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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of St Trinio, St Peter and St Paul , Llandrinio

Llandrinio Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Llandrinio in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ2955617081.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16836 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llandrinio Church, CPAT copyright photo CS956118.JPG

Summary

The church with a triple dedication to Ss Trinio, Peter and Paul, lies in the Severn Valley a little more than 6 miles to the north-east of Welshpool. It is a single-chambered structure, retaining architectural features from the Norman period through to the 20thC. Internally it has a couple of fragments from one or more early medieval slabs, a Norman font, a limited amount of 17thC woodwork and a west gallery with painted benefaction boards. It is sited in a large and irregular churchyard, probably part of an earlier and even larger sanctuary.

The following is one sequence based on existing knowledge, but other interpretations may be possible.

A small church with a complicated history, elucidated (in part) by Archdeacon Thomas. A very small building is thought to have been enlarged during the Norman period when the old nave, itself Norman, was converted into a chancel and a new nave added to the west. Thomas thought an earlier chancel, further east, was demolished at this time but there seems to be no substantive evidence to back this claim.

To this phase of alteration belong the priest's door, the south entrance door and the font. An aisle was erected on the north side, and a part of its arcade is immured in the present north wall.

Part of the Norman north aisle is thought to have been converted to a Chantry Chapel at a later date on the evidence of the piscina sited in the external face of the north wall at the chancel end.

In the 15thC, the north aisle was taken down and the arcade removed, except for the arch at the west end. The nave north wall was rebuilt, blocking in the arch, and the west end may have been shortened. The window at the east end of the south wall was inserted at this time, and some of the south wall of the nave may have been rebuilt. It has been suggested that the Decorated east window from the north aisle was moved to the chancel at this time, replacing an earlier window. Again this is conjectural.

The porch is thought to have been added in 1729 and perhaps some of the south wall was rebuilt at this time.

The upper part of the north wall of the nave was rebuilt in the 19thC, and a similar date can be posited for the west wall.

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

History

The church was supposedly founded by St Trinio in the 6thC. It is clear that the present large churchyard is part of an earlier, larger sanctuary though its bounds have not been traced. The possibility that it was a clas foundation should not be overlooked.

Llandrinio appears in both the Norwich Taxation of 1254 as 'Ecca de Llantneio' at a value of 2, with dependent chapelries at Llandysilio, Guilsfield and Welshpool; and in the Lincoln Taxation of 1291 as 'Ecclia de Landrineaw' at 9.

In the 14thC, King Edward II granted the village a three-day fair on the feast of St Peter and Paul and from that time the church became known as St Trinio, St Peter and St Paul.

A gallery and porch were added in 1729, and it was possibly at this time that the rood loft was removed.

The present belfry was built in 1829, when the gallery was enlarged and pews replaced open benches. The south side was reslated with Llangynog slates in 1849 and the present square-headed foliated windows date to 1859.

The date of Glynne's visit is not recorded. He mentioned the lost north aisle, the Norman doorway to the nave, various windows that still survive, a square recess on the north side of the altar, and the Norman font (which was illustrated in his record).

In 1870 or 1871 open seating replaced the pews and a dado was inserted along the north and south walls. The sanctuary and area around the font were tiled in 1891, and old wood was made into a reredos.

Further restoration and decoration took place in 1920s, with more work in 1978-9, when the interior was replastered and the outside of the church repaired.

Architecture

Single-chambered church with the nave and chancel fractionally out of line, a south porch with a lean-to boiler house, and a western bell turret. The church is oriented west-south-west to east-north-east, but for the purpose of description 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here. Conventional directions are used for the churchyard.

Fabric: 'A' is of medium to large blocks of red and yellow sandstone, interspersed with similarly-sized blocks of grey dolerite; fairly regular coursing, heavy pointing and some limewash residue. 'B' is very worn red sandstone, usually appearing in the make-up of other fabrics. 'C' is of regular blocks of sandstone, medium to large in size, and the quoins well dressed. 'D' consists of medium-sized blocks of red sandstone, some shaped, some with limewash residues. 'E' is of small to medium lumps of dolerite, irregularly laid; much limewash; very heavy pointing. 'F' is of mixed blocks of grey limestone and some sandstone; random coursing. 'G' is of grey dolerite in irregular blocks with a limewash residue. 'H' is a variation on 'A', with small to medium lumps of dolerite and sandstone, limewash and perhaps some coursing.

