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Parish Church of St. Cynfran

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llysfaen, Conwy

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2828 / 53°16'58"N

Longitude: -3.6615 / 3°39'41"W

OS Eastings: 289325

OS Northings: 377489

OS Grid: SH893774

Mapcode National: GBR 2ZWG.3X

Mapcode Global: WH656.QRM6

Entry Name: Parish Church of St. Cynfran

Listing Date: 21 June 1950

Last Amended: 28 July 1997

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 142

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Prominently sited in the centre of Llysfaen village at the main cross-roads; located on a commanding site within a circular, rubble-walled graveyard.

County: Conwy

Community: Llysfaen

Community: Llysfaen

Traditional County: Denbighshire

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Llysfaen

History

An early Celtic site associated with St. Cyfran, whose well lies to the N. The present building, set within the earlier 'Llan', is a much-restored medieval, twin-aisled church of 'Vale of Clwyd' type. Comemmorated in vernacular Welsh verse as having been built in white stone in the year 777, its earliest surviving element is the N aisle, probably in fact C13. Originally of small single-cell plan, this was subsequently extended eastwards to create a narrower chancel; in the C14 the S aisle and arcade were added. Both roofs (notwithstanding restoration) are essentially of second-half C15 type. Long in disrepair and described as thatched as late as the 1860s, the church was drastically restored under the patronage of J.W Raynes (local quarry owner) and the Bamford-Heskeths of Gwrych Castle amongst others. Designed by G.E Street, architect of London, the work cost £1,950, being undertaken by the contractor Rhydwen Jones of Rhyl; the church re-opened in October 1870. The 'restoration', in rather uninspired early Decorated style, was unusually severe, and the majority of the medieval work was refaced, retooled or destroyed; all the openings except the S door were renewed and new buttresses, bellcote and porch were provided. Some mutilated fragments of the C15 Rood screen appear re-used in the partition screen between the chancel and the vestry.

Exterior

Small double-aisled parish church of continuous nave and chancel type. Of rough-dressed, uncoursed local limestone on a chamfered plinth; sandstone dressings. Renewed slate roof with stone-coped gable parapets, diminutive kneelers and stone gable crosses. Single-storey gabled S porch with chamfered, pointed-arched entrance and simple label; recessed oak outer doors with bird grilles to upper sections. To the R of the porch a 2-light plate tracery window with cusped lights and a trefoil above; leaded glazing with iron grille. Beyond, two similar triple-light windows flanking a stepped buttress; further diagonal buttress at the corner. 3-light plate tracery E window within a large, chamfered outer arch. Simple 2-light window with trefoil and grille to E end of N aisle; diagonal buttress as before. Truncated lateral chimney (serving vestry) to N aisle with simple plate tracery window to R. The aisle widens at this point, marking the division between the primary cell and its early chancel extension; at the corner a further buttress. 3-light window as before to R with pointed-arched N entrance beyond. Simple chamfer with broach stops and boarded door with decorative ironwork. Simple gabled bellcote to W gable of N aisle, with single arched bell opening; stepped buttress to W gable below. Tall, elegant lancet with cusped head to W gable of S aisle; simple staged boiler chimney to N pitch of gable.

Interior

Continuous nave and chancel to S, and N aisle with vestry and organ beyond. Arched-braced collar truss roofs to both, that to the S of 7 bays, that to the N of 9. The latter is the earlier, probably first-half C15, the former later, perhaps third-quarter C15; 2 tiers of double-cusped windbraces to each and both much restored (curiously in pine). Arcade of four 2-centred, continuously-chamfered arches, carried on octagonal piers. All re-tooled under Street, the piers are now narrower than the arcade, which tapers down curiously to meet them. Counter-changed red/black tiled pavements with stone flags to subsidiary areas. Simple pitch-pine Victorian pews and vertically-panelled oak dados, the latter in memory of J.W. Reynes (1939). Square Early English-style stone font with blind decorative occuli to each face and a base of compound piers; on a raised stone plinth. Similar pulpit of muscular Gothic conception; semi-octagonal with blind tracery windows inset to the front. Moulded cornice and base, the former with dogtooth moulding; supported on two squat, engaged columns. Great War memorial window to W end nave lancet and fine figurative stained glass to N aisle window; of 1907 and commemorating the Perrott family. Oak rood screen by Street; in early Perpendicular style and spanning both aisles. This has ogee entrances to N and S, good open tracery and a vertically-panelled dado, as before, copying the C15 original; modest canopy with brattishing above. Sections of the primary rood screen dado are incorporated in the dado of a similar screen dividing the chancel from the vestry space. Simple oak benching to raised chancel; dado as before, returned onto E wall where stepped-up and arcaded. Gothic reredos with conjoined blind quatrefoils flanking a central raised cross; all in alabaster and coloured marbles. Stepped-up sanctuary with simple encaustic tiles by William Godwin; plain oak altar rails with decorative cast iron balusters. Simple oak panelled organcase (1924) and window to vestry as before. Figurative glass to E and S choir windows (c.1870) with christological scenes.

In the porch, two relocated mural tablets: the first to William Owen of Pentregwyddel and his family (last date 1717); secondly to Elizabeth Vaughan (nee Conway), d.1671 and her rector husband, Thomas Vaughan, d. 1673. Pointed-arched, chamfered S entrance, re-tooled by Street, but of cyclopean character; boarded door with decorative C13-style ironwork.

Reasons for Listing

Included at Grade II* as a medieval parish church with largely undisturbed alterations by an important C19 ecclesiastical architect.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Sundial at St. Cynfran's Church
    Immediately S of the church, within the rubble-walled churchyard.
  • II Church House
    Prominently-sited opposite the parish church at the cross-roads in the centre of the village; set behind low rubble walls.
  • II Telephone Call-box in forecourt of Post Office Building (01492 517471)
    Set back to right of Post Office overlooking Church House, the Rectory and St Cynfran's Church in open ground to N.
  • II Old Telegraph House
    Located in a commanding position on the highest point of the Mynydd Marian, with spectacular views of the bay to the N and the uplands to the rear accessed via a long unmetalled track running W from B
  • II Ty Mawr
    Located on an elevated, sloping site facing the sea approximately 1.5 km W of the village centre; accessed via an unmetalled track running W from the lane and set at the southern side of a former farm
  • II Ty Gwyn
    Located some 500m W of the village centre; set up above the road on a sloping site and facing N towards the sea.
  • II Pen-y-Dared
    Located at the northern boundary of the community approximately 1.5km SW of Llysfaen; accessed via a long farm track running N from Dolwen road.
  • II Ty Ucha
    Located in the village centre diagonally opposite St. Cynbryd's Church; set back from the main road with a forecourt to the NW.

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