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Radnorshire Churches Survey

Church of St David , Whitton

Whitton Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Whitton in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO2705167334.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16975 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Whitton Church, CPAT copyright photo 1088-14.JPG


St David's church at Whitton is a small, much restored building, lying some 3 miles to the north-west of Presteigne. Earlier masonry of uncertain date does survive in the tower and the lower walls of the nave and chancel, but the rest was rebuilt in 1874 and extended in 1905. There are a few features of interest within the building including an early stoup and a late 16thC monument brought from Pilleth church. The churchyard is solidly rectangular and contains little of interest.

Much of the tower, apart from the higher levels, as well as the lower parts of the nave and chancel walls, are original, though what date this implies is impossible to ascertain. Conceivably the 15thC chancel window may give a guide though this itself is re-set in Victorian walling. The upper levels are a Victorian rebuild, and the east end of the chancel was erected at the beginning of the present century.

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


The foundation date of the church is not known, but an early medieval origin seems unlikely.

It appears as 'Whytton' in the Valor of 1535, but not in the earlier Taxatios.

Glynne, in the mid-19thC, recorded a small, dark and neglected building with a low western tower. modern windows except for that in the east wall, and a modern doorway in the north wall of the chancel. The post-Reformation screen carried an inscription, and there was a porch on the south side. Howse records that prior to the restoration of 1874, there was a 14thC church with a good screen and a fine oak roof. He also claimed that it fell into a poor state of repair and was completely re-built.

In fact it was reconstructed in Victorian Gothic, the nave in 1874, the chancel in 1905. The specification for the former gives a clear idea of the extent of the rebuilding, but certain aspects, notably the use of monumental slabs for the chancel floor were changed subsequently.

The chancel was extended by 3'-4' in 1905, the gable wall being pulled down and dressings from the east window being selectively re-used.


The church consists of nave and chancel as a single unit, south porch, lean-to vestry on north side and a timber bell tower on stone foundation walls at west end. It is oriented west-north-west/east-south-east but 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted in this report.

Fabrics: 'A' is grey tabular shale with occasional larger blocks, all regularly coursed, and roughly dressed shale quoins. 'B' has thicker slabs of shale, many manganese stained, and is irregularly coursed. 'C' consists of large regular blocks of shale, with better stones selected for quoins.

'A' could be medieval or perhaps early post-medieval; 'B' seems to be Victorian. 'C' is of 1905.

Roofs: except for tower in wooden shingles, roofs are covered by shale tiles with ceramic crested ridge tiles but no finials; vestry roof simply extension of nave/chancel.

Drainage: Broad grassed-filled gully edges most walls of church and on south side its outer edge is lined by old gravestones.


Tower. General. Lower stages in Fabric A except where rebuilt in Fabric B; traces of render. Base battered for c1.6m. Above is a broad low broach spire over squared bell stage with open balustrade; all of tower covered in wooden shingles.

North wall: Fabric A, but above window level wall inset in Fabric B; inserted quatrefoil window with sandstone dressings.

South wall: all Fabric A except where south door inserted and top 0.5m of wall which appears to represent heightening.

West wall: all Fabric A except for inserted quatrefoil window similar to that on north, with relieving arch over, and top courses of wall.

Nave. General. Low walls.

North wall: lower part in Fabric A, upper part from window sill level in Fabric B, though Fabric A survival almost to eaves level at east and west ends of nave; two windows surrounded by 'B' masonry have double lights with cusped heads, both Victorian.

South wall: bottom 1m of wall in Fabric A covered by residual coat of render, while above is unrendered Fabric B; two windows matching those on north side.

Chancel. General. Little more than extension of nave. All three fabrics represented.

North wall: mostly hidden by vestry. Visible at extreme eastern end where Fabric C.

East wall: all Fabric C; main east window is wholly Victorian in Decorated style: three-lights with ogee-heads under two-centred arch with stopped hoodmoulding and relieving arch above. Above this is the exposed arch-braced timber of east gable, with masonry behind.

South wall: Fabric C at extreme east end, but otherwise Fabric A for perhaps lowest 1m coated in residual render, and Fabric B above; square-headed two-light window with 15thC tracery, though replacement of the head and perhaps some of the jamb stones. This was the original east window which was preserved in the 1874 restoration.

Vestry. General. Primarily in Fabric B with some Fabric C. Stone tile roof with leaded-light windows.

North wall: chamfered plinth at 1.2m; door and perhaps adjacent windows inserted or modified.

West wall: blocked doorway with window set in upper half.

Porch. General. Open timberwork structure with stone plinth in Fabric B, pierced quatrefoil panels, moulded bargeboards and pendant; slate roof with standard ceramic ridge tiles and metal cross as finial; porch set into angle of tower and off-set nave.


Porch. General. Nothing of note.

Tower. General. Ground floor only available for inspection. Walls thin; windows high up on sides; ceiled over with trapdoor access. Flooring of wooden boards at entrance, otherwise carpetted. Seats around walls for Sunday school.

North wall:no features other than mural tablet to Rev Rice James (d.1811).

South wall: internal plinth for first 1m, not readily explainable; Victorian doorway.

West wall: nothing of note.

Nave. General. Roof with cusped trusses with curved hammer braces, and a modern rood high up above chancel divide. Floor slightly lower than that of tower, approached by ramp rather than steps. Aisle carpetted, benches raised on wooden flooring. Walls, plastered and limewashed, windows widely splayed, embrasure not plastered. Simple screen separating nave from chancel, otherwise no significant details.

Chancel. General. Roof as in nave. Chancel raised above nave, carpet over Victorian tiles, choir stalls raised on wooden platforms.

North wall: blank arcading pierced by door to vestry.

East wall: reredos of Early English style blank arcading in two tiers with black marble shafts.

South wall: has piscina in niche with simple four-centred arch over; supposedly 12thC stoup on window sill; and John Price monument to west.

Vestry. General. Nothing of note.


The churchyard enclosure is almost an exact rectangle and there is no evidence whatsoever of an earlier perimeter.

The ground within the yard is relatively level though a faint slope can be detected on the west side. The U-shaped valley of the River Lugg forms the setting for the church, and the churchyard is perched on the edge of the terrace to the north of the river. The ground immediately surrounding the church is also flat but a short distance to the east it starts to rise to the hills that lie between the valley systems of the Lugg and Teme.

That part of the graveyard used for modern burial is well maintained, but much of the rest is overgrown.

The boundary consists of a hedge on the north-west, south-west and south-east sides while wrought iron railings edge it on the north-east.

Monuments: graves spread, though not particularly densely around all sides of the church except the north-west. The oldest lie to the south and south-west, although none of 18thC date were recognised, the earliest being from 1819. Two old stones leaning against the south wall of the church are indecipherable. There are a number of chest tombs and distinctive 19thC square box tombs with ball tops, as well as three graves with iron railings.

Furniture: north-east of the church is the war memorial consisting of a pillared cross on a two-tier plinth.

Earthworks: none.

Ancillary features: iron entrance gates lead from carpark to east of churchyard and a modern double gate leads into adjacent field on north-east. Grass paths.

Vegetation: two mature yews to south of church and a single yew on north-east boundary.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings 1992
CPAT Field Visit: 13 October 1995
Crossley and Ridgway 1949, 251
Davies 1905, 313
Faculty 1874: NLW/SD/F/678
Faculty 1905: NLW/SD/F/679
Haslam 1979, 278
Howse, 1949, 244
Wynn-Jones 1989, 2
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 Whitton 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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