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St Matthew's Church, Llandefalle, Breconshire

Denomination: Anglican

Dedication: St Matthew (but see Notes 2 and 3, below)

Built: Late 13th or early 14th century

Later additions: 15th and 17th centuries


1. The spacious nave of c.1300 has a window with Y-tracery and a fragment of a wall painting on the north side. The doorway was reset c.1480-1500, when the church gained a south ailse with a porch and a four-bay arcade of double-chamfered arches, a new chancel, new barrel ceilings, and a west tower. There is a fine [rood] screen of c.1500.
[Source: The Old Parish Churches of Mid-Wales, by Mike Salter, Folly Publications, Malvern, second edition 2003, ISBN 1-871731-62-3]

2. Llandefalle Church, five kilometres north-east of Brecon, was originally dedicated to St Maelog but now to St Matthew. The present building probably originated in the late 13th or early 14th century, but much of it is 15th century, and there appears to have been little if any Victorian restoration. It contains a fine rood screen (dating from about 1500 - see below), a 13th century font and fragmentary wall paintings (right), as well as a good range of 18th century wall monuments. Parts of the present church are believed to date from c.1300, including perhaps the lower part of the tower. The upper part of the tower is said to have been built (or rebuilt) c.1661, and windows of local design were added to the south chancel wall about 1700.
[Adapted from the website of the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT), where further details are available.

  Wall painting, St Matthew's Church, Llandefalle

Photography: John Ball
Date: 27 September 2006
Camera: Nikon D50 digital SLR

3. 'Church of St Tyfalle'; Tyfalle may be the honorific prefix and either Ballai or Mallai according to Richards (1998). There have been attempts, all unconvincing, to identify him with Tyfaelog, Maethlu and even Matthew, the present phoney dedication.
[Primary source: A Study of Breconshire Place-Names by Richard Morgan & R. F. Peter Powell, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Llanrwst, 1999; ISBN 0-86381-567-7]
[Secondary source: Enway Tir a Gwlad by Melville Richards, edited by Bedwyr Lewis Jones, Caernarfon, 1998; ISBN 0-86074-139-7]

St Matthew's Church, Llandefalle
St Matthew's Church, Llandefalle
Rood screen, St Matthew's Church, Llandefalle
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