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St David's Church, Llywel, Breconshire

St David's Church, Llywel Dedication: St David

Denomination: Anglican

Built: 14th century (tower)

Photography: John Ball
Date: 22 August 2009
Camera: Nikon D50 digital SLR

Note 1
St David's church at Llywel lies in a small valley converging on the Usk valley about 18 km to the west of Brecon. The tower [shown right] could be basically 14th century with 15th century alterations on the basis of its plainness and a blocked east window. Most of building claimed to be Late Perpendicular of about the 1480s. However there is evidence that the chancel was added on, and the mixture of windows in the nave suggests extra fenestration was inserted. There is little sign of any Victorian rebuilding except perhaps on the north wall of the nave. Internally, there is an early medieval stone and the cast of another, a significantly early font, and the village stocks.
[The complete text is available on the
Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) website]

Right: 14th century west tower.

Below: North-eastern aspect of St David's Church.
St David's Church, Llywel

Note 2
The west tower may be partly 14th century. Otherwise it and the big nave and chancel mostly have features of circa 1480-1520. Three bays of the old screen were placed in the opening between the tower and nave in 1869. In the south wall is a shallow tomb recess. There is a pillar stone with Ogham symbols and a plaster replica of the Llywel Stone, now in the British Museum. There are stocks of 1798 under the tower, and there is a monument to Sybil Morgan, circa 1600.
[Extracted from: The Old Parish Churches of Mid Wales, by Mike Salter, Folly Publications, Malvern, 2003; ISBN 1-871731-62-3]

St David's Church, Llywel
Above: Nave and chancel. The rood screen is a 20th century addition.

Note 3.
The parish church stands in an isolated part, but with half a dozen houses in its immediate vicinity, although there are now to be seen the ruins of several others. Within the sacred edifice everything is a model of good order and cleanliness. The rood loft has disappeared , but the door leading up to it, and the door in the wall above still remain. The chancel is decently paved with tiles, and the nave is covered with wood; no monuments are anywhere to be seen on the ground. The reredos [below] is of painted tiles, and was erected at the cost of D. T. Jeffreys, Esq., to the memory of his uncle, D. Jeffreys Powell, Esq., in 1888. The east window is of painted glass, and was erected to the memory of Lewis Powell, Esq., M.D., M.R.I., by his sister Sybil in 1872.
[Source: The History of Brecknockshire, by Theophilus Jones (1805/1809), Glanusk Edition (Vol 4) Brecknock Society, 1930]

Below: Altar and tiled reredos in the sanctuary.
St David's Church, Llywel

Note 4.
Although its founder was St Llwyel, the church is dedicated to St David, because of a struggle in the 13th century between the bishops of St David and Llandaff during which Llywel Church was sequestrated by the bishop of St David's. It was at this time that the name of the church was changed from Llywel to Llantrisant – the Church of the Three Saints.
[Source: St Davids Church Llywel, by Peter Maddox (from the writings of Canon Josiah Jones-Davies, Vicar of Llywel 1947-82), Church in Wales Publications, Penarth, undated]
Note 5.
[The church] is said to have originally been dedicated to three saints: David, Darn (Paternus), and Teilo; and known as Llantrisant. Its name was changed when it was granted to the Chapter of Saint David sometime between 1203 and 1229.
[Source: Wikipedia]

Below left: The east window, erected in 1872 in memory of Lewis Powell, depicts the baptism and crucifixion of Christ.
St David's Church, LlywelSt David's Church, Llywel

Above right: The door in the south porch dates from the 15th century.

St David's Church, Llywel St David's Church, Llywel St David's Church, Llywel
Above: A plaster cast of the 6th century Llywel Stone (left and centre), and Aberhydfer Stone (right).

Note 6.
Llywel Stone: the Latin inscription on one face (above left) reads The stone of Maqutrenus Salicidunus. The opposite face of the stone (above centre) is decorated with symbols and human figures, while the edges bear Ogham Script. The original Llywel Stone is in the British Museum. [Source: Welcome to Llywel website]
Note 7.
Aberhydfer Stone (above right): "In August 1954... Canon Jones-Davies went for a walk at Aberhydfer... In a hedge-cum-dry stone wall... blocking a disused trackway along the Usk, the Canon was pleasantly surprised to recognize an Ogham-inscribed stone. It was moved to his church at Llywel..." [Source: Celtic Inscribed Stones Project, Department of History, and Institute of Archaeology, University College London]

St David's Church, Llywel
Above: The Llywel stocks, now situated in the vestry.

Note 8.
There are several yew and other trees here, and on the south side of the churchyard is a small building used as a schoolroom, a house, and the ruins of another. Under a tree in this part of the churchyard is also the remains of the parish stocks, fixed upright, but the seat is no longer to be seen.
[Source: The History of Brecknockshire, by Theophilus Jones (1806), Glanusk Edition (Vol 4) Brecknock Society, 1930]
Note 9.
The stocks were made in 1798 to replace the stocks and whipping post of 1771. Most parishes had stocks, intended chiefly for the punishment of vagrants, although the stocks at nearby Llanfrynach were first used to punish the carpenter who made them. He got drunk on the money he received for making them!
[Source: St Davids Church Llywel, by Peter Maddox (from the writings of Canon Josiah Jones-Davies, Vicar of Llywel 1947-82), Church in Wales Publications, Penarth, undated]

Below: Early 17th century memorial to Sybil Jeffreys, on south wall of nave.
St David's Church, Llywel
The small plaque beneath the monument states
"D. Mainwaring, Carmarthen".












Note 10.
Interestingly, in volume 4 of the Glanusk Edition (1930), Sir Joseph Bailey comments that Theophilus Jones (1806) recorded Sybil's year of death as 1687 and footnotes that "Theo. Jones was correct, as there is a letter extant from Howell Morgan to Hugh Thomas, dated Llywel, 6 Aug. 1715. Harl. MS. 7001,  f. 466." Edwin Poole (1886) also gives Sybil's year of death as 1687.
[Sources: The History of Brecknockshire, by Theophilus Jones (1806), Glanusk Edition (Vol 4) Brecknock Society, 1930; and The Illustrated History and Biography of Brecknockshire, by Edwin Poole, published by the author, Brecon, 1886]

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