St Mary's Church, Gladestry, Radnorshire
Dedication: St Mary the Virgin
1. The church of St Mary the Virgin at Gladestry ... is set in a near rectangular raised churchyard. It is first referred to in the mid-13th century and the earliest architectural features date to that period; the amount of 19th and 20th century restoration appears to have been limited. It contains a medieval font and an early capital converted into a piscina. The earliest architectural features are the south wall of the 13th century nave and, from the 14th century, the chancel arch and the main south doorway. A tower may have existed at this time. Late in the 14th century, the nave and possibly the chancel were widened, though a 16th century rebuild for the chancel has also been suggested; on the basis of its windows the north aisle is also 14th century, together with its arcade. In the 15th century, the nave roof was replaced and the south porch added. In the 16th century, windows were replaced in the chancel and its roof replaced.
The broach spire was added in 1719 to accommodate new bells, and this time the early tower was modified and perhaps even lowered. The church was restored in 1910 and most of the stained glass dates from the earlier 20th century.
[Extracted from the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) website, where further details are available]
2. The church dedicated to St Mary the Virgin is one of the most beautiful and interesting in the county. It is an ancient building of stone and consists of a chancel, nave, north aisle, south porch and a plain western tower, containing five bells cast in 1719 by Abraham Rudhall, the famous Gloucester bell-founder, with a spire of oak shingle about 80 feet high. The walls of the tower are six feet thick. The spire is surmounted by a most unusual weather vane made of wrought iron – a flying serpent – and bears the date 1709, and the initials E.P. (Edwin Pugh) and R.L. (Richard Lane), which the church registers show to have been those of the church wardens at that time. Up to this time there was a parapet only to the tower, and the spire was added to make room for the bells which were put up ten years later.
[Extracted from History and Description of Gladestry Church and Parish, by Kathleen Amy Biggerton-Evans, first published 1922]
Photography: John Ball
Date: November 1997
Camera: Sigma SA-300 35 mm SLR