Montgomeryshire Churches Survey
Church of St Tydecho , Garthbeibio
Garthbeibio Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Banwy in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SH9855011891.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16368 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.
Almost certainly an early medieval foundation, St Tydecho's church about 15 miles to the west of Welshpool is a single-chambered structure heavily restored in 1862, though medieval fabric remains in the south and west walls. Its Perpendicular east window
has survived, as has one other late medieval window on the south side, and internally the medieval font remains. It is set within a small polygonal enclosure on a knoll overlooking the Banwy valley.
The building has a west wall and short sections of the south and north walls all of medieval date; the rest was rebuilt in 1862. The Perpendicular east window was re-inserted at that time, as was another, broadly contemporary window lighting the sanctuary
on the south side.
Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1979 publication The Buildings of Wales: Powys by Richard Haslam
The location and dedication together point to an early medieval foundation, traditionally founded by Tydecho in the 6thC. St Tydecho's Well was once somewhere in the field to the west of the church, but there is now no trace of it.
The church is referred to as 'Capella de Garthbeiboau' in the Norwich Taxation of 1254, and as the chapelry of 'Garthbeybyau' attached to Llanymawddwy in the 1291 Lincoln Taxation AD 1291; its value was subsumed within that of the mother church. Between
1291 and 1535 it became a separate benefice.
The church was largely rebuilt in 1862, but a sketch, reproduced in 1873, shows the pre-restoration church. It was whitewashed and appears to have been longer at the east end than the present building, though this may be artistic licence. It had a
north-west entrance porch and a dormer lit the gallery, also on the north side. A simple bellcote rose from the west end. In 1873 too, there were 'some curious stone carvings now in the possession of the rector' (Edwards). What these were are and where
they are now is not known.
Glynne visited Garthbeibio in 1869 and found a narrow church 'much resembling Llangadfan and Manafon, and, like them, considerably renovated'. The walls appeared to have been raised, a new roof put in place, the east window was exactly the same as in the
two churches mentioned above, there were new square-headed windows in the south wall, and he could detect no evidence that originally there had been windows in the north wall. A new bellcote had been added.
The church consists of a nave and chancel as a single chamber with a bellcote over the west end, a south porch and a north vestry. It is oriented a little north of due west.
Fabrics: 'A' consists of small to large blocks of greyish, fine grained, sandstone, with some very large elongated blocks particularly in the west wall; also some quartz in the south wall: randomly coursed and now heavily pointed; limewash residue.
'B' is of small to medium-sized blocks of grey grainy shale, but in places re-use of earlier material; irregularly coursed; and heavily pointed.
'C' is the same as fabric 'B' but cut with a bull-nose finish to the rectangular blocks; some coursing.
'A' is medieval, 'B' and 'C' are from 1862.
Roofs: slates with black ceramic ridge tiles with fleur-de-lys ornamentation, some broken; a sandstone cross finial at the east end.
Drainage: modern plastic guttering on north and south walls lead to soakaways. A gravel band on all sides could mask drainage trench besides the walls.
Nave and chancel. General. A single chamber under a continuous roof line with no external differentiation. The 19thC windows are all painted over.
North wall: west end in 'A', but rebuilt in 'B' from the site of an old doorway near the west corner, eastwards. From the west: i) position of old doorway. ii) a square-headed, two-light window, the lights with cusped, round heads. iii) as ii) but three
lights. iv) as ii). v) vestry. All windows in wood.
East wall: built in 'C' with a chamfered plinth at about 0.5m; though at the level of the springers in the east window 'C' changes to 'B'. Perpendicular window re-inserted during restoration. Two-centred arch over three trefoil-headed lights below a
transom and panel tracery above, all in grey sandstone; the tracery and panel lights could be original but the mullions and the chamfered jambs and arch have all been renewed. At the apex of the gable is an 1862 datestone with a voussoir surround.
South wall: in fabric 'A', either original or reused; but rebuilt in 'B' above a height of 1m-1.5m. From west: i) wall to the west of the porch is almost certainly medieval but is buttressed in large blocks of sandstone, probably from the time of the
restoration. ii) porch. iii) a single trefoiled light of 1862 in wood, though with a slate sill. iv) standard three-light window from 1862 in wood with slate sill. v) the sanctuary window is a simple Perpendicular feature, in grey sandstone and was reset
in 1862. Its square frame has two trefoiled round-headed lights with sunken spandrels, and presumably acted as a model for the restoration windows; light heads are worn and original but frame and mullions renewed.
