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Church of St Mary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llanfair, Gwynedd

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.8403 / 52°50'25"N

Longitude: -4.1132 / 4°6'47"W

OS Eastings: 257760

OS Northings: 329070

OS Grid: SH577290

Mapcode National: GBR 5Q.T3BH

Mapcode Global: WH55Z.SVJX

Plus Code: 9C4QRVRP+4P

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 30 November 1966

Last Amended: 23 May 2003

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4794

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Within the churchyard to NE of the main road through the village of Llanfair which forms a loop off the A496.

County: Gwynedd

Community: Llanfair

Community: Llanfair

Built-Up Area: Harlech

Traditional County: Merionethshire

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Llanfair

History

Medieval parish church, largely rebuilt in mid C19 and with C19 N vestry on the site of C16 chapel.

Dedicated to Mary by at least C12 when Gerald of Wales and Archbishop Baldwin stayed there in 1188 and appears in the Valuation of Norwich, 1254, as ''Beate Marie''. The earliest features of the present building are the C15 E window and chancel roof trusses. A straight joint in the N wall suggests that the church was extended and almost doubled in size - probably during a major rebuilding c1500; the N chapel was added, probably in C16. The chapel was largely destroyed by 1852 and a vestry built on the site; a window reset in the vestry may be from the chapel.

The church was renovated in 1852 and in 1858 by Henry Kennedy, Architect of Bangor, much of the walling was rebuilt at this time and most of the windows inserted; the N vestry, W door and bellcote were also added at this date.

Exterior

Medieval parish church, a long plan with continuous nave and chancel of 5 bays and compact N vestry. Built of roughly coursed rubble masonry with freestone dressings, N and S walls have widely spaced stepped raking buttresses, W wall has similar buttresses to each angle. Modern slate roof with stone copings and single W bellcote surmounted by a simple cross finial; weathered gable finial to E.

Entry to the church is through the pointed arched W doorway with hoodmould; the door is boarded, with large decorative hinges. Set in the gable apex above is a single lancet window. The E window is a pointed arched window of 3 lights with cusped tracery and hoodmould with carved head terminals. The long N and S lateral walls have single and paired lancet windows; the 2 easternmost windows on the N wall and the westernmost window of the S wall have hoodmoulds. The N vestry has a reset C16 window, a rectangular window of 2-lights.

Interior

The church has an exposed roof. The chancel retains 6 arch braced collared trusses on wall posts down to shaped purlins, dating to the extensive rebuilding of c1500, and contemporary paired purlins with cusped windbraces; the 4 trusses to W are similarly detailed but not as heavy as those to E and have a more rounded soffit, the angled braces above the collar are cusped.

Most of the interior dates to the mid C19 rebuild but retains a C17 rood screen which has 3 bays to each side of a central opening, the bottom part is boarded, the upper rail supported on shaped balusters with a carved naturalistic frieze above. The screen is thought to have been rebuilt in C19 and the tracery below the upper rail added. The chancel is raised by 2 steps and the sanctuary a further step with a moulded rail on twisted stanchion with floriate brackets; there is a small piscina set in a trefoil headed recess in the S wall of the sanctuary and entry to the N vestry is through a chamfered pointed arched doorway in the N wall of the chancel. The floor of the sanctuary has encaustic tiles and the vestry has a modern stone floor in which there is a memorial stone to Ellis Wynne of Lasynys: rector of the parish in the early C18. The octagonal pulpit is built of dressed stone on a stepped raking plinth with trefoil headed recesses at the angles. The C16 octagonal font is to the W end of the nave and there is a rough stone water stoup set into the N wall. The pews are simple C19 box pews and there is a simple chamfered screen to the W end of the nave.

All of the glass dates to the mid C19 rebuild, the E window bears depictions of Christ at nativity, crucifixion and ascension; in memory of Edmund Prys, Archdeacon of Merioneth, 1858. The central window in the S wall has 4 portrayals of Christ and is in memory of Ellis Wynne, d.1735.

Memorials: At the W end of the N wall has a restored slate slab to the Owens of Crafnant, 1520. to its right another slab to the Owen family in the C18 commemorating the children of the family of John (d.1783) and Anne Owen (d.1778): William d.1757, Anne d.1758, Robert d.1770, Elizabeth d.1770, Owen d.1775, Maurice d.1778 and William c.1783: Erected by a surviving son, John, in 1822.

Further E on the N wall is a marble memorial, also to the Owen family of Crafnant: to Elizabeth, wife of John Owen, d.1834. Below this memorial there is an ornate carved wooden tablet.

Towards the E end of the N wall of the nave are a further pair of marble memorials, the first to John Richards of Llanfair Isaf d.1829 and his wife Jane d.1847, also their 3rd son David and his wife Jane d.1828; the second to Gwen, wife of R H Richards, also of Llanfair Isaf, d.1841.

On the S wall are several C20 memorial tablets and a wooden trefoil headed board which lists the rectors of the parish to the present day.

Reasons for Listing

Listed at Grade II* as a good rural parish church of unusually long plan which retains much Medieval fabric. The church retains early timberwork within the roof, including cusped windbraces.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Sundial at the Church of St Mary
    Within the churchyard to NE of the main road through the village of Llanfair which forms a loop off the A496. The sundial is sited to the W of the church.
  • II Outbuilding to rear of Ty'n Llan
    Set back from the NE side of the main road through the village of Llanfair which forms a loop off the A496. Ty'n Llan is to R of the entrance to the Church of St Mary, the outbuilding in the yard to
  • II Ty'n Llan
    Set at the NE side of the main road through the village of Llanfair which forms a loop off the A496. Tyn Llan is to R of the entrance to the Church of St Mary.
  • II Ty Mawr
    Set at the NE side of the main road through the village of Llanfair which forms a loop off the A496. Ty Mawr is to L of the entrance to the Church of St Mary.
  • II* Llanfair-Isaf Farmhouse
    Set back from the W side of the A496.
  • II Hay barn to the S of Llanfair Isaf
    Set back from the W side of the A496.
  • II Barn to the S of Llanfair Isaf
    Set back from the W side of the A496.
  • II Hammel at Llandanwg
    Set at the NNW side of the road leading SW off the A496 to Llandanwg; the barn is close to the junction with the A496 and directly NE of an associated barn.

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