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Radnorshire Churches Survey

Church of St Michael and All Angels , Beguildy

Beguildy Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Beguildy in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO1944279732.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16708 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Beguildy Church, CPAT copyright photo CS953926.JPG

Summary

A relatively large single-chamber church dedicated to St Michael. Some 12km to the north-west of Knighton, it occupies a spur location between the valley of the River Teme (and the English border) to the north, and a small tributary valley to the south. The church has a 15thC plan but is much rebuilt, and internal features include a fine screen and a 15thC font. It is set within a roughly rectilinear churchyard with hints of a smaller curvilinear enclosure west of the building.

Haslam considers this to have a late 15thC plan and suggests walls are of this date. Priest's door could certainly be of this period, but windows are of consistent appearance and probably early 15thC type. Whatever their date they have been heavily restored. The chancel was restored in 1885, the nave in 1895/96, Possible that walls re-faced rather than rebuilt, but the 1894 Faculty application required the demolition of nave and tower.

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

History

The date of the earliest church on the site is not known, though an early medieval origin is a strong possibility. The first documented reference is in the Taxatio of 1291. Beguildy is recorded as 'Ecclesia de Bugeylde' and valued at 10 13s 4d.

Church probably rebuilt in the 15thC.

Some rebuilding work c.1790 evidenced by 1894 faculty which referred to early windows on south side of nave being removed.

Davies in his 1905 edition of Williams's "Radnorshire" recorded that in 1885, the church was in a bad state of repair and the chancel was rebuilt at a cost of 1,000. In 1896 the nave, south porch and screen were restored by W.H.Bryden at a cost of 1,600, and the tower was then taken down and replaced with a triple bellcote.

Architecture

Church now has a nave and chancel in one, with a bellcote above its west end and a south porch. It is aligned fractionally north of west.

Fabrics: 'A' is of small to medium blocks and slabs of dark shale, with infrequent sandstone blocks, all regularly coursed. Stone looks reasonably fresh though lichen covered on north side. Date stones incorporated in light sandstone. Fabric 'B' is not dissimilar to 'A' but has more tabular shale, and appears a little more weathered. Conceivably there could be re-use of earlier stone in 'B'.

Roofs: of reconstituted clay tiles, the ridge tiles of nave, though not chancel, incorporating trefoil ornamentation. Ornate cross finial on chancel.

Drainage: concrete-lined drain, 0.4m wide, along north and south sides but not east, and on east and west sides of porch.

Exterior

Nave. General. Two 1895 date stones low down at north-east and south-east 'ends' of nave. All masonry (Fabric 'A') and dressings are Victorian with no obviously older material. Windows of early 15thC type.

North wall: five cinquefoil-headed, single-light windows; sandstone dressings and relieving arches in shale; each sill has horizontal hole pierced in chamfer.

East wall: not present.

South wall: wall has slightly rusticated appearance with some blocks of stone projecting forward rather than being flush with wall face. Four two-light windows, with cinquefoil heads and relieving arches as on north side; horizontal holes beneath each light.

West wall: changes result from removal of west tower; wall is actually shorter than width of nave in order to utilise tower foundations (and perhaps its masonry), resulting in re-entrants at north-west and south-west corners - these have been partially infilled with angle buttresses; position of original tower walling picked out on west face by heavy pointing, as well as stonework of the tower's north and south walls projecting outwards at ground level. Extent of original masonry survival from tower's east wall is unknown - could be some behind Fabric 'A' facing, and possibly even some original masonry or re-use in central part of west wall. One small window, a rather flat, pointed arch over three cusp-headed lights, all in gold sandstone which is already badly flaking; two courses of relieving arch over window, the upper more weathered and perhaps earlier than the lower; beneath the window is infill with exceptionally heavy pointing and the jambstones of an earlier feature - the tower arch - still in place.

Nave. Bellcote: west wall is upwards extension of nave gable end; lower walls in Fabric 'A' but larger blocks use for bell-housing; pyramidal roof above. East and west sides have wooden, rectangular, three-light, embrasures without louvre boards.

Chancel. General. Fabric 'B'. Windows thought to be early 15thC type as in nave.

