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Radnorshire Churches Survey

Church of St Teilo , Llandeilo Graban

Llandeilo Graban Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Painscastle in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO0937044690.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16830 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llandeilo Graban Church, CPAT copyright photo 95C0350.JPG

Summary

St Teilo's church lies on the east side of the Wye Valley some 8km from Builth Wells. The building is late medieval and of simple form, with a nave that is perhaps 14thC and a chancel and tower from the following century. Other than a font which has been attributed to the 14thC, its fittings are all post-medieval. The churchyard has an irregular outline and contains a few early tombs.

Tower supposedly 14thC and contemporary with rest of building, though it appears to be later than nave.

Nave thought to be 14thC but windows replaced when chancel added in 15thC. Porch abuts nave. It could be 15thC in company with the chancel.

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

History

Nothing is known of the early history of Llandeilo church, and even the evidence for an early medieval foundation is equivocal.

Its later history is not recorded but it does appear in the 1291 Taxatio as 'Ecclesia de Landeylar' at the unexceptional value of 4 13s 4d, and in 1535 it was named as Llandylo Prebenda.

Williams, in 1818, recorded that the "nave is separated from the chancel by a timber... screen; the roof is ribbed with oak".

In 1897 there was some restoration by E.V.Collier, particularly on the tower and on the walls.

Architecture

The church comprises a nave, a slightly narrower chancel, a south porch and a west tower. It is oriented slightly south of west.

Fabrics: 'A' is of long slabs of fine-grained sandstone mixed with blocks and slabs of shale-like sedimentary stone; quoins consist of the same material only roughly shaped, though there are some of better quality. 'B' is of fine-grained sedimentary material with a clean appearance. 'C' is of a mixture of sandstone,?mudstone and shale-like sedimentary, clean in appearance and fairly fresh.

Roofs: shale tiles on roofs including the tower, concrete ridge tiles on nave and chancel.

Drainage: a vegetation-filled trench, 0.3m wide, along the west side of the church and less obviously on the north side. Drains along sides of porch.

Exterior

Tower. General. A squat tower capped by a pyramid roof with a weathercock. All in Fabric A.

North wall: wall face repointed with a few new stones inserted. At ground level, a doorway with sandstone dressings, two-centred arch, stopped chamfers - wholly Victorian. Belfry illuminated through two simple rectangular openings, no chamfers, iron grilles with wire over. Wall appears to abut west wall of nave.

East wall: apex of nave roof rises to just below eaves of tower roof. Visible wall plain with no features.

South wall: wall face weathered. Two-light rectangular window at ground-floor level; of red sandstone with some dressings chamfered - Victorian, with diamond-leaded coloured glass. Higher up wall is a single rectangular light but otherwise as window below. Belfry windows as on north. Again evidence that tower abuts nave.

West wall: occasional dressed quoins. Two windows as on south, some of the dressings already pitted through weathering.

Nave. General. Roof level about 0.5m higher than chancel, with a slightly steeper pitch. Fabric primarily 'A' except where stated.

North wall: 'A', though its appearance is far from uniform; top 0.3m above eaves seemingly in 'B', this masonry or something similar dropping down to the head of the more easterly window. From west: i) a square-headed window in red sandstone with a trefoiled light; ii) a square-headed, double-light window, the lights with trefoil heads. The mullion and sill have been replaced in red sandstone, but the rest in reddish-grey sandstone could be original; iii) a fine grave slab of 1708 rests against wall near north-east corner. Near this corner the masonry appears less weathered but is not obviously rebuilt.

East wall: where visible is in 'A' and is abutted by chancel walls on both north and south.

South wall: masonry similar to north wall with a band of 'B' above 'A'. From west: i) inserted red sandstone window comparable with that opposite in north wall = Victorian; ii) porch; iii) two two-light windows of the form seen in the north wall. Most of the dressings are fairly fresh looking but could conceivably be original. Nevertheless, 'B' drops down to the top of the more westerly of the two windows, and the sill of the more easterly has been replaced; iv) beneath the most easterly window, a mural slab of 1821.

West wall: nothing of interest, although a lean-to structure masks the lower part north of the tower.

Chancel. General. Wall faces battered for 0.5m. Fabric C.

North wall: wall has a uniformly clean appearance. One two-light window, of similar type to that in north wall of nave, with mullion and one jambstone renewed; rest original and hooks for shutters still in place.

