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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of St Cadfarch , Penegoes

Penegoes Church is in the Diocese of Bangor, in the community of Cadfarch in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SH7697300969.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16395 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Penegoes Church, CPAT copyright photo CS955633.JPG


St Cadfarch's church is a wholly 19thC structure though as an establishment it was almost certainly founded in the early medieval era. Nothing pre-dating the Victorian rebuilding survives, other than a stoup and a bell, and possibly a couple of items of furniture. It stands in an irregular enclosure than originally showed some degree of curvilinearity.

Completely rebuilt in 1877 (or 1863 according to the Quinquennial Report).

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


The dedication and possibly the location point to an early medieval foundation. The name Penegoes means head of Egeos, a British saint whose head is said to be buried under oak trees near the church.

It is recorded in the Norwich Taxation of 1254 as 'Ecclesia de Penegees' at a value of 6s 8d.

The earlier church was replaced in 1877 (or 1863) to the design of John Pritchard.

The tower over the chancel was taken down in about 1939.


The church consists of a nave and narrower chancel under a continuous roofline, a 'sort of crossing' with a gabled roof to the south, a square bell tower on the north, and a vestry joined to the chancel. The building is oriented west-south-west/east-north-east, but for descriptive purposes, 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted in the report.

Fabrics: 'A' is of rectangular, sawn, grey slate blocks, coursed.

Roof: slates with plain ceramic ridge tiles. A cross finial over the porch only, but two broken finials rest against the walls of the porch.

Drainage: 19thC guttering rests on stone corbels, and downspouts, some renewed, lead to soakaways. No obvious drainage trench.

Note: Penegoes is a wholly Victorian structure and thus the following description offers only an outline.


Nave. General. Continuous plinth at c.1m above ground level, with projecting coving. All apertures have buff-yellow sandstone dressings, and there are relieving arches of slate voussoirs to all apertures. Corbel table beneath the eaves of both nave and chancel.

North wall: part overgrown with ivy; boiler house with below-ground entrance, and high chimney stack. West of the boiler house are paired trefoiled lights each with a trefoil above; over these is a continuous hoodmould with decorative stops, and there are relieving arches as described above. A standard light to the east of the boiler house chimney.

South wall: two sets of standard, paired, trefoiled lights to the east of the porch; a continuous hoodmould links these pairs.

West wall: dominated by a twelve-light wheel window with a central quatrefoil; relieving arch over, and then a hoodmould which arches over the top of the window. Two longitudinal slits in the gable.

Bell-tower. General. Projects from the north wall of the nave and is partly ivy covered. Bell chamber has a small, louvred aperture on the north face above a single square-headed slit staircase window. In the west wall are a pair of square-headed louvred slit windows. A sandstone parapet on stone corbels supports the pyramidal roof.

Chancel. General. Plinth continues only on the south wall of the chancel.

North wall: on this side it is aligned with the bell tower wall and is thus further out than the nave wall. It contains a square-headed doorway, and one pair of standard lights but with plain stops to the hoodmould.

East wall: a two-centred window has three, stepped, trefoiled lights with tracery above in the east wall. Two rectangular slits in the gable comparable with the west wall. An ordinary buttress supports the juncture of the chancel wall with that of the vestry.

South wall: a single trefoiled light but without stops to the hoodmould.

South gable: south wall contains a two-centred window with two trefoil-headed lights with a quatrefoil above, complex mouldings to the dressings, a hoodmould and relieving arch. The stone plinth is stepped up to sill level. Two longitudinal slits in apex and a dormer roof.

Vestry. General. Adjoins the north wall of the chancel, its exterior covered in ivy. The east wall has a single trefoiled light but lacks both the trefoil and the hoodmould stops of the other church windows, and the buttress as mentioned above. The north wall contains a square-headed entrance door and a pair of standard lights.

South Porch. General. Continuation of plinth. The south wall contains a two-centred doorway with stopped chamfers to the jambs and also engaged pillars with mouldings for the arch. The jambs rise from the plinth that runs round the building.


