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Radnorshire Churches Survey

Church of St Winifrid , Llansantffraed Cwmdeuddwr

Llansantffraed Cwmdeuddwr Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Rhayader in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SN9677567677. At one time it was dedicated to St Bridget.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16887 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llansantffraed Cwmdeuddwr Church, CPAT copyright photo 431-04.JPG


St Winifrid's church at Llansantffraed Cwmdeuddwr is set on the western edge of the Wye valley opposite Rhayader. Its churchyard has a good range of early gravestones, but the church itself is Victorian, its medieval predecessor lying a little to the north. Only a stoup has survived from the early church.

A wholly Victorian structure.

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


The church of Llansantffraed has left few marks in the documentary record. An early medieval origin might be surmised - but on very little evidence. And even in the medieval period, there is nothing to go on. Neither of the Taxatios (1254 & 1291) nor the Valor Ecclesiasticus (1535) puts a specific value on the church.

The present church is dedicated to St Winifred and replaced the former church of St Bride (or St Bridget) in 1778. Howse (1949) states that the original church was probably built in the 12th century, and stood to the north of the present site. Williams, in 1818 recorded that the old church was built in the form of a barn - low, long, and dark - and its roof covered in shingles.

The first St Winifrid's was built in 1778 and rebuilt by F. R. Kempson in 1866. Nothing survived the rebuilding in 1778 except the stoup in the porch.


Llansantffraed church consists of a nave, chancel, south aisle, south porch and a west tower, together with a north vestry. The church is oriented south-west/north-east but 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted for this description.

Fabrics: 'A' is of grey shale in small and medium blocks and slabs, regularly fashioned; not coursed. Dressings and quoins in buff coloured freestone. Used for most of building. 'B' consists of small and medium slabs and fewer blocks of grey, dark grey and brown sedimentary rock of various types; random coursing. Found on upper wall faces of nave, south aisle and in places on tower.

Roof: slates with plain slate ridge tiles; cross finials to chancel, nave and porch.

Drainage: shallow drainage gully around west side of south aisle; elsewhere the tarmac path runs up to wall faces disguising anything beneath, though downpipes draining underground are present.


General. Except for vestry, string-course at c.1.4m below which walls are battered slightly. Flush with the wall face and around south aisle wall only is a freestone band, for decorative purposes, at c.3m. Nave, chancel and south aisle have alternating head and floral corbels beneath eaves.

Windows generally consist of one or two trefoil-headed lights with roundels above under two-centred arches, hoodmouldings with decorated stops, and relieving arches. East window in chancel is more elaborate with three lights and a stepped string-course below it.

Tower with a broach spire; clasping buttresses, louvred belfry windows with double chamfers, and a two-centred arched west doorway, the jambs and voussoirs in Fabric 'A' not in freestone.


Tower. General. Carpetted. Wooden ceiling supported on corbels.

Nave. General. Floors carpetted over heating vents; flush wooden flooring for benches. Arched-braced roof with scissor trusses and floral corbels. South arcade of four bays with round shafts and elaborate capitals. West wall has two 19thC marble memorials.

Chancel. General. Approached by two steps, with further steps to sanctuary and altar. Chancel floored with stone flags. Roof as nave but lower. Organ and vestry to north; aumbry to north of altar, sedile to south. 19thC brasses around walls.

Porch. General. Tiled floor; two-centred arched south door. Stone benches; stoup to east of door.


The churchyard is an irregular shape, best described as polygonal, and generally is well kept. It has clearly been extended on the north-west, but even this extension aside, the form is unlikely to be original. The ground is level and lies on the lip of the river terrace above the River Wye.

The boundary consists of a stone wall on the east and north-east beyond which is a drop of several metres to gardens below. Near the north gate the external ground level is perhaps 0.6m lower than the interior. The new extension has metal fencing, and where the old course is resumed on the west a hedge or wire fence with no difference in ground levels internally and externally. By the south gate, the boundary is walled again, but though there is some internal embanking, there is nothing to suggest a raised enclosure.

Monuments: the whole area, other than the new extension, is covered by graves and their associated stones, sometimes densely. There are many 18thC monuments, even on the north side, and in this respect Llansantffraed is particularly interesting. Stones of 1719, 1728 and others are propped against the north-east wall, while examples going back to 1705 are in situ.

Furniture: none.

Earthworks: old boundary on the north-west now shows as low scarp (<0.5m) with trees on it. Ground to north of church is irregular but no clear sign of the old church that was there.

Ancillary features: one metal kissing gate on north, together with two double ornamental iron gates. Single metal kissing gate at south end. Tarmac paths.

Vegetation: occasional yews and other trees.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings
CPAT Field Visit: 27 February 1996
Davies, 1905, 273
Haslam 1979, 228
Howse, 1949, 260

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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 Llansantffraed Cwmdeuddwr 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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