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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of St Cadwaladr , Llangadwaladr

Llangadwaladr Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Brecon in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ1817030357.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16681 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llangadwaladr Church, CPAT copyright photo CS975206.JPG

Summary

The small, isolated, single-chambered church of St Cadwaladr lies remote in the hills, 7 miles to the west of Oswestry. It was heavily restored in 1883 and virtually nothing other than some of the nave and chancel walls remain of the earlier building, though a small window was re-set in the vestry. Internally the only features predating the restoration are the timber roof and a mural tablet of the early 19thC. The churchyard lies on the north side of a valley, and its curvilinearity is obvious even though its form has been modified.

Parts of the masonry shell could be medieval, but the only features to survive are a re-set medieval window in the vestry and the nave roof which may be 15thC.

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

History

Dedication, location and churchyard morphology point to an early medieval origin. However, nothing is known of the church's early history.

The Taxatio of Pope Nicholas in 1291 refers to 'Bettws Kadwaladr' as a chapel to its mother church at Llanrhaiadr.

The rural dean in his report of 1749 described it as ' a small lightsome place; the chancel large and spacious in proportion to the church'.

Restoration occurred in 1840 at a cost of 300. Further and more drastic work in 1883 by Spaull included the removal of the gallery at the west end, construction of the apse and vestry, new windows in the north wall and alterations of those on south side, the raising of the chancel floor, and alterations to the seating.

Llangadwaladr was constituted a parish in 1877.

The west wall was rebuilt in 1915.

Architecture

The church consists of a nave and chancel in one, a polygonal apse, a south porch and a north vestry; a bellcote is set above the west end. The church 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 of medium-sized, irregular blocks of mudstone, shale, quartz etc, variously coloured and randomly coursed. 'B' is as 'A' but this is mixed with thin shale slabs. 'C' consists of slabs with a few blocks of mainly brown shale; some coursing.

Roof: slate, grey clay ridge tiles, and a simple finial at the east end of the nave. The bellcote at the west end is of dressed stone and ashlar; single bell and cusped openings to apertures.

Drainage: nothing obvious.

Exterior

Nave and Chancel. General. A lean-to vestry in the north-west corner.

North wall: eastern portion of wall is in 'A', set on a protruding foundation course which extends round the diagonal buttress in rough masonry at the north-east angle (though it has a dressed coping stone, probably of more recent date). Western part of the visible wall is in 'B' with no obvious projecting foundation. Two windows, both broad cusped lancets in pale freestone, the eastern one shorter than its counterpart to the west. Hubbard refers, too, to a blocked north doorway. This is no longer visible.

East wall: projecting foundation course carried round the east side and probably in 'A' masonry though little of it is visible. Leaning against southern part of this wall are two damaged slate gravestones of 1760 and 1769.

South wall: in 'A', but heavily pointed; sporadic signs of projecting foundation. Two standard windows, comparable with those in the north wall.

West wall: wall face rendered. Two standard windows.

Apse. General. Polygonal apse in 'C'. Three of the faces have standard cusped lancets. A datestone of 1883 below the east wall window.

Porch. General. In 'B'-type fabric. East and west walls are plain; the south wall has a simple arched entrance with jambs of undressed stone and the arch in chamfered freestone. No door or gate.

Vestry. General. In 'C'. North and east walls are plain; west wall is rendered but contains a window with a worn trefoiled head - an original medieval window re-sited, though the jambs are perhaps more recent.

Interior

Porch. General. Patterned tiled floor; plastered and painted walls; roof of rafters and a ridge purlin (modern).

Nave. General. Patterned tiled floor with benches on flush wooden boarding. Walls plastered and painted. Roof of three bays with arch-braced collar trusses rising from wall plates; the westernmost truss against the west wall is a queen post truss above a tie-beam; one tier of cusped windbraces.

North wall: one deeply splayed window emphasising the thickness of the walls of the church, and a square-headed door to the vestry.

East wall: steps to chancel.

South wall: deeply splayed window and square-headed doorway from porch, faintly splayed.

West wall: two splayed windows with a wall cupboard between; font against this wall.

Chancel. General. Two steps up from nave. Encaustic tiles with carpet along aisle, and flush wooden boards under benches. Walls as nave. Roof of one bay with close-set scissor trusses.

North wall: one splayed window.

East wall: two-centred arch to apse in buff freestone, the same as the windows.

South wall: one splayed window.

Apse. General. One step up from chancel. Encaustic tiles on floor; walls as chancel, rafters form the roof.

Vestry. General. Floor as nave; walls plastered and painted; roof of lean-to rafters. West window (see above) and an early 19thC wall tablet on south wall.

Churchyard

Llangadwaladr churchyard is an irregular shape, with an element of curvilinearity on its north side. Set above a small stream running on its south side, the effective edge of the churchyard is the lip of the terrace scarp, well inside the boundary shown on the map. In all likelihood this could have formed part of an earlier circuit, and it is possible, too, that the curtilage of Tyn-llan just to the east formed part of the earlier enclosure. The present churchyard is well maintained and is still used for burial.

Boundary: a retaining wall on north which runs round on west side as an ordinary wall. On the south there is a fence and on the east a hedge and fence separates the churchyard from Tyn-llan.

Monuments: 20thC burials on north, 19thC ones to west; ground to east and immediately to west of church is clear of memorials and only a few to south. Nothing pre-dates the 19thC apart from those noted above leaning against east wall of church.

Furniture: none.

Earthworks: raised on north where there is a gentle bank inside the wall and a drop of more than one metre to external level. Smaller drop on north. Natural scarp on south, and a drop into grounds of Tyn-llan on east.

Ancillary features: single iron gate on north, double iron gates of simple date on west, and an iron gate from Tyn-llan. Tarmac paths except to Tyn-llan which is a slightly sunken grassy track.

Vegetation: a series of very old yews west of the church, though no evidence that they represent an earlier boundary line.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 22 April 1997
Faculty 1882: NLW
Faculty 1915: NLW
Hubbard 1986, 213
Quinquennial Review 1988
Ridgway 1997, 154
Thomas 1913, 15
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 Llangadwaladr 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 - chrismartin@cpat.org.uk, website - www.cpat.org.uk.

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