History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Church of St Gwendoline

A Grade II* Listed Building in Talgarth, Powys

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 51.9964 / 51°59'46"N

Longitude: -3.2288 / 3°13'43"W

OS Eastings: 315728

OS Northings: 233817

OS Grid: SO157338

Mapcode National: GBR YW.JKPY

Mapcode Global: VH6BV.Z2DX

Plus Code: 9C3RXQWC+HF

Entry Name: Church of St Gwendoline

Listing Date: 28 September 1961

Last Amended: 14 August 1995

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 6636

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Located on a small plateau above the village, at the junction of Church Street with School Street.

County: Powys

Community: Talgarth

Community: Talgarth

Built-Up Area: Talgarth

Traditional County: Brecknockshire

Find accommodation in


Talgarth was the chief royal residence of the royal house of Brycheiniog. The church was, with that of Llangors, granted to Brecon priory by Bernard of Neufmarch_ in 1093-5. Two significant events are associated with the church, the traditional burial place of St Gwendoline (Gwen frewi), the 11th daughter of Brychan, king of Brycheiniog, and the location for the conversion of Howel Harris in 1735, whose preaching in the churchyard in turn brought the famous hymnwriter, William Williams, Pantycelyn to the non-conformist persuasion. The present church building is of C13 and C14 date, restored in 1873 by Thomas Nicholson of Hereford.


Parish church, Church in Wales. C13 and C14, restored 1873 by Thomas Nicholson of Hereford. Laminated rubble Devonian red sandstone with slate roofs. Two parallel and independently roofed units, the nave with chancel, and the slightly shorter S aisle with E chapel (Francis Chapel). Large N transept used as a school until 1893, when much rebuilt, now containing organ chamber chamber and vestry. Wide gabled south porch and West tower.

S porch has 4-centred outer and inner arches with bracket mouldings. Ribbed stoup and a blocked image recess over the inner door. Nave has cusped 2-light 'Y'-tracery windows, and blocked C16 square-headed door with animal and knot in spandrels. E window 3-light with panel tracery and similar E window to S chapel. Aisle is divided from chapel only by a buttress, and has one window as nave and 2 and 3-light later C15 square headed windows with cusping. W tower is C15, of 3 stages, very small openings but 'Y'-tracery bell openings and crenellated parapet.


Interior: Nave has late C14 4-bay arcade to S aisle; arches of 2 chamfered orders on octagonal columns. Walls plastered. Trussed rafter roof with soffit boarding, all C19, with large twisted tie bars. Chancel arch is carried on stilted and brattished corbels of large heads of bishop and king. Chancel is raised over 2 steps, rising a further 3 steps to the altar position, all encaustic tiled. Roof boarded and panelled. Wide C14 arch to S aisle, and C19 squint to organ chamber. Roof continuous from aisle to E chapel. Tower has 6 bells, all of 1724, by Rudhall.

Fittings: Font, by S door, C19 limestone, arcaded and moulded bowl on octagonal shaft with quatrefoils. Step connects base to wall. Lady Chapel at W end has parts of a fine late medieval
screen, the cornice carved with undercut oak and vineleaf trail. Other fittings of oak in chancel, early C20 but pews C19 pine. One hatchment in Nave of Gwynne family of Trefeca Fawr, with motto VIMVI REPELLERE LICET. Light fittings by George Pace.

Glass: E window of Nave, Good Shepherd, 1897, for Col. Francis Roche of Tregunter, and modern glass by Celtic Studios, Swansea, in aisle.

Monuments: In S chapel, late C13 coffin lid decorated with a foliated cross. A large number of wall monuments, (a) Tablet of grey marble with white, cornice with urn, to Rev. John Jones, d1790, and brother Robert. (b)Limestone Gothic tablet by Phillips, to Thomas Price, mercer, d1848; (c) White marble oval, to Elizabeth Price, d1802; (d)White marble oval on grey, cinquefoil in corners, to John Price, d1800; (e) Painted stone aedicule with raised tablet, urn within 2-centred head, to Benjamin Ralph d1834; (f) Marble slab in pilastered frame, coloured arms below, to William Vaughan of Delvanu(?), d1774; (g) Large slate tablet by Games, to Howell Harris of Trevecka, first itinerant preacher of Redemption, d1773, and Ann Harris; (h) White tablet on grey, by Thomas, to Eliza Prosser of Porthamel d1847; (i) White sarcophagus on brackets, draped urn over, by Phillips, to William Williams of Aberenig House, 1863; (j) White marble shield with entablature carved with surveying instruments, draped urn over, by Paty, to Joseph and Thomas Harris, mathematician and business man, the elder brothers of the preacher; d1782 (k) Limestone tablet with leaf scroll border, to Rebecca Glinter of Trevecca, d1675 aged 2.
Under the tower a further 7 wall monuments, (l) tablet with incised oval to Evan Roberts of Trevecka d1804; (m) Finely carved tablet with oval, with palmettes and husks, to J. Jones, d1782; (n) Limestone oval engraved in low relief, by T. Games, sculptor of Lawynfilly (Llanigon), to Ursula Tamplin of Hereford, d1780; (o) tablet by Phillips, to Joan Jones of Porthamal, d1810; (p) limestone engraved with oval, by Games, to Evan Evans, vicar, d1804; (q) White Carrara tablet inscribed in Latin to Edward Winter of Tredustan, d1737; and (r) Incised limestone tablet, square, by Games, to Samuel Jones, d1805. Also 5 donative memorials of stone and board, including Thomas Bennet of Penywerdlodd (1727) and Thomas Watkin Probert (1663), and an unfixed stone, circa early C17, inscribed in Welsh, a warning to sinners of the judgement to come, somewhat belied by a rather naive trumping angel.

Reasons for Listing

Listed II* as having good quality medieval work, and for its historical associations, particularly with the early Methodists.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Tomb of Howell Harris in Churchyard of the Church of St Gwendoling
    Located approximately 100m SE of the S porch of the parish church, close to the path to the SE corner gate.
  • II Rosendaal
    Attached to the NE end of Brynglwys, forming a terrace of two facing the churchyard.
  • II Brynglwys
    Located opposite church gates, on the corner of Back Lane, and attached to Rosendaal. Short front garden enclosed by railings set on a low stone wall.
  • II Crescent House
    Pair of town houses at the W end of a row of houses facing N over the churchyard of the Church of St Gwendoline.
  • II Merlin House
    Located in a terrace of houses opposite and facing the graveyard of the parish church, from which it is stepped forward.
  • II Highcliffe House
    Located in a terrace of C19 cottages, one of a row of two within a larger group, and adjoining Merlin House to the E facing over the churchyard.
  • II Church House including Gates and Railings to Front
    Located in a terrace of houses opposite and facing the graveyard of the parish church.
  • II Crescent Cottage
    Pair of town houses at the W end of a row of houses facing N over the churchyard of the Church of St Gwendoline.

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.