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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of St Tudur , Darowen

Darowen Church is in the Diocese of Bangor, in the community of Glantwymyn in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SH8300001814.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 32601 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Darowen Church, CPAT copyright photo CS955626.JPG

Summary

St Tudur's church in the small village of Darowen, a little more than 5 miles to the east of Machynlleth, was completely rebuilt in c.1862-1864. There can be little doubt that there was an early medieval foundation here, but nothing survives of this or its medieval successor. The only pre-19thC fitting is a brass of 1627, and there is an altar table, perhaps of the 18thC. The moderately sized churchyard is sub-oval in shape, and contains a sundial of 1761, but few if any pre-19thC gravemarkers.

Present church built in Early English style in c.1862-1864.

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

History

St Tudur, a 7thC saint, is reputed to have founded the church at Darowen and to have been buried there. Certainly both the dedication and the churchyard morphology point to an early medieval origin.

It is recorded as 'Ecclesia de Dareweyn' in the Norwich Taxation of 1254 at a value of 1 6s 8d.

A sketch of the old church in the 'Montgomeryshire Collections' reveals a single chamber with a western bell-turret, square-headed windows to the nave, a dormer window probably illuminating the rood loft or stairs, a small pointed Gothic window in the chancel, a single lancet window in the west wall, and a large porch with a square-headed doorway. It is believed to have stood from the early 14thC. Due to its dangerous and dilapidated state, it was taken down and the present structure was built in c.1862-1864, on almost the same site, to the design of J.W. Poundley and D. Walker, architects of Liverpool.

Architecture

The church comprises a nave and narrower chancel, with a bellcote raised over the chancel arch, a south porch and a lean-to north vestry. It is oriented fractionally north of due west.

Fabrics: 'A' is of small to medium slabs of greyish sandstone and shale, irregularly coursed; selected blocks used for quoins; buff-yellow sandstone dressings.

'A' is from 1862-4 and is used for the whole building.

Roofs: slates and black ceramic ridge tiles. A wrought iron cross finial from the east end now lies alongside the south wall of the nave. Another remains above the gable end of the porch.

Drainage: modern guttering and downspouts lead to soakaways. A concrete band 0.4m wide around the body of the church presumably covers a drainage trench.

Note: the church was completely rebuilt in the 19thC and for that reason only a summary description is given below.

Exterior

Nave. General. In 'A'. Windows have two-centred arches with either single or double trefoiled lights, two on the south side, both single and foiled, four alternating double and single foiled lights on the north side. Sloping buttresses at eastern angles of the nave, and another, completely rendered, mid way along the north side. The west wall is pebbledashed, and incorporates a rose window with four quatrefoil lights.

A stepped bellcote rises above the east gable of the nave; it has rendered faces, some freestone dressings, and a single bell hangs in the aperture.

Chancel. General. Narrower, and with a lower roof line than the nave; all in 'A'. The east wall has a window with a two-centred arch, and three trefoiled lights with a cinquefoil above; chamfered dressings and a decorative relieving arch over. The south wall has a window which is inset with two broad lancet lights and a round light above; the arch is framed by stone voussoirs as on the east side.

Porch. General. Two steps up to the open porch. Single lights in the east and west walls. The south wall has a two-centred arch with stone voussoirs, and recessed within this is an inner arch turned in sandstone and with stopped chamfers. There are sloping buttresses at the angles.

Vestry. General. A later extension. A lean-to roof against the chancel. In local stone with blue brick dressings. A rectangular wooden-framed window in the north wall, and a modern door set in a near square-headed aperture on the east.

Interior

Porch. General. Two steps up from the exterior. Open porch interior has a stone flagged floor, plastered and painted walls, and a boarded ceiling above the roof of six scissor trusses.

North wall: the south doorway to the church is two-centred, the jamb chamfers with pyramid stops at the bottom and fancy stops at the top. The arch is completely painted over. One step up to the nave.

Nave. General. Stone flagged floor; carpetted central aisle separating two rows of benches on raised tongue and groove flooring; no obvious grilles. Plastered and painted walls, no exposed stonework and the windows with splayed embrasures. Roof of four bays with three scissor trusses rising on short wall posts from stone corbels, now painted yellow; the central one has arch bracing.

North wall: one 20thC marble memorial.

East wall: a broad, chamfered, two-centred chancel arch with pyramid stops to the chamfers.

West wall: recess for the west window. Beneath this level are two 19thC marble tablets, one of which refers to a vault beneath.

Chancel. General. Two steps up from nave, one to the sanctuary, one to the altar. Red and black tiled floor, the central aisle carpetted over, and raised tongue and groove below longitudinal choir stalls. Walls as nave. The wagon roof of the chancel is much lower than the nave roof and is of polished boards, undivided by ribs except at the apex.

North wall: a studded vestry door in a triangular arched doorway. Also a brass of 1627 and a commemorative board of 1830.

South wall: one 20thC marble memorial.

Churchyard

The churchyard is a medium sized sub-oval enclosure, fairly well maintained in the area of burials, but overgrown in places, particularly on the west side.

Boundary: a stone revetment wall around the southern boundary with the road. Hedged and fenced boundaries to fields on the north-west. There is also a revetment wall to the rectory on the north. To the west a hedge and a low stone wall.

Monuments: mainly large slate slabs of 19thC date; some chest tombs and railed, family graves. Graves are well spaced but unevenly placed, the oldest marked ones on the east side. The oldest seen was of 1780. That there are more marked graves on the north than the south suggests a degree of clearance, not otherwise evidenced.

Furniture: sundial located near the south-west corner of the church, the gnomon broken off: re-erected on a square stone plinth in 1915. The brass plate records the Rev.R.Griffiths, Vicar, and Abraham Jones and Humphrey Jones, Churchwardens in 1761. The maker was Webster, Salop.

Earthworks: a slight platform, little more than 0.5m high, raises the church above the rest of the churchyard on the north, south and particularly the west side. The churchyard as a whole is raised by around 1m on the north and south, and about 0.3m on the west.

Ancillary features: a pair of wrought iron entrance gates set in stone pillars give access to the path leading to the south porch. A grassed-over path formerly led north to the old rectory, and at the end of this is a modern farm gate in the churchyard wall.

Vegetation: earliest yews are located on the south-east side, one in particular appearing ancient. The 19thC trees in the churchyard were planted by Rev. Thomas Richards to replace the old yews that were withering.

Well: Ffynnon Dadur - an alleged holy well is located outside the churchyard but is not referred to in Jones's 'Holy Wells of Wales'.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit 17 November 1995 and 18 September 1998
Eisel 1986, 177
Haslam 1979, 98
Lunt 1926, 471
Morgan 1870
NLW Bangor Parish Records
NMR Aberystwyth
Powys SMR
Quinquennial Reports 1987 and 1992
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 Darowen Church may also be found on the Bangor 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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