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Radnorshire Churches Survey

Church of St Padarn , Llanbadarn Fynydd

Llanbadarn Fynydd Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Llanbadarn Fynydd in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO0976877679.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16811 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llanbadarn Fynydd Church, CPAT copyright photo 95C0302.JPG


St Padarn's church occupies an irregular churchyard on a bench immediately above the River Ithon and beside the main trunk road between Newtown and Llandrindod Wells. The site may first have been used in early medieval period, but nothing survives from this period and only occasional furnishings and architectural details from the Middle Ages. The church is largely a Victorian rebuild.

Church rebuilt in late 19thC, probably re-using existing masonry, particularly on south and east.

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


Nothing is known of the early history of Llanbadarn Fynydd, although an early medieval origin may be predicted.

No medieval references have been noted, but in the St David's Episcopal Registers for 1513 it is referred to as 'Llanbadarn Vynith'.

In 1818 Williams described the church as "rude and mean in its form and construction, and contains only one aisle, and one little bell, which is suspended in a box of wood at the west end of the bears a stronger resemblance to an antique barn than to a temple". The east window was described as "old Gothic". The church contained no monuments or inscriptions. The churchyard contained only one tombstone.

Glynne visited the site in the middle of the 19thC. There was a roof of collars and quatrefoiled timbers, one example of which could be seen externally intermixed with plaster. A mutilated Decorated window survived at the east end, but otherwise there were modern windows, and at the west end was a large buttress. The interior was described as dreary.

An 1874 account states that the chancel was taken down "some years ago". The east window was described as Decorated work with a moulded dripstone, but in a sadly dilapidated condition, and the south window next to the porch of the same period but more carefully repaired. Within the porch - a modern brick construction - was an Early English doorway. The south wall had been pulled down within the last few years and rebuilt of less thickness than originally. In the chancel, on either side of the east window were "two rather remarkable stone brackets or corbels, at about four feet from the floor...with sunk panels elaborately carved in diaper work of Decorated type....[though] these do not appear to be roof corbels". It was suggested that they might have carried images. The eight-bay roof was "disfigured with whitewash", but in good preservation. Fragments remained of a fine old screen and rood loft - the front beam of the modern gallery was thought to be part of the former rood loft.

The church was rebuilt and enlarged by S.W.Williams in 1894, and the west gallery removed; the foundations of the old church were re-used. A report of 1901 claims that a fragment of a font or stoup, inscribed in Lombardic capitals with the names of the Evangelists and dating to the 14thC, was found in foundations of the old church in 1896 (sic). The present whereabouts of this is unknown.


Llanbadarn Fynydd church consists of a single chamber with west bellcote, and south porch. It is aligned due east/west.

Fabrics: 'A' is grey and buff-grey tabular shale and perhaps mudstone, with random blocks of similar material, regularly coursed. Some re-use of blocks? Also patches of render on masonry may indicate re-use, too. Quoins of better dressed shale. 'B' is similar but great incidence of blocks, perhaps indicative of more re-use; render not apparent because of frequency of lichen.

Roofs: reconstituted clay tiles, decorated ridge tiles and metal finials to east and west. Timber bell-turret.

Drainage: north and south sides have downpipes but no obvious drainage trench. Drain does exist on east side.


Nave and chancel in one, distinguished externally by buttresses at divide. Square, weathered-boarded bell-turret above west end; copper-plated pyramidal top and three louvred windows below on each side.

Nave. North wall: in Fabric 'A'; occasional stones have render residue. Two Decorated windows both with double lights that have cusped ogee-heads, quatrefoils in the spandrels, chamfered dressings, hoodmouldings and relieving arches of edge stones. That to east is Victorian, that to west in a slightly more weathered gold sandstone: earlier than the Victorian windows but almost certainly post-medieval in execution though not design. Buttress at nave/chancel interface.

South wall: Fabric 'B'; two Victorian windows as on north side. Buttress as on north side.

West wall: Fabric 'B'; elaborate three-light Victorian window; gable above window rebuilt.

Chancel. North wall: again occasional render patch. At west end, projecting plinth at ground level may be remnant of earlier church. One standard Victorian window.

East wall: Fabric 'A'; large three-light window, wholly Victorian.

South wall: Fabric 'B'; one standard Victorian window.

Porch. General. Victorian two-centred arched doorway; plain structure, lacking windows; with stone cross finial on roof.


Porch. General. Bare stone of Fabric 'B' with some render.

North wall: two-centred arched doorway, chamfered and finished in plaster.

East wall: plain, but for weathered and broken stoup set into wall.

South wall: main doorway.

West wall: plain.

Nave. General. Tiled floor in red and black; carpet down central aisle covers heating vents. Wooden block floor beneath benches. Roof of c.1500 remains intact: five bays, arched braces resting on hexagonal corbels, one tie-beam not corbelled; cusped strutting in the apices. Interior plastered and whitewashed, except for window dressings. Panelled vestry in north-west corner.

North wall: west window re-set as not central to its embrasure. One mural tablet of 1818.

East wall: rood beam only; one step up to chancel.

South wall: Victorian windows; door embrasure has shallow triangular arch. One damaged 19thC mural tablet.

West wall: nothing significant.

Chancel. General. Roof of four bays but more closely set than in nave and only two corbels: these are decorated and presumably are those noted in the pre-restoration church (see above).

North wall: one mural tablet of 1929.

East wall: stained glass in window is memorial of 1979.

South wall: in sanctuary, an alcove with arched head, presumably an aumbry.


Llanbadarn churchyard covers a quadrilateral area with roads to the east and west and the valley of the Ithon to the north. It occupies what is effectively a bench (with a very slightly rise from west to east), the ground beyond rising steeply to the east, and falling sharply to the river on the west.

The churchyard is well-maintained and is still used for burial.

Its boundary consists on the west of a low stone wall, which it part is the back wall of a ruined building, 3m-4m below. At the south-west corner the stone wall revets the yard, falling over 1.5m to the road and a hard-standing. On the east there is an internal retaining wall, nearly 4m high, with the main road above it. Finally on the north-west is a simple scarp carrying a few planted saplings above the river.

Monuments: generally spread around all sides of the church except the narrow north side; nowhere are they dense. Many of the stones are weathered and difficult to decipher. Most are 19thC but there are a few just to the south of the church which date from the 18thC. The earliest recognised dates from 1767.

Furniture: south-west of porch is sundial, its plate inscribed 1724 and 'For the Rev Mr Williams'. Gnomon is more recent and has inscription stating it was rebuilt by S.A.Williams of Mochdre in 1989. Supported on modern square wooden post.

Earthworks: minor terracing within the yard and some irregular banks, but nothing of obvious significance.

Ancillary features: main entrance at north-east corner under timber lychgate erected in memory of Anne Haig (d.1894). Near south-west corner an iron gate between brick gateposts. Both served by tarmac paths.

Vegetation: three yew bushes and one yew tree; privet bushes near porch; a few other conifers on south side of church.

Sources consulted

Archaeologia Cambrensis 1901, 84
CPAT Field Visit: 01 February 1996
Crossley and Ridgway 1949, 236
Davies 1905, 225, 228 & 345
Glynne 1897, 54
Haslam 1979, 241
Williams 1874, 43
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 Llanbadarn Fynydd 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 -, website -

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