West wall: in fabric 'A' (with occasional pebblestones), with a flat-topped plinth at 0.4m. Above the gable is a bellcote in 'B' from 1862. The bellcote is stepped, rising to a triangular head and has a square-headed opening for a single bell; topped by a
Vestry. General. In 'B'. Adjoins north wall at the east end. Single cusped light in wood in north wall and a square-headed doorway in the east wall. A red brick shed abuts the west side.
South Porch. General. Constructed in 'B' in 1862. Two-centred entrance arch of stone voussoirs on the south, the jambs of selected blocks of ordinary stone. The west wall is plain, and on the east is a small two-centred aperture, now boarded over. The
arch is rustic created from stone and concrete.
Porch. General. One step up from the exterior. Red tiled floor with central stone slabs; plastered walls with wooden benches on the east and west, and a niche, formerly the window embrasure, on the east side; plastered ceiling above exposed rafters.
Nave. General. Largely the result of the 1862 restoration. Carpetted floors; raised planked floors under benches. Walls plastered and painted except for the west wall which has full-length tongue and groove panelling; deeply splayed windows, their
dressings painted over. Roof from 1862 has four bays formed by three arch-braced collar trusses, with king struts and decorative ball ornament at the highest point of the soffit of each truss; exposed rafters and through purlins. A fourth truss against the
lowered chancel ceiling.
North wall: at the west end, in line with the front of the gallery, the north wall abruptly becomes narrower and continues in this form as far east as the chancel. Further east a white marble war memorial tablet erected in 1922.
East wall: the division between nave and chancel is marked by steps and a change in the roof style.
South wall: on the west side of the south doorway, the wall narrows in line with the similar indent in the north wall, and is indicative of a different phase of building.
West end: a gallery with a boarded front, approached by steps leading up from the north side. A clock is inset in the front panelling.
Chancel. General. One step up from the nave, one to the sanctuary. Walls as nave, but inset at the juncture with the nave, so the chancel walls are thicker by perhaps 0.3m - the significance of this is not clear unless it indicates that there is a
medieval wall at its core. Plastered ceiling, and a boss with a painted flower motif, centrally placed; exposed purlins. The east window has a shallow chamfer to the inner arch of its aperture, and above it is a painted text in Welsh.
Vestry. General. Tiled floor, plastered walls and ceiling.
The churchyard is a distinctively polygonal enclosure bounded by a road on the north and by open fields elsewhere. There is a steep drop down to the Banwy Valley on the south side. An earlier line, slightly more curvilinear is visible inside the present
churchyard (see below). It is reasonably well kept.
Boundary: drystone wall, probably dating from the 1862 restoration.
Monuments: mainly 19thC-20thC slate slabs; a few crosses and modern burials on the lower terraces. A fairly even distribution of graves, some unmarked, but virtually no marked burials on the east side of the church. Two broken slabs of 18thC date have been
placed by the north gate; a sandstone slab in situ, to the south of the church, bears a Welsh inscription to Hugh Edwards (d.1775); a low chest tomb of 1780 is on the north side of the church; and beneath a yew to the south-east of the chancel is a
horizontal slab carrying the date 1716. A worn slate slab leans against the east wall of the south porch and bears a 1788 date though little else can be deciphered.
Furniture: none seen. (But see sundial inside the vestry - above)
Earthworks: the church is sited on a terrace and the burial ground slopes away to the south. Internally the churchyard boundary is banked up inside the northern wall. A scarp on the west side of the church (up to 1m), on the south and the east (up to 2m)
suggests an earlier enclosure boundary.
Ancillary features: red sandstone pillars support a pair of wrought iron gates forming the main entrance on the north, with a gravel path edged by a pair of 19thC yews leads to the south porch; this gravel path is continuous around the church. A grass path
leads directly south from the porch downhill through the churchyard to a single wooden gate in the stone wall on the south side.
Vegetation: several old yews. The west wall bounded by mixed deciduous trees and evergreens; 19thC clipped yews alongside the paths. Four older yews near the south-east side of the church with a railed grave beneath them, and two more on the north side.
Wells: two holy wells, St. Tydecho's and Ffynnon Ddu, were located near the churchyard.
CPAT Field Visits: 20 March 1996 and 20 July 1998
Eisel 1986, 178
Glynne 1885, 37
Haslam 1979, 102
Ridgway 1997, 82
St. Asaph Parish Records (NLW)
Thomas 1908, 467
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 Garthbeibio Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.
The CPAT Montgomeryshire 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 ( 22:02:05 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 41 Broad Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7RR tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email - firstname.lastname@example.org, website - www.cpat.org.uk.
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