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Radnorshire Churches Survey

Church of St Cynllo , Llangunllo

Llangunllo Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Llangunllo in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO2117571282.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16872 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llangunllo Church, CPAT copyright photo CS955825.JPG


St Cynllo's church lies in the valley of the Lugg, 8km west of Knighton. The church was rebuilt in 19thC leaving little of its medieval predecessor, either in its architecture or its contents. The churchyard is rectilinear, and the dedication apart there is little to confirm its origin as a 5th/6thC foundation.

Body of the church largely rebuilt; some masonry in the nave and chancel and one 13thC lancet window in the nave remain of medieval structure. Victorian reconstruction involved some re-use at lower levels of selected medieval masonry (see 1896 Faculty specification), and introduction of lancet windows throughout. Porch and tower completely rebuilt at end of 19thC.

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


Llangunllo was reputedly the site of a 5th/6thC foundation.

There are few medieval records, but the St David's episcopal register refers to 'Langwynllo' in 1409.

Williams, in 1818, described the walls decorated with the Decalogue, Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, portions of Scripture, Royal Arms etc.

The nave and chancel restored in 1878 by John Middleton of Cheltenham, a substantial rebuilding in Early English style. Tower and porch rebuilt by F R Kempson in 1896. Old tower had foundation stone of 1687 which now forms part of a window sill in tower vestry.


Llangunllo consists of a west tower, nave, chancel, north transept with adjacent store shed, and a south porch at the south-west corner of the nave. Church is aligned north-west/south-east but 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here for descriptive purposes.

Fabrics: 'A' of small to medium tabular shale, grey in colour, reasonably well coursed. 'B' is no more than a variation of 'A' containing more blocks. 'C' is thin tabular shale, some irregularities, random coursing. 'D' is clean tabular shale with occasional sandstone fragments, reasonably well coursed. 'E' is as 'D' but slightly more irregular with heavy mortar pointing and traces of remnant plaster.

'A' and 'B' are variations of similar masonry but medieval and Victorian respectively; 'C' is original medieval fabric; 'D' is medieval masonry, probably but non entirely re-used.

Roofs: slates with ceramic ridge tiles. No finials.

Drainage: no obvious sub-surface drainage around base of building but downpipes on south side of nave and tower may indicate some ground disturbance.


Tower. General. Fabric 'A', with dressed stone quoins. No differentiation in the stages below belfry level. Corbel-table supports battlemented parapet.

North wall: weathered stone with heavy pointing from the level of the nave eaves upwards, though no masonry change. Quoins mainly shale but one dressed sandstone block in north-east angle. One small flat-headed window in 2nd stage with sandstone dressings. 3rd stage has two-light window with pointed arches, louvre boards.

East wall: nave apex as high as top of 2nd stage window set in north face. 3rd stage window as on north.

South wall: 1st stage has single lancet, windows in 2nd and 3rd stages as on north side. Inscribed foundation stone at south-west angle bears date of 1896, and consecration cross on west face.

West wall: as south wall.

Nave. General. Various fabric changes visible.

North wall: extreme west end of wall has a disconformity, exaggerated by cracking, which appears to be in a variant of Fabric 'A'. Base of rest of wall (to a height of c.0.8m) also in an 'A' variant, but much of wall face above is in Fabric 'B' and contains two pairs of Victorian lancets with single hoodmouldings and individual relieving arches. Rest of wall, to east, is in 'C' and contains a small 13thC lancet with an almost rounded head in weathered pink sandstone; the 'C' masonry to east of the window, as far as the vestry wall is disfigured, with heavy off-white mortar.

South wall: no external differentiation between nave and chancel. One set of three lancets to east, one group of two to west. Lower part of wall is in Fabric 'D', upper part including all windows in Fabric 'B'; but to west of paired lancets the whole wall is of 'B'.

West wall: Fabric 'A'/'B'.

North transept. General. Abuts east end of nave.

North wall: base of wall slightly battered and in Fabric 'D'; probably original medieval masonry. Above are two Victorian lancets in surround of Fabric 'B'.

East wall: hidden by store shed.

West wall: northern part of windowless wall is in Fabric 'D' but rest rebuilt in 'B'.

Chancel. General. Fabrics 'B', 'D' and 'E' represented.

North wall: upper part of wall in 'B' with two standard Victorian lancets; below and at north-east angle is Fabric 'D' which here could be re-used masonry.

East wall: base of wall is either in Fabric 'E' with plaster remnants, or perhaps differentially weathered 'D'. Above, the wall is of 'B'. Three stepped lancets with continuous hoodmoulding, relieving arches, all Victorian; also one mural tablet with coat-of-arms but no inscription.

South wall: wall has two groups of lancet windows and a priest's door. Priest's door is under pointed arch but is Victorian; approached by flight of three steps, and wall behind these is of original medieval masonry, 'E'. The wall base to west is in 'D', and all the upper wall is rebuilt in 'B', with one pair of Victorian lancets lighting sanctuary and triple lancets lighting the chancel.

Porch. General. A Victorian construction in Fabric 'B'. Side walls are plain, the south wall has a Victorian two-centred arch with hoodmoulding and above it a lamp and an inscription dating its erection to 1896.


Porch. General. Tiled floor. Roof with collars and hardboard ceiling above. Walls unplastered. East and west walls plain with wooden benches.

North wall: doorway has Victorian two-centred arch with hoodmoulding.

Tower. General. Ground floor used as vestry and not accessible.

Nave. General. Tiled floor with carpet in places; benches on flush wooden flooring. Fine roof of 15thC date (though some of it Victorian renewal) with alternating tie-beam and open arch-braced trusses; the principal rafters of the latter type rest on elaborately moulded timber corbels; three tiers of cusped windbraces.

North wall: small lancet window with deeply splayed embrasure.

East wall: Victorian chancel arch.

South wall: nothing of note.

West wall: tower doorway has four-centred arch with stopped chamfers and is a re-set 15thC feature. 19thC memorials except for the example memorial to James Meyrick (see below).

North transept. General. Tiled except for wooden floor under organ. Roof timbers similar to nave. South wall has double arcade of two-centred chamfered arches on round piers with moulded capitals.

Chancel. General. One step up from nave to chancel, two to sanctuary, one to altar. Victorian encaustic tiles down centre of chancel and in sanctuary; concrete plinths for stalls. Roof of arch-braced trusses with collars; carved corbels.

North wall: wall face recessed between chancel arch and first lancet window for no obvious reason. Aumbry near altar.

South wall: Victorian trefoil-headed piscina and double sedilia.


The church occupies an almost rectangular churchyard set on a spur created by the River Lugg and a tributary, and overlooking the village. There is no evidence of any extension or modification to the form of the yard.

It is well-maintained in places, but overgrown on the south side.

It has a stone wall surround, in reasonable condition on west where the external ground level could be up to 1m lower; on the north the wall is in poorer condition and the natural slope creates an internal drop; on the east the wall acts as a revetment and again there is a 1m drop externally; and on the south the drop may be greater, but the revetment wall, if it exists, is not obvious.

Monuments: well spread throughout churchyard, but are densest on the north and sporadic on south. Earliest are very late 18thC on south side of chancel.

Furniture: none.

Earthworks: none.

Ancillary features: double metal gates on west and single metal gate on north-east give access to church via gravel paths.

Vegetation: at least eight yews and many other conifers.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings 1992
CPAT Field Visit: 10 October 1995
Davies 1905, 305
Faculty 1896: NLW/SD/F/391
Haslam 1979, 254

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 Llangunllo 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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