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Eastern Conwy Churches Survey

Church of St Jerome , Llangwm

Llangwm Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Llangwm in the county of Conwy. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SH9667944608.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16874 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llangwm Church, CPAT copyright photo CS971828.JPG

Summary

St Jerome's church lies at the centre of this small village in the hills to the south of the A5 corridor, some 3 miles south of Cerrigydrudion. It is now disused and the windows boarded up. The site may first have been established in the early medieval era, but the present church is a simple structure with nave and chancel as one cell, its fabric undatable, its windows 18thC and 19thC. Inside all the fixtures and fittings have been stripped out leaving a few wall memorials heaped on the floor.

The churchyard is sub-rectangular with a few 18thC graves.

Nothing in the fabric suggests more than a single phase of construction which might be of mid-18thC date but could equally be earlier; two phases of windows with the round-headed south windows attributable to the works of 1747 (and likewise the chancel arch). The east window dates to the restoration of 1873-4.

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

History

There is nothing to indicate the date of the church foundation here but an early medieval origin is quite possible.

The foundation charter of Oswestry Hospital in 1210x1215 refers to it as 'Langum'. The Norwich Taxation of 1254 has 'Ecc'a de Langun' at a value of 2, while 'Ecclia de Llagwm' is recorded in 1291 at 7 13s 4d.

Church rebuilt or remodelled in 1747, and there is a tradition that its predecessor was on the other side of the valley though this has never been substantiated. It reportedly retained the floor beam of the medieval rood screen.

Restoration and refurnishing occurred in 1873-4. A gallery survived at this time as did the old roof, though this could have been no earlier than the mid-18thC.

The church was offered for lease by the Church in Wales in 1982. The writer assumes that no one has taken up the lease.

Architecture

Llangwm church consists of a nave and chancel in one, a north porch and a bellcote over the west end of the building.

It is oriented south-west/north-east but for descriptive purposes 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted for the church, though not for the churchyard.

Fabrics: 'A' is a heterogeneous mixture of grey shale (which predominates) and coarse sandstone with some pebble stones as well; colours range from grey through to yellow and brown; very rough appearance; irregular coursing; heavy pointing.

Roof: slates, red clay ridge tiles. Bellcote at west end has a single aperture without a bell, and a stepped roof; it does not rise directly from the gable but is set back slightly on the roof.

Drainage: nothing very obvious but there is a groove along the south side of the building which could signal a drain beneath.

Exterior

Nave and Chancel. General. No external differentiation between nave and chancel. Fabric could be of uniform type - because of the roughness and the pointing it is impossible to be certain. For the same reasons it is not possible to determine whether any windows have been inserted. All windows boarded up.

North wall: three windows, the central one of which is completely boarded and totally invisible. Others both have two-centred arches though in different styles and dressings in pale yellow freestone with slightly hollowed chamfers.

East wall: Victorian Gothic window in mustard-yellow freestone, three lights and hoodmould with foliate stops.

South wall: masonry cleaner at west end where lean-to boiler room has been demolished. Three round-headed windows, the arch stones of the more westerly two in grey stone but with some jambs in mustard-yellow freestone. One jambstone of the central window has a small sundial carved on it. The two more easterly windows have projecting springers.

West wall: wall face is battered to height over 2.5m, and the listed building schedule suggests that the wall above this has been largely rebuilt. Set in this near the south-west angle is a shallow rectangular recess of uncertain purpose. Top of batter defined by rectangular-sectioned string course which terminates at the quoins.

Porch. General. Porch abuts nave.

North wall: round-headed doorway, the arch turned in edge stones; no dressed stone. Above it part of a 14thC heraldic slab.

East wall: plain except for simple slit window.

West wall: plain.

Interior

Porch. General. Slab floor, painted walls, purlin and rafter roof. Purlins have ribs and chamfers and are presumably re-used.

East wall: splayed slit; stone bench beneath.

South wall: round-headed doorway with chamfered dressings in grey limestone; studded door. Above it in the wall is a stone inscribed '1715 HK GI WARDENS'.

West wall: stone bench. Above are two slate Benefaction boards.

[Note: interior of church has been stripped of all its fittings and fixtures apart from some marble memorials left resting on the floor near the north door].

Nave. General. Floor of red quarry tiles; raised plinths for the benches remain; some heating vent grilles down aisle. Walls plastered and painted. Roof of five bays with tie-beam trusses resting on stone corbels, and king- and raking-posts.

North wall: one splayed window and one small rectangular window near chancel arch, its embrasure skewed slightly towards the nave.

East wall: wide, 'basket' arch, springing from capitals on pilasters; 18thC.

South wall: two windows.

West wall: just below the level of the side wall eaves is a projecting course of stones, and above this the wall is slightly inset.

Chancel. General. Two steps up to chancel, one to sanctuary. Tiled floor; walls as nave; vaulted ceiling of twenty panels. One window in each of the three walls.

Churchyard

Churchyard is of medium size, sub-rectangular, level and reasonably well-maintained; it is still used for burial. Church and churchyard lie on the valley floor with the Cemig stream passing less than 10m from the churchyard boundary.

Boundary: drystone wall, possibly mortared in places.

Monuments: gravestones throughout the yard, some in rows, tidily placed and sometimes quite dense. North-east and east of the church there are few. 18thC ledgers to the south-east and east of the church but most are too weathered to read.

Furniture: sundial marked on modern OS maps near the north-west entrance has gone. Only the base remains.

Earthworks: churchyard has a very uneven surface suggesting many more graves than are actually marked. There appears to be a slight platform on which the church rests but this is only really visible on the north and west.

The churchyard perimeter is embanked internally but much of this could be due to debris and spoil from grave-digging. There is a little evidence that the churchyard is raised, but by little more than 0.5m at any one point.

Ancillary features: main entrance on north-west has no gate but fences edging a grass path to the porch. Near south corner is a farm gate. Store shed or the equivalent built into churchyard near north corner; external access.

Vegetation: two mature yews to south-west of church within the yard; several other younger examples around the perimeter.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings: draft
CPAT Field Visit: 21 January 1997
Gresham 1968, 155
Hubbard 1986, 224
Thomas 1911, 163
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 Llangwm 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 ( 22:01:20 ).
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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