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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of St Garmon , Llanarmon Mynydd-mawr

Llanarmon Mynydd-mawr Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ1355027940.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16807 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llanarmon Mynydd-mawr Church, CPAT copyright photo CS975207.JPG

Summary

St Garmon's church is set in a remote location a mile and a half north-east of what was its mother church at Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. Heavy Victorian restoration has left a structure whose architectural features are all 19thC, though it is conceivable that the walls themselves may be earlier. Inside, the church is equally devoid of anything pre-dating the 19thC except for a disused font bowl, a font cover and re-cycled altar rails, all from the 18thC. The churchyard, however, is largely unaltered, its D-shaped form abutting a stream, with the earliest memorials from the late 18thC.

Nave and chancel retain no early features, all the windows and doors being Victorian. Masonry changes in the east wall hint at the possibility that some of the walls are older but this can not be demonstrated unequivocally; on the evidence of a faculty petition the south wall may well have been rebuilt. The porch and vestry are 19thC features.

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

History

The dedication and location, and arguably the churchyard morphology point to an early medieval origin.

It was a chapel attached to Llanrhaiadr and as such was subsumed in the Taxatio entries for that church in 1254 and 1291. There is, however, a reference to Madoc, the curate of 'Lla'irmon' in 1317.

The church was restored in 1885/6 by W.H.Spaull of Oswestry at a cost of 630. The decayed roof, west gallery and stairs, and the window frames were removed, the south wall and porch pulled down. The bellcote, broad cusped lancets and the Decorated east window, together with heating apparatus and a new vestry, were added, and the floors replaced.

Architecture

The church consists of a single cell for the nave and chancel, a south porch and a vestry at the north-east corner. Above the west gable is a bellcote.

Fabrics: 'A' is of small and medium blocks and slabs of shale, grey and brown in colour, with occasional blocks of quartz and also some medium-sized pebblestones. Slabs used for levelling courses in walls; selected stones used for quoins. 'B' is dominated by small slabs of grey and brown shale, with occasional medium-sized slabs; some coursing.

Roof: slates, red clay ridge tiles; metal cross finial on the porch and another decorated metal finial on the chancel.

Drainage: the church is terraced into a hillslope creating a flat-bottomed gully around its north and west sides which may have a drainage function; on the east there is evidence of a back-filled trench beside the wall. The presence of old graveslabs suggests that there is nothing on south.

Exterior

Nave and Chancel. General. Not differentiated externally. Walls taper inwards slightly as they rise.

North wall: in 'A'. The only features are two cusped lancet lights in pale freestone, both Victorian. No convincing signs that these have been inserted.

East wall: lower part in 'A', but around window in 'B'. A relatively small east window with a two-centred arch, three lancet lights, and sub-arches edging a cusped rounded light at the apex; all in pale freestone with an ashlar relieving arch.

South wall: in 'A'. Three standard cusped lancets; no signs of insertion.

West wall: in 'A', irregularities at apex of gable suggest that this may have been reconstructed, though there is also more recent re-pointing here. Two cusped lancets; below these a windlass for the bell, but the cord broken. Bellcote has a single aperture, ashlar and stone facing, and a gabled top.

Vestry. General. Built in masonry akin to 'A', though there appears to be less variation in the size of the stone. A simple lancet light in north wall in same general style as the nave windows, a plain west wall and a flat-headed doorway with stopped chamfers on its jambs on the east.

Porch. General. Fabric akin to 'A' but sides appear less weathered than nave, suggesting they are of later build. Basal plinth with chamfered freestone coping.

East and west walls: plain.

South wall: two-centred archway in standard freestone with simple stops to the chamfers. Lamp above the arch, no doors or gates.

Interior

Porch. General. Two steps up from the churchyard. Floor of ornamental tiles; plastered and painted walls; roof of close-set rafters and a ridge purlin, all 19thC.

North wall: a two-centred arch to doorway which matches the outer porch entrance, though smaller. One step up from the porch.

East and west walls: plain, though a free-standing bench against the west wall.

Nave. General. Floor of decorated tiles with wide heating grilles down aisle; benches on flush wooden boarding. Walls plastered and painted. Roof to both the nave and chancel is of four bays with arch-braced collar trusses resting on stone corbels, arcing struts, and plain rafters and purlins. The chancel bay has no special treatment and there is nothing to suggest that any of the timberwork is earlier than the 19thC.

North wall: plain but for two splayed window embrasures, the more easterly above the nave/chancel divide.

East wall: two steps up to chancel.

South wall: two standard splayed window embrasures, and a doorway embrasure.

West wall: two splayed window embrasures, and beneath these a small alcove with a door for the broken bell pull. Towards the top of the wall a slight disconformity in the wall face which may match that on the exterior, reinforcing the view that there is a rebuild here.

Chancel. General. Two steps up to the chancel, one to the sanctuary. Encaustic tiles on floor, walls and roof as nave.

North wall: shared window with nave, and two-centred doorway with stopped chamfers leading to vestry.

East wall: splayed east window. Curtains rather than reredos.

South wall: one window and an aumbry in the sanctuary.

Vestry. General. Decorated tile floor, plain walls and raftered roof. Attached to these in the north-west corner is a benefaction board and in the north-west angle a disused font bowl.

Churchyard

Llanarmon church occupies the lower part of a D-shaped enclosure on a south-facing slope and abutting a sharp-sided stream valley. There is no evidence for an earlier perimeter. It is well-maintained and is still used for burial.

Boundary: a mortared stone wall acts as a revetment to the churchyard on the south, in places reinforced by a hedge. On the east a fence with occasional trees and bushes separates the yard from the stream. The present boundary on the north-west and west is a fence and in places a hedge, but below these is a pronounced scarp tipping into the churchyard and this has a distinctive curvilinear appearance.

Monuments: gravestones on all sides, and on the east and west these are reasonably dense and rather haphazardly placed; on the north there is more space and more order to the stones, the majority of which are 19thC and 20thC. Some memorials on the south side go back to the late 18thC. The earliest seen during fieldwork was a child's gravestone of 1788 leaning against the south wall of the nave.

Furniture: none observed.

Earthworks: the churchyard is raised on the south and west, and on the east is several metres above the stream. But on the north, there is a pronounced drop into the churchyard.

Ancillary features: paired iron gates on the south-west; gravel path to porch.

Vegetation: five yews are set into the scarp bank on the east side, and there are two others on the east side, that immediately to the east of the church being the oldest.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 1 May 1997
Faculty 1885: NLW - restoration
Hubbard 1986, 185
Quinquennial Review 1987
Ridgway 1997, 110
Thomas 1911, 220
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 Llanarmon Mynydd-mawr 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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