East wall: all in one fabric but much weathered and lichen covered. Fine Perpendicular three-light window, cinquefoil heads and complex moulding beneath two-centred arch, panel tracery; no obvious replacement. Seven mural tablets and gravestones pinned to the wall ranging from 1773 to 1824 though two illegible.

South wall: limewashed at some stage for residues on window dressings. The square-headed window has two lights as have all the other windows in the church and there is no obvious replacement. West of it is a priest's door with a two-centred head, stopped chamfers, all in pinkish-grey sandstone; little weathering is obvious yet it appears to have its original stonework.

Porch. General. Fabric perhaps a variation of 'A'. Porch abuts nave. Walls have slight batter.

East and west walls: plain.

South wall: a broad, two-centred arched entrance with stopped chamfers, the dressings in grey and greyish red sandstone. Much eroded except for six of the seven arch stones which might indicate that these are replacements.

Interior

Porch. General. Flagged floor with one graveslab of?1735 utilised. Walls whitewashed. Roof of two bays, the innermost truss with foiled struts forming a quatrefoil and two trefoils; arch-braced truss in centre. However, though the purlins may be original, most of the timberwork is modern.

North wall: doorway comparable with outer doorway of porch, and though not so worn, the dressings have some mould cover; fresh-looking arch stones.

East wall: stone bench with flag seat along wall; octagonal stoup in north-east angle.

South wall: splayed reveal for doorway.

West wall: an unusually large stone set in wall but covered in whitewash. Stone bench as on east side. In corner is a hollow 'drum', rather like a font pedestal but perhaps too small.

Tower. General. Wooden block flooring. East wall plastered and whitewashed while other walls only rendered. Flat ceiling above ground floor. Leaning against west wall is gravestone of 1648.

Nave. General. Floor covering in wooden blocks except for an edging all around with Victorian tiles, and graveslabs (inverted?) in wall passage to tower. Walls plastered and whitewashed, and old pew panels adapted as a dado down the sides. Wagon roof of eight bays, with carved bosses. Western end of nave partitioned off for vestry.

North wall: dado to height of 1m. Two deeply splayed windows; lamps on brackets.

East wall: two-centred arch clearly broken through existing wall of nave to give access to new chancel. Wall face inset at height of c.2.3m, and a second disconformity at height of c.4m matches one in west wall and may represent position of former tie beam, given that it is approximately in line with the eaves of the nave.

South wall: panelling and windows as north side. Door reveal has slightly peaked head. Cavity in west wall of door reveal, its purpose unclear. One 19thC monument near south-east corner.

West wall: roughly rendered but not plastered. Ledge at c.4m.

Chancel. General. Red tiled floor with choir stalls raised on wooden plinths; a graveslab of?1681 set in sanctuary floor. Walls as nave. Roof of four bays though two shorter than the others; principal trusses have collars; wall-plates with brattishing over the choir stalls; some replacement of main timbers.

North wall: deeply splayed window.

East wall: splayed window.

South wall: window as north wall. Original piscina with round-headed niche. Beside it is an aumbry slab which is supported on a decorated corbel, certainly re-used. Reveal of priest's door comparable with that of main south door.

Churchyard

Llandeilo churchyard describes a curious shape, part angular but with a distinctive curve on the north-east. There is no evidence for modifications to its form, yet its present shape is surely not original. It occupies reasonably level ground though there is a slight slope to the south, and beyond the boundary the ground drops away southwards and eastwards to a tributary of the Wye.

Except for its perimeter it is well-maintained and is still used for burial.

Boundary: consists of a well-made drystone wall, incorporating large slabs of rock. Debris has been piled up against the inner face of the wall, giving the impression that the interior is raised, and possibly disguising an earlier bank.

Monuments: these are spread all over the southern part of the churchyard, but are not densely packed except for one or two localised groups. 18thC gravestones lie to the south of the chancel and there are others scattered around including one of 1746. North of the church there is no trace of graves, though there is the fine graveslab of 1708 leaning against the nave wall.

Furniture: none noted.

Earthworks: minor undulations within the churchyard appear to be of no great significance.

Ancillary features: main entrance from south east consists of double wooden gates and a kissing gate, and there is a metal kissing gate on the west side; both have paving slab paths to the porch. A wooden field gate is set in the northern corner.

Vegetation: three large yews are set randomly in the southern half of the yard, and there are deciduous trees around the perimeter.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 19 October 1995
Crossley and Ridgway 1949, 240
Davies 1905, 255
Faculty 1896: NLW/SD/F/261
Haslam 1979, 246


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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 Llandeilo Graban 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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