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Church of St Tydecho

A Grade II* Listed Building in Mawddwy, Gwynedd

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Latitude: 52.6969 / 52°41'48"N

Longitude: -3.6841 / 3°41'2"W

OS Eastings: 286289

OS Northings: 312359

OS Grid: SH862123

Mapcode National: GBR 99.31LH

Mapcode Global: WH683.CGXT

Plus Code: 9C4RM8W8+Q9

Entry Name: Church of St Tydecho

Listing Date: 17 June 1966

Last Amended: 4 November 1999

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4756

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: The church stands at the S end of the village of Mallwyd, by-passed by the present A470.

County: Gwynedd

Town: Machynlleth

Community: Mawddwy

Community: Mawddwy

Locality: Mallwyd

Traditional County: Merionethshire

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The parish church is dedicated to St Tydecho (Tudec or Tudy), a Breton saint and bishop, related to the early Welsh kings. He trained at Llanilltud fawr, and died in 560 AD in Isle-de-Croix, Britanny, although it is claimed he was finally buried on Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island). Although the church is said to be founded by him in 520 AD, it became a chapelry of St Tydecho, Llanymawddwy, and it now contains fabric no earlier than the C14. It was extensively altered and restored in the C17 under the benign and influential hand of Dr John Davies, scholar, translator and rector 1604-1644, who added the N porch and tower. The chancel was extended to the E with thinner walls, either in the C18 perhaps when a gallery was inserted in the nave in 1764, or in the early C19.


The church is built with local slate rubble, with a slate roof, and consists of a wide-bodied nave and narrower chancel. North porch added and dated 1641 and initialled G H. 4-light E window, with slate mullions and transom under a 3-centred head, probably C17, and 2 rectangular windows to each side, probably C18, each raised with 2-light gabled dormer windows, and a small square-headed lancet on the N side of the chancel. Also a blocked door with a stone lintel on cyma moulded corbels, probably inserted in the C17 for direct access to the sanctuary. A further blocked window further W and a segmental headed doorway, also blocked, between the windows. The porch is stone encased, but is substantially a timber-framed structure with heavy vertical posts and solid angle struts to the lintel, all ovolo moulded, and 2 raking struts to the principal rafters. It has been decorated with a fossil mammoth tusk and an epiphysis of a limb bone, found between the church and the river. The inner truss is similar, but bears the incised date AD 520. C17 panelling under the slate roof. At the W end, a boarded door to the vestry, and two 2-light dormers. Large weatherboarded timber tower, inscribed in perforated timber boarding on the S face SOLI DEO SACRUM ANNI CHRISTI MDCXL. It formerly also read VENITE CANTEM[us domino] A.D.1640 HONOR DEO IN EXCELSIS:. It is finished with a pyramidal roof and wind vane. On the N side two 3-light timber transomed window to the vestry, and 1 leaded rectangular window with a dormer over. Further blocked openings.


The entrance door leads to a cross passage, with the vestry divided off on the left, and doors into the central aisle. The nave is of 5 roof bays, with collar beam trusses and straight slightly cusped raking struts to the principal rafters. These carry 3 tiers of purlins. The tie beams appear to be medieval, reconstructed as trusses in the C17. Rafters exposed. The chancel is of 3 bays, C17 segmental arched trusses with deep collars, the principals extended down the walls to angled corbels, and embellished with a carved unicorn and lion rampant (post 1603). The walls throughout are plastered; slate floors, with one step into the sanctuary. At the rear, the pews are dramatically raked either side of the entrance to the nave to climb over the entrance passage and vestry. The timber bell tower is supported on large jowled timber posts, and is cross braced at each stage. A timber bellframe carries three bells.

Fittings: Pulpit, C20, of oak, plain and octagonal; the altar rail of iron with a square oak communion rail, and a lectern of 1965. The font, near the back of the church, is of black marble, octagonal, on a slightly bulbous baluster foot, dated below the bowl 1734, gift of Sir John Mytton of Halston. The organ, raised high above the entrance, is of 1898, with gilded pipework.

Stained glass in the S window, to Blanche Bellock.

Bells: three bells, of 1642, 1685 and 1738.

Monuments: Nave, north side, from the W: (a) a tall white marble stele with cornice and palmette crest behind a square Altar with a triglyph frieze, bobbin supports, all on acanthus consoles, by Gibson of Liverpool, to the the Rev Robert Davies, d.1827, his wife and 7 children. (b) A Gothic memorial aedicule of white marble on a black fossil limestone brackets, also by Gibson, with an inner pointed arch and inscription to Dr John Davies, scholar and translator of the Bible into Welsh, and an 'able exponent of the language and antiquities of Britain, laying open its annals'. He was born in Llanferres, Denbighs, in 1564 and was rector here from 1604 for 30 years until his death in 1644. (c) slate, framed in wood, to Evan Jones of Dinas, son of a shopkeeper, d.1825, with wife and family. On the S side (d) Slate, with a moulded horned timber frame, to Richard Williams of Treflan, d.1805; (e) Sarcophagus of white marble against a grey field, fluted urn over, by Patteson, Manchester, to Mary Astley of Cwmllecoediog, d.1832; in the W window reveal, (f) a deeply lettered slate slab to Richard Pughe of Machynllech, surgeon, d.1809, and family including William Pughe, rector of Mallwyd, d.1852. In the porch, (g) a slate slab with a bead margin, to Richard Griffiths, Gelli-wen, d.1837, and on the exterior of the church, inset in the S wall, a small slate panel (h) to Robert Vughan of Gwm-glan mynach, d.1693.

Reasons for Listing

Included at Grade II* as retaining substantial medieval fabric, for its fine C17 features including the porch, and for its early C19 internal layout and joinery with the dramatic raking of the rear pews and good chancel ceiling. Also particularly for its long association with one of the greatest of C17 Welsh scholars and promotors of the Welsh Language and culture, who added the tower and porch, and carried out a number of beneficial works throughout the parish.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II No 1 Gorphwysfa
    The two Gorphwysfa cottages stand immediately E of and facing the churchyard, crosswise to the main street.
  • II Gorphwysfa
    The two Gorphywysfa cottages stand immediately E of, and face the churchyard, set crosswise to the main street of the village.
  • II Y Rheithordy
    The rectory stands S of the church, approached by a curved driveway off the A470.
  • II Brigands Inn
    The inn is located on the corner of the the A470 Dolgellau to Machynlleth trunk road and the A458 to Welshpool.
  • II Bridge W of Pont y Cleifion
    The bridge is alongside and on the W side of the high level bridge that carries the A470 over the Afon Cleifion, just N of the village of Mallwyd.
  • II Milestone at Craig y Gronfa
    On the verge, c2.7km N of Cwm Llinau.
  • II Pont Wrysgen
    The bridge carries the main A458 Mallwyd to Welshpool Road over the Afon Cleifion, SW of Cwm Cewydd.
  • II Pont Minllyn
    The bridge crosses the Afon Dyfi a little to the SW of the modern bridge carrying the A470 to the N.

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