Porch. General. An open archway at the front; red and black tiled floor; stone benches against the walls, and an arch-braced collar truss roof; there are three principal trusses and two intermediate trusses without bracing; the collars are moulded. In the north wall the entrance to the church is provided by a doorway with a large trefoiled head and over this a peaked hoodmould with a fleur-de-lys at the apex. A separate wooden-framed gate with wire netting is immediately outside the main church door.

Nave. General. One step up from the porch, and with an internal wooden porch. Red and black tiled floor, flush wooden boarding under benches; carpeting disguises heating grilles. The unplastered walls of yellow brick incorporate red and black diapering, the splayed apertures have relieving arches and where there are paired lights, small ringed columns in black stone separate the apertures. Roof of twenty-one, close-set, arch-braced collars giving the false impression of a wagon ceiling; five are principals with moulded woodwork, and small decorative shields at the juncture of truss and wallplate.

North wall: One 20thC marble memorial, and a modern commemorative marble plaque to Richard Wilson (see also churchyard below).

East wall: a two-centred arch of two orders, the inner order rising from short engaged columns. This divides the nave from what might be classed as the choir. The wall above has fancy brick work, and tie plates are visible to either side of the arch.

South wall: two 20thC memorials, one of stone, the other marble..

West wall: engaged pillars in place of internal jambs to the west window aperture.

Choir. General. One step up from nave. Described here as a 'choir' because it has the appearance of a crossing with recesses to the north and south. That to the north holds the organ, and behind it is access to the vestry; that to the south used for choir stalls. Red and black tiles, some encaustic; walls as nave; flat roof formed by 9 wooden panels with moulded ribs. East arch similar to that dividing nave from choir. Tie rods join east and west walls on both north and south sides.

Chancel and sanctuary. General. Two steps up from choir and two more to altar. Bare walls as nave with diaper work. Separated from choir by two-centred sandstone arch; roof of four arch-braced collar trusses creating three bays, and two tiers of cusped windbraces.

Vestry. Concrete floor; bare walls; sloping wooden ceiling with ivy growing through it. An Incorporated Society for Building and Churches plaque refers to the rebuilding of 1884.


The churchyard is of irregular shape, but appears to have been extended westwards at some point, the rectilinear form at that end, a giveaway. Some of it is level but the ground slopes away south to the road and a sudden dip to the east hints at an earlier oval shaped enclosure. The graveyard is overgrown.

Boundary: stone wall overgrown with ivy and holly bushes, and on the south-east acts mainly as a retaining wall.

Monuments: 19th and 20thC burials surround the church, including the north side. There are also several table tombs and ledgers of 18thC date on the south side, the earliest seen of 1761.

Earthworks: the churchyard is raised by 0.5m on the south, less than 1m on the north and east, but 3m-4m on the south-east above the adjacent farm. Within the churchyard is a scarp bank perhaps 0.6m which marks the old western perimeter of the yard.

Furniture: a slab set in the exterior face of the wall to the west of the gates records the birth of the Welsh artist Richard Wilson in the parish in 1713; his father was Rector of Penegoes. The slab and the modern entrance dates from 1970.

Ancillary features: on the south modern entrance gates and an adjoining slate stile give on to a tarmac path leading to the porch.

Vegetation: several old yews surround the churchyard, including several against the north all. There is a massive specimen at the south-east corner. Rhododendron bushes, probably from the 19thC.

Well: on the south side of the road opposite the church, a well known as St Cadfarch's Well, is said to have healing properties. The stone-lined well has been recently restored.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit 20 November 1995 and 18 September 1998
Eisel 1986, 191
Faculty Bangor (NLW)
Haslam 1979, 179
Lunt 1926, 471
Powys SMR
Quinquennial Reports 1986 and 1992
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 Penegoes Church may also be found on the Bangor 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 -, website -

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