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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of All Saints , Buttington

Buttington Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Trewern in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ2498808841.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 5478 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Buttington Church, CPAT copyright photo CS923105.JPG

Summary

All Saints is a small, single-chambered church set in a diminutive raised churchyard close to the River Severn and Offas Dyke. The present whitewashed structure perhaps dates from the 14thC or 15thC on the basis of a couple of Decorated windows in the sanctuary and the simple south doorway. It also retains its 15thC arch-braced roof, a Perpendicular east window, some fragments of 15th-16thC glass, and a porch of 1686. Inside is a font carved from an Early English capital.

Small single chambered church completely pebbledashed; no early stonework is exposed, and thus the date of the masonry shell remains unknown but it could be as early as the 14thC. The restoration-period windows of 1876 copied the original sanctuary ones of 14thC date, though only one of the latter appears to retain original dressings. Similarly the 15thC Perpendicular window shows at least some renewal, as does the south doorway.

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

History

The origin of this church is unknown. There is a hint of curvilinearity to the churchyard, and the location on the edge of the flood plain of the Severn is suggestive of an early medieval origin, but an Inquisiton Post Mortem of 1304 refers to it being built on land given by a member of the de la Pole family in the 13thC.

There has certainly been a church on the present site from at least 1265, when it was part of the Manor of Strata Marcella. Later it was classed as a chapelry of Welshpool but was separated from the mother church in 1759.

The present building may date from the 14thC on the basis of the sanctuary windows, though the roof is a little later. The font (fashioned from a capital of c.1220) was reputedly brought from Strata Marcella Abbey nearby.

The church, originally in the Diocese of Hereford, became part of St Asaph in 1849.

Several 19thC restorations occurred, including the 1838 insertion of new box pews and the 1840 plastering and rough-casting of the church. Considerable restoration work took place in 1875-6, when the vestry was added, the gallery removed, oak choir stalls were introduced and the box pews were replaced by open pine pews. The pulpit was moved to the north side and the east window was inserted with stained glass. The overall cost was 653.

A vicarage was built south of the church in 1836, enlarged in 1867-8 and the school was built in 1838.

The porch underwent restoration in 1990.

Architecture

The church comprises a nave and chancel as a single unit, a bell turret towards the west end of the nave, a north vestry and a south porch. It is oriented south-west/north-east, but for descriptive purposes 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here.

Fabric: reportedly constructed in local rubblestone, but the whole structure now heavily pebbledashed and whitewashed (except by the south door).

Roof: slate roof over nave and chancel with notched red ceramic ridge tiles; slate, too, for the porch and vestry. Wooden cross finial at east end. The square, weather-boarded western bell-turret has wood-slatted sides with small rectangular louvred apertures on all but the west side, a pyramidal slate roof and lead flashing, topped with weathercock and vane.

Drainage: guttering and downspouts lead to soakaways; hardcore against all walls presumably masks a drainage trench around church.

Exterior

Nave/chancel. General. Treated as a single chamber because no external differentiation; all the walls are battered to a height of around 1m, and this may well be indicative of a single build.

North wall: nave has a broad 19thC two-light window with a two-centred arch over the trefoiled lights and a quatrefoil above. Sanctuary lit by a similar window with chamfered jambs, the inner slightly hollowed; the dressings are a little worn and this could be an original Decorated window, although it is not entirely convincing. 1875 vestry and 1970s boiler house abut the wall.

East wall: Perpendicular window of three lights with cinquefoil heads, and four panelled lights with trefoiled heads; the tracery could be original but perhaps not the mullions?

South wall: fenestration parallels that on the north side; but no original windows.

West wall: west window has two lights with trefoil heads and a quatrefoil in the tracery above. Wholly Victorian.

South Porch. General. Open timber frame with pierced balusters for window mullions in the side walls. Broad south entrance with a tie beam supported on arch bracing and inscribed "TG II W 1686".

Vestry. General. Built as part of the 1875 restoration on the north side of the church, and with a 1970s Boiler Room adjoining its west wall.

