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Radnorshire Churches Survey

Church of St Llyr , Llanyre

Llanyre Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Llanyre in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO0444662334.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16898 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llanyre Church, CPAT copyright photo 95C0320.JPG


Llanyre lies about 2km to the east of Llandrindod Wells on the far side of the River Ithon. The church of St Llyr was completely rebuilt in the last quarter of the 19thC, and retains little from the earlier church except for the font. The distinctive remnants of a curvilinear churchyard are still to be seen within the later walled yard.

Completely rebuilt in 1885-87 though early foundations utilised.

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


The present dedication is to St Llyr. Though the 19thC dedication was to All Saints, a document of 1566 refers to 'Llanllyr-on-Rhos'. This together with the morphology of the earlier churchyard points to an early medieval origin.

The medieval church reportedly had an unusually ornate roof, and consisted of a single-cell nave and chancel said to be similar to Llanfihangel Helygen. Faculty documents of c.1805 imply a rebuilding at this date, though no evidence has been found to corroborate this statement.

Williams, in 1818, described the church as "a humble structure, consisting of a nave, chancel, and low tower". At that time the base of the rood screen remained in place, and the belfry was only a partitioned part of the western bay and contained a parish chest hollowed out of a single trunk.

The church was entirely rebuilt by S.W.Williams in 1885-7. Contemporary plans depict a tower over the chancel but apart from the access staircase this was never built.


The church consists of nave, chancel, three-sided apse, porch and vestry, in the Early English style. It is oriented slightly south of west.

Fabric: well-coursed grey shale, weathering to a lighter colour, with red (or occasionally yellow) sandstone dressings, including roof finials. Stonework is regular and represents newly quarried material.

Roofs: slate with ceramic ridge-tiles.

Drainage: trench around all exterior wall faces.


Nave. General. Plinth to height of c.0.5m with sandstone chamfer. Windows, single and double-lights with hoodmouldings and foliate stops, and a string-course beneath. West window has five stepped lancets with detached shafts, the hoodmoulding stops having human faces though one broken off; south doorway displays similar architectural features to west window; buttresses at wall corners; foundation traces of earlier church at ground level on west side and for c.10m on north side.

Chancel. General. Three-sided apsidal end with wall battered to height of c.2m, then string-course; windows as nave but all two-light. Weathered 19thC grave slabs leant against east wall.

Porch. General. As nave in all respects, with addition of two-centred arch entrance.

Vestry. General. As nave and chancel. West door has hoodmoulding with human-head stops, only one surviving. Semi-octagonal turret for stair to non-existent tower.


Porch. General. Difficult access, but several late 18thC mural slabs.

Nave. General. Red and yellow sandstone used throughout; tiled floor except under pews.

Chancel. General. Sedile in south wall; aumbry(?) in north wall.


Modern churchyard is irregular in shape but predominantly rectilinear with recent extension on north side (OS plot 4538). It was established on level ground nut beyond its perimeter the ground drops away gently on the east and south sides.

The boundary consists of well-made coursed, stone wall, acting on east as revetment to interior which is raised above road level. Generally, the churchyard has the appearance of being raised on both the north and east (see below).

Monuments: widely spread throughout most of churchyard, except for extreme north-west corner of walled yard and in modern extension to north. Many monuments weathering badly and no pre-19thC examples identified. If present, they have probably lost their inscriptions.

Furniture: none, but former bell frame (with bell in place) discarded outside vestry door.

Earthworks: within the stone wall, an earlier churchyard boundary detectable for whole perimeter, broadly sub-circular in shape. On south this is incorporated into modern circuit, but elsewhere it shows as an earthwork bank, on the north and west as a normal bank, on the east as a scarp, with a height up to 1m+. Original external diameter of the 'llan' around 45 metres. Formerly it was noted as a barrow.

Ancillary features: church served by a tarmac path; double metal gates with kissing gate on south-west, another kissing gate on east.

Vegetation: several small yews on or close to perimeter on south, four larger examples on earthwork bank to north and east of church.

Sources consulted

Archaeologia Cambrensis 1854, 140
CPAT Field Visit: 19 July 1995
County SMR
Davies, 1905, 277-278 & 344
Faculty ?1805: NLW/SD/F/692
Faculty 1885: NLW/SD/F/460
Haslam 1979, 255
Rees 1986

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 Llanyre 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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