'F' is probably 12thC Norman, as is the stonework classed as 'B'. 'A', 'H', and perhaps 'G' might be 15thC, though there is a possibility that 'H' might be much earlier, 'E' seems to be 18thC, 'C' has been claimed as Norman by Salter but looks post-medieval and is probably 19thC and 'D' is 19thC.

Roofs: slates with dark clay ridge tiles; cross finial at east gable end.

Bell turret rises from west gable end: it has a pyramidal slate roof and a cross finial.

Drainage: 19thC guttering and downspouts lead to soakaways. A band of chippings around three sides of the church indicates a trench, and there is tarmac on the west side, and on the south side as far east as the porch.

Exterior

Nave. General. Distinguished from the chancel by slight changes in the positions of the wall faces. The north and south sides have a concrete capping at the base of each wall.

North wall: wall in 'A' with traces of former limewash, presumably dating to the 15thC rebuilding after the removal of the north aisle. Two 1859 windows with square heads, containing three trefoil-headed lights, modelled on the south window to the chancel; patching around the windows in 'D'. West of the windows is a single very worn sandstone round-headed arch of Norman date with the projecting square, chamfered capitals and round shafts surviving. The appearance of the western capital indicates it was a respond; that on the east has a curious corbel-like projection on the underside. Arch blocked in 'G'.

South wall: eastern part of the wall in 'H' and of 15thC date, but the western end as far east as the first buttress is in 'E'. From the west are: i) a buttress sloping uniformly to the top of the wall; date uncertain, but incorporates red brick and may thus be 19thC. ii) two inserted, flat-headed windows with brick surrounds, of 20thC date. iii) the porch with some evidence of disturbance in the wall face above it. iv) a three-light window of 1859, patched round with 'D' as on the north side. v) a worn, somewhat irregular buttress, not capped or dressed; probably pre-19thC date, but not certainly. It probably disguises the masonry change from 'E' to 'H'. vi) another window similar to iv). vii) beneath vi) is a blocked doorway with red sandstone jambs, the arch removed by the insertion of the window; sharpening marks on several jambstones; blocking also in sandstone. viii) red sandstone quoins of the nave rise to a height of 1.6m, two of them dressed to an angle in order to fit in to the pre-existing chancel wall.

West wall: is in fabric 'C' with a chamfered plinth to a height of c.0.7m; probably rebuilt in the 19thC. It is supported by two 19thC stepped buttresses with sandstone cappings. Centrally there is a small slit now blocked with mixed stone.

The bell turret of 1829 rises above the west gable, its stonework different from that of the west wall. Its west face has a louvred, brick window, with a two-centred arch, its north and south faces have two-centred, louvred lights set in wooden panelling, plastered and painted. The east face has wooden painted panelling.

Chancel. General. North wall slightly outset from nave, its southern counterpart inset.

North wall: concrete casing at base of wall, and the rest of the wall face shows exceptionally heavy pointing, but appears to be in 'F' to a height of around 2m, and then perhaps 'H'. Red sandstone quoins define the original chancel, at its juncture with the present nave. Three features in the wall. From the west: i) a yellow sandstone piscina with a central drain hole from which radiate broad grooves, in a niche which has a trefoiled window head over it. ii) a projecting stone of uncertain function. iii) a round-headed slit window with worn red sandstone dressings. This looks authentic but could be re-set.

East wall: in 'F' beneath the window, while 'G' (or conceivably 'E') around it. Two diagonal buttresses with heavy yellow sandstone capping, clearly additions to the wall though of uncertain date. The present east window has been reinserted within the framework of an earlier window, which itself incorporates re-used stonework for there is the inverted head of a small round-headed window on the south side. Thomas argued this was a former chancel arch, but this seems highly unlikely. The present window has a two-centred arch over three ogee-headed lights with reticulated tracery, of very worn red and yellow sandstone; some renewal, particularly the mullions and perhaps the arch in places.

South wall: lower part of the wall in 'F', upper part probably in 'H'. Both the nave and chancel walls are considerably bowed in the middle part of the south wall. The easternmost square-headed window with three trefoiled lights is Perpendicular but much of the dressed stone has been renewed; the head is formed of a single red sandstone lintel; limewash residues on some of the mullions and other dressings. To the west is an inserted window of 1859, comparable with those in the nave.

South porch. General. 18thC build in fabric 'E', on the basis of an inscription, but the association is not watertight.

East wall: against this is the boiler room annex, of brick and stone construction.

South wall: sandstone two-centred archway to porch, with massive red sandstone dressings, and a slight chamfer to the arch. 'E' mainly above the arch.

West wall: two cast iron tie-rod plates.

