying an early medieval origin for the site. In this context the early medieval inscribed stone could be significant, though its significance depends on where it was originally erected.

The church at 'Trallonge' appears in the St David's Episcopal Register in 1513, though the manor of the same name is referred to more than three hundred years earlier by Giraldus Cambrensis. According to Rees the parish was known as Trallwng Cynfyn in the late 12thC.

Glynne's description of 1855 evokes a whitewashed building, its windows with trefoiled lights, and generally in a poor state of repair. The interior was dark and the western end partitioned off for a school room.

The new roof, windows and timber porch were constructed by C. Buckeridge in 1861 at the instigation of the Revd Gilbert Harries. This reputedly saved the building from demolition. It was during the restoration that the Ogam stone was found serving as a lintel for one of the windows. In 1885 the roof was raised and slates replaced the stone tiles.


Trallong church is a single-cell building with no external differentiation between and nave and chancel, a west bellcote and a north porch. It is aligned slightly north of grid west.

Fabric: small to medium blocks and slabs of grey and maroon sandstone, irregularly coursed; larger blocks for foundations, intermittently set; quoins roughly dressed; pink mortar pointing.

Roofs: slates with reconstituted clay ridge tiles on porch and (?)concrete ones on nave; metal cross finial on chancel end.

Bellcote is modern addition with unweathered masonry, yellow sandstone dressings and a single bell.

Drainage: concrete-lined gully around all sides, about 0.3m below adjacent ground level.


Nave and Chancel. General. Single cell. Walls battered slightly to height of around 1m-1.5m.

North wall: some variation in masonry appearance indicates rebuilding; traces of limewash on wall face. About 1.3m from west end, an irregular edge is visible, the stonework to the east being similar in composition but a little less weathered. This break continues behind the porch and as far east as the first window. About one metre east of this window is a disconformity in the masonry surface though the fabric is no different. It is possible but far from certain that the whole wall east of this point is rebuilt. Three windows on this side which from west are: i) two-light with cusped tracery under two-centred heads, all in Victorian yellow sandstone and no signs of insertion; ii) a single two-centre headed window with cusped tracery also in yellow sandstone, lighting chancel; iii) a single foiled light but lacking the two-centred head; some of the dressings could be original though not the head. Haslam attributes this to the Decorated period. Three mural slabs of 1792, 1819 and 1804 just to west of porch; one of 1787/1800 west of the sanctuary window, and two others, of 183/1796 and 1810 to the east of it.

East wall: weathered masonry is of uniform appearance. The east window is a typical Victorian product of three stepped lights with cusped tracery, two circular lights above the outer ones and a two-centred arch over with hoodmoulding and relieving arch. No sign that this window has been inserted into wall so could the whole have been rebuilt? Six mural tablets, the earliest 1794.

South wall: fabric appears consistent along wall length. From the east, the sanctuary is lit by a two-centred arched window, its two lights having cusped heads; the jambs may be original but the rest has been replaced. Then a blocked priest's door, the jambs with stopped chamfers, and the arch with a rounded head, reputedly 16thC. Next a rectangular window with three trefoiled lights in buff sandstone; all the dressings are replaced and there are no signs of insertion; originally 16thC? Finally another three-light window, each light with rather poor trefoiled tracery under a round head; all in grey sandstone; similar to the most easterly window in this wall, but appears to be older.

West wall: standard fabric with occasional flecks of plaster adhering to it. West window has two-centred arch, two lights with trefoil heads and a cinquefoil light above; the arch is defined by the hoodmoulding and there is a relieving arch above it. Again a Victorian feature but no signs of insertion.

Porch. General. Wooden superstructure on chamfered, stone plinth.

North wall: wooden, trefoil-headed arch over open doorway; above this the gable contains an arch-braced scissor truss.

East and west walls: decorated wooden panelling.


Porch. General. Lagged floor. Roof has rafters and collars.

East and west walls: wooden benches supported in part by offset stone walls.

South wall: main doorway with two-centred arch, stopped chamfers and distinctive sandstone jambs: a replacement.

Nave. General. Flagged floor; two small grilles indicate underfloor heating ducts; benches on flush wooden boarding. Walls plastered and whitewashed, as are the window embrasures and dressings. Roof of collars with scissor struts above. Above the vestry is a metal straining rod between the walls.

North wall: deeply splayed window; door embrasure has segmental head, and to west of doorway is the early medieval stone set upright, together with a rectangular decorated stone. Benefaction board adjacent.

East wall: no division between nave and chancel other than chancel step.

South wall: two deeply splayed windows as on north side; fireplace in south-west angle.

West wall: one splayed window.

Chancel. General. One step up to chancel from nave, one to sanctuary, one to altar. Floor of black and red tiles in chancel with addition of yellow tiles in sanctuary. Rear choir stalls on wooden plinths. Carpet in aisle. Walls plastered and whitewashed, as are the window embrasures and dressings. Roof as nave but wooden panelling as backing rather than white plaster.

North wall: two splayed windows.

East wall: one splayed window.

South wall: one splayed window with sedile beneath; one mid-19thC marble mural tablet.


The churchyard is strongly curvilinear on the north but rectilinear on the remaining sides. Its appearance is indicative of an early circular 'llan' but there are no relict earthworks to confirm the hypothesis. It is set on what may be a slight natural shelf above the pronounced valley of the Usk. The churchyard itself drops steadily from north to south and the church is terraced into the hillside. Beyond the churchyard perimeter the ground falls steeply to the valley floor on the south, while to the north it rises to the southern slopes of the Mynydd Eppynt range.

It is reasonably well maintained and is still used for burial.

Boundary: a mortared stone wall acts as a retaining barrier around the north and north-west sides, the external drop being more than 2m in places. On the west south and east sides it continues, usually acting as a revetment above the natural slopes below, and is not always in such good condition. Trallong can be classed as a raised churchyard, though on the north at least some of this may be due to the earlier hollowing of the road that swings around its perimeter.

Monuments: these are fairly well packed on the north side and are mainly 19thC though some are earlier, reaching back to at least 1751. Unusually there are no burials to the east of the chancel, and only modern burials to the south of the church.

Furniture: none.

Earthworks: none.

Ancillary features: small, double, iron gates give access to churchyard on west and north-east, and the tarmac paths are sunk below the surrounding graveyard level.

Vegetation: one small yew to the north-west of the church, and a large deciduous tree north-east of the chancel.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 23 November 1995
Dawson 1909, 230
Glynne 1887, 286
Haslam 1979, 374
NMR Aberystwyth
Rees 1961
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 Trallong 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 ( 22:01:08 ).
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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