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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of St Llwchaiarn , Llanllwchaiarn

Llanllwchaiarn Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO1237792528.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16883 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llanllwchaiarn Church, CPAT copyright photo 426-18.JPG

Summary

St Llwchaiarn's church on the northern side of the River Severn, less than one mile from Newtown, is a red brick structure which was built in 1815 and enlarged in 1864. Inside there are a few 18thC monuments and a carved effigy of 1630, but relatively little has survived from the predecessor of the present building. The large churchyard encapsulates two earlier phases of enclosure, but little in the way of early gravemarkers.

Red brick church built in 1815 in Georgian style on the site of an earlier church; there were further renovations and an eastern chancel and vestry were added in 1864 in Gothic style.

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

History

The dedication, the form of the churchyard and its proximity to the river indicate beyond reasonable doubt that this is an early medieval foundation.

The church is recorded in the Norwich Taxation of 1254 as 'Ecc'a de Llanlocharen' with a value of 1 6s 8d. In 1263 part of it was appropriated to the Cistercian nunnery at Llanllugan, and in 1291 the combined value was 4 6s 8d.

The earlier stone church consisted of a nave with a south entrance door, a wider chancel, and a western bell turret; the interior was fitted with box pews and there was a central pulpit on the north wall.

The present church was built in brick on the old site in 1815 at a cost of 1200.

Further restoration work, which included the eastern extension of the chancel and vestry and the insertion of the bench seating, was completed by R.J.Withers in 1865 at a cost of 460. The original east wall of the church was cut through and the plain yellow sandstone chancel arch erected; the stonework was designed and executed by Edward Jones of Newtown. At the same time, the nave roof was raised and under aisle heating was installed. The organ was removed from the gallery and placed in a niche in the chancel north wall.

In 1869 the round-headed windows with the exception of those in the tower were replaced with some of Gothic design. Further work took place in 1902.

In 1946, the organ was re-sited in the gallery. At the same time the bells were recast and some reconstruction took place in the belfry, when a steel headstock was inserted.

Architecture

The church consists of a nave and slightly narrower chancel, a west tower and a south vestry. It is aligned north-east to south-west but for the purposes of description 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here.

Fabrics: 'A' consists of red brick, in English garden wall bond with brick quoins. The 1864 extension is in fractionally lighter coloured brick with Flemish bond and has sandstone quoins and dressings. 'B' is of sandstone and is used for the basal plinth around the tower and the nave, the top course of well-dressed blocks. Blue brick is used for the basal plinth of the chancel and vestry.

Roofs: slates with plain grey ceramic ridge tiles. Cross finial to chancel.

Drainage: 19thC guttering and downspouts. Sandstone drain around tower, but otherwise no evidence of a trench.

Note: because of the date of the church, the following description is a summary one.

Exterior

Western Tower. General. Square three-storey tower with one sandstone string course and a concave overhanging parapet with sandstone corner pinnacles; the tower corners have brick quoins standing proud of the wall faces. Low pyramidal slate roof with a decorative wrought iron weathervane.

North wall: at first-floor level above the string course is a round window with brick surround. The belfry level has a louvred round-headed aperture with brick surround and a sandstone sill.

East wall: belfry window as north side.

South wall: the round window of the north side is replaced by a sundial, but the markings have faded from its wooden face. Belfry window as north side.

West wall: access to the ground floor through a basket-headed doorway with brick voussoirs to thearch, wooden doors and a boarded fanlight above. An 1815 sandstone datestone and wrought iron light above the doorway, and a wooden notice board to its north side. A round window as the north side at first-floor level. Belfry window as north side.

Nave. General. Four sandstone two-light windows with hoodmoulds and stops in both the north and south walls, introduced in 1869 into existing apertures (there are no signs of insertion); all the windows have two-centred arches and two lights with varying forms of tracery all in freestone, but following the same pattern on both the north and south walls; brick relieving arches following the curve of the window heads. No features in the short lengths of the west and east walls that are visible.

