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Brecknockshire Churches Survey

Church of St Cynidr and St Mary , Llangynidr

Llangynidr Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Llangynidr in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO1554219408.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16877 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llangynidr Church, CPAT copyright photo 405-16.JPG

Summary

The church at Llangynidr is dedicated to St Mary and St Cynidr and lies about 6km to the west of Crickhowell, on the opposite side of the Rive Usk. The structure was completely rebuilt after a fire in 1928 and only a broken font and a few other fixtures survive from the earlier building. The churchyard was probably once sub-circular.

Totally rebuilt in 1928. Old stone re-used, but upper wall faces of nave (and chancel?) have new masonry.

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

History

It is likely in view of its dedication, churchyard morphology and location to have originated in the early medieval era, though nothing from this period has survived.

In the 1291 Taxatio Llangynidr is recorded as 'Ecclesia de Kened'ad' with a value of 5 6s 8d, appearing as 'Llangeneder' in the 1535 Valor.

Dawson records that at the beginning of the 19thC the church was in a dilapidated condition, but was then rebuilt. Though in a good state of repair in 1909, Dawson found there was nothing worth writing about.

The church was rebuilt after it was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1928.

Architecture

Llangynidr church consists of a nave with a west bellcote, a slightly narrower chancel, a north vestry and organ chamber, which together are as long as the chancel, and a small west porch. It is aligned north-east/south-west but 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here for descriptive purposes.

Fabrics: 'A' is a mixture of red and grey sandstone generally in small blocks and slabs though a few are larger, regularly shaped and randomly coursed; quoins of similar material are dressed.

Roofs: porch has stone slabs and a cross finial, nave and chancel have grey slates, ornate cross finials to both but that of the chancel is broken.

Bellcote over west end with two openings and two bells.

Drainage: nothing obvious.

Exterior

Porch. General. Fabric 'A'. Low roof overhanging side walls. West wall has a modern two-centred arch in red sandstone with a light above.

Nave. General. All walls slightly battered, that on north to height of c.1.0m.

North wall: in Fabric 'A' but an increasing number of red sandstone blocks towards the eaves, and masonry also includes fresher, yellow sandstone. Two windows one with a single light, the other with two; all lights have ogee heads and cusped tracery, all modern dressings.

East wall: nave no more than 1m higher than chancel, and little of the wall face is visible.

South wall: wall face shows same gradation in stone colour and weathering as north wall; windows as north wall also, though the more westerly is in buff sandstone. East of this window is a blocked doorway with a two-centred arch, all in red sandstone, with few signs of weathering. Blocking material is same as surrounding wall. This is obviously the position of the earlier south door and it appears that the original archway has been replicated.

West wall: Fabric A. Above porch is a round window in two-colour sandstone with a relieving arch over. A string-course divides the gable end from the bellcote above.

Chancel. North wall:- not visible because of vestry and organ chamber; roof of vestry is extension of chancel roof though with a different pitch.

East wall: Fabric 'A'. East window has two cusped lights and a quatrefoil above; a relieving arch.

South wall: wall in Fabric 'A' and battered to a height of 2m. As with nave walls there is a small change in the appearance of the masonry. Two two-light windows similar to those in nave, the sanctuary window smaller than its choir counterpart.

Vestry. General. Added on to building.

Interior

Porch. General. Tiled floor with mats over; bare walls; simple wooden roof with collars and rafters.

North and south walls: small three-light windows in red sandstone, with benches beneath.

East wall: entrance to church provided by unchamfered two-centred arch in red sandstone.

West wall: two-centred arch in red sandstone, with heavy double doors.

Nave. General. Wooden block floor overlain by carpet. Plastered and whitewashed walls. Roof has four bays, the braced principal rafters supporting double collars with queen posts and raking struts below and king struts above.

North wall: deeply splayed windows; tomb slab of 1666 pinned to wall near north-west corner.

East wall: two-centred chancel arch painted grey, supported on heavily moulded capitals above responds.

South wall: windows deeply splayed and small stoup set in wall close to position of former south door.

West wall: deep reveal for door with two-centred head.

Chancel. General. Floor carpetted throughout except for choir stalls raised on wooden block platforms. One step up from nave to chancel and another up to sanctuary. Walls plastered and whitewashed. Roof of three bays with arch-braced collars and arching struts above.

Walls have deeply splayed windows. No features of any antiquity.

Churchyard

The churchyard is set on fairly level ground, with an almost imperceptible drop from north to south. It is set back from a small stream which runs about 100m to the south-east of the church, and the surrounding ground undulates gently opening into the Usk Valley on the north.

Possibly the churchyard was originally circular but has been modified in recent times leaving only the curving eastern boundary. No traces of the earlier course are apparent in the heavily used graveyard.

It is generally well kept, though overgrown on the north-east and west sides, and is still used for burial.

Boundary: on the east is a bank with a 'cosmetic' stone retaining wall; the bank with an internal drop of perhaps 0.4m, and an external one of 1.0m, is the clearest evidence of a raised circular churchyard. On the west is a stone wall revealing little difference in the ground heights on either side of it, and this continues on south, revealing at least one blocked gap as well as the main lychgated entrance. On the north are buildings and a yard.

Monuments: the churchyard is densely packed with graves; mid to late 18thC grave markers are scattered around the east and south sides, and interspersed with numerous 19thC monuments, and there are a number of late 18thC ledgers close to the church wall. North of the church are only 19thC and 20thC memorials.

Furniture: the base of a cross consisting of a regular block of stone about 1m square with chamfered corners and a square-sectioned central socket. Reportedly not in its original position, and now just to the south of the nave.

Earthworks: none.

Ancillary features: 19thC lychgate, with timber superstructure on stone walls, contains wooden gates. Another entrance lies in the north corner of the churchyard and both are served by tarmac paths.

Vegetation: A few yews are scattered around the north side of the yard. None are of great size though that beside the path close to the porch is bound with an iron hoop. Also some deciduous and evergreen bushes.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 24 October 1995
Dawson 1909, 131
Haslam 1979, 349
Powys SMR
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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 Llangynidr Church may also be found on the Swansea and Brecon Diocese website.


The CPAT Brecknockshire 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 ( 22:00:57 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7DL tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email - chrismartin@cpat.org.uk, website - www.cpat.org.uk.

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