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St Illtyd’s Church

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llanhilleth, Blaenau Gwent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7109 / 51°42'39"N

Longitude: -3.1332 / 3°7'59"W

OS Eastings: 321798

OS Northings: 201957

OS Grid: SO217019

Mapcode National: GBR J0.3DKQ

Mapcode Global: VH6D8.M8Y8

Entry Name: St Illtyd’s Church

Listing Date: 6 June 1962

Last Amended: 26 November 1999

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1866

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Set in centre of small settlement of St Illtyd, on N side of by-road. Large circular churchyard with remains of medieval churchyard cross some 10 metres N of church.

County: Blaenau Gwent

Community: Llanhilleth (Llanhiledd)

Community: Llanhilleth

Locality: St Illtyd

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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History

Largely late medieval/C16 detail, possibly with earlier masonry incorporated. Early site indicated by circular churchyard. First references to church in C9-C10 poem. Believed to have been rebuilt in the late C12 by the Cistercians. Surviving detail indicates much rebuilding c1500, probably the date of the saddleback W tower, and the barrel roofs. Restored 1888-91 by Middleton, Prothero & Phillot of Cheltenham, architects, who renewed the windows and added new furnishings. The stone-tiled roof was reinstated at this date, replacing red pantiles. The church closed in the 1930s due to subsidence of local coalmines. Repaired and reopened 1943, before closing again in 1957 due to extensive opencast works in the area. When the opencast operations ceased in 1962, it was found that the church had deteriorated badly, and was closed permanently. Passed into private ownership in 1984, after which it was acquired by Blaenau Gwent Borough Council, and fully restored. Church now open to visitors, and used for concerts.

Exterior

Rubble construction, stone-tiled roofs. Plain coped parapets to roofs, including saddleback tower. Plan consists of nave, lower chancel, and saddleback W tower. Tower has slight step approximately halfway up, and plain plinth. Pointed and chamfered W door with broach stops. Boarded door with decorative iron foliage hinges. Small belfry loops. S elevation of nave has two Bathstone windows of 1888-91; both of three cinquefoiled lights with straight heads. Immediately to the right of the westernmost window is arc-shaped crease in the masonry - possibly a repair, a C19 flue, or indicating a former S aisle. S side of chancel has priest’s door with restored voussoired round-arched head; boarded door. Upper courses of masonry jetty towards E end, possibly indicating earlier medieval stonework below. Four-centred three-light E window of 1888-91. N sides of nave and chancel are windowless.

Interior

Barrel roofs to nave and chancel; moulded and chamfered oak ribs, with plaster panels. Inserted oak tie-beams. Thick oak wallplates with arris-mouldings. Plastered walls. Crude voussoired chancel arch, chamfered and slightly pointed. Eroded medieval font; square bowl on square-section pedestal. Late C19 Tudor-arched piscina. 1888-91 pews reset along long sides of nave; poppy-head finials. Several good provincial neo-classical monuments including: Anne Lewis 1773, pedimented; Richard Jenkins 1776, stone tablet with careful lettering and marginal pattern; William Miles 1808, tall stone tablet with shield-shaped inscription surrounded by leafy scrolls and urn in relief; Joseph Needham 1819 (agent to Beaufort Ironworks), large oval plaque with urn.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as a well-preserved medieval parish church retaining much original detail, including roofs and saddleback tower, as well as fine provincial late C18-early C19 memorials.

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