St Peter and St Illtyd's Church, Llanhamlach, Breconshire
All photography: John Ball
Date: 17 Sep 2016
Camera: Nikon D50 digital SLR
Dedication: St Peter and St Illtyd
Built: 15th century
Note 1: The church of St Illtyd and St Peter at Llanhamlach lies on the eastern side of the River Usk, five kilometres downstream from Brecon. The tower is probably 15th century or a little earlier; the church guide puts a Norman date on the lower stages though without convincing evidence to support the contention. The nave and chancel were restored in the later 19th century, though the extent of the restoration and rebuilding is unclear either from fieldwork or the contemporary architect's specification.
The porch is a 19th century rebuild incorporating an earlier, 15th century doorway. An early medieval inscribed stone, a 14th century effigy and a 15th century font are preserved within the church, and the churchyard with its hint of curvilinearity could take the site back to early medieval beginnings. [Source: Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) website, where further details are available]
Above: Southeastern aspect of church
Below: Northern aspect of church including its 19th century porch.
Note 2: The church was rebuilt in 1887 except for the embattled 15th century west tower [right], the north porch and the font [above], both also probably 15th century. There is an effigy of circa 1325 of Jane. There is also a 10th or 11th century pillar stone with inscriptions, figures of Saints John and Mary, knots and a cross. [Source: The Old Parish Churches of Mid Wales, by Mike Salter, Folly Publications, Malvern, 2003; ISBN 1-871731-62-3]
Above: Northeastern aspect of church.
Below: Nave, chancel, and east window.
Above: Early 20th century reredos, recently moved from the east wall to its present position on the south wall.
Below: Angels painted on east wall. Originally late Victorian, but recently recreated (by Macdonald and Galvin).
Above: 14th century effigy of Jane, the wife of Philip Walbeoffe.
Note 3: The Walbeoffes [of Llanhamlach] were not a prosperous race, nor were they a race that deserved prosperity. What wealth they possessed was at last squandered by a certain John, whose son Charles, when he came to the nominal inheritance found himself a needy man. To "better his condition" he sold his patrimony to a gentleman of the name of Powel, who about the year 1750 built the house now standing. John Walbeoffe, the spendthrift, had a considerable family, but what became of them and their descendants we cannot tell. The name seems to have long disappeared from Breconshire.
Below: Carved heads – Left: above a window arch in the nave; and right: on the chancel arch.
[Extracted from volume 1 of Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales, by Thomas Nicholas, Longmans, Green, Reader & Co., London, 1872]
The Moridic Stone
The stone (right), and an outline drawing of its markings (below).
Click on the photograph to access a full-sized image.
The Moridic Stone was found in 1852 built into a window of the former Llanhamlach rectory. It was transferred to the church after the rectory was demolished. It is a Christian memorial stone but parts of the top and bottom are broken off. A carved inscription down the right-hand side reads:
(I)OHANNIS / MORIDIC SUREXIT HUNC LAPIDEM
Moridic erected this stone
Below: Five of the six memorial stones lining the walls of the north porch.
All the memorial stones are late sixteenth, early seventeenth century and relate to the Walbeoffe family. The inscriptions were recorded (by Theophilus Jones) in the early 1800s when they were more legible.
A History of the County of Brecknock by Theophilus Jones, first published 1809: Glanusk Centenary Edition (Vol 4) published 1930.
For further information, consult Church of Saint Peter and Saint Illtyd, Llanhamlach, fifth edition published 2016, available inside the church.
Above: Early 19th century gravestone erected in memory of the MORGANS family.
Below: Lychgate in northeast wall of churchyard.