Chancel. General. Narrower and lower than the nave, plinthed at c.0.4m. Stepped angle buttresses in brick at the east end of the chancel. East wall has a two-centred window with three foiled, ogee-headed lights, sub-arches and foiled tracery, and a hoodmould with block stops. The north wall has a two-centred window with two lights, plainer than its nave counterparts and without a hoodmould; the south wall is without windows but does have the vestry against it.

Vestry. General. Its plinth is continuous with that of the chancel. Diagonal brick buttresses at the north corners. A simple two-centred arched doorway on the east, a plain two-centred window with two foiled lights and a small foiled light above on the south, and a low brick-built shed with sloping roof against the west side.

Interior

Tower. General. The western door leads directly into the ground floor entrance porch with a red-tiled floor, plastered walls above wainscotting, and a plastered ceiling. The east wall has a recess with a pair of panelled doors to the nave and a benefaction board together with a board about free church seats, the north wall a wooden tablet recording vicars from 1377. In the south wall is a door giving access to the gallery staircase. One slate memorial of 1791 is also on the east wall.

On the first floor is the ringing chamber lit by two round windows, and a pair of panelled doors in the east wall to the gallery. Steps up the north wall lead to the bellchamber.

Nave. General. Red and black tiled floors, carpetted down the aisle, raised tongue and groove below benches. Plastered walls; and the splayed window embrasures are also plastered. Roof of five bays formed by four king-post, tie-beam trusses, supported on cusped arch-braces springing from decorated stone corbels.

North wall: one marble memorial of 1774 to 1788, and another of 1833.

East wall: a two-centred arch of two orders with engaged columns and capitals, and a painted, scrolled inscription 'Blessed are the pure in Heart for they shall see God'. 20thC memorials on either side.

South wall: two 19thC marble memorials.

West wall: a gallery supported on four octagonal oak columns and with a wood-panelled front. It is tiered and houses the organ and loose chairs.

Chancel. General. Single step from nave up to chancel, two steps to the sanctuary. Encaustic tiles on floor, raised benches, plastered walls above wainscotting. Plastered ceiling with exposed rafters and through purlins.

East wall: reredos with Gothic tracery and re-used panelling from Welshpool Church, erected in 1892 as recorded on a brass plate.

Vestry. General. Two steps down, carpet over stone floor, plastered walls, with re-used wainscotting on part of the west wall; plastered ceiling above exposed rafters. South window sill has an 1864 brass dedication tablet concerned with the building of the vestry. 19thC painting of church on west wall.

Churchyard

The churchyard is large and irregular in shape, confined by roads on the north and east and the former canal on the south. It occupies fairly flat ground to the north of the Severn. In the 19thC there was a sub-oval enclosure of 1.39ac, which was extended southwards in 1902, but there was an earlier boundary of unknown date immediately to the east of the church.

Boundary: a hedged boundary to north and east, a fence on the south-west; both reflect the fact that this is a relatively modern boundary.

Monuments: mainly 19th/20thC graves, fairly evenly distributed but few graves on the east side of the church.The earliest gravestone noted is of 1759, one of a number of upright stones which were probably by the same mason.

Earthworks: the line of the pre-1902 enclosure is visible as a scarp bank, but inside this forming an oval is another scarp bank, probably the original 'llan' enclosure which shows as a slightly elevated area. On the east side of the church there are few burials in the later intake. The church itself is raised slightly on a mound, noticeable on the east, less so on the north.

Ancillary features: a tarmac path leads to the west door from the northern lychgate which was erected in 1923. There is a stone slab path from the south-east, and another tarmac path on the north-east leading from double gates and a kissing gate.

Vegetation: mature yews are sited along the north entrance path from the lychgate. Numerous 19thC Irish yews are located on the north and south sides of the church. Some pines on north side.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings 1988
CPAT Field Visit 7 December 1995 and 12 March 1998
Eisel 1986, 186
Faculty St Asaph 1902 (NLW): churchyard extension
Haslam 1979, 146
NMR Aberystwyth
Powys SMR
Thomas 1908, 529
Williams 1990, 45
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 Llanllwchaiarn 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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