Montgomeryshire Churches Survey
Church of St Cynon , Tregynon
Tregynon Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Tregynon in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO0958898723.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 32492 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.
St Cynon's church, nearly 10 miles south-west of Welshpool, is a single-chambered structure which was largely rebuilt at the end of the 18thC, though there is a completely renewed 14thC south doorway and the roof retains its 15thC style as well as some of
its timberwork. A timber bell turret at the western end contains original timbers that may be 17thC. Internally, little of pre-19thC date, other than a couple of memorials, survived the rebuilding and the subsequent restoration in 1893. The church occupies
a raised curvilinear churchyard and this together with the dedication indicates an early medieval foundation.
The present building is believed to date from 1787 with additions from 1893. It has been suggested that the simple plan is basically of the 13thC. There is no structural detail which can definitely be attributed to this date, though the completely renewed
south doorway is thought to have originated in the 14thC. And if there is any surviving masonry of the period it is not recognisable. The fabric, however, is not straightforward and might be complicated by re-use in the 18thC. The bell turret was perhaps
added in the 17thC.
Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1979 publication The Buildings of Wales: Powys by Richard Haslam
The church is dedicated to St Cynon, a 6thC missionary from Brittany, and this suggests an early medieval foundation, a view strengthened by the morphology of the churchyard and possibly the location.
At the end of the 12thC or early in the 13thC, Tregynon was given by a local Welsh lord to the Knights Hospitallers. A moiety of the church was recorded as being in their possession in the Norwich Taxation of 1254. The entry reads: 'medietas ecclesie de
Tref-kenon; alia medietas ad Hospicium'. By the time of the Lincoln Taxation in 1291 the whole church of 'Treskeno' had been appropriated to the Hospitallers. In the Valor Ecclesiasticus in 1535 it was known as 'Trigumon'.
After the Reformation, the advowson passed to the local lords of the manor at Gregynog, the Blayney family. The last, Arthur Blayney, remodelled the church before he died in 1795. His tomb is on the north side of the churchyard and the weathervane on the
bell turret is inscribed 'A B 1787'.
The 18thC church had a western gallery erected in 1771; at the same time a vestry was created in the ground floor of the tower and the old rood loft was removed. A barrel-vaulted ceiling was inserted disguising the medieval roof timbers.
It was suggestd by Owen that during restoration work in 1787, the walls were largely rebuilt. Certainly new windows with wooden frames were introduced, and at some stage a small enclosed brick-built porch was added.
Further restoration occurred in around 1893 under the guidance of the local estate agent, William Scott Owen. The roof was repaired and re-slated, and this included the introduction of windbraces and panelling. The old pews were removed, the floors
concreted and tiled replacing flag stones; new windows in Perpendicular style were introduced in the south and east walls, and the stained glass in the latter was made by Clayton and Bell in 1875 for Street's church at Helperthorpe, East Riding (though
Thomas claims it was for Sledmere in the same county) and brought to Tregynon by Lord Sudeley in the 1880s. The original south doorway was uncovered and restored, and a fragment of a post-medieval painted text was uncovered but not retained. All the
woodwork was prepared by Henry Corfield. The appearance of the single-chambered structure is largely the result of this restoration. Owen also posited on the basis of his observations at this time that the church had been extended westwards in the medieval
period. He cited as evidence the plainer roof trusses at the east end of the church which represented the older church, and he noted too that there was a juncture in the masonry revealed when the plaster was stripped from the walls which matched the change
in the roof style.
An organ chamber extension was built on to the north wall in c.1898.
The pyramidal tower was re-roofed about 1990.
The church consists of a nave and chancel in one, a south porch and a western bell turret. It is oriented slightly north of true east.
Fabrics: 'A' is of medium-sized, irregular blocks of grey and brown sandstone, and occasional pebblestones; random coursing; some indications of either render or limewash; very occasional use of red sandstone for quoins.
'B' is of dressed, medium-sized, grey sandstone blocks.
'A' is thought to date to the 1787 rebuilding. 'B' is from 1893 and was used for the porch, stepped buttresses and the east wall.
Roofs: slates, red ceramic ridge tiles and a cross finial on the east gable of the chancel and also on the porch.
Drainage: guttering and downspouts lead to soakaways. Original 'Coalbrookdale' cast iron downspouts to either side of the south entrance porch. Possible traces of a trench along the north side.
Bell Turret. General. Rises above the west end of the nave, and consists of a two-tiered turret, with weatherboarding below the louvred openings; on the south face is a single, wooden, ogee-headed window with cinquefoil tracery above a large rectangular
wooden sundial with Roman numerals. Above is a pyramidal roof with a weathervane inscribed 'AB 1787'.
Nave and chancel. General. In fabric 'A' with signs of earlier limewash, but very heavy pointing as well.
North wall: no windows. A single buttress towards the east end of the nave has red sandstone coping stones, and a second buttress near the east end of the chancel wall. Against the wall is a boiler house from the 1940s, its entrance at ground level. A
chimney encased in concrete runs up the north wall. Further east the organ chamber extension from the late 19thC occupies most of the wall.
East wall: has a basal splay at the south-east corner to a height of 0.3m, but then fades out further north; there are also worn red quoinstones in this corner. At a height of 2m the wall is inset by 0.1m, and the fabric changes though slightly.
Conceivably, the upper part which contains the large east window was rebuilt in 1893. The window has a four-centred arch, hollow chamfers, five, stepped, ogee-headed lights and panel tracery; over it a relieving arch of voussoirs.