Interior

Porch. General. Mixed 19thC red, yellow and black tiled floor. Wooden planked seats along the sides are supported on brick plinths with the unglazed window openings above. Roof supported on two tie beams, one incorporated into the outer face (see above) and a second arch-braced example with a painted triangle for decoration at its centre, against the south wall of the church, partially hiding the top of the doorway arch. Exposed rafters and through purlins.

North wall: south entrance of church, red sandstone, two-centred arch, deeply chamfered dressings and the jambs with sharpening marks; perhaps 15thC if not earlier, but both arch stones have been renewed; a pair of heavy planked doors with wrought iron fittings. Some rubblestone visible on either side of the doorway with traces of render.

Nave. General. One step down from the porch. Mixed tiled floor, carpetted central aisle with grilles beneath, raised planked floor below benches. Walls, slightly battered, plastered and painted, with deeply splayed window apertures. 15thC roof of chamfered arch-braced collars and foiled struts forming eight bays (including chancel), with three tiers of foiled windbraces, and three through purlins on each side. Arch braces spring from moulded wall plates. The western end has an uneven, lowered, plastered ceiling below the bell-turret, effectively a ninth bay; a trap door gives access to the bell. Separating the nave and chancel is a queen-post tie-beam truss with foiled struts, a collar that has a long mortice hole on its soffit, and a strut rising from the collar. The tie beam has a cusped top edge on the chancel side, reinforcing the view that this was part of the rood screen. A curtained partition around the south-west corner defines a small chapel.

North wall: one splayed window; three memorials of which two are very late 18thC.

East wall: one step, and the tie beam only.

South wall: splayed window, door reveal with segmental head and one 19thC marble memorial.

West wall: window contains pieces of pre-Reformation stained glass; a brass of 1753 fixed to wall.

Chancel. General. One step up from nave, and one up to altar. Floor, walls and roof as nave but the easternmost roof truss separates a blank bay without windbraces over the sanctuary.

North wall: splayed window, vestry door set in shouldered arch, and one 19thC and one 20thC memorial.

East wall: stained glass window of 1874 above a heavy oak-panelled reredos.

South wall: splayed window, dado in chancel but not sanctuary. Mostly obscured by the organ.

Churchyard

Small raised churchyard, the north-west side distinctively curved, on the east side of the River Severn and just above flood level, just over a mile to the north-east of Welshpool. It was encroached on in 1838 when the school was constructed in the south-west corner. During the work around 400 skulls together with other bones were discovered, presumed to be burials from the pre-Conquest Battle of Buttington.

Boundary: the present churchyard is surrounded by a stone revetment wall, while a line of re-sited memorial slabs form the southern boundary with the adjoining property.

Monuments: a few marked graves; some isolated chest tombs, crosses and 19thC slabs; the 'wall' of slabs along the south include stones of 1785 and 1795. The churchyard was closed for burials and a new cemetery consecrated in 1882 on the opposite of the road to the church. Roadworks led to the removal and relocation of some stones in 1967, and further clearance took place in 1970.

Earthworks: raised by c.1.6m on the west side, 0.6m on the north, 0.8m on the east, but nothing on the south.

Furniture: red granite war memorial pillar located on square plinth near the south door; nothing of earlier date.

Ancillary features: two pairs of wrought iron gates form the north-east and south-east entrances with tarmac paths leading to the south porch and around to the west side where there is a school room in the south-west corner.

Vegetation: four old yews located to the south-west of the church; the largest, immediately to the west of the church, is reputedly about 1200 years old.

Sources consulted

Brown 1998
Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings, 1995
Church Leaflet 1988
CPAT Field Visit: 18 November 1995 and 12 March 1998
Crossley and Ridgway 1947, 184
Eisel 1986, 174
Faculty: St Asaph 1875 (NLW)
Faculty: St Asaph 1969 (NLW)
Faculty: St Asaph 1970 (NLW)
Faculty: St Asaph 1990 (NLW)
Haslam 1979, 83
Herefordshire Diocesan Records. 1838 Plan (Herefordshire Record Office)
NMR Aberystwyth
Powys SMR
Ridgway 1997, 47
Thomas 1913, 135
Williams 1990, 59
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 Buttington 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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