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Wrexham Churches Survey

Church of St Garmon , Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog

Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Ceiriog Ucha in the county of Wrexham. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ1583832803.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 100998 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog Church, CPAT copyright photo CS950733.JPG

Summary

St Garmon's church lies at the eastern end of the village of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, 8 miles to the south-west of Chirk. Little is known of its history though an early medieval origin can be assumed from the dedication and its location beside the Ceiriog. Victorian rebuilding has left nothing of the medieval structure and there are no furnishings or fittings earlier than the 18thC. The churchyard was perhaps once curvilinear and displays one of the 'preaching mounds' associated with churches dedicated to St Garmon.

The church is a complete rebuilding from the early Victorian era.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1986 publication The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd by Edward Hubbard

History

The church was reputedly founded in the 5thC by St Garmon. Nothing of this remains nor of its medieval successor.

In the 1254 Taxatio it appears as 'Capella de Llangarnayan' and in that of 1291 as 'Ecclesia de Llanarmaior' valued at 4 6s 8d.

Prior to its demolition in the 19thC the 'old church was a parallelogram in form with a square flat tower at the west end and a south porch; the floor was of clay covered with rushes and it was seated with benches and two large high backed pews' (Thomas).

The church was rebuilt in 1846 by Thomas Jones. A hoard of over 100 coins of Edward IV, now in the British Museum, was found during the demolition.

A heating system was installed in 1930 including a boiler room at the north-west corner. Major renovation took place in 1986/87.

Architecture

The church consists of a nave and chancel in one, and a west tower with a short spire over the porch entrance. It is oriented west-north-west/east-south-east but for descriptive purposes 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted for the building, though not for the churchyard.

Fabrics:- 'A', the only fabric, consists of irregular blocks and some slabs of grey shale with occasional rounded river stones and rare quartz blocks; more regular blocks used for quoins. There is no obvious re-use of material though this cannot be entirely ruled out. Heavy pink mortar pointing.

Roof:- reconstituted grey clay tiles, and the ridge tiles probably similar. Stone cross finial at east end. A slated spire.

Drainage:- no obvious drainage trench but all the downpipes are sunk into the ground, and there are hints of ground disturbance along the north and south walls.

Note: the church represents a complete Victorian rebuild. As a consequence the following description is only a summary.

Exterior

Tower - General. Square tower of three stages including low basal plinth. The third stage has broached angles converting to an octagonal cross-section just below the level of the nave roof apex. Battlemented parapet and then an octagonal spire surmounted by a weathervane.

North wall:- second stage has a single small four-centred light illuminating the ground floor, while the third stage has a two-light window, the lights with standard four-centred heads and tracery. Above this a louvred belfry window of standard design as seen below.

East wall:- standard belfry window immediately above the nave roof apex.

South wall:- as north side.

West wall:- square-headed doorway with four-centred arch and filled spandrels, and a relieving arch over. Standard windows above.

Nave and Chancel - General. The body of the church is a simple rectangle, though unusually the angles are chamfered. Walls have a plinth topped by chamfered freestone at a height of 1m-1.5m. Windows of consistent appearance in Victorian Perpendicular.

North wall:- three windows with four-centred arches, three ogee-headed lights having cinquefoil tracery, and six cusped panels above; worn dressings in yellow sandstone.

East wall:- three-centred east window of five lights with panels above. Uninscribed lozenge-shaped tablet set just below apex of gable.

South wall:- as north wall.

West wall:- chamfered corners have slit windows, one above the other. On either side of the tower the wall face has a small, square aperture covered by wire mesh.

Interior

Porch/Tower - General. Porch beneath the tower leads to an inner porch under the west gallery. Floor covered by lino, walls plastered and painted, flat ceiling at c.3m. Inner porch has modern doors in north and south walls giving access to gallery.

North wall:- splayed window with flat soffit and rough jambs.

East wall:- segmental-headed arch with chamfered jambs.

South wall:- as north wall.

West wall:- segmental-headed arch with chamfered jambs.

Nave - General. Carpetted floors, plastered and painted walls (from 1987). Roof of five bays (including sanctuary); collars and king struts, supported on diagonal bracing and reinforced by metal tie-rods.

North wall:- three splayed windows and three memorial tablets, two of the 19thC, one of the 20thC.

East wall:- step up to sanctuary.

South wall:- three splayed windows plus a memorial plaque commemorating the benefactor who facilitated the restoration of the church.

West wall:- lower part of wall brought forward to support gallery above; in angles at gallery level are internal buttresses. The gallery front carries a painted inscription recording the rebuilding in 1846 through the benevolence of F.R.West, and with the addition of two other grants. Names of vicar and churchwardens given.

Sanctuary - General. Details as nave, which is separated from the sanctuary by a single step. Pulpit and reading desk on either side of the altar.

East wall:- splayed window and internal buttresses in corners which counteract the external chamfered angles.

Churchyard

The church is situated towards the eastern end of a sub-elliptical churchyard enclosure which occupies a natural terrace on the south side of Afon Ceiriog. Originally it was probably more curvilinear than it appears today. A modern extension lies to the south-east. It is well-maintained and is still used for burial.

Boundary:- this is defined by a stone wall of relatively modern appearance; it revets an earthen bank around the south side where the ground level is up to one metre lower, and on the north it acts as a retaining wall where the slope has been cut back. The extension on the east has resulted in the removal of the boundary leaving just a low bank.

Monuments:- these are not dense; they are spread out around the south, a few are scattered on the east side, and there are 20thC memorials on the north. A mixture of gravestones and chest tombs with some ledgers which are generally in poor condition. South of the tower are the earliest gravestones from 1742 and 1745, and there are distinctive Welsh tombstones from the 1820s.

Furniture:- none.

Earthworks:- a large mound - Tomen Garmon - at the western end of the churchyard; it is not circular but looks to have been cut back on the north and east. It has an unmarked upright slab on the top. The church itself is set on a slight platform, noticeable on the south and particularly the east where it is up to 0.5m high; on the north it is even more pronounced but this is part due to the natural fall of the ground.

Ancillary features:- double wrought iron gates on the west with a cobbled and gravel path to the porch. A separate entrance at the east to the new extension.

Vegetation:- two ancient yews immediately to the west of the porch, two younger ones further west, and another to the south of the church. Holly trees scattered in the churchyard and some deciduous trees and pines around the western and southern boundary.

Sources consulted

Clwyd SMR
CPAT Field Visit: 9 October 1997
Faculty: St Asaph 1930 (NLW)
Hubbard 1986, 184
Quinquennial Review 1986
Quinquennial Review 1992
Ridgway 1997, 109
Thomas 1911, 276
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 Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.


The CPAT Wrexham 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 ( 22:03:19 ).
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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