South wall: features from the west are: i) memorial stone to Rev. Morgan Richards (d.1786) and others; ii) a datestone in grey sandstone inscribed '*T*S 1693*' located 1.2m above ground level. iii) a single square-headed 19thC window in red sandstone with
a cinquefoil-traceried, two-centred light and a label; iv) porch. v) three square-headed windows each with three traceried lights, but otherwise comparable in form and material to iii). vi) east of the porch are four standard buttresses, one of which may
mark the junction of nave and chancel. The masonry in this wall is fairly homogeneous but at the west end there are more red sandstone lumps than elsewhere, and it is just possible that some of these and perhaps the 1693 datestone are the infilling of an
aperture, partly behind the Richards memorial.
West wall: of 18thC build with worn sandstone quoins. There is also a basal plinth no more than 0.1m wide and 0.1m high, but this does not run as far as either corner. Two unusually large yellow sandstone blocks have been set in the masonry at window level
suggesting perhaps replacements for joists. A low plinth protrudes above the level of the modern path, towards the south end. There is a central rectangular window with three lights set in a frame, all of wood - this must be 18thC. Several courses above it
is a relieving arch, though the two are not quite symmetrical to each other.
Porch. General. Low stone walls in fabric 'B' topped by chamfered pink sandstone, with an open wooden superstructure. The south entrance has a wooden battlemented tie beam with the inscription 'Enter Ye in at the Strait Gate', and a king post above.
Porch. General. Concrete floor. Other than the king-post truss, the roof comprises just exposed rafters and through purlins.
North wall: = south wall of nave. Contains a two-centred doorway with a roll moulding and stops; all of the dressings are renewed.
Vestry. General. West end of the nave is partitioned off to form the vestry, a modification it seems of the 18thC. Floor is raised by one step and tiled. Limewashed walls, but only the eastern one is plastered. Two bays of the 15thC roof for which see
below under nave, though here the windbraces (restricted to the bottom half-tier) and purlins are unstained.
The frame for the bell turret rises from the ground floor- there are massive cross-braced oak uprights with chamfered edges, set in timber sills mounted on stone plinths, on the north, south and west sides. The stonework shows signs of concrete patching
and the cross-bracing has earlier lap joints, suggesting that the tower has been moved at some point. Some bracing may also have been removed from the eastern side of the frame. On the north side an open staircase leads from the first floor only, and the
bell itself is fixed to a timber wheel and an oak frame of medieval date which has king posts and main braces.
North wall: no features.
East wall: two of the oak uprights for the tower integrated with tongue and groove panelling to form a partition with the nave. Set in this is a two-centred arched doorway to the nave.
South wall: no features.
West wall: window embrasure at first floor level has segmental head.
Nave. General. 19thC tiled floor, some encaustic, with flush wooden flooring under benches. Heating grille in central aisle. All walls plastered and painted above the level of the dado panelling; fenestration has widely splayed apertures with exposed red
sandstone jambs. Roof of eight bays extending across nave and chancel is of 15thC design: there are arched-braced collar trusses, the five more westerly ones with raking struts; one and a half tiers of cusped windbraces, which were mostly renewed and also
stained in 1893; moulded cornices and shields at the termination of each arch brace on the level of the wall plate.
North wall: plaster above dado. Two memorials, one the 1796 Blayney memorial, the other of 1812.
East wall: the only division is a single step.
South wall: plaster above dado. At the south door reveal the dressed stone used at the edges is relatively rough in contrast to those edging the arch of the reveal; some might be early.
West wall: wood panelling, plastered over, separates nave from the vestry. The large Blayney memorial is to the north side of door.
Chancel. General. One step up from nave, two staggered steps to the sanctuary, and one to the altar. Floor, walls and roof as described under the nave, but more encaustic tiles.
North wall: organ set in recess. One 20thC brass memorial.
East wall: painted, stencil-patterned walls including alternating Crown and IHS, and floral motifs around the reredos. 'King of Kings, Lord of Lords' inscription.
South wall: piscina under cusped arch.
The raised churchyard, perhaps originally sub-oval, is located on the edge of the valley of the Bechan Brook. It now has a very obvious extension to the north-west which is used for modern burials. The church is set on flattish ground but the graveyard
itself slopes gently to south and east. It is well-maintained.
Boundary: to the south and south-east there is a revetment wall above the road, surmounted by a hedge. On the west the boundary wall, c.1.4m high, is a very early example of the experimental use of concrete from the 1870-80s. A hedge bounds the northern
perimeter, changing to a fence immediately to the north of the church.
Monuments: mainly 19thC graves. A 1777 gravestone to the south-east of the chancel and two 1762 graves beneath the yews on the south side. Early memorials on the north side include the tomb of Arthur Blaney (d.1795).
Furniture: none noted.
Earthworks: some minor earthworks, and undulations to the west of the church. A very faint scarp indicates the earlier line of the churchyard boundary on the north-west side.
Ancillary features: an entrance on the south-west is provided by a pair of wrought iron gates set in the boundary wall with an arch and lamp above. The south-east entrance has a single gate, arch and lamp; steps up to the churchyard. Concrete paths to
Vegetation: several yew trees, mostly immature. Beech trees on northern boundary. A 1791 terrier refers to eleven fir and four yews planted in the churchyard.
Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings 1997
CPAT Field Visit: 12 October 1995 and 4 June 1998
Eisel 1986, 194
Faculty St Asaph (NLW) 1893: restoration
Faculty St Asaph (NLW) 1901: reredos
Guy, J.R. (n.d.) Tregynon Church: notes for visitors
Haslam 1979, 200
Thomas 1908, 549
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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 Tregynon 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 - email@example.com, website - www.cpat.org.uk.
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