Interior

Porch. General. Tiles, plastered and painted walls, simple raftered ceiling.

North wall: = south wall of church. Round-headed doorway in red sandstone of two orders, the inner chamfered; square capitals and a hoodmould. Its remarkable condition suggests that apart from a few jambstones, this may be totally renewed.

East wall: early medieval/1729 stone pinned to wall (see below).

Nave and chancel. General. Stone flagged floor, carpetted over, with heating grille and encaustic tiles around the font. Raised plank flooring under benches; heating pipes run either side of the pews. Plastered walls above dados. Plaster ceiling above collar level, but a single tie beam is visible midway along the nave and another with a braced collar truss springing from carved wall posts is near the juncture with the sanctuary; the latter looks late, perhaps 17thC or 18thC. Vestry formed by partitioning off the south-west corner of the nave in the 20thC. Access to gallery via dog-leg staircase along the north side of the west wall.

North wall: slight batter to the wall. In the gallery the wall surface is recessed by 0.1m, about in line with the arcade pier outside - the significance of this is unclear. Further east two splayed windows, that to west with 1925 stained glass. 1918 memorial tablet to Archdeacon Thomas, east of the windows, and a brass of 1748. An incised stone, now painted over but still visible is located at the juncture of the nave and chancel. Wall face is inset where the nave gives way to the old chancel.

East wall: Single step up to sanctuary, with a truss as described above.

South wall: strongly battered wall. Three splayed 1859 windows, east of the entrance door. West of the doorway are 20thC windows lighting the font and vestry area. The doorway itself has painted dressings which still show a chamfer, and there is a round-headed soffit.

West wall: largely hidden by vestry on south side and panelling for staircase on north side.

Gallery: supported by a low tie beam, and projects well into nave, almost as far east as the south doorway. It has a planked floor, bench seating, plastered walls and a low plastered ceiling. The front has nine panels of which seven are painted with details of benefactions. Hatch in roof gives access to belfry, via iron rung ladder.

Sanctuary. General. Encaustic tiles on floor. Walls as nave. The roof bay over the sanctuary is slightly higher than the nave.

North wall: narrow, deeply splayed Norman window.

East wall: wood panelled reredos below splayed three-light window with stained glass.

South wall: wall battered as in nave. Splayed 15thC window.

Churchyard

There is some documentary evidence of an earlier, larger churchyard: 2 acres of glebeland were alienated from the churchyard sometime prior to 1683, and according to Thomas the enclosure may have spread over 5 acres, extending on to the other side of the main road. 19thC maps certainly suggest a more curvilinear boundary on the west side than is now evident - the present form is large and distinctly polygonal. It occupies flat ground and is a short distance to the west of the River Severn. It is well maintained.

Boundary: iron railings form the south and south-east boundaries, stone walls to the roadside and a modern fence to the lane on the west. None of these are redolent of an early boundary. The former school, built in 1827, forms part of the north boundary.

Memorials: unmarked graves have been grassed over, particularly on the north and west sides; several slabs laid flat are located in the cut grass on the west side. An early slab dated 1733 leans against the south chancel wall. A single chest tomb on the south side dates to 1835; several chest tombs and memorial crosses on the west side, and also modern burials and a place set aside for cremations to the north-west of the church.

Furniture: sundial on a sandstone fluted tapering shaft and a stepped square plinth located outside the south porch. Brass plate and gnomon engraved 'donation by Ed. Williams and Ed. Vaughan, Churchwardens, 1825'.

Earthworks: churchyard is raised slightly on the east by 0.3m and the west by 0.5m. West of the church the churchyard rises quite noticeably: it is not clear whether this is natural or man-made, but a faint scarp on its south side could conceivably be the early 'llan' perimeter.

Ancillary features: lychgate of 1905, commemorating the reign of Victoria. Iron gate on west. Main entrance path to south door from lychgate is of tarmac. Elsewhere the paths are grass.

Vegetation: beech and fir trees on the present south and west boundaries. Mature yew trees on the north and west sides of the church form a semi-circle.

Sources consulted

Cadw Listed Building Schedule 1994
Church notes
CPAT Field Visit 23 October 1995 and 5 March 1998
Crossley and Ridgway 1947, 191
Eisel 1986, 181
Glynne 1885, 40
Haslam 1979, 123
NMR Aberystwyth
Powys SMR
Ridgway 1997, 124
Salter 1991, 14
St Asaph Parish Records (NLW)
Silvester 1992, 78
Thomas 1894
Thomas 1913, 153
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 Llandrinio 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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