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Eastern Conwy Churches Survey

Church of St Cynbryd , Llanddulas

Llanddulas Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Llanddulas and Rhyd-y-Foel in the county of Conwy. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SH9085378211.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16825 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Summary

St Cynbryd's church at Llanddulas lies towards the eastern edge of the village 2 miles to the west of Abergele. The church is completely Victorian, a medieval building having been rebuilt in 1732 which in turn was succeeded in 1869 by a new structure on a new site. The sole survivors of the earlier buildings are a font and a stoup, together with a plaque commemorating the 1732 rebuilding. The churchyard has been extended on at least two occasions but the original circular yard is still discernible to the south of the present church.

Victorian church which Hubbard described as a building of 'subtlety and sophistication, combining complicated and random-looking elements into a coherent and reposeful whole'.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1986 publication The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd by Edward Hubbard

History

The dedication and location together with the morphology of the churchyard indicate an early medieval origin.

The proper ecclesiastical name is supposedly 'Langynbryd' from St Cynbryd who founded the church, but the name of the nearby stream, the Dulas, was adopted and in the Norwich Taxation in 1254 it is referred to as 'Ecc'a Llanndulas' and in the Lincoln Taxation of 1291 as 'Ecclesia de Llandwlas' at a value of 4.

The parish was originally subject to the mother church at Abergele.

Church rebuilt in 1732, a small and plain structure with a western bell-gable and a south porch. A gallery erected in 1833, and at the same time new pews. A north transept was added in 1841.

In 1867 or soon after the church was declared unfit to be restored and was taken down. It was replaced in 1868/69 by the present building constructed by Street at the expense of Robert Bamford Hesketh of Gwrych. During the excavation of its foundations, several skeletons were found 20 yards to the north of the old church and outside the old churchyard.

Architecture

Church at Llanddulas comprises a nave and chancel, a south aisle, a south porch and a vestry on the north side of the chancel. Aisle does not extend as far west as the nave, and in the angle is an octagonal spired bellcote. At its east end the aisle stops short of the chancel end. The building is oriented south-west/north-east but for descriptive purposes 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted, though not for the churchyard.

Fabrics: fabric is uncoursed and irregular limestone rubble; quoins of dressed limestone; plinth and window dressings etc of Cefn sandstones.

Roof: slates with crested red clay roof tiles; cross finials to south porch, both ends of nave and to chancel.

Drainage: no direct evidence of drainage around church but ground on both long sides may be disturbed.

Note: this church was built anew in 1868/9; its medieval predecessor lay some metres to the south. Because of its Victorian origin, the description of the church has been kept to a minimum.

Exterior

Nave. General. Plinth with ashlar chamfer; one string course below windows but not present on west wall. Five cusped lancets and a larger three-light window in north wall with reticulated tracery; two two-light windows with quatrefoils above, in west wall.

Chancel. General. North wall has two two-light cusped windows, the east wall a large three-light window, and the south, a small two-light window.

South Aisle. General. Chamfered plinth; two string courses the lower beneath the windows, the second, on the south side only, acting as a continuous hoodmould; two four-light windows, one two-light window and west of the porch a single light. On the west side a three-light window.

Porch. General. Plain walls, lower string course carried around; simple two-centred entrance.

Vestry: original vestry extended.

Interior

Porch. General. Tiled floor, bare walls, simple arch-braced roof. South doorway to church has two-centred arch and a hoodmould with foliate stops.

Nave. General. Multi-coloured tiled floor with carpet over, grilles down aisle and flush wooden boarding under benches; bare ashlar walls; five-bay roof of arch-braced collars and windbraces, the raking struts and collars cusped.

Chancel arch is two-centred and of two orders; above a hoodmould with foliate stops. Beneath a stone screen with a marble top and ornamental gates. On the south side an arcade of four bays supported on circular columns with two-centred arches and a continuous hoodmould terminating in foliate stops.

Chancel. General. Three steps, staggered, from nave to chancel, one to sanctuary, one to altar, and at least one grille in the floor. Encaustic tiled floor with carpet; bare walls; nineteen close-set arch-braced collars.

North wall has small, narrow door to vestry, the south wall sedilia and a piscina beneath the window, and two narrow arcade arches to the organ and to the aisle. Also two 20thC brasses.

South Aisle. General. In appearance much the same as the nave but with six bays to the roof; no hoodmould above arcade arches. South and west walls have 20thC brasses.

Vestry. General. Later part separated internally by traceried stone screenwork in two narrow arches.

Churchyard

The churchyard is now of a completely irregular shape; its circular origins can be seen in its southern portion more clearly depicted on tithe map, the present church sits in a rectangular extension to the north, and off this a long narrow extension runs towards the river. The site itself is flat and has been created on the west bank of the River Dulas. Generally the churchyard is well-maintained, though vegetation is beginning to swamp older memorials to south-east of church.

Boundary: stone wall on west up to 2.5m high, but on south this is set on top of a bank (the earlier circuit?) and is little more than 0.5m high. East of the church the 19thC extension has a low wall with grave plaques set into it; where it picks up the old churchyard line there is a old stone wall, partially collapsed. Further south it is interrupted and the drive to the former Rectory probably overlies the original circuit.

Monuments: regularly spread to south of Victorian church; earliest seen is one of 1725 against east wall of churchyard.

Furniture: a churchyard cross of 1912 marks the burial plot of the Dundonalds of Gwrych, by Harold Hughes.

Earthworks: 1.5m high bank internally around south side of churchyard; west edge of earlier yard shown by slight bank now covered by graves. No obvious earthworks of earlier church.

Ancillary features: lychgate: stone walls with timber superstructure, dated to 1899 and designed by Harold Hughes; on the south side of yard. Small store shed on north side. Paths of limestone chippings, but concrete in the churchyard extension.

Vegetation: two yews of no great age on former northern edge of churchyard. Deciduous trees at various points to south of church.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 11 December 1996
Faculty 1834: NLW - erection of gallery etc
Faculty 1869: NLW: construction of new church
Faculty 1930: NLW: addition to churchyard
Hubbard 1986, 191
Jones and Rawcliffe 1985
Quinquennial Review 1995
Thomas 1913, 204
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 Llanddulas Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.


The CPAT Eastern Conwy 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 ( 22:01:14 ).
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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