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All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa, Monmouthshire

Denomination: Anglican

Dedication: All Saints

Built: 14th century
Partly rebuilt: 1870s
Photography: John Ball
Date: 7 July 2011
Camera: Nikon D50 digital SLR

All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa
Above: Western aspect of All Saints' Church.

Note 1: There has been church here at least from the 800s, shown in parts of the porch, which has a 1300s carved roof. A tower was built in the 1400s as an addition to the original church. The nave and chancel were rebuilt 1872 - 1874 to serve the rapidly increasing population of the parish. The two Victorian architects responsible for the extensive alterations were Charles Buckeridge & John Loughborough Pearson. The alterations conformed to the requirements of the Tractarian or Oxford movement to bring back full dignity, ritual and colour to worship. Thus the Chancel is particularly large for a village church and can accommodate a large choir.
[Source: Church in Wales website]

Below: Southeastern aspect.
All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa

Note 2: Built in the Gothic Perpendicular style, both gable and long-wall entry type. A prominent feature of this Church is the integral tower.
[Source: Coflein database (NPRN 307302)]

All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa
Above: Northeastern aspect.

All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa

Note 3: The handsome tower and the porch [right and below] are the only parts left of the old church. The existing edifice is much larger then the old one, and was built in the years 1873-4. The old church occupied only what is now the south aisle. Of the living, it having been a perpetual curacy, there are no institutions in the books at Llandaff till recent years. In 1718 the rectorial tithes were held by lease by Christopher Perkins of Pilston. In 1725 the lease was renewed to Cecilia Perkins, widow, described as the grandmother and guardian of Edward Perkins (an infant), elsest son and heir of Christopher Perkins, late of Pilston, esq., deceased. The old register books are lost. The existing ones begin in 1727. Among the burials in 1757 is, 30 April, a person with the unusual name of Golau Jones. This would more correctly be Goleu (light, lux).
[Source: A History of Monmouthshire Vol 3 Part 2, by Sir Joseph Bradney, Mitchell Hughes and Clarke, London, 1923. Facsimile edition published 1993 by Merton Priory Press, Cardiff; ISBN 0 9520009 3 8]

Below: South porch.
All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa
All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa
Above: Sketch of All Saints' Church by Fred Hando, circa 1953.
[Source: Out and About in Monmouthshire, by Fred Hando, R. H. Johns Ltd., Newport, 1958]

Note 4: Outside in the churchyard is a Medieval Preaching Cross, still used at Rogationtide for the blessing of crops.
[Source: Church in Wales website]

All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa
All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa

Below: The inscription on one face of the base of the cross.
All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa
and the beloved memory of John
Etherington Welch Rolls of ye Hendre
and Elizabeth Mary Rolls his wife
this cross was rebuilt by Frank
Johnstone Mitchell of Llanfrechfa
Grange and Elizabeth Harcourt
Mitchell his wife, daughter of the
above. A.D. mvccclxxx.[1880]

John Etherington Welch Rolls (1807-1870) was sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1842. The Mitchells of Llanfrechfa Grange were major landowners in the parish.
[Source: Documents relating to the Rolls family, barons Llangattock, of The Hendre (reference GB 0218 ROLLS D361) held at Gwent Record Office, Cwmbrân; details on Archive Network Wales website.

All Saints' Church, Llanfrechfa

Right: Curious marking etched into a cornerstone near the base of the west tower.

Note 5: After visiting All Saints' Church in 1953, Fred Hando noted: "The embattled tower bears on the south a sundial, on its western face a stone carved with a part of a Maltese cross, and another with an O.S. bench-mark."
[Source: Out and About in Monmouthshire, by Fred Hando, R. H. Johns Ltd., Newport, 1958

Note 6: The site of All Saints church is very old. There has been a church in this place for at least a thousand years, since part of the porch dates from the ninth century. The porch roof is fourteenth and fifteenth century and the tower — perhaps an addition to the original building — is fifteenth century. The sedilia in the south wall of the sanctuary was transferred from the old church, but the remainder of the building we see today — the nave, chancel and vestry — is the result of a rebuilding completed in 1874. This was done mainly through the generosity of the Mitchell's of Llanfrechfa Grange. A peal of six bells also dates from that period, as do most of the windows. Two bells were added to the peal in 1937 [see Note 7] and all of the bells restored, re-hung and re-hallowed for the Millennium celebrations in 2000. Three of the churchyard yews are very old, the hollow tree nearest the church main gate being probably as old as the original church.
[Source: Roughwood British Churches Album website]

Note 7: Of the eight bells, the first bore an inscription commemorating the coronation in 1937 of King Edward VIII, but this has been substituted by a George VI incised inscription after the first was chiselled off.
[Source: Out and About in Monmouthshire, by Fred Hando, R. H. Johns Ltd., Newport, 1958]

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