North wall: stonework ties into that of nave but wall alignment and coursing lines fractionally different. Ashlar quoins at corner and angle buttress with date stone of 1885; Single-light window with chamfered dressings, cinquefoil head under two-centred arch; stones of the head weathered and probably original, but patched up with cement, as are jambs; relieving arch over. No indication that the vestry included in the 1894 faculty plan was ever built.

East wall: one three-light window, the lights with two-centred heads with cinquefoil tracery and a relieving arch over the three.

South wall: join with nave disguised by one of three buttresses. One two-light window with cinquefoil heads under relieving arch. West of this is a narrow priest's door with four-centred arch and chamfered dressings - possibly one or two of the jambstones might be original.

Porch. General. In Fabric 'A'. Plain with no fenestration.

Interior

General. Plastered and whitewashed except for window and door dressings.

Porch. General. Roof of three bays with tie-beams and queen posts. Walls unplastered. Victorian tiled floor.

North wall: = nave wall. Victorian arched doorway with sandstone dressings and date stone of 1895.

East and west walls: wooden seats against walls.

Nave. General. Tiled throughout, with carpet covering aisle and over heating vents. Benches set on wooden boarding that is flush with tile floor. Roof is late 15thC, arch-braced collar trusses with raking trusses, alternate tie-beams, and three rows of cusped wind-braces, inverted on top row. Iron bands around arched braces, and some replacement of wooden elements. A segmental brace above screen. Vestry partitioned off in north-west angle.

North wall: splayed windows, the bases of the splays sloping down before flattening out. Large deep wall niche between most easterly window and screen - purpose unknown.

South wall: splayed windows as on north side; main church entrance has high doorway, its arch modern; stoup set in wall adjacent to door.

West wall: flattened angular-headed arch, stop-chamfered, and all dressings in sandstone, original. Leads into small chamber in thickness of wall containing bell ropes and also a seat with inscription referring to Craven Arms.

Chancel. General. Tiled floors, with one step up to chancel from nave and another to sanctuary. Roof as in nave.

North wall: window as in nave and weathering of head stones indicates these are original. One mural tablet of 1835.

East wall: window has replacement jambs and one mullion, but head stones and other mullion look weathered and original (in contrast to external appearance).

South wall: from east end: (i) piscina with cusped head, set into wall; (ii) window splay, again with replacement to jambs and mullion, but head looks original; (iii) priest's door with steps down to it, plastered reveal except for arch and quoins, but some indications that could be original.

Churchyard

Beguildy churchyard is rectilinear in shape, its perimeter constrained by the topography of the spur on which it is set. To the north is the River Teme, to the south a small unnamed tributary.

The area is generally tidy and well-kept, and is still used for burial.

Perimeter boundary consists of stone wall on east, the external drop of c.3m and internal drop of c.0.5m largely resulting from the natural fall into river valley; in the north-east corner wall disappears but this could result from soil slip etc. On north stone wall again but more like a revetment. A broad stone wall cuts across spur on west side, with earth etc banked up internally. On south the stone wall continues until the back of a row of cottages acts as revetment. Beyond these, a steep natural scarp with a wall at base curves round to south-east corner.

Monuments: well spread throughout much of yard with some tighter concentrations particularly on west side of church; only area clear of gravestones is south-west corner. Reasonable number of unmarked graves. Cursory examination indicates all 19thC and 20thC stones with virtually nothing earlier. One close to priest's door commemorated burials of 1798 and 1810.

Furniture: nothing.

Earthworks: west of church, a broad scarp bank with maximum height of 1.5m describes an arc on north and west. Conceivably it carries round to the south side. Possibly the remains of an earlier enclosure?

Ancillary features: main entrances on south side of churchyard. Half way along south side, high double metal gates with some ornamentation; at south-east corner a single ornate metal gate with a flight of steps up into churchyard. Both linked to porch by tarmac paths. At north-west corner are double metal gates leading from field - a grass path follows a faint holloway towards the church.

Vegetation: of a line of three yews west of church, only one survives, the others have stumps only. Another yew south of porch. Otherwise little vegetation.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 10 August 1995
Crossley and Ridgeway 1949, 219
Davies 1905, 208 & 210
Faculty 1894: NLW/SD/F/33
Haslam 1979, 218
Howse 1949, 250 & 256


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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 Beguildy Church may also be found on the Swansea and Brecon Diocese website.


The CPAT Radnorshire 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 ( 22:02:45 ).
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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